Just Above Sunset
May 23, 2004: We are the good guys - and no one seems to understand that...
What a joke. What an awfully sad joke the America of today is. Or so says a friend in Europe to me.
Well, this can’t be…
A military intelligence analyst who recently completed duty at Abu Ghraib
prison in Iraq said Wednesday that the 16-year-old son of a detainee there was abused by U.S. soldiers to break his father's
resistance to interrogators.
And I’m sure he did.
… five prisoners have died at four detention camps (including Abu
Ghraib) while undergoing interrogation by the U.S.
… the soldiers got off light, mostly without criminal charges.
Brutal interrogation techniques by U.S. military
personnel are being investigated in connection with the deaths of at least five Iraqi prisoners in war-zone detention camps,
Pentagon documents obtained by The Denver Post show.
Here are some of the techniques used:
... intelligence soldiers and other personnel have sometimes used lethal tactics to try to coax secrets from prisoners, including choking off detainees' airways. Other abusive strategies involve sitting on prisoners or bending them into uncomfortable positions, records show.
Even a pentagon official calls this torture:
"Torture is the only thing you can call this," said a Pentagon source with knowledge of internal investigations into prisoner abuses. "There is a lot about our country's interrogation techniques that is very troubling. These are violations of military law."
Well, duh. I would guess they are!
Internal records obtained by The Post point to wider problems beyond
the Abu Ghraib prison and demonstrate that some coercive tactics used at Abu Ghraib have shown up in interrogations elsewhere
in the war effort. The documents also show more than twice as many allegations
of detainee abuse - 75 - are being investigated by the military than previously known.
Twenty-seven of the abuse cases involve deaths; at least eight are believed to be homicides. No criminal punishments have been announced in the interrogation deaths, even though three deaths occurred
And don’t forget the women and children…
Also under investigation are reports that soldiers in Iraq abused women and children. One April 2003 case, which is awaiting trial, involves a reservist who pointed a loaded pistol at an Iraqi child in front of witnesses, saying he should kill the youngster to "send a message" to other Iraqis.
Yep, that does tend to
send a message.
Campbell Brown - NBC News, Updated: 8:10 p.m. ET May 20, 2004
BAGHDAD - With attention focused on the seven soldiers charged with abuse
at the Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. military and intelligence officials familiar with the situation tell NBC News the Army’s
elite Delta Force is now the subject of a Pentagon inspector general investigation into abuse against detainees.
Well, perhaps this just
a misunderstanding and the reporter got it all wrong.
A tiny bundle of blanket is unwrapped and inside lies the body of a dead
baby, its limbs smeared with dried blood. The mourners peel back the blanket
further. Behind lies a second dead baby, wrapped tightly in the same bundle.
Well, this is not dispassionate reporting, but you must understand the item first appeared in The Independent (UK) and those guys aren’t a happy, pro-Bush group. But that’s an interesting demand – we demand the name of the guy with the camera. This fellow points out the problem with whisking the evil cameraman off to Abu Ghraib….
US forces are sticking doggedly to this version of events in spite of rising
evidence that a wedding party was hit. More and more eyewitnesses are
Well, this comes down to
their word against ours. The sheikh graciously allows that we might have been
misled. Perhaps we were.
And as of Friday…
Friday, May 21, 2004 The American Soul
The Washington Post continues to eat the New York Times' lunch on the Iraq abuse story, leading this morning with horrific details of fine young American cannibals making their own S&M movies with reluctant Iraqi extras, as well as a new batch of photos that may cause you to toss your breakfast.
Where are the good Christians on this? Where is the bi-partisan outrage?
What does it take for the right to admit that the Bush administration has created a monster it can't control by demonizing all Arabs in its ruthless desire to control the planet by force?
BushCo has not only made the world less safe for Americans, it has abandoned many of the principles that make our country worth saving in the first place.
What does it take for John Kerry and the rest of the Democratic Party to get involved in this life and death struggle for the soul--and survival--of our nation?
Phillip Raines, a frequent contributor to Just Above Sunset, writes –
_ Gee Alan, so many question marks, so little time. I will take your advice and not look at the photos or S&M movies this morning of our blunder prone military putting too much power in the hands of a few bad soldiers. None of this should startle anyone. It was bound to go this wrong once we, or our current leaders, decided to go to war. It would have been a clever policy to turn the management of the prison over to the coalition of the reluctant, particularly the Russians, as they seem to have a knack for interrogation and a whole lot of field experience in that area. Then Rummy, Dick the puppeteer, and George the perplexed could just go" Wha…" their palms to the heavens as if they are catching rain. Then the phone call "Now Putin" or maybe an affectionate nickname "Now Pooty" and then a shuffling "Aw" from mother Russia. And then why don’t the Dems use it for more outrage? Because if they win and we are there it will still be as bad. We gotta leave and it won't get better until we do. Period. Thanks for cheering up my morning.
And as of Saturday…
Punishment and Amusement
By Scott Higham and Joe Stephens, Washington Post, Saturday, May 22, 2004; Page A01
Prisoners posed in three of the most infamous photographs of abuse to come out of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were not being softened up for interrogation by intelligence officers but instead were being punished for criminal acts or the amusement of their jailers, according to previously secret documents obtained by The Washington Post.
… Spec. Joseph M. Darby told investigators that he returned to Abu Ghraib from leave in November and heard about a shooting at the prison's "hard site," which contains Tier 1A. He said that he asked the MP in charge of the tier's night shift, Spec. Charles A. Graner Jr., if he had any photographs of the cell where the shooting took place.
