Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Former General Calls For War Crimes Investigation

Retired General Antonio Taguba (of "the famous Taguba of the Taguba report," as Donald Rumsfeld once taunted him, at the same time professing to never have seen his report on Abu Ghraib), has called for an investigation into Bushco war crimes, according to McClatchy News today.

Taguba "accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing 'war crimes' and called for those responsible to be held to account.
His "remarks...came in a new report that found that U.S. personnel tortured and abused detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, using beatings, electrical shocks, sexual humiliation and other cruel practices.
"'After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,' Taguba wrote. 'The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.'
"Taguba, whose 2004 investigation documented chilling abuses at Abu Ghraib, is thought to be the most senior official to have accused the administration of war crimes. 'The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture,' he wrote.
"A White House spokeswoman, Kate Starr, had no comment."
Will Congress take time away from its frenetic and self-aggrandizing witch-hunt endeavors to pass yet another piece of legislation granting the telcoms retroactive immunity for spying on us without warrants to heed the call?
The group Physicians for Human Rights has revived the controversy by issuing a report titled Broken Laws, Broken Lives "described the most in-depth medical and psychological examination of former detainees to date.
"Doctors and mental health experts examined 11 detainees held for long periods in the prison system that President Bush established after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. All of them eventually were released without charges.
"The doctors and experts determined that the men had been subject to cruelties that ranged from isolation, sleep deprivation and hooding to electric shocks, beating and, in one case, being forced to drink urine.
"Bush has said repeatedly that the United States doesn't condone torture.
"'All credible allegations of abuse are thoroughly investigated and, if substantiated, those responsible are held accountable,' said Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman. The Defense Department responds to concerns raised by the International Committee for the Red Cross, he said, which has access to detainees under military control.
"The physicians' group said that its experts, who had experience studying torture's effects, spent two days with each former captive and conducted intensive exams and interviews. They administered tests to detect exaggeration. In two of the 11 cases, the group was able to review medical records.
"The report... concurs with a five-part McClatchy investigation of Guantanamo published this week. Among its findings were that abuses occurred — primarily at prisons in Afghanistan where detainees were held en route to Guantanamo — and that many of the prisoners were wrongly detained.
"Also this week, a probe by the Senate Armed Services Committee revealed how senior Pentagon officials pushed for harsher interrogation methods over the objections of top military lawyers. Those methods later surfaced in Afghanistan and Iraq.Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld didn't specifically approve of the worst abuses, but neither he nor the White House enforced strict limits on how detainees would be treated.
"There was no 'bright line of abuse which could not be transgressed' former Navy general counsel Alberto Mora told the Senate committee.Leonard Rubenstein, the president of Physicians for Human Rights, said there was a direct connection between the Pentagon decisions and the abuses his group uncovered.
"'The result was a horrific stew of pain, degradation and ... suffering,' he said.Detainee abuse has been documented previously, in photos from Abu Ghraib, accounts by former detainees and their lawyers and a confidential report by the International Committee for the Red Cross that was leaked to the U.S. news media.
"Of the 11 men evaluated in the Physicians for Human Rights four were detained in Afghanistan between late 2001 and early 2003, and later sent to Guantanamo. The remaining seven were detained in Iraq in 2003.
"One of the Iraqis, identified by the pseudonym Laith, was arrested with his family at his Baghdad home in the early morning of Oct. 19, 2003. He was taken to a location where he was beaten, stripped to his underwear and threatened with execution, the report says.
'Laith' told the examiners he was then taken to a second site, where he was photographed in humiliating positions and given electric shocks to his genitals.
"Finally, he was taken to Abu Ghraib, where he spent the first 35 to 40 days in isolation in a small cage, enduring being suspended in the cage and other "stress positions."
He was released on June 24, 2004, without charge."
Report Dismissed by Pentagon as Ravings of Disgruntled Former Detainees
"'It adds little to the public discourse to draw sweeping conclusions based upon dubious allegations regarding remote medical assessments of former detainees, now far removed from detention,' Gordon said.

And Regarding the Pentagon's "The Red Cross Was There" Defense ~ (Imaginary)
Yesterday, a Senate report confirmed that Bushco was hiding detainees from the International Red Cross to avoid scrutiny of its torture operations.
"'We may need to curb the harsher operations while ICRC is around. It is better not to expose them to any controversial techniques,' Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, a military lawyer who's since retired, said during an October 2002 meeting at the Guantanamo Bay prison to discuss employing interrogation techniques that some have equated with torture. Her comments were recorded in minutes of the meeting that were made public Tuesday. At that same meeting, Beaver also appeared to confirm that U.S. officials at another detention facility — Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan — were using sleep deprivation to 'break' detainees well before then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved that technique. 'True, but officially it is not happening,' she is quoted as having said.
"A third person at the meeting, Jonathan Fredman, the chief counsel for the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, disclosed that detainees were moved routinely to avoid the scrutiny of the ICRC, which keeps tabs on prisoners in conflicts around the world.
"'In the past when the ICRC has made a big deal about certain detainees, the DOD (Defense Department) has 'moved' them away from the attention of the ICRC,' Fredman said, according to the minutes.
"The document, along with two dozen others, shows that top administration officials pushed relentlessly for tougher interrogation methods in the belief that terrorism suspects were resisting interrogation.
"It's unclear from the documents whether the Pentagon moved the detainees from one place to another or merely told the ICRC they were no longer present at a facility.
"Fredman of the CIA also appeared to be advocating the use of techniques harsher than those authorized by military field guides 'If the detainee dies, you're doing it wrong,' the minutes report Fredman saying at one point."
Beaver testified that she didn't recall making the comment about avoiding "harsher operations" while ICRC representatives were around, but she said she probably was referring to the need to conduct extended periods of interrogations of detainees without disruption."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

But see the following links for more on the SASC report and its methodology:

7:08 PM  

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