I agree with Irami, as far as the parallels between the pows and our prison system go.
And by the way, in case anyone doesn't know, or didn't get it from the link within the link I posted, many of the people in Iraqi prisons are there simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time; because someone lied about them to the coalition; because the coalition has been VERY persistent in finding answers from people as to where Saddam and his henchmen were. Don't for a second think that all the people in those photos were in that prison because they had some kind of fair trial and were found guilty.
I say this, yet at the same time, would it have been possible for the coalition to go more slowly and be more conscientious as to the 'rights' of the Iraqis? I don't know.
Posts: 13123 | Registered: Feb 2002
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We have known as a country that America's choices in this war have been under heavy international scrutiny. We have known also that America has been portrayed as a source of evil and hypocrisy and corrupt power throughout the middle east for decades. It should have been obvious that we have a moral and political imperitive to be on our absolutely best behaviour when it comes to dealing with the Iraqi people whether or not they are "prisoners of war". This is doubly so when the prisoners' guilt is still questionable.
If only for the political expediency of it, Bush should have enough sense to know that punishing the "bottom-line" perpetrators of these crimes isn't going to cut it. There should be serious and career-ending consequences right up the chain of command. No commander in charge of such a facility should have the excuse that he was unaware of what was going on in his very command. And Bush himself is clueless when he can speak (as he did last night) of our Iraqi occupation having closed the torture chambers of Saddam's prisons when those very same prisons have become torture chambers under his own rule.
According to latest news reports, the private corporations involved in prisoner interrogations still haven't been contacted by the military or other government representatives about allegations of abuse.
But guess what? It might not matter if private contractors are involved - they might fall outside the paramaters for being held accountable.
quote:That private contractors are interrogators in U.S. prison camps in Iraq should be stunning enough. This is incredibly sensitive work and takes our experiment with the boundaries of military outsourcing to levels never anticipated. But even more outrageous is the fact that gaps in the law may have given them a free pass so that it could be impossible to prosecute them for alleged criminal behavior.
Most people by now know that in an attempt to fill the gap between the demand for professional forces and the limited number deployed by the Pentagon, an array of traditional military and intelligence roles have been outsourced in Iraq, all without public discussion or debate. There are 15,000 to 20,000 private military contractors operating in Iraq, outsourcing critical military roles from logistics and local army training to guarding installations and convoys. This outsourcing to private companies represents a sea change in the way we fight a war.
However, until the last few days, not many Americans were aware that private firms were also providing interrogators and translators in the prisons. According to recent reports, the Army's investigation on the abuses committed at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad in November and December named Virginia-based CACI International Inc. and San Diego-based Titan Corp. Titan, however, denies having contracts that involve working with prisoners.
The Army investigation discovered such depraved behavior as making prisoners perform simulated sex acts and form naked human pyramids and putting "glow sticks" in bodily orifices. The perpetrators even took more than 60 photographs, including one showing an Iraqi prisoner standing on a box with his head covered and wires attached to his hands and genitals. He was told that if he fell off the box he would be electrocuted. One civilian contractor was even accused of raping a male juvenile prisoner.
The Army has responded swiftly and correctly, at least with regard to its soldiers. Seventeen soldiers were relieved of duty and six face court-martial. As Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmit said: "We're appalled... they wear the same uniform as us, and they let their fellow soldiers down... . These acts that you see in these pictures may reflect the actions of individuals, but, by God, it doesn't reflect my Army."
But although the military has established structures to investigate, prosecute and punish soldiers who commit crimes, the legal status of contractors in war zones is murky. Soldiers are accountable to the military code of justice wherever they are, but contractors are civilians - not formally part of the military and not part of the chain of command. They cannot be court-martialed.
Normally, an individual's crimes would then fall under the local nation's laws. But, of course, there are few established Iraqi legal institutions - that is why we are running prisons in Iraq in the first place - and, besides, coalition regulations explicitly state that contractors don't fall under their scope.
In turn, because the acts were committed abroad, and also reportedly involve some contractors who are not U.S. citizens, the application of U.S. domestic law in an extraterritorial setting is unclear and has never been tested. This appears to leave an incredible vacuum.
