Last Wednesday, the 18th, Scott McClellan said this about Newsweek,
There has been some lasting damage that has been done to our image… and it’s going to take some work to repair that damage.
Today the FBI released a report from one of their agents that says,
About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet.
I’m tired today.. didn’t get enough sleep.. so forgive my punchyness. But this kind of shit makes me really angry. I’m angry that people keep believing in people who are so obviously lying. I was watching the Rochester, NY (NBC?) digital channel last night and they showed Bush entering a hall to the cheers of the audience. Why the hell are they cheering this guy? HE is responsible for Guantanamo Bay. HE is responsible for the Koran flushing down the toilet. HE is responsible for those 15 lives that were lost in riots in Afghanistan.
And yet he does nothing… worse… he only continues the trend. And people applaud him for doing so.
Oh and by the way, Amnesty International released its’ annual report today. They have some predictably choice words for the US Administrations current disdain for Human Rights.
President Bush’s refusal to apply the Geneva Conventions to those captured during the international armed conflict in Afghanistan and transferred to the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was challenged by a judicial decision in November. The ruling resulted in the suspension of trials by military commission in Guantánamo, and the government immediately lodged an appeal. The US administration’s treatment of detainees in the “war on terror” continued to display a marked ambivalence to the opinion of expert bodies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and even of its own highest judicial body. Six months after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal courts had jurisdiction over the Guantánamo detainees, none had appeared in court. Detainees reportedly considered of high intelligence value remained in secret detention in undisclosed locations. In some cases their situation amounted to “disappearance”.
Who’s going to be left to clean up the disaster that 4 more years of George Bush will create?
Here’s the transcript of summaries provided by the FBI through the ACLU.
LT-Smash has again challenged me on my assertion that Newsweek got it right. I ask him, and others. In Journalism accusations of wrongdoing are often the basis of the news. This case is no different.
Until there is an investigation that proves this one way or the other, the Pentagon and Administration can deny it all they want, but it’s just a matter of “he said/she said” for now.
The scandal is that the US Administration refuses to investigate it at all… the scandal is that these detainees at Guantanamo have been denied their rights under the Geneva Conventions the US Supreme Court deems that to be wrong (as mentioned in the BBC article above).
The Link above to the ACLU has one summary that states:
Notes that REDACTED “accused Pakistani Police with giving him electric shocks and U.S. troops of beating him. . . . REDACTED lied to the interrogators in Kandahar because he felt that if he didn’t say what the interrogators wanted, they would continue to beat him. REDACTED was then shown a photograph of himself taken in Kandahar and asked to point out where any bruises or signs of a beating were located. REDACTED then admitted to lying about the beatings.”
So now that he’s admitted about lying about the beatings I’m supposed to automatically believe that he was lying about the Koran as well? No, not when I see this in an ABC report (also linked by Smash).
In January 2003, the military issued a three-page written guideline for handling a detainee’s Quran, including a stipulation that it should be handled “as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art,” and that it not be placed in “offensive areas such as the floor, near the toilet or sink, near the feet or dirty/wet areas.”
(the abuse allegedly happened in 2002, I wonder why they mentioned a toilet specifically?)
and this from an earlier ABC report that Smash sent me in an email.
While the guards held him, she removed her blouse, embraced the detainee from behind and put her hand on his genitals. The interrogator was on her menstrual period and she wiped blood from her body on his face and head,” the memo stated.
A similar incident was described in a recent book written by a former Guantanamo interrogator.
Are they going to accuse the interrogator of lying as well?
The honest thing to do here would be for the Administration to launch a full, independant investigation by an NGO like, say, the ICRC (because it *is* their job after all). Of course, if you listen to Smash and friends you’ll hear that the ICRC is obviously biased because all they care about is all those lefties who only care about avoding wars and “demoralizing” the troops and that the US Administration can obviously police itself.
What the past 3 years has taught me is that the US Administration is far from capable in that regard.
In response to Smashs’ response in the comments.
I would appreciate it if you would refrain from putting words in my mouth. For instance, I never said anything like:
“the ICRC is obviously biased because all they care about is all those lefties who only care about avoding wars and “demoralizing” the troops and that the US Administration can obviously police itself.”
The ICRC is, in fact, allowed access to prisoners at Guantanamo. They provide feedback on the conditions to the US Gov’t. They have played this role in conflicts around the globe for almost 100 years now. I might not agree with everything they say, but I appreciate the vital services they perform. Who knows, I might need them on my side one day.
Fine. I retract that statement for you personally as you never said it verbatim. However it was mainly directed at the responses that I knew I would get from your readers and from others. And since you chose to attack me personally, I did the same.. I should not have. The ICRC, while commending the efforts to allow them unfettered access still considers the prisoners legal status unacceptable. You can read this report from one of the ICRC reps who went to Gitmo for yourself.
The problem is that the ICRC only communicates to Govt agencies. It does not reveal its’ findings to the public. This is for good reason… however, when things get crazy like they have after the Newsweek article and after the photos at Abu Graib, a completely open and transparent investigation is the only thing that’s going to fix the problem and de-politicize the situation.
If the US let in Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International or Human Rights First (formerly Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) to investigate and report publicly then we wouldn’t be having this “he said she said” problem. We would know, and have access to, the truth. Unfortunately, they refused during the Gitmo trials and they have continued to refuse to this day.
Instead, the US Administration simply denies it and hopes that it goes away. Which will never work… and only adds to the problem and perception of guilt.
The FBI report is not a fully open investigation. It has no names. It doesn’t say what was actually said in the entire interrogation. And it had to be obtained specifically through a Freedom of Information request.