Darby said Graner handed him two CDs of photographs.
"I thought the discs just had pictures of Iraq, the cell where the shooting occurred," Darby told investigators.
Instead, Darby viewed hundreds of photographs showing naked detainees being abused by U.S. soldiers.
"It was just wrong," Darby said. "I knew I had to do something."
He said that he asked Graner, a Pennsylvania prison guard in civilian life, about the photographs. Graner replied: "The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the corrections officer in me says, 'I love to make a grown man piss himself.' "
Ah, Graner is channeling his inner corrections officer. Do we all have one inside ourselves?
Any assessment? Well, my friends from Europe weigh in.
Emma, the Australian who has long lived in France:
Things just seem to be getting worse for everyone.
I’m sorry, guys, but I just have to rant and rage in this email.
Over here in Europe, I have not yet met anyone, nor heard anyone who has not vented their anger, expressed shock and horror in reaction to the photos and anecdotes. I am seriously worried for Americans everywhere as the repercussions are sure to become worse.
Everyone who is not American seem to be making concerted efforts to distance themselves from the so-called land of the free where human rights and freedom of speech reign.
What a joke. What an awfully sad joke the America of today is.
I have great sympathy for those Americans who too like the majority of the rest of the world wish that the President of the USA along with his merry henchmen could be strung up and castrated slowly.
As for any other insensitive deluded, sick and non-rational unintelligent Christian Republicans out there... well... they should all be rounded up and shot… as quickly as possible before the damage sets in for good.
Any anti-Bushite American is unluckily going to have to deal with the consequences of the actions of complete and utter dickheads for many, many years to come. It is time certain Americans and avid-Bushite followers woke up to the fact that the USA is not the greatest place on earth, nor are Americans the greatest people on Earth, and nor is the country the greatest and most shining example of how a country should be run - and has been run in the past.
It is not time enough that some Americans should be woken up and their faces rubbed into the shitty piles of mess they have created around the world.
Ok, Ok - I know what the UN are like… but don’t get me started on those weak-minded backless big-fat-pay-cheque wonders... nor on the politicians who direct them through their own self interests and gains.
Ok, Ok, Ok - I am in France where the peoples revolution is the name of the game… time maybe for another revolt against the true evils of the world who we vote in and who live it up amongst us at our own tax-paying expense.
Mmmmmm.… I wonder if the world would be a better place if the women took over?!
Well, perhaps if the women were not all from West Virginia – or less like the lead-the-naked-prisoners around-on-a-dog-leash Lyndee English and more like the honest and kind Jessica Lynch. If the women were like our it’s-a fine-war Condoleezza Rice? No. I’m not sure that’s the answer.
Ric in Paris adds this in response to Emma:
“Over here in Europe, I have not yet met anyone, nor heard anyone who has not vented their anger, expressed shock and horror in reaction to the photos and anecdotes. I am seriously worried for Americans everywhere as the repercussions are sure to become worse.”
- On the other hand, you can reverse the meaning of the above paragraph and it is just as true. The US Govt and military are in a mess, but it's not new news. Yes, France's TV-news reports from DC say that Americans are in shock - but we can see that Palestinians are too.
Well, I fear many Americans feel that the Palestinians are getting just what they deserve – including the three-year-old Palestinian girl who was killed in an Israeli raid in Gaza this weekend.
Ric, lots of people are in shock.
Ric’s summary, which also appears elsewhere in these pages:
People in New York City are worried that 'the terrorists' are going to be looking for revenge. They are worried that they will be the target because wars no longer only pit trained soldiers in uniform against each other. Of course the people in New York City have already been hit, so they know it can happen, and they are pretty convinced that nobody in Washington will do anything to stop it. T his is the only result - of the all-out 'war on terrorism' waged by armchair neocon hawks.
While few outside of America are 'surprised,' potential victims in America are disappointed and afraid. They lack hope. When New Yorkers become hopeless, this is a danger signal.
Is there anybody there with any ideas about how to get out of the mess the United States has created for itself? Try to guess what it means if the answer is 'no.' If 'no,' expect the folly to continue. You have, as they say, not seen everything yet.
I am not following any of this carefully. I didn't 'follow' Vietnam either. But if any remember it - a classic example of folly - that war wasn't over in '69; it dragged on until '74 or '75, ending with the United States escaping from Saigon with only the shirt on its back.
The United States looks like it is setting itself up for another debacle and doesn't appear to have any way of changing the course of history that it's following. What 'friends of America' think about this is irrelevant. What Americans think of it - well, it's your future. It's time to sit down and think your way out of the situation. This is not a reassuring message given the way things seem to be.
Damn, it’s hard being the good guys.
But it’s not that hard…
Iraqis lose right to sue troops over war crimes
Kamal Ahmed, political editor, The Observer (UK), Sunday May 23, 2004
British and American troops are to be granted immunity from prosecution in Iraq after the crucial 30 June handover, undermining claims that the new Iraqi government will have 'full sovereignty' over the state.
Despite widespread ill-feeling about the abuse of prisoners by American forces and allegations of mistreatment by British troops, coalition forces will be protected from any legal action.
They will only be subject to the domestic law of their home countries. Military sources have told The Observer that the question of immunity was central to obtaining military agreement on a new United Nations resolution on Iraq to be published by the middle of next month.
They can’t touch us.
This issue updated and published on...
Paris readers add nine hours....