So far, none of the contractors involved have been criminally prosecuted. As for the contractor accused of raping a prisoner in his mid-teens, Central Command spokesperson Col. Jill Morgenthaler told the British newspaper the Guardian: "We had no jurisdiction over him. It was left up to the contractor on how to deal with him." It is clear that our policies on military contractors must be updated.
The timeline I picked up from the news states that the Military guards were all trained MP's, but not trained guards. They sought supervision from their superiors, but the civilian "interrogators" wanted the superiors to keep away from their interrogations. Why? Because what they didn't know they couldn't be court martialled for.
The Superiors assumed that the Civilians would give the gaurds guidelines on what to do. The Civilians assumed the military would give them guidlines.
The result, bored tired scared soldiers totally unsupervised, with just the weakest of directions, but the civilian contractors, to "keep the pressure on them" were left on their own.
Posts: 11895 | Registered: Apr 2002
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Just heard my first honestly stomach-turning commentary from an elected official on all of this. Hardball had Senator Inhofe from Oklahoma (member of the armed services committee) on his show.
He said things along the lines of if he'd been one of those prisoners in the photos the thing he would have been thinking is how grateful he was he wasn't being dealt with by Saddam Hussein's goons (who obviously did much worse stuff).
He also implied that it may have been justified as a technique to gather intelligence to save American lives.
I was thinking of posting something related to that previous post, but I don't want anyone to think I agree with that idiot of a senator.
The abuse of those prisoners was wrong. The actions of those people was wrong. It is all so far below what we believe is acceptable that everyone agrees that it is terrible.
Yet it is still 10,000 better than the treatment of prisoners under Sadaam Hussein.
Where our soldiers, at their worst, humiliated captives by laughing at their naked bodies. Hussein and his sons humiliated their families by laughing at their mutilated naked corpses.
Our soldiers are being disiplined for threatening to use electric shock. Their careers are over. Hussein's soldiers were promoted for abusing electric shock. Their careers were made on the bodies of other muslims.
These fools using our name had a reign that lasted a few months. Husseins reign of terror lasted decades.
What happened in our name must not happen again. Those who are guilty need to be punished.
But we must insist that the world remember what we replaced. The tragedy they see in photos in their newspapers are nothing compared to the tragedies videotaped in Hussein's torture chambers.
Posts: 11895 | Registered: Apr 2002
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quote:BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer first heard of allegations that troops were mistreating Iraqi captives at Abu Ghraib prison in January, a spokesman said Friday. The Red Cross claimed it had been warning of prisoner abuse throughout Iraq since the very beginning of the U.S.-led invasion.
In mid-January, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, announced an investigation into allegations of mistreatment of prisoners at a coalition detention facility in Iraq - prompted by complaints of a U.S. guard at Abu Ghraib who told his superiors he could not tolerate abuses he had witnessed.
The international Red Cross, meanwhile, said Friday it had warned U.S. officials of abuse of prisoners in Iraq more than a year ago, shortly after the beginning of the U.S.-led invasion.
It continued giving verbal and written reports through to November, including detailed allegations of mistreatment at Abu Ghraib.
Pierre Kraehenbuehl, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the abuse represented more than isolated acts, and the problems were not limited to the Abu Ghraib prison.
"We were dealing here with a broad pattern, not individual acts. There was a pattern and a system," he told a news conference in Geneva.
He confirmed that a leaked ICRC report to U.S. authorities, published Friday by the Wall Street Journal, was genuine.
The newspaper said that the 24-page report described prisoners kept naked in total darkness in empty cells at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison and male prisoners forced to parade around in women's underwear. Coalition forces also fired on unarmed prisoners from watchtowers, killing some of them.
This seems far too specific and extensive with specific sources and details to be fabricated. This is pretty ridicuolous to have allowed this kind of treatment to go on since our entry into Iraq.
Just something to caution about before you reply: Please, if you want to discuss this refrain from making generic statements of how the Red Cross is merely anti-American and therefore not credible, that's not a valid argument in this documented, specific, and long-standing case.
Posts: 369 | Registered: Nov 2003
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The main losers in all this will be the Iraqi people. I don't really like Bush, but what he said the other day is very true: The enemies of America will use these unfortunate images to remind people of their dislike for America.
Already they are being shown again and again and again on the Arab networks...
