Saturday, March 18, 2006
Another Bush League Torture Scandal
More horror stories of Bush League incompetence and disregard for the law, human rights, or anything else:|
Before and After Abu Ghraib, a U.S. Unit Abused DetaineesLong story short: there was widespread torture of Iraqi detainees by US troops. This was at least ignored - but more probably condoned and possibly expressly ordered by the top brass. Despite the mounting evidence, none of the persons responsible for either ordering, inciting or tolerating these war crimes will be investigated unless and until the Democrats regain control of at least one branch of Congress. America's reputation and honor have been permanently stained by W and his Bush League minions, yet the Republicans don't care.
By ERIC SCHMITT and CAROLYN MARSHALL
As the Iraqi insurgency intensified in early 2004, an elite Special Operations forces unit converted one of Saddam Hussein's former military bases near Baghdad into a top-secret detention center. There, American soldiers made one of the former Iraqi government's torture chambers into their own interrogation cell. They named it the Black Room.
Placards posted by soldiers at the detention area advised, "NO BLOOD, NO FOUL." The slogan, as one Defense Department official explained, reflected an adage adopted by Task Force 6-26: "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." According to Pentagon specialists who worked with the unit, prisoners at Camp Nama often disappeared into a detention black hole, barred from access to lawyers or relatives, and confined for weeks without charges. "The reality is, there were no rules there," another Pentagon official said.
The story of detainee abuse in Iraq is a familiar one. But the following account of Task Force 6-26, based on documents and interviews with more than a dozen people, offers the first detailed description of how the military's most highly trained counterterrorism unit committed serious abuses.
It adds to the picture of harsh interrogation practices at American military prisons in Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as well as at secret Central Intelligence Agency detention centers around the world.
The new account reveals the extent to which the unit members mistreated prisoners months before and after the photographs of abuse from Abu Ghraib were made public in April 2004, and it helps belie the original Pentagon assertions that abuse was confined to a small number of rogue reservists at Abu Ghraib.
The abuses at Camp Nama continued despite warnings beginning in August 2003 from an Army investigator and American intelligence and law enforcement officials in Iraq. The C.I.A. was concerned enough to bar its personnel from Camp Nama that August.
It is difficult to compare the conditions at the camp with those at Abu Ghraib because so little is known about the secret compound, which was off limits even to the Red Cross. The abuses appeared to have been unsanctioned, but some of them seemed to have been well known throughout the camp.
Many were initially reluctant to discuss Task Force 6-26 because its missions are classified. But when pressed repeatedly by reporters who contacted them, they agreed to speak about their experiences and observations out of what they said was anger and disgust over the unit's treatment of detainees and the failure of task force commanders to punish misconduct more aggressively. The critics said the harsh interrogations yielded little information to help capture insurgents or save American lives.
(Source: New York Times, March 18, 2006 [emphasis added.])