June 01, 2005

LNS Oceania Review June 2005 Special Supplement:

LNS Oceania Review July 2005 Special Supplement Part I

1. The Bush Cabal’s Assault on the U.S. Senate
2. The Downing Street Memo
3. Amnesty International Confirms That The Stench of Abu Ghraib is on the Bush White House, the Stench of the Bush White House is on Abu Ghraib
4. Yes, despite Newsweak’s “retraction,” the Koran was desecrated, but so was the US Constitution, the Geneva Accords, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Bush Cabal’s Assault on the U.S. Senate

National Organization for Women, N.O.W: Fourteen senators reached a bipartisan compromise last night, pulling the Senate back from the brink and avoiding the nuclear option for now, but giving a pass to three extremist judges who fully deserved to be filibustered.
"The entire 'nuclear option' maneuver was an exercise in scorched-earth politics. In pushing it, what Bill Frist and the Republican leadership really compromised was their integrity," said NOW President Kim Gandy. "Our democracy was compromised by the machinations of a power-hungry administration and their lackeys in the Senate who put their allegiance to George W. Bush above their oath of office."
A compromise by some middle-roaders in both parties preserved the filibuster for another day, another fight, but perhaps at too high a cost. In the so-called compromise, seven Republican senators agreed not to vote for the "nuclear option" to ban the filibuster, and seven Democratic senators agreed not to use the filibuster against three of the Bush's most extreme nominees, and henceforth only in extraordinary cases. Here's the rub: the filibuster was only being used in extraordinary cases anyway — only 10 of more than 200 nominees so far.
"The Senate 'compromise' was more like a mugging," said Gandy, "where the thug says 'if you give me what I want, I won't shoot you . . . at least not right now.' Indeed, the victim may feel relieved for the moment, but has been victimized nonetheless. And may yet be shot."

Capitol Times Editorial (Madison, WI), Giving In to Blackmail?, 5/26/05: Four years of successful efforts by civil rights, women's rights, religious and consumer groups to prevent confirmation of the right-wing extremist were undone Wednesday, as the Senate voted 56-43 to confirm a nominee whose judicial activism on the Texas Supreme Court was so reckless that another member of that court, Alberto Gonzales, who now serves as the nation's attorney general, referred to her actions as "unconscionable."
The final vote broke along partisan lines. Fifty-three Republicans and two Democrats, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and West Virginia's Robert Byrd, voted to confirm Owen. Forty-two Democrats and one Independent, Vermont's Jim Jeffords, voted against confirmation.
Those numbers are significant because they show that Democrats had the 40 votes that were needed to sustain a filibuster against Owen.
That means that, had Democrats held firm and forced moderate Republicans to reject the unpopular "nuclear option" that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., was attempting to impose on the Senate, Owen might very well have been kept off the court. National polls showed an overwhelming majority of Americans opposed Frist's plan to bar judicial filibusters, thereby allowing confirmation of even the most objectionable of the Bush administration's nominees.
A number of moderate Republicans had indicated that they were uncomfortable with the majority leader's scheme to rewrite Senate rules, and there was at least a reasonable chance that a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans could have preserved the ability of the minority party to block extremist nominees. Unfortunately, in return for the agreement to put the "nuclear option" on hold, seven moderate Democrats agreed to allow confirmation votes for at least three blocked appeals court nominees.
Owen's confirmation on Wednesday represents the first of what are likely to be many confirmations of extreme, unqualified and ethically dubious nominees for the appeals court, traditionally the court of last hope of low-income Americans, people of color and women. Equal justice concerns are of particular significance in the cases of the 5th Circuit, which includes Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi and is home to the highest percentage of minority residents of any circuit in the country.
As disappointing as the collapse of conscience on the part of most Democrats has been, however, it is important to remember that 18 members of the opposition caucus held firm against the compromise of principles. Those senators - including Russ Feingold of Wisconsin - refused to vote for the cloture motion that shut down the filibuster option and cleared the way for Owen's confirmation.
Feingold, a member of the Judiciary Committee, was blunt in his dismissal of claims that the deal that has put Owen on the appeals court represented a legitimate "compromise."
"There was no effort to reach a real compromise that would take into account the concerns of all parties. A compromise at the point of a gun is not a compromise," he said. "I strongly opposed the threat of the nuclear option. I believe this was an illegitimate tactic, a partisan abuse of power that was a threat to the Senate as an institution and to the country. Attempting to blackmail the minority into giving up the rights that have been part of the Senate's traditions and practices for centuries was a new low for a majority that has repeatedly been willing to put party over principle. Unfortunately, the blackmail was partially successful," said Feingold, who explained that "the end result is that nominees who don't deserve lifetime appointments to the judiciary will now be confirmed."
© 2005 Capital Times

