Thursday, June 19, 2008

MG Taguba accuses administration officials of war crimes

The General who investigated Abu Ghraib has openly accused the bu$h administration of complicity in war crimes and called for those responsible to be held accountable. The remarks come in a new report compiled by the group Physicians for Human Rights is the most in-depth medical and psychological examination of former detainees to date.

It is also chilling, infuriating, maddening, embarrassing, humiliating, and a whole lot more negative emotions.

"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes," Taguba wrote. "The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

The medial evidence supports the claims made by detainees, and puts the lie to aWol bu$h's insistence that "we don't torture." None of the torture victims the report addresses were ever charged with any crime. But they were detained for years, tortured, threatened, beaten, sexually humiliated and in at least one case, forced to drink urine.

Taguba, who conducted the 2004 investigation that documented and brought to light the abuses at Abu Ghraib is, to the best of my knowledge, the highest ranking military officer to have accused the administration of war crimes "The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture," he wrote.

A White House spokeswoman, Kate Starr, had no comment.

Experts from Physicians for Human Rights, who have long experience studying the effects of torture, spent two days with each of the eleven former captives assessed, and conducted intensive exams and interviews. Tests were administered to detect exaggeration. In two of the cases, medical records were available for review by the physicians.
The report, "Broken Laws, Broken Lives," concurs with a five-part McClatchy investigation of Guantanamo published this week. Among its findings were that abuses occurred — primarily at prisons in Afghanistan where detainees were held en route to Guantanamo — and that many of the prisoners were wrongly detained.

Also this week, a probe by the Senate Armed Services Committee revealed how senior Pentagon officials pushed for harsher interrogation methods over the objections of top military lawyers. Those methods later surfaced in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld didn't specifically approve of the worst abuses, but neither he nor the White House enforced strict limits on how detainees would be treated.

There was no "bright line of abuse which could not be transgressed," former Navy general counsel Alberto Mora told the Senate committee.

Leonard Rubenstein, the president of Physicians for Human Rights, said there was a direct connection between the Pentagon decisions and the abuses his group uncovered. "The result was a horrific stew of pain, degradation and ... suffering," he said.
MG Taguba is one flag-rank officer for whom we both have deep and abiding respect - as do our military veteran spouses. He was one of the very first to stand up and do the right thing, even though it cost him a third star and sent him to base operations to do his retirement packet before he intended to.

We need his voice, along with the voices of Generals Batiste, Eaton, Zinni and Clark. These are men who wore stars on their shoulders and who don't flinch from a fight and who don't buckle under to pressure from a draft-dodging punk, nor a warmongering fuck.

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