And, even as a lover of Truth and offerings to Apollo, have to question the wisdom of our media leaking this. If the American mission in Iraq is sabotaged it will mean mass death and virtual enslavement for it's people. Already the thugs and warlords are trying to carve out their own little mini-kingdoms using the Iraqi people's ignorance and paranoia against them.
I guess my thought that maybe the media could or should have keep it quiet is moot...they would have come out eventually anyway I guess.
But what is more important? Truth that may speed the failure of the mission and the death/enslavement of the Iraqi people? Or silence that may help the mission?
I don't know... both choices seem bad. But I guess the final analysis being loyal to the truth must be done. Gods what a mess. I'm glad that Bush took a hand in this personally to apologize.
A little factoid, my uncle who is a colonel in the military said that the general in charge of the investigation is a good friend of his and very cool. We can trust that whatever he finds will be the truth, embarrasing though it may be.
Posts: 4953 | Registered: Jan 2004
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quote:Thank you Dan. We need to keep reminding ourselves and the muslim world of this. People will be prosecuted, not promoted over these abuses.
The U.S. record on this won't really assure anyone outside of our country.
The My Lai massacre was only brought to light because of the efforts of a journalist. The massacre involved the slaughter of over a hundred civilians. In some cases, children were chased down, thrown into a pit and shot.
One person and one person only faced criminal charges. When he was convicted, he was released from the stockade after a short time, put on house arrest for a brief period and then given a full pardon. This was Lieutenant Calley, who led the massacre. None of his men or his superiors faced criminal charges.
It's not like we have a record we can point to of dealing with these matters in an honest, open and just manner.
Edit to add: a helicopter crew came upon the slaughter. The commander of the crew had the craft put down between the soldiers and villagers, and ordered his men to fire on any soldiers who continued to fire on villagers. They called in additional rescue.
It took our government 30 years to award the helicopter crew medals for their actions.
Just an additional note - please read the really disturbing analyses on the role of private contractors in interrogations. Due to the failure of the administration to adapt the contracts of these private individuals, there may be no feasible way to prosecute any private contractor involved in abuse, regardless of the degree of culpability.
Posts: 4344 | Registered: Mar 2003
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quote:A little factoid, my uncle who is a colonel in the military said that the general in charge of the investigation is a good friend of his and very cool. We can trust that whatever he finds will be the truth, embarrasing though it may be.
If you're referring to Taguba, the assessment of your uncle agrees with the impression I've formed over the past couple weeks.
Thing is, according to at least one report I read last week, top brass is reported to be pretty unhappy with Sanchez for suggesting and making a case for systemic abuses. I don't think that's what they had in mind when the investigation was ordered.
quote:"We don't tolerate these type of abuses," Bush told Al-Arabiya television, a satellite channel based in the United Arab Emirates. He said there was "more than an allegation, in this case, actual abuse -- we saw the pictures. There will be a full investigation."
"We don't tolerate these type of abuses." Sure we do. We don't publicize it. The dehumanizing effects of the American prison system may not achieve such technicolor press, but sure we tolerate it. We also like it at an arms length from our children and behind very thick cement walls, but no, we will look the other way. We like these stories or inmate rape and violence to stay stories without viceral evidence.
"The American people are just as appalled" as Iraqis, Bush said in the same interview. "People in Iraq must understand that I view those practices as abhorrent. They must also understand that what took place in that prison does not represent the America that I know," Bush said.
"The America I know is a compassionate country that believes in freedom. The America I know cares about every individual. The America I know has sent troops into Iraq to promote freedom -- good honorable citizens that are helping Iraqis everyday," he said.
Is anyone else disturbed by this not being the America he knows. I'd like to think that our President would have a sufficiently nuanced view of America not to be surprised. I'm not surprised. Disappointed, yes, but not surprised. I'd like knowing that the captain of the ship knows what the hull is made of and what all of the buttons do. Instead, we have a president who proudly doesn't read the papers. We are a people capable of tremendous good and silent, blameless atrocity. The soldiers are going to say that they were just following orders, and Rumsfeld is going to say that he had heard reports but that the it's not possible to get to every one of them, and it's quite possible that everyone will obfuscate with seemingly reasonable excuses. Therein lies the virtues of a multi-layered government on one hand and authoritarian agency[the Pentagon] made up of independent minds on the other. In theory, if the soldiers aren't criminals, because they were following orders, then someone is criminally negligent. Throw Rumsfeld in jail. Bring up charges against Bush for dereliction of duty as commander and chief. Hold the people at the top of an authoritarian chain accountable. We are trying to midwife the democracy with a doctor who barely finished medical school and an RN who is typsy from cogniac and power, all the while they scorn any calls for help or advice.