www.mediamatters.org, Top 10 filibuster falsehoods, 5/18/05: Falsehood #1: Democrats' filibuster of Bush nominees is "unprecedented"
The most prevalent talking point put forth by advocates of the "nuclear option" is that Democratic filibusters of 10 of President Bush's judicial nominees are "unprecedented" in American history…
Falsehood #2: Bush's filibustered nominees have all been rated well-qualified by the ABA; blocking such highly rated nominees is unprecedented
To make Democratic filibusters appear unwarranted, many "nuclear option" supporters have falsely claimed that some -- or all -- of Bush's judicial nominees have received the American Bar Association's (ABA) highest qualification rating…
Falsehood #3: Democratic obstructionism has led to far more judicial vacancies during Republican administrations than Democratic administrations
"Nuclear option" proponents have also used the "empty courtroom" argument to advance their agenda, claiming an unusual number of judicial vacancies during Republican administrations as a result of Democratic obstructionism…
Falsehood #4: "Nuclear Option" is a Democratic term…
Falsehood #5: Democrats oppose Bush nominees because of their faith, race, ethnicity, gender, stance on abortion, stance on parental notification…
Falsehood #6: Public opinion polling shows clear opposition to judicial filibusters, support for "nuclear option"
Falsehood #7: Filibustering judicial nominees is unconstitutional
Another argument made by those supporting the "nuclear option" is that filibustering judicial nominees is unconstitutional…
Falsehood #8: Clinton's appellate confirmation rate was far better than Bush's rate
"Nuclear option" advocates have also claimed that the confirmation rate for Clinton's appellate nominees was much higher than for Bush's nominees…
Falsehood #9: Sen. Byrd's alterations to filibuster rules set precedent for "nuclear option"
Falsehood #10: Democrats have opposed "all" or "most" of Bush's judicial nominees
"Nuclear option" proponents have drastically exaggerated Democratic efforts to block Bush's judicial nominees, suggesting that they have opposed all of his nominees or all of his conservative nominees…

Downing Street Memo

TONY ALLEN-MILLS AND TOM PATTINSON, Blair faces US probe over secret Iraq invasion plan, Times of London, 5/22/05: SENIOR American congressmen are considering sending a delegation to London to investigate Britain’s role in preparations for the war in Iraq. Democratic opponents of President George W Bush have seized on a leaked Downing Street memo, first published three weeks ago by The Sunday Times, as evidence that American lawmakers were misled about Bush’s intentions in Iraq. A group of 89 Democrats from the House of Representatives has written to Bush to ask whether the memo is accurate…
By sending investigators to London, Conyers hopes to stir the US media into re-examining a story largely ignored in America since Bush’s re-election victory in November.
“I deplore the fact that our media have been so reticent on the question of whether there was a secret planning of a war for which neither the Congress nor the American people had given permission,” Conyers said.
“We have The Sunday Times to thank for this very important activity. It reminds me of Watergate, which started off as a tiny little incident reported in The Washington Post. I think that the interest of many citizens is picking up.”


Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (www.fair.org), Media Advisory: Smoking Gun Memo? Iraq Bombshell Goes Mostly Unreported in US Media, 5/11/05: Journalists typically condemn attempts to force their colleagues to disclose anonymous sources, saying that subpoenaing reporters will discourage efforts to expose government wrongdoing. But such warnings seem like mere self-congratulation when clear evidence of wrongdoing emerges, with no anonymous sources required-- and major news outlets virtually ignore it.
A leaked document that appeared in a British newspaper offered clear new evidence that U.S. intelligence was shaped to support the drive for war. Though the information rocked British Prime Minister Tony Blair's re-election campaign when it was revealed, it has received little attention in the U.S. press.
The document, first revealed by the London Times (5/1/05), was the minutes of a July 23, 2002 meeting in Blair's office with the prime minister's close advisors. The meeting was held to discuss Bush administration policy on Iraq, and the likelihood that Britain would support a U.S. invasion of Iraq. "It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided," the minutes state.

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (www.fair.org), Action Alert: Network Viewers Still in the Dark on "Smoking Gun Memo" Print media continue to downplay story, 5/20/05: Following FAIR's call for more mainstream coverage of the "smoking gun memo"--the secret British document containing new evidence that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to justify its plan to invade Iraq--a steady trickle of news reports have appeared. But that coverage has been downplayed in general and is still completely absent from the nightly news.

The Stench of Abu Ghraib is on the Bush White House, the Stench of the Bush White House is on Abu Ghraib

Matthew Rothschild, Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity, The Progressive, July 2005: On March 30, the ACLU wrote a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, urging him "to open an investigation into whether General Ricardo A. Sanchez committed perjury in his sworn testimony."
The problem is, Gonzales may himself have committed perjury in his Congressional testimony this January. According to a March 6 article in The New York Times, Gonzales submitted written testimony that said: "The policy of the United States is not to transfer individuals to countries where we believe they likely will be tortured, whether those individuals are being transferred from inside or outside the United States." He added that he was "not aware of anyone in the executive branch authorizing any transfer of a detainee in violation of that policy."
…The Bush Administration’s legal troubles don’t end with Sanchez or Gonzales. They go right to the top: to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush himself. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International USA say there is "prima facie" evidence against Rumsfeld for war crimes and torture. And Amnesty International USA says there is also "prima facie" evidence against Bush for war crimes and torture. (According to Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, "prima facie evidence" is "evidence sufficient to establish a fact or to raise a presumption of fact unless rebutted.")
Amnesty International USA has even taken the extraordinary step of calling on officials in other countries to apprehend Bush and Rumsfeld and other high-ranking members of the Administration who have played a part in the torture scandal.
Foreign governments should "uphold their obligations under international law by investigating U.S. officials implicated in the development or implementation of interrogation techniques that constitute torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment," the group said in a May 25 statement. William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, added, "If the United States permits the architects of torture policy to get off scot-free, then other nations will be compelled" to take action.
The Geneva Conventions and the torture treaty "place a legally binding obligation on states that have ratified them to exercise universal jurisdiction over persons accused of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions," Amnesty International USA said. "If anyone suspected of involvement in the U.S. torture scandal visits or transits through foreign territories, governments could take legal steps to ensure that such individuals are investigated and charged with applicable crimes."
When these two leading human rights organizations make such bold claims about the President and the Secretary of Defense, we need to take the question of executive criminality seriously.
And we have to ask ourselves, where is the accountability? Who has the authority to ascertain whether these high officials committed war crimes and torture, and if they did, to bring them to justice?
The independent counsel law is no longer on the books, so that can’t be relied on. Attorney General Gonzales is not about to investigate himself, Rumsfeld, or his boss. And Republicans who control Congress have shown no interest in pursuing the torture scandal, much less drawing up bills of impeachment…
Human Rights Watch and other groups are also calling for Congress to appoint an independent commission, similar to the 9/11 one, to investigate the torture scandal.
"Unless a special counsel or an independent commission are named, and those who designed or authorized the illegal policies are held to account, all the protestations of ‘disgust’ at the Abu Ghraib photos by President George W. Bush and others will be meaningless," concludes Human Rights Watch’s April report "Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees."
But even as it denounces the "substantial impunity that has prevailed until now," Human Rights Watch is not sanguine about the likelihood of such inquiries. "There are obviously steep political obstacles in the way of investigating a sitting Defense Secretary," it notes in its report.
By not pursuing senior officials who may have been involved in ordering war crimes or torture, the United States may be further violating international law, according to Human Rights Watch. "Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, whenever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction," says the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Geneva Conventions have a similar requirement.
Stymied by the obstacles along the customary routes of accountability, the ACLU and Human Rights First are suing Rumsfeld in civil court on behalf of plaintiffs who have been victims of torture. The Center for Constitutional Rights is suing on behalf of a separate group of clients. The center also filed a criminal complaint in Germany against Rumsfeld and Gonzales, along with nine others. The center argued that Germany was "a court of last resort," since "the U.S. government is not willing to open an investigation into these allegations against these officials." The case was dismissed.
Amnesty International’s call for foreign countries to nab Rumsfeld and Bush also seems unlikely to be heeded any time soon. How, physically, could another country arrest Bush, for instance? And which country would want to face the wrath of Washington for doing so?
But that we have come this far—where the only option for justice available seems to be to rely on officials of other governments to apprehend our own—is a damning indictment in and of itself..

