Thursday, June 19, 2008


Dan Froomkin

The two-star general who led an Army investigation into the horrific detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib has accused the Bush administration of war crimes and is calling for accountability.

In his 2004 report on Abu Ghraib, then-Major General Anthony Taguba concluded that "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees." He called the abuse "systemic and illegal." And, as Seymour M. Hersh reported in the New Yorker, he was rewarded for his honesty by being forced into retirement.

Now, in a preface to a Physicians for Human Rights report based on medical examinations of former detainees, Taguba adds an epilogue to his own investigation.

Frank Donaghue, CEO of Physicians for Human Rights

Medical examinations of 11 former terrorism suspects held by U.S. troops found proof of physical and psychological torture resulting in long-term damage, a human rights advocacy group said on Wednesday.

Mistreatment cited by the men included beatings and other physical and sexual abuse, isolation, forced nakedness and being forced into painful stress positions with hands and feet bound.

"The evaluations provide evidence of violation of criminal laws prohibiting torture and of the commission of war crimes by U.S. personnel," said the report by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Physicians for Human Rights.

Scott Horton: Torture from the Top Down

The Bush administration officials who pushed torture will need to be careful about their travel plans.

Juan Cole has a round up of the torture scandal, including videos of McClatchy reporters being interviewed by Aljazeera.

(NYT) The Bush administration’s war crimes system “is designed to get criminal convictions” with “no real evidence,” Commander Kuebler says. Or he lets fly that military prosecutors “launder evidence derived from torture.”

Oh, and Fuck Metallica the strange lexicon of 21st-century America, the US military calls this "torture lite". Torture is apparently OK if it is not too "heavy". Metallica's Enter Sandman has been played at cacophonous levels for hours on end in Guantánamo Bay and at a detention centre on the Iraqi-Syrian border. One Iraqi prisoner said it was done at "an unidentified location called 'the disco'".

Unfortunately, some artists are not offended by their work being used to torture. "If the Iraqis aren't used to freedom, then I'm glad to be part of their exposure," James Hetfield, co-founder of Metallica, has said.

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