"doesn't represent the America I know." Well, the America I know has a whole lot of energetic good and a whole lot of lazy bad in it. It's not triple distilled, 200 proof freedom, and though we may advertise ourselves that way to others, and maybe we have been advertising ourselves for so long we have come to believe it, but that won't change the fact that we are a mixed and varied concoction whose influence should not be so eagerly prescribed to others.
quote: Yet it is still 10,000 better than the treatment of prisoners under Sadaam Hussein.
Your math is very scary.
A> there are at least 14 dead iraqi prisoners that died while in our custody
How on EARTH could Saddam have been 10,000 times worse that MURDER??? Dan that's like saying RAPE isn't that bad compared to murder. It's almost all right for the USA to rape you, because the other guy would have killed you.
B> there are pictures soon to come out that make the ones we've seen pale in comparison.
C> Our torturers were given CORPORATE advice on how to torture and what to do.
Posts: 2752 | Registered: Feb 2001
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quote:Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told congressional investigators that videos and "a lot more pictures" exist of the abuse of prisoners at the prison. "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe."
Gosh. That makes me feel better.....
Posts: 1261 | Registered: Apr 2004
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quote:Mr. Rumsfeld's Responsibility Thursday, May 6, 2004
THE HORRIFIC abuses by American interrogators and guards at the Abu Ghraib prison and at other facilities maintained by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan can be traced, in part, to policy decisions and public statements of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. Beginning more than two years ago, Mr. Rumsfeld decided to overturn decades of previous practice by the U.S. military in its handling of detainees in foreign countries. His Pentagon ruled that the United States would no longer be bound by the Geneva Conventions; that Army regulations on the interrogation of prisoners would not be observed; and that many detainees would be held incommunicado and without any independent mechanism of review. Abuses will take place in any prison system. But Mr. Rumsfeld's decisions helped create a lawless regime in which prisoners in both Iraq and Afghanistan have been humiliated, beaten, tortured and murdered -- and in which, until recently, no one has been held accountable.
The lawlessness began in January 2002 when Mr. Rumsfeld publicly declared that hundreds of people detained by U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan "do not have any rights" under the Geneva Conventions. That was not the case: At a minimum, all those arrested in the war zone were entitled under the conventions to a formal hearing to determine whether they were prisoners of war or unlawful combatants. No such hearings were held, but then Mr. Rumsfeld made clear that U.S. observance of the convention was now optional. Prisoners, he said, would be treated "for the most part" in "a manner that is reasonably consistent" with the conventions -- which, the secretary breezily suggested, was outdated.
In one important respect, Mr. Rumsfeld was correct: Not only could captured al Qaeda members be legitimately deprived of Geneva Convention guarantees (once the required hearing was held) but such treatment was in many cases necessary to obtain vital intelligence and prevent terrorists from communicating with confederates abroad. But if the United States was to resort to that exceptional practice, Mr. Rumsfeld should have established procedures to ensure that it did so without violating international conventions against torture and that only suspects who truly needed such extraordinary handling were treated that way. Outside controls or independent reviews could have provided such safeguards. Instead, Mr. Rumsfeld allowed detainees to be indiscriminately designated as beyond the law -- and made humane treatment dependent on the goodwill of U.S. personnel.
Much of what has happened at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay is shrouded in secrecy. But according to an official Army report, a system was established at the camp under which military guards were expected to "set the conditions" for intelligence investigations. The report by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba says the system was later introduced at military facilities at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, even though it violates Army regulations forbidding guards to participate in interrogations.
The Taguba report and others by human rights groups reveal that the detention system Mr. Rumsfeld oversees has become so grossly distorted that military police have abused or tortured prisoners under the direction of civilian contractors and intelligence officers outside the military chain of command -- not in "exceptional" cases, as Mr. Rumsfeld said Tuesday, but systematically. Army guards have held "ghost" prisoners detained by the CIA and even hidden these prisoners from the International Red Cross. Meanwhile, Mr. Rumsfeld's contempt for the Geneva Conventions has trickled down: The Taguba report says that guards at Abu Ghraib had not been instructed on them and that no copies were posted in the facility.