Jim Lobe, Give Rumsfeld the Pinochet Treatment, Says US Amnesty Chief, Inter Press Service, 5/26/05: - If the administration of President George W. Bush fails to conduct a truly independent investigation of U.S. abuses against detainees in Iraq and elsewhere, foreign governments should investigate and prosecute those senior officials who bear responsibility for them, [William Schulz] the head of the U.S. chapter of Amnesty International said here Wednesday…
''If those investigations support prosecution, the governments should arrest any official who enters their territory and begin legal proceedings against them,'' he added. ''The apparent high-level architects of torture should think twice before planning their next vacation to places like Acapulco or the French Riviera because they may find themselves under arrest as (former Chilean dictator) Augusto Pinochet famously did in London in 1998.''
Schulz also called on state bar associations to investigate administration lawyers who helped prepare legal opinions that sought to justify or defend the use of abusive interrogation methods for breach of their professional and ethical responsibilities.
He cited, in particular, Vice President Dick Cheney's general counsel, David Addington; Pentagon General Counsel William Haynes; and top officials in the Justice Department's Office of General Counsel, one of whom, Jay Bybee, has since been confirmed as a federal appeals court judge.
''A wall of secrecy is protecting those who masterminded and developed the U.S. torture policy,'' Schulz said. ''Unless those who drew the blueprint for torture, approved it, and ordered it implemented are held accountable, the United States' once-proud reputation as an exemplar of human rights will remain in tatters.''
Schulz's appeal for foreign governments to take the initiative coincided with the launch of a bipartisan drive endorsed by some 350 attorneys and legal scholars urging the administration to establish an independent commission to address the allegations of abuse and torture, including an assessment of the responsibility of senior administration officials and military officers.
''By establishing an independent bipartisan commission to fully investigate the issue of abuse of terrorist suspects,'' said John Whitehead, who served as deputy secretary of state in the Ronald Reagan administration, ''Congress and the president have a unique opportunity to send a message to the rest of the world that the United States is committed to respecting the inherent worth and dignity of all human beings, whether they are U.S. citizens or prisoners of war.”
Whitehead said a high-level, independent investigation was necessary because the Pentagon's ongoing or recently completed investigations were too narrowly focused and not designed to produce recommendations to prevent future abuses.
Among the signers of the initiative, which was sponsored by the bipartisan Constitution Project at Georgetown University, were prominent right-wing activists including David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, two former Republican congressmen, as well as former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering, and former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director William Sessions. The National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ) also endorsed the statement, as did more than a dozen military law specialists and retired high-ranking military officers…

