Thursday, June 17, 2004

Camp Cropper

What's just beginning to surface publicly about OTHER military prisons in Iraq -- or "detainee facilities" -- seems likely to make Abu Ghraib look like Westglo Spa by comparison.

This morning there's news that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld himself gave the order to keep a certain Iraqi prisoner unlisted on the official rolls of another prison, mainly to prevent the International Committee of the Red Cross from monitoring his treatment, treatment which we also know violated the Geneva Convention, which is exactly why Rumsfeld needed to hide the guy and "other ghost detainees." "Ghosts," because there's no paper trail to prove they're anywhere, let alone in American custody, being subjected to the liberating experience of 21st Century American constitutional democracy.

"Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, the Army officer who in February investigated abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison, criticized the practice of allowing ghost detainees there and at other detention centers as 'deceptive, contrary to Army doctrine, and in violation of international law.' "

The other prison in this instance is called "Camp Cropper," on the outskirts of Baghdad International Airport. It is said to contain "about 100 prisoners ... deemed to have the highest intelligence value."

Now, if our guys did what they did at Abu Ghraib to people who weren't even of "the highest intelligence value," can you imagine what's gone on at Camp Cropper. Well, yes, perhaps you can imagine it, aided not a little bit by recent photographic evidence, which is why Rumsfeld was issuing orders to keep the Red Cross from checking too closely into conditions at Camp Cropper, where "some prisoners had been held since June 2003 for nearly 23 hours a day in solitary confinement in small cells without sunlight, according to a report by the international Red Cross."

What we know so far is the merest tip of this particular ice berg. And if Rumsfeld & Co. have their way, we'll never know the extent of how they've trashed our constitution and international law in the name of "freedom" and God's Bush subsidiary on earth.

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