The abuses that have done so much harm to the U.S. mission in Iraq might have been prevented had Mr. Rumsfeld been responsive to earlier reports of violations. Instead, he publicly dismissed or minimized such accounts. He and his staff ignored detailed reports by respected human rights groups about criminal activity at U.S.-run prisons in Afghanistan, and they refused to provide access to facilities or respond to most questions. In December 2002, two Afghan detainees died in events that were ruled homicides by medical officials; only when the New York Times obtained the story did the Pentagon confirm that an investigation was underway, and no results have yet been announced. Not until other media obtained the photos from Abu Ghraib did Mr. Rumsfeld fully acknowledge what had happened, and not until Tuesday did his department disclose that 25 prisoners have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. Accountability for those deaths has been virtually nonexistent: One soldier was punished with a dishonorable discharge.
On Monday Mr. Rumsfeld's spokesman said that the secretary had not read Mr. Taguba's report, which was completed in early March. Yesterday Mr. Rumsfeld told a television interviewer that he still hadn't finished reading it, and he repeated his view that the Geneva Conventions "did not precisely apply" but were only "basic rules" for handling prisoners. His message remains the same: that the United States need not be bound by international law and that the crimes Mr. Taguba reported are not, for him, a priority. That attitude has undermined the American military's observance of basic human rights and damaged this country's ability to prevail in the war on terrorism.
From what I understand, our soldiers were ordered by up ranking officers, and CORPORATE men to "soften up" the iraqi prisoners for questioning and interrogation.
What are we interrogating these people about "Where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?", why are we hard core grilling them anyways? These people ARE NOT THE TALIBAN, they are NOT AL_QUEDA!
They are Iraqi nationalists who resent our Occupying presence.
None of this makes sense to me.
It's a stupid war, and to top it off I didn't even really know it was still a WAR!
Some American General was talking about how this stuff happens in WAR, but I thought our only war was with Saddam Hussien and Terrorists, I did not Realize that we were at war with IRAQ and all of it's people.
What a dumbass war, run by dumbass people.
Posts: 2752 | Registered: Feb 2001
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It appears that Rumsfeld deliberately didn't read the report, and Dubya deliberately didn't have Rumsfeld pass along information inregards to prisoner abuse and torture, to maintain "plausible deniability" as to what their right-hand man in Guantanamo was up to.
quote:...the practice of using MPs to help break down prisoners may have been imported from the Guantanamo Bay prison complex and possibly others in Afghanistan used to hold terrorist suspects.
The Guantanamo Bay prison complex was run by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller. In late August 2003, Miller conducted an inquiry on interrogation and detention procedures in Iraq and suggested that prison guards could help set conditions for the interrogation of prisoners, according to the Taguba Report [which also states that use of military guards for interrogation is illegal under Army regulations].
Most of the alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib took place from October to December 2003.
Last week, the military announced Miller had been appointed chief of the US-run prisons in Iraq.
"Sivits has been charged with conspiracy to maltreat subordinates and detainees, dereliction of duty for negligently failing to protect detainees from abuse and cruelty and maltreatment of detainees, Kimmitt said. "
Conspiracy to maltreat subordinates? Does that mean he was going to ACTUALLY abuse the guards/soldiers? Or does it mean that his orders were abusive? And if the latter, does that take away the guilt of the soldiers who abused the prisoners directly?
Posts: 10890 | Registered: May 2003
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quote:It appears that Rumsfeld deliberately didn't read the report, and Dubya deliberately didn't have Rumsfeld pass along information inregards to prisoner abuse and torture, to maintain "plausible deniability" as to what their right-hand man in Guantanamo was up to.
Imagine my surprise when I went to your link for support of your contention that Rumsfeld and Bush maintained their ignorance of the abuse deliberately and didn't find any support of that contention there.
I'm glad you're here to fill us in on the working motives of our administration. I just wish we didn't have to take your word for it.
The article in Reuters (link is above in RRR's post), is really troubling.
I'm sure someone has said this already, maybe it was even me, but the lesson from this isn't that these soldiers are bad, or even that our military's way of doing business is bad.