Jeremy Lovell, U.S. leads global attack on human rights –Amnesty, Reuters, 5/25/05: Four years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, human rights are in retreat worldwide and the United States bears most responsibility, rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe the picture is bleak. Governments are increasingly rolling back the rule of law, taking their cue from the U.S.-led war on terror, it said.
"The USA as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power sets the tone for governmental behaviour worldwide," Secretary General Irene Khan said in the foreword to Amnesty International's 2005 annual report.
"When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity," she said. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L23119557.htm

Yes, despite Newsweak’s “retraction,” the Koran was desecrated, but so was the US Constitution, the Geneva Accords, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (www.fair.org): Newsweek, the Quran and the "Green Mushroom" Following the real rules of modern journalism, 5/19/05, Newsweek ran a sensational claim based on an anonymous source who turned out to be completely wrong. While one can't blame the subsequent violence entirely on this report, it's fair to say that credulous reporting like this contributed to a climate in which many innocent Muslims died.
The inaccurate Newsweek report appeared in the magazine's March 17, 2003 issue, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. It read in part:
"Saddam could decide to take Baghdad with him. One Arab intelligence officer interviewed by Newsweek spoke of 'the green mushroom' over Baghdad--the modern-day caliph bidding a grotesque bio-chem farewell to the land of the living alongside thousands of his subjects as well as his enemies. Saddam wants to be remembered. He has the means and the demonic imagination. It is up to U.S. armed forces to stop him before he can achieve notoriety for all time."
Unlike a more recent Newsweek item (5/9/05), involving accusations that Guantanamo interrogators flushed a copy of the Quran down a toilet, Newsweek has yet to retract the bogus report about the "green mushroom" threat. The magazine's Quran charge has been linked to rioting in Afghanistan and elsewhere that has left at least 16 dead; alarmist coverage like Newsweek's about Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction paved the way for an invasion that has caused, according to the best epidemiological research available (Lancet, 11/20/04), an estimated 100,000 deaths… Newsweek's retraction of the Quran story, contrasted with the lack of any correction of its "green mushroom" claim and other similarly erroneous WMD coverage, is quite illustrative of the actual rules--quite different from the ostensible rules that are taught in journalism school--that govern contemporary journalism:
• Anonymous sources are fine, as long as they are promoting rather than challenging official government policy.
• It's all right for your reporting to be completely wrong, as long as your errors are in the service of power.
• The human cost of bad reporting need only be counted when people who matter are doing the counting.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan), www.buzzflash.com: A letter to Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary…I write to express my profound disappointment and outrage about comments you made about a matter involving Newsweek magazine, which smacks of political exploitation of the deaths of innocent and a shameless attempt to intimidate reporters from critically investigating your Administration's actions. Your comments are contradicted by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and stand in stark contrast with your actions involving the "Downing Street Memo." I urge you and your counterpart at the Pentagon to immediately retract the comments made yesterday, and - at long last - provide a full accounting of the Administration's actions in the lead up to the Iraq war…First, this attempt to tie riots to the Newsweek article stands in stark contrast to the assessment of your own senior military officials…Second, there is - of course - a sad irony in this White House claiming that someone else's errors or misjudgments led to the loss of innocent lives. Over 1,600 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives in the Iraq war, a war which your Administration justified by falsely claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction..Moreover, your loquacious response to this matter stands in stark contrast to your response to a recently released classified memo comprising the minutes of a July 22 meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his cabinet which calls into question the credibility of assertions made by your Administration in its drive to war…Third, the public deserves to know what precisely the White House is asserting with respect to the mistreatment of the Koran by interrogators: are such reports categorically false or are they, in the words of one publication, "manifold?"…Mr. McClellan, the American people have grown tired of the venomous partisanship and lack of candor on the part of this Administration. When taken to task for wrongdoing, a pattern has emerged of this Administration viciously attacking its accusers. The cornerstone of our democracy is an open and accountable

