Monday :: Dec 20, 2004

On the President's Authority

by larre

The American Civil Liberties Union today released documents obtained from the Government that claim top officials of the Bush administration, including the president himself, authorized "the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq."

The documents, which were produced by court order, include FBI agent email messages and internal memos. They were ordered produced in connection with a long-pending lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act and are now available on the web. Extensive portions were redacted by the Government before disclosure to the ACLU but what remains is very damning.

One email purports to be from the "On Scene Commander--Baghdad" in May 2004. In it, the author refers to an Executive Order in which President Bush directly authorized interrogation techniques such as sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc." Both the Geneva Conventions and the FBI's own rules prohibit agents from employing such techniques, of course. Apart from the inhumanity of it, the FBI is upset because confessions and other evidence obtained through such means are inadmissable in U.S. criminal prosecutions.

Another email among the 21 documents released by the ACLU is a June 2004 "Urgent Report" to the FBI Director. This, the ACLU says, "raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up."

The document is blacked out extensively, but as an ACLU statement says --

"legible portions of the document appear to describe an account given to the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office by an FBI agent who had "observed numerous physical abuse incidents of Iraqi civilian detainees," including "strangulation, beatings, [and] placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees ear openings." The document states that "[redacted] was providing this account to the FBI based on his knowledge that [redacted] were engaged in a cover-up of these abuses."
At least three email documents contain eye witness accounts of abusive treatment, outright torture, and child rape of Guantanamo inmates, plus a description of an Army lawyer's strained efforts to come up with a legal fig leaf for the outrages being committed by U.S. Defense Department interrogators. Also revealed in the documents is evidence that Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz expressly authorized DoD interrogators to impersonate FBI agents when torturing prisoners.

There's not much more I feel like saying. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, and the rest of the thugs Bush has put in charge of the Defense Department are worse than gangsters.

larre :: 7:28 PM :: Comments (22) :: Digg It!