May 12, 2004

Thread of Abuse Runs to the Oval Office

CBS News (at least this morning) is looking beyond the
US soldiers currently being singled out at Abu Ghraib:
"...several senators questioned whether low-ranking
soldiers would have created the sexually humiliating
scenarios by themselves."
"It implies too much knowledge of what would be
particularly humiliating to these Muslim prisoners,"
said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. "And that is why,
even though I do not yet have the evidence, I cannot
help but suspect that others were involved, that
military intelligence personnel were involved, or
people further up the chain of command."
In an interview with reporter Brian Maass of Denver
CBS station KCNC, Army Pvt. Lynndie England, a
21-year-old who is four months pregnant and features
in some of the abuse pictures, blames the abuse on
order from superior officers.
"I didn't really, I mean, want to be in any pictures,"
England said. "I was instructed by persons in higher
rank to stand there and hold this leash and look at
the camera. And they took a picture for psy-op
(psychological warfare operations). And that's all I
know."
"They'd come back and they'd look at the pictures, and
they'd state, 'Oh, that's a good tactic, keep it up.
That's working. This is working. Keep doing it. It's
getting what we need.'"

But will they follow the trail to the OSD and the White House? Because that's where it leads...Robert Scheer provides CONTEXT and CONTINUITY, will the "US
Mainstream News Media"?

Robert Scheer, www.alternet.org: I'd like to know who
was the one that was giving instructions to the
military intelligence personnel to turn up the heat,"
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the nominal head of Abu
Ghraib during the time in question, said in an
interview on NBC. Unfortunately, that question needs
to be addressed to the president of the United States.

Support Our Soldiers, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=18663

SCHEER: Thread of Abuse Runs to the Oval Office

By Robert Scheer, AlterNet
May 11, 2004

Someone's lying big-time and neither Congress nor
the media have begun to scratch the surface. The
several low-ranking alleged sadists charged in the
Iraq torture scandal did not control the wing of the
prison in which they openly and proudly did the
devil's work.


That power was in the hands of high-ranking U.S.
military intelligence officers who established abusive
conditions that were condemned by the Red Cross in a
complaint to U.S. authorities well before the horrid
incidents that recently shocked the nation.


The Red Cross complaint and a follow-up report that
was made available to the administration in February
and obtained by the Wall Street Journal this week
raises the sobering possibility that these low-level
members of the military police in Iraq may be right in
claiming that they were just following orders of their
superiors.


According to the report, the organization's delegates
visited Abu Ghraib in October 2003 and witnessed "the
practice of keeping persons deprived of their liberty
completely naked in totally empty concrete cells and
in total darkness" for days.


"Upon witnessing such cases, the [Red Cross]
interrupted its visits and requested an explanation
from the authorities. The military intelligence
officer in charge of interrogation explained that this
practice was 'part of the process.'" The report said
that what Red Cross representatives saw "went beyond
exceptional cases" and was "in some cases tantamount
to torture."


The Red Cross complained directly to the authorities
at that time, two months before the now-infamous
photographs were taken.


The White House and Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld have for months stubbornly ignored and kept
from the public the conclusions of both the Red Cross
report and the even more damning internal report done
by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba for the Pentagon
in March.


The Taguba report clearly stated that the MPs had been
instructed to "set physical and mental conditions for
favorable interrogation of witnesses" and were using
sexual humiliation, attack dogs and beatings to break
prisoners.


It would appear that the Pentagon still doesn't want
to admit the seriousness of the problem, having now
assigned Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller to run Abu Ghraib
despite the fact that it was Miller who last summer
officially reported on conditions in Abu Ghraib and
seems to have enabled, if not authorized, the torture
that ensued in the autumn.


According to Taguba's report, Miller "stated that
detention operations must act as an enabler for
interrogation" and "it is essential that the guard
force be actively engaged in setting the conditions
for successful exploitation of the internees."


That would seem to support the contention of the
accused MPs that they were just doing their duty. The
Washington Post quotes an e-mail from Spc. Sabrina
Harman in which she wrote: "If the prisoner was
cooperating, then the prisoner was allowed to keep his
jumpsuit, mattress, and was allowed cigarettes on
request or even hot food. But if the prisoner didn't
give what they wanted, it was all taken away until
[military intelligence] decided. The job of the MP was
to keep them awake, make it hell so they would talk."


On Monday, President Bush reiterated his unyielding
support for Rumsfeld, even as the influential Army
Times newspaper called for heads to roll "even if that
means relieving top leaders from duty in a time of
war." The abuses of Iraqi prisoners in Baghdad are "a
failure that ran straight to the top," argued the
newspaper.


And all of this does flow from the top. With the
occupation itself built on a web of lies that
invading Iraq was part of the war on terror, that Iraq
had threatening weapons of mass destruction, that
anybody who resisted the occupation was a "terrorist"
or "thug" it can only be assumed that those
interrogators dealing with the nearly 50,000 Iraqi
detainees in the last year were under enormous
pressure to produce statements that fit these phony
"facts."


"I'd like to know who was the one that was giving
instructions to the military intelligence personnel to
turn up the heat," Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the
nominal head of Abu Ghraib during the time in
question, said in an interview on NBC. Unfortunately,
that question needs to be addressed to the president
of the United States.


The big lie that the United States is merely a
selfless battler against terrorists, with no other
agendas, opens the door for brutality against any who
dare resist. Bush has exercised an arrogance unmatched
by any U.S. president in a century and brandished
God's will as his carte blanche. His unilateral,
preemptive "nation-building" and the settling of old
scores in the name of fighting terror grants license
to treat anybody, including U.S. citizens, in a
barbaric manner that cavalierly sweeps aside all
standards of due process.


Posted by richard at May 12, 2004 12:28 PM