Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Three from Lee Penn
Torture scandal spreads; responsibility goes toward the White House
Links to three stories, for your consideration:

Locked in Abu Ghraib - The prison scandal keeps getting worse for the Bush administration
by Fred Kaplan


The White House is about to get hit by the biggest tsunami since the Iran-Contra affair, maybe since Watergate. President George W. Bush is trapped inside the compound, immobilized by his own stay-the-course campaign strategy. Can he escape the massive tidal waves? Maybe. But at this point, it's not clear how.

If today's investigative shockers - Seymour Hersh's latest article in
The New Yorker and a three-part piece in Newsweek - are true, it's hard to avoid concluding that responsibility for the Abu Ghraib atrocities goes straight to the top, both in the Pentagon and the White House, and that varying degrees of blame can be ascribed to officials up and down the chain of command.

Both stories are worth reading in full. The gist is that last year, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld put in place a secret operation that, in Hersh's words, "encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq.

and this .....

The New Yorker: Fact


The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focused on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld's decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of elite combat units, and hurt America's prospects in the war on terror.

According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon's operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior CIA official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld's long-standing desire to wrest control of America's clandestine and paramilitary operations from the CIA.

and this ....

From MSNBC - The roots of torture


The approach at Gitmo soon reflected these changes. Under the leadership of an aggressive, self-assured major general named Geoffrey Miller, a new set of interrogation rules became doctrine. Ultimately what was developed at Gitmo was a "72-point matrix for stress and duress," which laid out types of coercion and the escalating levels at which they could be applied. These included the use of harsh heat or cold; withholding food; hooding for days at a time; naked isolation in cold, dark cells for more than 30 days, and threatening (but not biting) by dogs. It also permitted limited use of "stress positions" designed to subject detainees to rising levels of pain.

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