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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #85 - 1 msg

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Today's Topics:

   1. Some responsible for torture still on the job.. (k hanly)


Message: 1
From: "k hanly" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Some responsible for torture still on the job..
Date: Fri, 7 May 2004 14:08:36 -0500

Bush sickened, but suspects still at work
By Marian Wilkinson, Herald Correspondent in Washington
May 8, 2004

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Standing in the Rose Garden at the White House, President George Bush
declared that the graphic photographs of US military guards abusing Iraqi
prisoners "made us sick to our stomachs".

Apologising for the first time to the prisoners and their families, he
promised that "the wrongdoers will be brought to justice".

Yet as he spoke, two of the central figures named in a US Army report two
months ago as most likely responsible for the abuses were still in their
jobs. They are the head of the army's military intelligence unit in Baghdad,
Colonel Thomas Pappas, and a shadowy private defence contractor who worked
as an interrogator with that unit at the Abu Ghraib prison, Steven

"I can't believe that," said one of the lawyers defending a junior officer
charged in the scandal when told by the Herald. But the Pentagon confirmed
this week that Colonel Pappas was still commanding his unit even though he
has been reprimanded over the scandal and there are reports he may soon be
criminally charged.

 It appears to be part of a systemic pattern of abuse by military
intelligence and the CIA that spun out of control. One of the latest
photographs given to The Washington Post reportedly shows a senior military
intelligence officer standing among the guards while Iraqi detainees lie in
a naked heap on the floor of the cell.

Gary Myers, a defence officer for one of the MPs charged, told the Herald
that military intelligence officers would enter the cell blocks in "sterile"
uniforms, showing no names or ranks, making it difficult to track their

Mr Stephanowicz's employer, a military contractor to the Pentagon, said he
too had not been removed from his job. The Pentagon had not even asked his
company, CACI, for his resignation. "We have not received any information to
stop any of our work, to terminate or suspend any of our employees," said
CACI's chief executive, Jack London.

The secret army report on the scandal by General Antonio Taguba had called
for Mr Stephanowicz to be sacked back on March 8.

But evidence in the report, and from US military officers and human rights
organisations, indicates that what happened at Abu Ghraib prison outside
Baghdad was not just the action of a handful of military police.

The report was handed to US Central Command and other senior Pentagon
officials who knew by then that shocking photographs of US military officers
sexually humiliating prisoners supported evidence of the abuses at Abu

General Taguba's report clearly stated that Mr Stephanowicz, a private
contractor to US Army military intelligence, was heavily implicated and
recommended that he never be employed by the army again and be stripped of
his government security clearance. The report found that he had instructed
the military guards at Abu Ghraib to help set up conditions to "facilitate"
interrogations knowing that "his instructions equated to physical abuse".

Yet no one in the US command in Iraq or at the Pentagon has removed Mr
Stephanowicz, a highly prized interrogator, or penalised his employer, CACI.
Since the report, CACI has won more lucrative contracts with the Pentagon
including one worth $US650 million ($906 million) announced just weeks after
General Taguba's damning findings.

As calls mount for the resignation of the Secretary of Defence, Donald
Rumsfeld, evidence is growing that the abuse of detainees in US military
custody from Iraqi to Afghanistan has been suppressed by the Pentagon and
the CIA in their drive for "actionable intelligence" against insurgents and

The Pentagon has now admitted that at least 10 suspicious deaths are being
investigated. Two more deaths have been ruled as murders.

With fresh allegations daily, Mr Rumsfeld is under fire from an angry
Congress, and even Mr Bush, for blindsiding them on the scandal. But Mr
Rumsfeld is aggressively insisting there is no cover-up and says he is
taking "whatever steps are necessary to hold those accountable who violated
the military code of conduct".

Mr Bush said he would not sack Mr Rumsfeld but is said to have rebuked him
for failing to warn him about the photographs before they were published.

Mr Bush's interviews with Arab television this week were an admission that
the photographs have inflicted untold damage at home and abroad.

The Secretary of State, Colin Powell, compared the scandal with the My Lai
massacre, the defining event that galvanised US public opinion against the
Vietnam War. But he said it would be dealt with by "telling the people of
the world that this is an isolated incident".

But this defence is crumbling. There is no doubt that a few individual
officers took pleasure in abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib.

One of the six junior officers charged so far in the scandal, Specialist
Charles Granier, has a history of vicious domestic violence.

His girlfriend, Private Lynndie England, is shown laughing as naked Iraqi
male prisoners are forced into humiliating sexual positions. She is now back
home, pregnant, and also awaiting charges.

Witnesses in General Taguba's report say US Army intelligence officers
instructed Granier and his fellow prison guard Sergeant Chip Frederick "to
do things for MI [military intelligence] and OGA [other government agencies,
usually the CIA or Special Forces]".

One witness reports hearing military intelligence officers telling the
guards, "Loosen this guy up for us" or "Make sure he gets the treatment".

The former commander of the military police guards in Iraq,
Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski, says the behaviour of the guards became
more abusive after the intervention of senior military commanders last

Her claim is borne out by General Taguba's report. It found that soon after
the suicide bombing of the United Nations headquarters last August the US
military commander from Guantanamo Bay, Major-General Geoffrey Miller, led a
team of interrogation experts to Baghdad to meet the senior US commander
there, General Ricardo Sanchez. Their job was to review his ability "to
rapidly exploit internees for actionable intelligence".

In early September General Miller gave General Sanchez his recommendations,
including getting military guards at the detention centres "actively engaged
in setting the conditions for successful exploitation of internees".

A few weeks later General Sanchez issued a new policy on "interrogations and
counter-resistance". The content of that policy is unknown but within weeks,
General Tabuga's report says, the worst of the sexual abuses began at the

Mr Rumsfeld now says he did not read General Taguba's report. Neither did
his senior aides. It appears that at the most senior levels the Pentagon
hoped to pin the main blame for the abuses on the lower-ranking military

So far Mr Rumsfeld has announced six inquiries, but every one is run by a
senior military officer. He is now talking about an independent review of
these inquiries. This may not satisfy the Democrats and human rights groups
who want an independent investigation.

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