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Saturday, June 5, 2004

Like Apple Fucking Pie

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Stop Loss, Post Op
Photo Filthy PsyOps
Men Who Serve,
Reserves Deserve
Perverse Reverse
The Women’s Curse
Angry Men Too Straight
Irregular Men’s True Hate,
Regular Menstruate
Torture, tease or titillate?

Top Secret Reports, Enraged Retorts
Cover up sessions and last resorts
Deranged cohorts, Dictator Sports
Our Mighty Moral Exports
Occupational hazards
Hazardous occupations
Over simple generalizations
Under General Consternation
CIA disarray, military led astray
Not much left to say
Though we wave the flag anyway

The revulsion we decry
Like the truth we deny
About the apples of our eyes
As we grapple with the lies

It’s not just the few forgotten,
The entire pie is rotten.

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NOISE

On 19 January 2004, Lieutenant General (LTG) Ricardo S. Sanchez, Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Seven (CJTF-7) requested that the Commander, US Central Command, appoint an Investigating Officer (IO) in the grade of Major General (MG) or above to investigate the conduct of operations within the 800th Military Police (MP) Brigade. LTG Sanchez requested an investigation of detention and internment operations by the Brigade from 1 November 2003 to present. LTG Sanchez cited recent reports of detainee abuse, escapes from confinement facilities, and accountability lapses, which indicated systemic problems within the brigade and suggested a lack of clear standards, proficiency, and leadership. LTG Sanchez requested a comprehensive and all-encompassing inquiry to make findings and recommendations concerning the fitness and performance of the 800th MP Brigade.

Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, Article 15-6 Investigaton of 800th Military Police Brigade, US Army Report on Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners, February 2004


I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:

a. (S) Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet;
b. (S) Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees;
c. (S) Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;
d. (S) Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;
e. (S) Forcing naked male detainees to wear women's underwear;
f. (S) Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;
g. (S) Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;
h. (S) Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture;
i. (S) Writing "I am a Rapest" (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked;
j. (S) Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee's neck and having a female Soldier pose for a picture;
k. (S) A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee;
l. (S) Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee;
m. (S) Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees. (ANNEXES 25 and 26)

Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, Article 15-6 Investigaton of 800th Military Police Brigade, US Army Report on Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners, February 2004


When Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the majority of servicemembers were decent human beings and that the perpetrators of the abuse at Abu Ghraib (and the ever-widening perimeter of detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan) were merely “bad apples,” he may have been correct, although he failed to look into the mirror to identify the source of the rot.

So a bunch of photographs depicting violent and sadistic physical abuse and torture at Saddam Hussein’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison emerge, and suddenly America and the rest of the cowardly allied world and equally vile Middle East are horrified. The frighteningly detailed and vividly graphic Taguba Report, authored by the son of a survivor of a Japanese prison camp, Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, which revealed systemic abuse in an investigation of the 800th military Police Brigade, was not enough to get the top brass at the Pentagon interested enough to notify Congress or the President.

It was the pictures

Clinton Fein, Moral Mockeries and Lamentable Legacies, Annoy.com, June 15, 2004


Mr. Rumsfeld, the military brass and some of the lawmakers badly missed the point by talking endlessly about a few bad apples in one military unit. The despicable acts shown in those famous photos — and in videos that are being held back by the military but may still produce another round of global humiliation — were uniquely outrageous and inexcusable criminal acts. But behind them lies a detention system that treats all prisoners as terrorists regardless of their supposed offenses, and makes brutal interrogations all too common.

Mr. Rumsfeld's Defense, The New York Times, May 8, 2004


The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.

According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon’s operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.

Seymour M. Hersh, The Gray Zone:How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib, The New Yorker, May 15, 2004


This story was not given a high priority by anyone except the military, which was carrying out an internal investigation while proceeding with criminal charges, reprimands and suspensions. It wasn't until General Antonio Taguba's report of his investigation was seen by reporter Seymour Hersh, and the shocking photos were seen on CBS's Sixty Minutes II, that the story became a "scandal," and claims surfaced that Rumsfeld and the military had been orchestrating a cover-up.

Clearly much of what went on in Abu Ghraib was wrong, stupid and counterproductive. The apologies from Bush and Rumsfeld reflect the higher standard to which America holds itself. Significantly, the Taguba report reveals that many of these detainees who were mistreated were among the worst prisoners. Some had started riots and attacked the guards with rocks and feces. While not justifying the brutality, it may help to understand it. Plus, it can't be forgotten that the prisoners were being interrogated so that information could be obtained which could save American soldiers' lives. It would be helpful if more reporters made this simple, basic and factual point. There are 135,000 American troops in Iraq trying to complete the successful liberation of Iraq. Why have the media forgotten about them?

Roger Aronoff, The Abu Ghraib Scandal, Accuracy in Media, May 20, 2004


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