Dave Johnson, www.seeingtheforest.com: Newsweek Immediately Caves, May 16, 2005...a White House trying to decapitate another news organization…AND, I might add, The Party will use Newsweek's retraction to deflect any, repeat, ANY charges concerning an atmosphere and policy of torture. Just watch. It will be like the "Dan Rather memo" incident -- which The Party used to convince the public that the "liberal" media made up the entire story of Bush shirking his National Guard duty. The actual story of Bush and the National Guard hasn't been mentioned anywhere since. CBS was harshly, harshly criticized for trying to maintain that the essence of their story was true even if the origins of one memo were questionable. CBS didn't get that The Party was out to destroy them no matter what they did. They rolled over and appointed a Republican operative to run an "investigation" that didn't even consider the accuracy of the story. The result was that CBS is effectively destroyed. Damned because they did.
So Newsweek, thinking it was learning a lesson from CBS' holding out didn't try, rolled right over and retracted the story, even though the essence of the story was accurate. Now the entire Party propaganda apparatus is working to destroy Newsweek. Damned because they didn't.
Yesterday I blogged about a "Mallard Fillmore" comic in my local newspaper that tells readers not to trust or read newspapers. The paper continues to carry the strip - and lose readers. Maybe that's what "getting it" means in this new environment of Party ideological intimidation.
ABC is one media outlet that clearly "gets it." They refused to run United Church of Christ advertisements welcoming everyone into their church. But last week they allowed far-right Focus on the Family to run ads on their network. That is what The Party wants from the media, and that is what it will get.
Update - For press people who think they can somehow gain favor with The Party, here is an example of the Right's sentiments about the press:
The desire to promote their agendas at the expense of the truth or our safety provides a measure of comfort to our enemy, who hopes to divide us from within.
Providing "comfort to our enemy?" Let that serve as a warning about what The Party has in mind for you. Watch your backs.
Posted by Dave Johnson at May 16, 2005 06:53 PM


