Thursday, April 23, 2009
Explosive Senate Torture Report Confirms What We've been saying
A newly released Senate Armed Services Committee report is garnering much media attention today, however it only confirms what we first reported in 2005 - that high-ranking Bush officials were responsible for torture of detainees and tried to shift the blame to low-ranking army officers.
The report is “a condemnation of both the Bush administration’s interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse — such as that seen at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Afghanistan — to low ranking soldiers,” said Democratic Senator Carl Levin, who led the investigation.
It names former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as approving an initial December 2002 memo that was taken as an approval for torture methods in U.S. run prisons worldwide.
Procedures approved in the memo were adopted in Iraq in a memo issued almost one year later in September 2003 by the Iraq war commander, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.
The report (PDF), which has been described by some media sources as “explosive“, reveals nothing new, however, and confirms what we’ve already known for over three and a half years.
In October 2005 former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski appeared on the Alex Jones Show to make these very revelations. We subsequently produced an article detailing her claims and also the fact that she was deliberately kept out of the loop and scapegoated to protect higher ups.
Karpinski was the only general punished in the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Her Army Reserve unit was in charge of the prison compound when Iraqi detainees were physically abused and sexually humiliated by military police and intelligence soldiers in the fall of 2003.
Karpinski had previously admitted that rather than being an isolated incident under her command, the abuses were, “the result of conflicting orders and confused standards extending from the military commanders in Iraq all the way to the summit of civilian leadership in Washington.”
Spun as the actions of “a few bad apples,” the Abu Ghraib torture program was sanctioned from the very top.
Karpinski identified the masterminds of the torture policy as occupying the highest rungs of the Bush administration.
“The orders came right from the top, filtered down from the secretary of defense, with the endorsement of the President, the Vice President, whatever advisors are surrounding them, filtered down through the Commanders in the field, these practices were not only endorsed, but were in use at Guantanamo bay and in locations in Afghanistan. And when General Miller visited Iraq he brought those techniques with him. And then he sent contract interrogators who had ‘performed well’ at Guantanamo Bay to Iraq as well.” Karpinski said.
Karpinski also stated in 2005 that even though innocent detainees had been deemed of no further Intel use and were recommended to be released by their interrogators, the higher uppers read the riot act and started a pattern whereby no one was to be released and innocent people were kept locked up without trial or charges.
She went on to speak about the direct links to Bush himself:
“We can trace back now, through documents that were released through court order, back to the original document, the one that Alberto Gonzales reviewed and discussed with the President of the United States, a departure from the Geneva Convention. These are not prisoners, these are terrorists and these techniques will be more effective.” She said.
Though the newly released Senate Armed Services Committee report has taken six months to complete, it’s findings were already public knowledge and had even previously appeared in a PBS documentary.
Enough with the reports and investigations, when will the prosecutions begin?
If the Obama administration gets its way they will never take place.
Upon last week’s release of the torture memos preceding the new Senate report, Obama’s right-hand man, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, told ABC News that top Bush administration officials “should not be prosecuted either and that’s not the place that we go.”
In addition, Obama’s statement that accompanied the release of the torture memos stated, “In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.”
So no retribution for the people who ordered the torture, and no retribution to the people who carried it out, thus setting the precedent that future administrations are free to order torture - safe in the knowledge that they will face no consequences whatsoever.