Saturday, May 08, 2004

"We're Talking about Rape and Murder Here"

From Ken Guggenheim of the Associated Press:
Rumsfeld said there are many more photographs and videos that have not been made public yet.

"It's going to get still more terrible, I'm afraid," he said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he wants to "prepare the public: Apparently the worst is yet to come potentially in terms of disturbing events."

He later told reporters, "The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience."

He did not elaborate, but a Senate aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said senators have been told videotapes are believed to exist showing rape and the corpses of what are possibly murder victims. The tapes were described in an additional part of an investigative report. The Pentagon has not yet submitted that additional part of the report to senators, the aide said. ("Rumsfeld Warns Prison Scandal May Deepen," Washington Post May 8, 2004)
And Andrew Buncombe of The Independent:
The Bush administration was bracing itself last night for the release of new pictures and video footage from Abu Ghraib which show US soldiers having sex with an Iraqi woman prisoner, troops almost beating a prisoner to death, and the rape of young boys by Iraqi guards at the jail. . . .

NBC News has quoted military officials as saying that the new photographsalso show US soldiers "acting inappropriately with a dead body". This may refer to a picture, which The Washington Post described but did not publish, of Sabrina Harman, one of seven reservists charged with abuses, posing with thumbs up next to a decaying corpse.

NBC also reported that the rape of young boys by Iraqi guards, apparently in a special section of the prison, had been filmed by US soldiers.

There are even suggestions that the murder of a prisoner has been recorded. . . .

Further evidence emerged, meanwhile, that the abuse of prisoners by military police reservists was ordered by military intelligence officers, CIA operatives or even by privately hired civilian interrogators. Ms Harman said they were told to break the prisoners down in preparation for questioning.

"They would bring in one or several prisoners at a time already hooded and cuffed. The job of the MP [military police] was to keep them awake, make it hell so they would talk," Ms Harman, 26, from northern Virginia, told The Washington Post. "The person who brought them in would set the standards on whether or not to 'be nice'."

A total of seven reservists from the 372nd Military Police Company based in Cumberland, Maryland, have now been charged over the abuse, including Lynndie England, 21, who was photographed with a prisoner on a leash. Seven other soldiers have been reprimanded, and several relieved of command.

Rumours of the existence of more pictures have been circulating in Washington for days and were confirmed on Friday by Mr Rumsfeld, who said they were "sadistic, cruel and inhuman".

The investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who revealed the extent of the abuse, warned earlier last week: "It's going to get much worse. This kind of stuff was much more widespread.

"There are videotapes of stuff that you wouldn't want to mention on national television ... There were things done to young boys." ("US Military Confirms Existence of Horrific Pictures and Video," May 9, 2004)
The White House is trying to get away with lightly punishing some of the soldiers involved in rape, murder, and torture and perhaps firing Rumsfeld if things get really sticky, while protecting the CIA, military intelligence, private contractors like CACI International Inc. and Titan Corporation, and other members of the Bush team.

MoveOn's responses to torture calling on Bush (of all people!) to support independent investigation and fire Rumsfeld are rather pathetic, unequal to the enormity of the problem. Why help Bush find patsies and fall guys? Nothing short of impeachment of Bush and Cheney and immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq would do. That's the minimum!