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News :: Human Rights
Rumsfeld Faulted for Abuse
26 Aug 2004
A new review of the Iraqi prison abuse confirmed what we've been saying all along; that senior officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, are connected.
This is not in my words as I do not have enough time to write out an article of my own, but this is very important information that should be spread as quickly and widely as possible. I saw this in every newsource (from the Metro to CNN, Fox to Associated Press)
This is from the Boston Globe today (Wednesday). Let them eat war!

Leaders faulted on prison abuse
Panel cites Rumsfeld, generals over Abu Ghraib
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | August 25, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and senior generals share responsibility for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and failed to ensure that overseas military prisons were running smoothly, a review panel said yesterday in a final report that portrays the extent of prisoner abuse at military camps around the globe as greater than previously known.

But while failures of leadership and poor planning extended to Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the four-member panel appointed by the defense secretary found there was no official policy authorizing general abuse of prisoners in order to break their will in interrogations.

''There was indirect responsibility at higher levels, in that the weaknesses at Abu Ghraib were well known and that corrective action could have been taken and should have been taken," said the panel chairman, James Schlesinger, a defense secretary in the Nixon and Ford administrations. ''We believe that there is institutional and personal responsibility right up the chain of command as far as Washington is concerned."

Rumsfeld appointed the panel in May after abuses in Abu Ghraib came to light, with the publication of photographs of naked prisoners, and caused worldwide condemnation.

Besides Schlesinger, the other members of the panel were Harold Brown, secretary of defense in the Carter administration; former US Representative Tillie K. Fowler of Florida, who chaired last year's investigation into sexual misconduct at the US Air Force Academy; and retired Air Force General Chuck Horner, who led the air campaign in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The new report also said that none of the naked prisoners in the widely published photographs were suspected to be Iraqi insurgents. The pictures, whose publication this year showed some of the abuse, including detainees cowering before dogs and stacked into a human pyramid.

The panel said the prisoners were suspected criminals who had not been targeted for interrogation, and were purposelessly abused by ''sadistic" guards on the night shift at the prison near Baghdad. Schlesinger said poor training and lax supervision created an ''Animal House" atmosphere in that unit, referring to the 1978 movie about a rowdy fraternity house.

Some of the soldiers facing criminal trials for their alleged participation initially said they were told by superiors to soften up detainees for interrogation.

Yet, at the same time, the panel said that there were serious, unphotographed abuses that did take place during interrogations at Abu Ghraib and other unnamed military prisons and stemmed from confusion about which practices were officially acceptable.

''The pictured abuses, unacceptable even in wartime, were not part of authorized interrogations nor were they even directed at intelligence targets," the report says. ''They represent deviant behavior and a failure of military leadership and discipline. However, we do know that some of the egregious abuses at Abu Ghraib which were not photographed did occur during interrogation sessions and that abuses during interrogation sessions occurred elsewhere."

In a statement, Rumsfeld thanked the panel for its work and said he would be reviewing its analysis and recommendations in detail.

''The Defense Department has an obligation to evaluate what happened and to make important changes," Rumsfeld said. ''We have said from the beginning that we would see that these incidents were fully investigated, make findings, make the appropriate corrections, and make them public."

Each member of the panel said, in turn, that Rumsfeld should not resign. Schlesinger said Rumsfeld's hypothetical ''resignation would be a boon to all of America's enemies, and consequently I think that it would be a misfortune if it were to take place."

As of this month, the report says, there have been about 300 cases of alleged military detainee abuse around the world related to military actions since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Of the 155 of those cases for which a military investigation is complete, 66 have resulted in determination that detainees under the control of US forces were in fact abused: eight at Guantanamo Bay, three in Afghanistan, and 55 in Iraq.

About one-third of those were related to interrogations, with five cases of ''detainee death as a result of abuse by US personnel during interrogations." The report did not specify where the deaths occurred. There are 23 cases of detainee deaths under investigation -- three in Afghanistan and 20 in Iraq.

Many other cases of abuse not related to interrogation occurred during the capture and initial detention of prisoners.

Much of the report is devoted to a narrative explaining how a few aggressive techniques approved for use at Guantanamo Bay under strict supervision ''migrated" to Afghanistan and Iraq and were implemented far more widely, leading to a breakdown in safeguards.

The coercive interrogation techniques approved for Guantanamo, the report said, ''included the use of stress positions, isolation for up to 30 days, and removal of clothing." In Afghanistan, that list was expanded to also include ''exploiting fear of dogs, and sleep and light deprivation."

The Bush administration had held in 2002 that the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit coercive interrogations for prisoners of war, did not apply to members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban militia picked up in Afghanistan or brought to Guantanamo. In contrast, US officials said that the international treaties regulating the treatment of prisoners would apply to the Iraq war.

But the same interrogators worked in all three places, and brought the more aggressive techniques with them when they were transferred, the report said. Adding to the confusion, policies were changed several times. In September 2003, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the former top US commander in Iraq, concluded he had the authority to rule that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to detainees who broke the laws of war, the report said. The following month he was overruled by US Central Command and changed his interrogation policy again.

At Abu Ghraib, there were 75 prisoners for every guard, unlike the one-to-one ratio at Guantanamo. Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who oversaw military police, paid inadequate attention to the prison.

Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch said the report's findings were valuable but criticized the panel for being insufficiently independent, since it was created by Rumsfeld. He called for a full outside investigation, questioning why the panel members appeared willing to let senior leadership off the hook for authorizing behavior in some instances that it elsewhere labeled ''criminal" by low-ranking soldiers.

A separate investigation headed by Major General George Fay that will address Sanchez's role more closely is to be released tomorrow. According to the panel's report, Fay will also conclude that military intelligence operatives at the prison level also share ''a major part of the culpability."

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Re: Rumsfeld Faulted for Abuse
26 Aug 2004
ole rummy looks so cute!
27 Aug 2004