Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Possible Prisoner Abuse Cover-Up by Pentagon

Last week, Vice Admiral Church reported the number of prisoner deaths caused by "criminal homicide" at six. The New York Times today notes at least twenty-six prisoners deaths were "criminal homicide" (a.k.a. murder or manslaughter) Twenty-five of of these deaths were unrelated to Abu Ghraib - proving that prisoner abuse was widespread throughout the US forces deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The NY Times has more:
U.S. Military Says 26 Inmate Deaths May Be Homicide

Published: March 16, 2005

WASHINGTON, March 15 - At least 26 prisoners have died in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002 in what Army and Navy investigators have concluded or suspect were acts of criminal homicide, according to military officials.

The number of confirmed or suspected cases is much higher than any accounting the military has previously reported. A Pentagon report sent to Congress last week cited only six prisoner deaths caused by abuse, but that partial tally was limited to what the author, Vice Adm. Albert T. Church III of the Navy, called "closed, substantiated abuse cases" as of last September.

The new figure of 26 was provided by the Army and Navy this week after repeated inquiries...
Only one of the deaths occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, officials said, showing how broadly the most violent abuses extended beyond those prison walls and contradicting early impressions that the wrongdoing was confined to a handful of members of the military police on the prison's night shift.

Among the cases are at least four involving Central Intelligence Agency employees that are being reviewed by the Justice Department for possible prosecution. They include a killing in Afghanistan in June 2003 for which David Passaro, a contract worker for the C.I.A., is now facing trial in federal court in North Carolina.
Source: New York Times (Emphasis added.)

It seems obvious Admiral Church's report was designed to deliberately understate the prisoner abuse problem's scope - and why stop at prisoner deaths? What about what the rest of us call torture and the Bush Administration calls "rigorous interrogation?"


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