The real point is that this is US. Any of us, put in this position, might've done the same. We'd like to think we wouldn't. But the truth is, most of us would.
And that is one reason why dehumanizing the enemy works. Or it's one reason why we dehumanize -- because we're still tribal animals at our core.
For me, personally, this is why I oppose all war, not just the stupid ones. Because the price of war is usually higher than I'm willing to pay. But certainly in the case of wars that were preventable and could've been forestalled indefinitely, I think the best humanity can do is work to achive that indefinite postponement.
Even those who oppose war as much as I do see that it is sometimes unavoidable. WWII happened because nothing short of stopping Nazi Germany would work to preserve the basic rights of people who didn't want to become Nazis.
This war is not the same.
I wanted to say that this is also the reason I disapprove of nationalism. In this country, it has become difficult to speak out in any way against the war or against the actions of this Administration. One is branded a traitor for even voicing a negative opinion.
Well, I think we need to recognize the value of a loyal opposition. And as many of us whose conscience leads them that way should vocally and visibly join the loyal opposition. It's not America love it or leave it. It's "America can do better than this." And then let's make it happen.
We can choose better leaders.
We really can.
We can make sure that people are answerable for their conduct on a global scale, and that means CEOs, political leaders, our military, and private citizens.
We can join other nations in using the Earth's resources more wisely and equitably.
And we can work to persuade other countries to increase rather than limit the freedom of their own people.
I have a globe in my house. It shows the oceans and the continents with names of geographic features. No country boundaries and no political barriers.
That's the Earth we were given originally. What we do with it is up to all of us. As the dominant sentient species on this planet, we can choose to do whatever we want that's within the power of our technology.
What would be better?
How can we get there?
What should we do now to prepare for the eventual unity of vision that we must achive in order to survive in the long term?
Posts: 22497 | Registered: Sep 2000
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I mostly agree with your post - although I think the description of why the U.S. and other finally enjoined Hitler might be a little sunnier than the reality.
We should be grateful, I guess, that we have changed at least a little as a nation over the past 35 years. I vividly remember how the My Lai massacre was handled in this country.
It's good - for me, anyway - to see that it looks like we might be on the road to handling this situation with more integrity and honesty than we did the My Lai massacre. (Not that the top military brass deserves any credit for that - to me, the evidence so far shows the military was trying to bury this as an issue.)
Diane and I watched 60 Minutes last night. The last and most important story was titled An American Hero, an interview with Hugh Thompson.
Who is Thompson? He's the helicopter pilot who came on the massacre of hundreds of women, children and elderly villagers by American soldiers at My Lai. He put himself between the troops and the villagers - putting himself at risk of being shot - and airlifted nine villagers to safety. He returned for more villagers and also called for more rescue.
quote:But from the very beginning, the military tried to cover up the massacre. And that wasn't all. Thompson is uncomfortable talking about it, but before the Hall of Fame ceremony in Nashville, he and Colburn told 60 Minutes that the U.S. military had stopped providing him with adequate back-up on his chopper missions after My Lai.
“He was placed in a very precarious position as far as the missions that he was carrying out,” says Colburn. “He didn’t have any adequate cover in my opinion. Instead of being followed by two armed gun ships, he had another scout helicopter.”
Scout helicopters are not equipped with the machine guns and rockets carried by the larger Huey gun ships.
“It seemed like he was really going out on a limb when he was going out without adequate cover,” says Colburn.
How many choppers did he lose? “I think three or four, something like that,” says Thompson.
Actually, Thompson crashed a total of five times. And the last time, he broke his back.
Why has none of this ever been told before? “I don’t know,” says Thompson. “I just sorta like went underground. I didn’t mention it to anybody.”
Thompson may have clammed up, but word of what he had done followed him when he returned from Vietnam to the United States. And he kept paying a price for turning on his fellow soldiers at My Lai.
“I'd received death threats over the phone,” says Thompson. “We didn’t have caller ID. But it was scary. Dead animals on your porch, mutilated animals on your porch some mornings when you get up. So I was not a good guy.”
He said that when he went to the Officer’s Club, there would be “100 people in there after work, and five minutes after I was there, you know, it seemed like it was me and the bartender left.”
“This was because the truth, I don't think, was out there. This was, I was somebody that was crying and whining about a few people getting accidentally killed,” says Thompson. “There was no accidental killing that day. It was murder.”
