May 18, 2004

Army, CIA want torture truths exposed

Why does this level of CONTINUITY and CONTEXT have to
be provided by UPI and not by network news organizations and their propapunditgandists? Yes, as the LNS has been reporting all along, the US military and the US intelligence community want the scalps of Cambone and the rest of Rumsfeld's "political commisars," as LNS Foreign Correspondent Dunston Woods calls them, as well as Rumsfeld's, of course...Meanwhile, the Newsweek story that the LNS sent out yesterday is DAMNING. It underscores what Sy Hirsch and The New Yorker also published yesterday, and it takes it straight into the Oval Office and yet it has been wholly ignored by the rest of the "US mainstream news media." Why? Because the "Pentagon" (i.e. more of Rumsfeld's "political commisars") blasted the Hirsh story as "journalistic malpractice"? Well, is that a story? Why don't you explore it? Who is telling the truth? Hirsch or Rumsfeld and his "political commisars"? Either you discredit one of the most important American journalists of our time or you bring down the Secretary of Defense along with Woefullwits and the others.

Martin Sieff, UPI: Efforts at the top level of the
Bush administration and the civilian echelon of the
Department of Defense to contain the Iraq prison
torture scandal and limit the blame to a handful of
enlisted soldiers and immediate senior officers have
already failed: The scandal continues to metastasize
by the day...Even worse for Rumsfeld and his coterie
of neo-conservative true believers who have run the
Pentagon for the past 3½ years, three major
institutions in the Washington power structure have
decided that after almost a full presidential term of
being treated with contempt and abuse by them, it's
payback time. Those three institutions are: The United
States Army, the Central Intelligence Agency and the
old, relatively moderate but highly experienced
Republican leadership in the United States Senate.

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

Army, CIA want torture truths exposed
By Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Published 5/18/2004 7:16 AM

WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) -- Efforts at the top level
of the Bush administration and the civilian echelon of
the Department of Defense to contain the Iraq prison
torture scandal and limit the blame to a handful of
enlisted soldiers and immediate senior officers have
already failed: The scandal continues to metastasize
by the day.

Over the past weekend and into this week, devastating
new allegations have emerged putting Stephen Cambone,
the first Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence,
firmly in the crosshairs and bringing a new wave of
allegations cascading down on the head of Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when he scarcely had time
to catch his breath from the previous ones.

None of those groups is chopped liver: Taken together
they comprise a devastating Grand Slam.

The spearhead for the new wave of revelations and
allegations - but by no means the only source of them
- is veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.
In a major article published in the New Yorker this
week and posted on to its Web-site Saturday, Hersh
revealed that a high-level Pentagon operation
code-named Copper Green "encouraged physical coercion
and sexual humiliation" of Iraqi prisoners. He also
cited Pentagon sources and consultants as saying that
photographing the victims of such abuse was an
explicit part of the program meant to force the
victims into becoming blackmailed reliable informants.

Hersh further claimed in his article that Rumsfeld
himself approved the program and that one of his four
or five top aides, Cambone, set it up in Baghdad and
ran it.

These allegations of course are anathema to the White
House, Rumsfeld and their media allies. In a highly
unusual step for any newspaper, the editorially
neo-conservative tabloid New York Post ran an
editorial Monday seeking to ridicule and discredit
Hersh. However, it presented absolutely no evidence to
query, let alone discredit the substance of his
article and allegations.

Instead, the New York Post editorial inadvertently
pointed out one, but by no means all, of the major
sources for Hersh's information. The editorial alleged
that Hersh had received much of his material from the

Based on the material Hersh quoted, his legendary
intelligence community contacts were probably sources
for some of his information. However, Hersh has also
enjoyed close personal relations with many now
high-ranking officers in the United States Army, going
all the way back to his prize-winning coverage and
scoops in Vietnam more than 30 years ago.

Indeed, intelligence and regular Army sources have
told UPI that senior officers and officials in both
communities are sickened and outraged by the
revelations of mass torture and abuse, and also by the
incompetence involved, in the Abu Ghraib prison
revelations. These sources also said that officials
all the way up to the highest level in both the Army
and the Agency are determined not to be scapegoated,
or allow very junior soldiers or officials to take the
full blame for the excesses.

President George W. Bush in his weekly radio address
Saturday claimed that the Abu Ghraib abuses were only
"the actions of a few" and that they did not "reflect
the true character of the Untied States armed forces."

But what enrages many serving senior Army generals and
U.S. top-level intelligence community professionals is
that the "few" in this case were not primarily the
serving soldiers who were actually encouraged to carry
out the abuses and even then take photos of the
victims, but that they were encouraged to do so, with
the Army's well-established safeguards against such
abuses deliberately removed by high-level Pentagon
civilian officials.

Abuse and even torture of prisoners happens in almost
every war on every side. But well-run professional
armies, and the U.S. Army has always been one, take
great pains to guard against it and limit it as much
as possible. Even in cases where torture excesses are
regarded as essential to extract tactical information
and save lives, commanders in most modern armies have
taken care to limit such "dirty work" to very small
units, usually from special forces, and to keep it as
secret as possible.

For senior Army professionals know that allowing
patterns of abuse and torture to metastasize in any
army is annihilating to its morale and tactical
effectiveness. Torturers usually make lousy combat
soldiers, which is why combat soldiers in every major
army hold them in contempt.

Therefore, several U.S. military officers told UPI,
the idea of using regular Army soldiers, including
some even just from the Army Reserve or National
Guard, and encouraging them to inflict such abuses ran
contrary to received military wisdom and to the
ingrained standards and traditions of the U.S. Army.

The widespread taking of photographs of the victims of
such abuses, they said, clearly revealed that civilian
"amateurs" and not regular Army or intelligence
community professionals were the driving force in
shaping and running the programs under which these
abuses occurred.

Hersh has spearheaded the waves of revelations of
shocking abuse. But other major U.S. media
organizations are now charging in behind him to
confirm and extend his reports. They are able to do so
because many senior veteran professionals in both the
CIA and the Army were disgusted by the revelations of
the torture excesses. Now they are being listened to
with suddenly receptive ears on Capitol Hill.

Republican members in the House of Representatives
have kept discipline and silence on the revelations.
But with the exception of the increasingly isolated
and embarrassed Senate Republican Leader, Bill Frist
of Tennessee, other senior mainstream figures in the
GOP Senate majority have refused to go along with any

Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Orrin Hatch of
Utah, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Pat Roberts of Kansas
and John Warner of Virginia have all been outspoken in
their condemnation of the torture excesses. And they
did so even before the latest, most far-reaching and
worst of the allegations and reports surfaced. Warner,
chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, lost
no time in hauling Rumsfeld before it to testify.

The pattern of the latest wave of revelations is
clear: They are coming from significant numbers of
senior figures in both the U.S. military and
intelligence services. They reflect the disgust and
contempt widely felt in both communities at the
excesses; and at long last, they are being listened to
seriously by senior Republican, as well as Democratic,
senators on Capitol Hill.

Rumsfeld and his team of top lieutenants have
therefore now lost the confidence, trust and respect
of both the Army and intelligence establishments. Key
elements of the political establishment even of the
ruling GOP now recognize this.

Yet Rumsfeld and his lieutenants remain determined to
hang on to power, and so far President Bush has shown
every sign of wanting to keep them there. The scandal,
therefore, is far from over. The revelations will
continue. The cost of the abuses to the American
people and the U.S. national interest is already
incalculable: And there is no end in sight.

Copyright © 2001-2004 United Press International

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Posted by richard at May 18, 2004 03:32 PM