Saturday, May 22, 2004

The guys NOT charged for Abu Ghraib

While seven hapless "hillbillies" take the rap for Abu Ghraib, it is now becoming clear that the guys in charge at that prison had learned their techniques from Afghanistan, the earlier battleground where, so far, little hue & cry has gone up about the torture of prisoners.

From Friday's New York Times: "The interrogation center at Abu Ghraib prison was run by a military intelligence unit that had served in Afghanistan and that had taken to Iraq the aggressive rules and procedures it had developed for the Afghan conflict, according to documents and testimony."

And a new North Carolina name surfaces in all this sordidness: "Some members of the unit, part of the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, from Fort Bragg, N.C., have already been quietly punished in connection with the abuse of an Iraqi woman at the prison, according to documents recently released by the Army. In August 2003, the officer in charge of the unit, Capt. Carolyn A. Wood, an experienced Army interrogator, posted her own list of 'interrogation rules of engagement,' which were inconsistent with those later issued for Iraq by the top American commander, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, according to Congressional officials."

It's the "quietly punished" part of that passage that gets our attention.

But the only people actually charged with crimes so far in the abuse have been members of the 372nd Military Police Company, from Cumberland, Maryland, including recruits from nearby West Virginia like Lynndie England, who served as guards in the cellblock.

Interesting factoid: the cellblock where the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion (the guys from Afghanistan) did their interrogating was a different cellblock from where the photos of the 372nd Military Police Company were made. So... did the 519th, like, go slumming?

The term "harsh measures" seems so ... euphemistic, in light of this: "In a closed briefing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, a senior Army lawyer acknowledged that the [prisoner interrogation] process might have left unclear to some officers the degree to which harsh measures, including sensory and sleep deprivation, were permissible."

And, oh yeah! "In Afghanistan, military officials said, American forces use harsher tactics for interrogations than in Iraq." So, they go DOWN the toilet in Kabal, not just INTO it, right?

And now this bit of woefully underreported news: "A report by The Denver Post in April -- based on Army records and published in April, before the broader Abu Ghraib scandal became known -- disclosed that three soldiers from the 519th Battalion had been fined and demoted in a closed proceeding stemming from the abuse of an Iraqi woman at Abu Ghraib."

"Fined and demoted," when probably they deserved, like, boiling in Wesson oil?

This is what we're catching up on. Spend a couple of days planting the vegetable garden, because the signs are right, and this is the crap you read about our esteemed Bush-War, when you finally stumble back to the computer from the tomato patch. Why did we ever come back in from the tomato patch?

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