But when Thompson testified about those murders to Congress in 1970, his testimony was kept secret. He says they didn’t want the story out: “Well, not when one of the senior Congressmen here in the secret testimony say if anybody goes to jail that day, it'll be that helicopter pilot.”
Diane and I were both in tears by the end of this story. Hugh Thompson is my definition of a hero.
It took the U.S. government 30 years to recognize him as one.
Posts: 4344 | Registered: Mar 2003
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quote:WASHINGTON -- The author of an Army report that exposed "sadistic, blatant and wanton" abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, is scheduled to testify today on Capitol Hill.
The testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee comes one day after President George W. Bush extended his embattled defense chief a full-throated endorsement for a "superb job," then went into Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon office for his first private glimpse of Iraqi prisoner abuse pictures never seen in public.
Bush saw more than a dozen images blown up into roughly 8-inch by 10-inch color prints, a "representative sample" of the kind of abuse seen in hundreds of pictures now part of criminal investigations at Abu Ghraib prison, one senior Defense official said.
John McCain, in the meantime, is calling for all photos and video of abuses to be made public ASAP. He thinks we'll all be best served by having everything out on the table at once rather than having it leaked out slowly over time.
I hate the the news stories keep saying there was evidence "of a male guard having sex with a female detainee." Why are Iraqi females being detained, and why would one want to have sex with a guard? Aren't all the prisoners of war being detained? Aren't all prisoners everywhere being detained? If we call them detainees, does it make it seem like they aren't prisoners? I don't get the detainee thing. And I think it's more probable that she is being raped by her captor. I think in order for her to actually consent to having sex, she couldn't, by definition, be a detainee. That is why it's illegal for guards to have sex with inmates here in the US. Why wouldn't it be true there, where, not only are they prisoners, but they are prisoners being tortured for information. Having sex. My ass.
Posts: 9871 | Registered: Aug 2001
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quote:hindsight, it seems clear that Pfc. England is a villain, and that Spec. Darby is a hero. Yet nothing in the biography of either predicts those labels. England's lawyer describes her as a "20-year-old farm girl from West Virginia who lives in a trailer park" -- almost the same socioeconomic profile as Jessica Lynch. England's friends have described her as normal, happy, well-adjusted. "It's not like her to be like that," a family friend says of the photos. "She's a caring person." According to her mother, Lynndie England joined the army to pay for college: She loved thunderstorms, and wanted to be a meteorologist.
But if England's biography contains no clues, neither does that of Darby. He, too, lived in a coal town, in a household headed by a disabled stepfather. To make ends meet, he worked the night shift at Wendy's. If that sounds potentially heroic, look closer. It seems Darby was well known, in his days at North Star High School in southwest Pennsylvania, for punching out paper towel dispensers. His former girlfriend remembers him "pounding" on someone who insulted him on a school bus. When a Washington Post reporter told one of Darby's other high school friends of his heroic decision to protest the mistreatment of prisoners, the man shook his head and said, "That don't sound like Joe."
(edited down to a much more manageable level)
People keep overlooking something intrinsic to this. It is mentioned often but never looked into:
Civilian Contractors working in interrogations. It has been mentioned in Afghanistan. It has been mentioned about Guantanamo Bay. It is becoming very evident in the Iraqi prison situation.
Who are these folks? Who do they answer to? How can they order National Guard and Reserve soldiers to "soften up" prisoners for interrogation?
Folks, these aren't CIA operatives, or they would have been identified as such by now. Look back to the Afghan War... they always said when it was a CIA person who was killed and didn't use the term "civilian."
To quote an old AC/DC song... dirty deeds, done dirt cheap. And they won't have to answer to a Congressional inquiry. They can't be forced to speak with the press.
And they don't have to pay attention to the Geneva Convention or the rules of law.
To quote Stephen King's The Stand , there are rats in the corn.
I was surprised. Talking last night with my own neighbors, who are pretty reasonable people. They blame the beheading directly on the U.S. military releasing the info on the military prisons to the press and the press themselves.
They think releasing the prisoner abuse information information was akin to murdering U.S. citizens. It wasn't really worth arguing it at the time, because I haven't fully formulated my own opinions on the subject, but the vehemence of the feeling did surprise me.
