Thursday, September 9, 2010

Echos of Abu Ghraib

The news this week of a loony preacher in Florida leading a pathetic "flock" of 50 in a plan to burn Korans is sad. The response has been to have high ranking officials in the administration and the military remind him that this act will "endanger the troops".

Gee... why didn't somebody point out this "endanger the troops" thing to George Bush when he decided to push "enhanced interrogation" techniques that ended up at Abu Ghraib in photos of grisly torture? (Oh, and don't think Abu Ghraib was the only torture site. They took place in Guantanamo and in countless military bases and secret CIA prisons around the world. Canada has a prime example in Maher Arar, an innocent who was grabbed by the US at Kennedy Intl. airport and sent off to Syria for a year of systematic torture.

But the ghost that won't go away is back in the news. Here's a bit from a UK Telegraph story:
Abu Ghraib abuse photos 'show rape'

Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged.

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.
The US has wandered into a moral quagmire when Bush decided to fight a war of "choice" and not necessity. Especially when he decided to "sex up" the case for war with lies and when he decided to "juice up" the interrogations by unleashing torture under the new and improved sales slogan of "enhanced interrogation techniques".

To add insult to injury, the US held show trials in which two soldiers, Specialist Charles Graner, and his former fiancée, Specialist Lynndie England, were sentenced to ten years and three years in prison, respectively. These were the scapegoats. They were no more than underlings carrying out the "softening up" required for "enhanced interrogation" as directed by their superiors. But the Bush administration believed that only the "little people" should be taxed and only the "little people" should be punished. Welcome to the brave new world of America shaped by Mr. "Trickle Down" Reagan. The guy who could fire all the air traffic control unionists because they had the audacity to demand better work conditions. (Funny, that union refused to support Carter and instead supported Reagan, and he proceeded to fire them all and disband their union. With friends like that, who needs enemies?)

Oh... and I find it quite odd that the "see no evil, hear no evil" Bush administration went hard after Graner & England, but did nothing about the following that is in the UK Telegraph story but was suppressed so the American people would never see it:
Maj Gen Taguba’s internal inquiry into the abuse at Abu Ghraib, included sworn statements by 13 detainees, which, he said in the report, he found “credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses.”

Among the graphic statements, which were later released under US freedom of information laws, is that of Kasim Mehaddi Hilas in which he says: “I saw [name of a translator] ******* a kid, his age would be about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [name] who was wearing the military uniform, putting his **** in the little kid’s ***…. and the female soldier was taking pictures.”

The translator was an American Egyptian who is now the subject of a civil court case in the US.
I guess doing ***** isn't a crime. Especially when you put a **** up somebody's ****. Yep... sounds like typical military humour that's being misunderstood by the "liberal" press. No crime here, folks! Move on! Move on!

It is awfully hard to have respect for a legal system that only prosecutes some crimes and ignores others, more specifically allows others to be deep sixed.

Oh... and the cruelties of war go on. Here's a UK Guardian story with the title "US soldiers 'killed Afghan civilians for sport and collected fingers as trophies'". Will these guys get the Charles Graner/Lynndie_England treatment, or will they be quietly overlooked like the American Egyptian translator who *** by putting his *** in somebody's ***? This should be interesting. From the article:
Following the arrest of the original five accused in June, seven other soldiers were charged last month with attempting to cover up the killings and violent assault on the soldier who reported the smoking of hashish. The charges will be considered by a military grand jury later this month which will decide if there is enough evidence for a court martial. Army investigators say Morlock has admitted his involvement in the killings and given details about the role of others including Gibbs. But his lawyer, Michael Waddington, is seeking to have that confession suppressed because he says his client was interviewed while under the influence of prescription drugs taken for battlefield injuries and that he was also suffering from traumatic brain injury.

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