Juan Cole, www.juancole.com: A reader with military experience in this area wrote me his own experience, with the Bible being trashed in a similar way. I was able to google this reader in such a way as to compare autobiographical statements and dates (stripped from the below) to the Web record, and they all check out. Even the history of attitudes, as revealed in letters to the editor, are confirmatory. So I'm sure of the authenticity of these comments.
"I'm a former US [military officer], and had the 'pleasure' of attending SERE school--Search, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape.
The course I attended . . . [had] a mock POW camp, where we had a chance to be prisoners for 2-3 days. The camp is also used as a training tool for CI [counter-intelligence], interrogators, etc for those running the camp.
One of the most memorable parts of the camp experience was when one of the camp leaders trashed a Bible on the ground, kicking it around, etc. It was a crushing blow, even though this was just a school.
I have no doubt the stories about trashing the Koran are true.
I'm sure you must also realize that Gitmo must be being used as a "laboratory" for all these psychological manipulation techniques by the CI guys. Absolutely sickening
1. My gut feeling tells me that the SERE camps were 'laboratories' and part of the training program for military counter-intelligence and interrogator personnel. I heard this anecdotally as far as the training goes, but have not dug into it. This is pretty much common sense.
2. Looking at Gitmo in the 'big picture', you have to wonder why it is still in operation though they know so many are innocent of major charges. A look through history at the various 'experimentation' programs of the DOD gives a ready answer. The camp provides a major opportunity to expose a population to various psychological control techniques. Look at some of the stuff that has become public, and this becomes even more apparent. Especially the sensory deprivation--not only sleep, but there are the photos of inmates in gas masks or sight/hearing/smell deprivation setups. There has already been voluminous research into sensory deprivation, and it seems this is another good opportunity for more. One note is that sensory deprivation is used to some degree in military basic training and to a greater sense in the advanced training courses--Rangers, SEALS, etc. All part of the 'breakdown' process before recruits are 'remade'.
3. This incident with the bible trashing. Camp was [in the late 1990s]. It was towards the end of the camp experience, which was 2-3 days of captivity. We were penned in concrete cell blocks about 4' x 4' x 4'--told to kneel, but allowed to squat or sit. There was no door, just a flap that could be let down if it was too cold outside (which it was--actually light snow fell). Each trainee was interrogated to some extent, all experienced some physical interrogation such as pushing, shoving, getting slammed against a wall (usually a large metal sheet set up so that it would not seriously injure trainees) with some actually water-boarded (not me).
The bible trashing was done by one of the top-ranked leaders of the camp, who was always giving us speeches--sort of 'making it real' so to speak, because it is a pretty contrived environment. But by the end it almost seemed real. Guards spoke English with a Russian accent, wore Russian-looking uniforms. So the bible trashing happened when this guy had us all in the courtyard sitting for one of his speeches. They were tempting us with a big pot of soup that was boiling--we were all starving from a few days of chow deprivation. He brought out the bible and started going off on it verbally--how it was worthless, we were forsaken by this God, etc. Then he threw it on the ground and kicked it around. It was definitely the climax of his speech. Then he kicked over the soup pot, and threw us back in the cells. Big climax. And psychologically it was crushing and heartbreaking, and then we were left isolated to contemplate this.
And all of these moods and thoughts were created in this fake camp--just imagine how it is for these guys at Gitmo.
So many have tried to commit suicide....by now they all must have some serious psychological problems. This is without a doubt torture. Premeditated, planned....a fine lot of criminals we have in charge of the USA these days. Gitmo is so Orwellian--so Room 101. They are playing on the deepest feelings and fears."
This informed former officer has suggested the real reason for which some in the Pentagon are so angry about the Newsweek story. It may well so focus international outrage on Guantanamo that Rumsfeld will lose his little psych lab.
posted by Juan @ 5/16/2005 06:25:00 AM

Cam Simpson and Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, Red Cross told U.S. of Koran incidents, 5/19/05: WASHINGTON -- The International Committee of the Red Cross documented what it called credible information about U.S. personnel disrespecting or mishandling Korans at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and pointed it out to the Pentagon in confidential reports during 2002 and early 2003, an ICRC spokesman said Wednesday.

Dan Eggen, Washington Post Guantanamo Guards Accused of Mistreating Koran, Newly Released FBI Documents Detail Allegations, 5/25/05: -- Nearly a dozen detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba told FBI interrogators that guards had mistreated copies of the Koran, including one who said in 2002 that guards "flushed a Koran in the toilet," according to new FBI documents released today. The summaries of FBI interviews, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union as part of an ongoing lawsuit, also include allegations that the Koran was kicked, thrown to the floor and withheld as punishment and that guards mocked Muslim prisoners during prayers.

Richard A. Serrano and John Daniszewski, Los Angeles Times: Dozens Have Alleged Koran's Mishandling, Complaints by inmates in Afghanistan, Iraq and Cuba emerged early. In 2003, the Pentagon set a sensitivity policy after trouble at Guantanamo, WASHINGTON -- Senior Bush administration officials reacted with outrage to a Newsweek report that U.S. interrogators had desecrated the Koran at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility, and the magazine retracted the story last week. But allegations of disrespectful treatment of Islam's holy book are far from rare. An examination of hearing transcripts, court records and government documents, as well as interviews with former detainees, their lawyers, civil liberties groups and U.S. military personnel, reveals dozens of accusations involving the Koran, not only at Guantanamo, but also at American-run detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Pentagon is conducting an internal investigation of reported abuses at the naval base in Cuba, led by Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt. The administration has refused to say what the inquiry, still weeks from completion, has found so far.

Posted by richard at June 1, 2005 02:00 AM