That the beheading incident happened, didn't surprise me. It is war, nastiness occurs on both sides, how can you expect it to be clean?
I think your neighbors, like a lot of others, didn't register the fact that terrorists killed an Italian hostage last month - before all the prison abuse news broke. Here's a quote a story on Berg's horrendous death on the UK's Guardian newspaper:
quote:Last month, Iraqi militants videotaped the killing of Italian hostage Fabrizio Quattrocchi. The Arab TV network al-Jazeera refused to air the footage, saying it was too graphic.
As far as I know, al-Jazeera didn't air Berg's killing either. It was a terrorist-sympathizing site that put the video up.
quote:WASHINGTON - The abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops went beyond the photos seen by most Americans, shaken lawmakers said Wednesday after viewing fresh pictures and video that they said depicted forced sex, brutality and dogs snarling at cowed prisoners.
"I don't know how the hell these people got into our army," said Colorado Republican Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell after viewing what he called a fraction of the images.
"I saw cruel, sadistic torture," said Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., who said some of the images were of male prisoners masturbating. She said she saw a man hitting himself against a wall as though to knock himself unconscious.
Others said they saw images of corpses, military dogs snarling at cowering prisoners, women commanded to expose their breasts and sex acts, including forced homosexual sex.
"There were people who were forced to have sex with each other," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said, "There were some pictures where it looked like a prisoner was sodomizing himself" with an object. He said blood was visible in the photograph.
Not everyone reacted the same way to the additional photos.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said he thought "some people are overreacting."
quote:"Excuse me, if I see somebody dragging my people through the streets and hung up on a bridge -- I mean, the bible even says an eye for an eye," said retired Vietnam War veteran Robert Zalewski, 56, drinking a beer at Pete's Parkview Tavern and Grill.
Maybe he should try finishing the book.
Posts: 9945 | Registered: Sep 2002
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Yep. New photos. The story I linked to has the body edited out of the pictures. I am in support of the idea of blurring or editing out details of victims in pictures that are released. There are unedited pictures available on the net, but I think these are sufficient.
quote:Two new photographs have surfaced from Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, showing U.S. soldiers posing and smiling over the body of an Iraqi detainee. In the photos, aired Thursday, by two U.S. television networks, Army Specialists Charles Graner and Sabrina Harman give a "thumbs up" signal as they kneel over the man's body, which is lying on the floor packed in ice. It was not clear when the photos were taken.
The U.S. television network ABC identifies the dead prisoner as Manadel al-Jamadi, and says he was beaten to death by civilian or CIA interrogators in the prison's showers.
The case is one of three detainee deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan being investigated by the CIA's inspector general.
This reminded me of those quizzes where you have to choose which people are really smiling. That woman was testifying that she was just doing it on orders. But my goodness. Does anyone believe that she didn't want to do it?
Posts: 1261 | Registered: Apr 2004
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The rallying cry for the Republican occupation lovers has been "All we did was put womans underwear on a man's head! They beheaded our guy!"
...when the truth of the matter is that at least 14 iraqi prisoners have died in our custody, and the dead iraqi total is over 10,000 men, women and children.
Posts: 2752 | Registered: Feb 2001
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quote:The video begins with three soldiers huddled around a naked detainee, his thin frame backed against a wall. With a snap of his wrist, one of the soldiers slaps the man across his left cheek so hard that the prisoner's knees buckle. Another detainee, handcuffed and on his back, is dragged across the prison floor.
Then, the human pyramid begins to take shape. Soldiers force hooded and naked prisoners into crouches on the floor, one by one, side by side, a soldier pointing to where the next ones should go. The grainy video stops. But there is more.
In a collection of hundreds of so-far-unreleased photographs and short digital videos obtained by The Washington Post, U.S. soldiers are shown physically and emotionally abusing detainees last fall in the Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad.
More vivid images The new pictures and videos go beyond the photos previously released to the public in several ways, amplifying the overt violence against detainees and displaying a variety of abusive techniques previously unseen. They show a group of apparently cavalier soldiers assaulting prisoners, forcing detainees to masturbate, and standing over a naked prisoner while holding a shotgun. Some of the videos echo scenes in previously released still photographs -- such as the stacking of naked detainees -- but the video images render the incidents more vividly.
Since I'm already registered, I don't really know if these links work without requiring registration, but here's the are links to: