This is the Archive site for Firedoglake. To go to the main site please click on the following link

Monday, December 20, 2004

Scapegoat Pool: Who Wants Wolfowitz?

The ACLU now says it has obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act that show the President authorized the use of torture in Iraqi prisons as a matter of policy that ultimately led to the Abu Graib scandal. One of the documents, an FBI email which was sent in May 2004 from "On Scene Commander--Baghdad" to various senior FBI officials, notes that the FBI prohibits its agents from using the torture as a matter of policy, and wonders how this jibes with the most recent dictum from the President:

Our questions relate to the instruction in the EC to report abuse. The EC states that if "an FBI employee knows or suspects non-FBI personnel has abused or is abusing or mistreating a detanee, the FBI employee must report the incident."

This instruction begs the question of what constitutes "abuse." We assume this does not include lawful interrogation techniques authorized by Executive Order. We are aware that prior to a revision in policy last week, an Executive Order signed by President Bush authorized the following interrogation techniques among others sleep "management," use of MWDs (military working dogs), "stress positions" such as half squats, "environmental manipulation" such as the use of loud music, sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc.

There has been widespread speculation that the methods of torture used by various branches of the military had too much in common to be simply random acts of brutality. These documents suggest that the link between these events goes all the way to the top.

A press release by the ACLU describes the FBI's attempts to cover their collective asses:

Another e-mail, dated December 2003, describes an incident in which Defense Department interrogators at Guantánamo Bay impersonated FBI agents while using "torture techniques" against a detainee. The e-mail concludes "If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done [sic] the ‘FBI’ interrogators. The FBI will [sic] left holding the bag before the public."

The document also says that no "intelligence of a threat neutralization nature" was garnered by the "FBI" interrogation, and that the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF) believes that the Defense Department’s actions have destroyed any chance of prosecuting the detainee. The e-mail’s author writes that he or she is documenting the incident "in order to protect the FBI."

The release of the documents is the result of a federal court order that compelled government agencies to comply with a year-old request filed under the FIA by the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans for Peace. They go to court again today to seek an order compelling the CIA to turn over records related to an internal investigation into detainee abuse, which they have so far refused to do.

The truly sad thing about this is that the 59 million people who voted for His Ignorance would only cheer should the allegations turn out to be true. See the Joseph Darby story, below.

Now we all know that the current Congress would not impeach Bush if he joined Michael Jackson for a bout of serial child molestation on live TV. But it's worth dropping an email to your own congressperson and senator, if only for your own peace of mind. (Thanks to Atrios)