It's never isolated
It's never isolated
Amnesty Internation issued apress release which calls for a full investigation of torture in Coalition-run jails in Iraq.
Iraq: Torture not isolated -- independent investigations vital
There is a real crisis of leadership in Iraq -- with double standards and double speak on human rights, Amnesty International said today.
"The latest evidence of torture and ill-treatment emerging from Abu Ghraib prison will exacerbate an already fragile situation. The prison was notorious under Saddam Hussein -- it should not be allowed to become so again. Iraq has lived under the shadow of torture for far too long. The Coalition leadership must send a clear signal that torture will not be tolerated under any circumstances and that the Iraqi people can now live free of such brutal and degrading practices," Amnesty International said.
"There must be a fully independent, impartial and public investigation into all allegations of torture. Nothing less will suffice. If Iraq is to have a sustainable and peaceful future, human rights must be a central component of the way forward. The message must be sent loud and clear that those who abuse human rights will be held accountable.
"Our extensive research in Iraq suggests that this is not an isolated incident. It is not enough for the USA to react only once images have hit the television screens".
Amnesty International has received frequent reports of torture or other ill-treatment by Coalition Forces during the past year. Detainees have reported being routinely subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment during arrest and detention. Many have told Amnesty International that they were tortured and ill-treated by US and UK troops during interrogation. Methods often reported include prolonged sleep deprivation; beatings; prolonged restraint in painful positions, sometimes combined with exposure to loud music; prolonged hooding; and exposure to bright lights. Virtually none of the allegations of torture or ill-treatment has been adequately investigated by the authorities.
Amnesty International is calling for investigations into alleged abuses by Coalition Forces to be conducted by a body that is competent, impartial and independent, and seen to be so, and that any findings of such investigations be made public. In addition reparation, including compensation, must be paid to the victims or to their families.
Every time a case of police brutality surfaces, it's isolated. Always. Rape Abner Louima in a jail cell, isolated. Shoot Amadou Diallo 41 times, isolated. They shot an escaped bull from a Queens rodeo 40 times, but Diallo's death wasn't police overkill, but an isolated mistake. Gun down Patrick Dorismond on a midtown street corner, isolated.
It's never the culture of police, or the indifference of their superiors, but isolated bad acts. And when the victims are black or Latino, they must have done something wrong.
The lawyers for the six accused MP's are claiming that they were never taught about the Geneva Conventions. So what? In what world is having prisoners jerk off into another prisoner's mouth permitted, decent, or humane. Not one of those guards would have wanted to be treated by Iraqi jailers in the way that they treated those prisoners. You don't need the Geneva Conventions to know what they were doing was deeply, deeply wrong.
Now, it turns out, this wasn't just some "bad people" as Gen. Karpinski claims, neatly claiming ignorance of then activities of the people under her command, but standard Military Intelligence practice.
I don't think there is any way to explain how gross Karpinski's failure was and how vile her excuses are. She was a general in charge of MP's, not some pencil pusher. She had a combat command. Prisoners were in her care and she didn't do anything like her job. She was relieved of command, which is a career-killing shame for a general officer.
It's easy to blame the CIA and military intelligence, but her actions led to their abuses. If she had cared about her command, and stood up to MI, which as a general officer, she could have and should have done, the abuses would have stopped. Instead, she barely supervised her command. I will bet any amount of money that her senior officerstold her, not once, not twice, but repeatedly, that they had problems with MI in their jails.
The idea that it was just a few NCO's and EM's "softening up" the prisoners is bullshit. Where are the officers? Where are the captains and majors and light colonels who were supervising the jail for Karpiniski? What is their role in this mess? Those on trial had to have been failed by their chain of command from their lieutenants on up. No MP officer noticed the sex games going on in the jail? No intellingence officer got reports from the Iraqi street that torture was common in Abu Gharib?
Karpinski's failure was so gross that two major generals had to investigate. That is remarkable. When you have that kind of investigation, a complete and total failure has occured. When you send generals to investigate other generals, something deeply wrong has happened.
Get used to the words command failure. You'll be hearing them a lot.
Command Errors Aided Iraq Abuse, Army Has Found
By JAMES RISEN
Published: May 3, 2004
An internal Army investigation has found a virtual collapse of the command structure in a prison outside Baghdad where American enlisted personnel are accused of committing acts of abuse and humiliation against Iraqi detainees.
A report on the investigation said midlevel military intelligence officers were allowed to skirt the normal chain of command to issue questionable orders to enlisted personnel from the reserve military police unit handling guard duty there.
The Army has already begun one investigation into the abuse allegations. Maj. Gen. George R. Fay, the incoming deputy commander of Army intelligence, is examining the interrogation practices of military intelligence officers at all American-run prisons in Iraq and not just the Abu Ghraib prison.
A second review was ordered Saturday by Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, head of the Army Reserve, to assess the training of all reservists, especially military police and intelligence officers, the soldiers most likely to handle prisoners. Six members of an Army Reserve military police unit assigned to Abu Ghraib face charges of assault, cruelty, indecent acts and maltreatment of detainees.
Gary Myers, a lawyer for Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick II, one of the enlisted men charged in the case, requested over the weekend that the Army open a court of inquiry into the abuse at Abu Ghraib, a move that would expand the investigation beyond the six enlisted personnel to look at the broader command failures.
The widening prison-abuse scandal in Iraq, which has stirred anger in the Arab world just as the Marines have tried to defuse a bloody confrontation in Falluja, holds the potential to damage efforts by American officials to meet a June 30 deadline to transfer limited self-rule to the Iraqi people. It appeared to have caught senior Pentagon officials and some top officers off guard on Sunday, despite President Bush's condemnation of the abuses on Friday
There is no way to explain what kind of public diplomacy failure this. It is horrific, with blame to go from the MP's who played naked Iraqi prisoner leapfrog to Karpiniski, to the slow pace Gen. Sanchez dealt with this gross command failure. The fact that Gen. Myers hadn't bothered to read the report is even more disturbing. The failure here, the worst since Vietnam, has dire implications for US policy in the entire Middle East. It isn 't just about a bad reserve Brigadier General and some ignorant, racist MP's.
This kind of failure is akin to when Gen. Fredendall was beaten at Kasserine Pass. It wasn't just that he lead from a bunker, the US Army lacked the ability to fight the Germans.
Almost everything the Americans believed was wrong. The M3 Lee and Grant tanks, mounting a 75mm fixed gun, had a high silhouette and was difficult to operate in combat with the heavy German pzkpfw Mark IV and Tiger panzers. Also, the Americans fought tank-to-tank, while the Germans concentrated their fire. The M3 would burn when hit and the riveted construction would shoot hot flying rivets around the crew compartment when it was hit. Also, tactical doctrine was inflexible and did not account for the rapid German advance
One could say that everything we thought we knew about Iraq was wrong and much of what we did is wrong.
posted by Steve @ 9:16:00 AM