In response to the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act request, the Pentagon released over 1,000 pages of documents detailing abuses of prisoners detained by American forces in Iraq, including at least two major military reports on abuse. The overall conclusion of the reports (and other documents produced) is that while numerous... questionable... actions were taken against prisoners (including "sleep deprivation and playing loud music and limiting detainees to bread and water for extended periods up to 17 days and stripping at least one detainee naked"), such actions were, in the end, deemed "wrong... but not illegal."
For her part, commenting ACLU attorney Amrit Singh (who, btw, is the Indian Prime Minister's daughter) called the reports and other documents produced (which contained a number of redactions) "a whitewash."
Perhaps, as Rush Limbaugh suggests, all abuses of detainees anywhere and everywhere by American troops or personnel should simply be written off as "blowing off steam" or something akin to fraternity pranks.
That way, we needn't trouble ourselves with any, you know, hard questions.
Thank you, TD, for yet another exclusive. That explains why the ACLU serves no purpose, and is utterly useless - it is just a place for foreigners to get some credentials.
Who else is on staff? The nephew of the Chinese premier? A good friend of a Somali warlord?
Are Americans too lame to protect their own rights? (Well, from our co-opted media, I guess the answer is yes).
Posted by Downward Spiral at June 17, 2006 2:19 PM
It wasn't just about detainees who had to deal with bread and water. The report specifically cites one prisoner who died during interrogation, apparently due to using hypothermia techniques on him.
In the report, Brig. Gen. Formica said that he did not examine the underlying incidents that led to the probe, or check the existing documentation for completeness or accuracy, relying instead on the military's own previous findings on the incidents. Those previous findings, unfortunately, appear to have been from http://aclu.org/torturefoia/search/searchdetail.php?r=1840&q probes which were stonewalled, where members of the Special Forces used fake names and mysteriously "lost" the great majority of their files, and in which the Criminal (CID) officer on site stated that he was "unable to thoroughly examine suspects and witnesses because of their involvement in the Special Access Program and/or the security classification of the unit they were assigned to during the offense."
Special Access Program was specifically approved by Rumsfeld and his assistants in the Pentagon.
Amongst the allegations not examined further are http://aclu.org/projects/foiasearch/pdf/DOD000377.pdf this one, in which a US soldier over at Abu Ghraib swore an oath indicating that a young Iraqi claimed to have been sexually and physically abused and sodomized while imprisoned by US Special Forces.
The US soldier swore an oath indicating that the Iraqi in question "could not sit and was bleeding from the rectum". This claim of sexual assault while under Special Forces imprisonment appears to have been http://insomnia.livejournal.com/680065.html?thread=4923265#t4923265 backed
up by numerous other sworn statements from US soldiers.
According to http://www.aclu.org/projects/foiasearch/pdf/DOD000379.pdf the sworn statement of one soldier:
"In my opinion, (prisoner's name redacted) came in emotionally and physically abused. (Prisoner) said, I don't remember in exact words, "they have taken everything from me."
I don't know the name of their capturing unit. All I know is they came from the palace. . . I don't know if they got a rectal [examination]. . . When SF (Special Forces troops, such as Task Force 626) brought detainees in . . . you could see that they were
facially abused. I don't know which SF unit. I saw detainees with bruises, black eyes, beaten, physical abuse. If we get them like that, we'll stop and take them to the aid station or MPs, that way we're cleared of it. We don't want it said that it happened here. . ."
Over the course of my time here, I've seen maybe ten detainees come in here physically abused, downright beaten and tortured, and I've easily screened hundreds of detainees. The only trend associated with that abuse would be SF (Special Forces) detainees. One of the first questions I'd ask was "why were you detained" and if they would mention (redacted) it was usually associated with extortion, and "he beat me". Those were the two trends right there."
So basically, these are very serious allegations with numerous sworn statements backing them up. It should be of real concern that the US' best troops would act in such a manner, with such impunity.
Posted by Mark Kraft at June 18, 2006 10:18 AM