Sunday, March 27, 2005


Bush's "Culture of Life" - Afghanistan Version

Yes, Mr. Bush is deeply concerned with preserving life - that's why he supports torturing people to death:
Blows that led to detainee's death were common practice, reservist says
By Elise Ackerman
Knight Ridder Newspapers

FORT BLISS, Texas - An Army reservist accused of killing a detainee in Afghanistan told investigators that the blows that caused the man's death were commonly used to deal with uncooperative prisoners and that his superiors approved of the technique.

Other soldiers testified at a hearing here that they were taught to administer the so-called "compliance blows" in an Army course covering non-lethal tactics and that the blows became an accepted way of dealing with detainees who were considered "combative."

The statement from Pfc. Willie Brand and the testimony from his fellow soldiers provide new evidence that prisoner abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq may have been the result of interrogation and detention practices adopted for the war on terrorism.
But investigators have identified 26 other military police officers and interrogators who they say committed offenses ranging from assault to maltreatment in the case, including a military intelligence officer who later served at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq when abuses took place there.

Army investigators have recommended that the officer, Capt. Carolyn Wood, who was in charge of the Bagram Collection Point when Dilawar and Habibullah died, be charged with maltreatment, conspiracy and making a false official statement in connection with their deaths.

An Army investigation of abuse at Abu Ghraib also criticized Wood, who served with the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, for failing "to implement the necessary checks and balances to prevent detainee abuse" there.

Medical examiner Lt. Col. Kathleen Ingwersen said the forced immobility might have contributed to the blood clot that caused the 30-year-old Habibullah's heart to stop. According to an Army investigation, Habibullah was so badly hurt by repeated knee strikes that "even if he survived, both legs would have had to be amputated."

Lt. Col. Elizabeth Rouse, the pathologist who examined Dilawar, 35, testified via telephone that the severe beating might have aggravated a pre-existing heart condition. She said the tissue in Dilawar's legs had been so damaged by repeated blows that "it was essentially crumbling and falling apart."

If you think this fact pattern sounds familiar, that's because it has been dragging on since 2002:
This month, the U.S. military announced that it had begun a criminal investigation into the handling of two prisoners who died in U.S. custody at the Bagram base. A base spokesman said autopsies found one of the detainees died of a pulmonary embolism, the other of a heart attack.
Source: Washington Post U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations
For the past few years, Mr. Bush was apparently too immersed in his "culture of life" to change the policies leading to these two deaths (and who knows how many more?) Instead, we are treated to Bush League "Justice" Time: round up a few low-rankers, make media examples of them, outsource the crimes via making "extraordinary" renditions commonplace, on to the next "right-to-life" passion play.

And let's not hear any "it's OK because these are 'known terrorists'" garbage, either. An unknown number of Gitmo detainees and folks "disappeared" via rendition are almost certainly innocent:
Panel Ignored Evidence on Detainee
Military Intelligence, German Authorities Found No Ties to Terrorists
By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page A01

A military tribunal determined last fall that Murat Kurnaz, a German national seized in Pakistan in 2001, was a member of al Qaeda and an enemy combatant whom the government could detain indefinitely at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In fact, that evidence, recently declassified and obtained by The Washington Post, shows that U.S. military intelligence and German law enforcement authorities had largely concluded there was no information that linked Kurnaz to al Qaeda, any other terrorist organization or terrorist activities.

In recently declassified portions of a January ruling, a federal judge criticized the military panel for ignoring the exculpatory information that dominates Kurnaz's file and for relying instead on a brief, unsupported memo filed shortly before Kurnaz's hearing by an unidentified government official.
Source: Washington Post (Emphasis added)
More evidence that Bush's "Culture of Life" can join "the check's in the mail" as one of the obvious lies of our times.
Report: U.S. Weighs Changes in Handling Terror Suspects
However, Dick "Evil One" Cheney opposes any changes:
Some White House supporters of the changes have changed jobs, the Times said, leaving a small group of officials led by Vice President Cheney, who oppose switching to the commission rules, unless forced to do so by the courts.

"There are a number of folks who would like to make changes," the Times quoted one Pentagon official as saying about the rules governing the military commissions. But, the official added, "Cheney is still driving a lot of this."
Source: Reuters Report: U.S. Weighs Changes in Handling Terror Suspects March 27, 2005 (Emphasis added)


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