Darkness Falls on American Justice: Abu Ghraib Officer Claims Probe Was Incomplete

Via Federal News Radio (hat-tip to JRichards for the heads-up):

January 11, 2008 - 6:33am -- By BEN NUCKOLS
Associated Press Writer

BALTIMORE (AP) - The revelation that the Army threw out the conviction of the only officer court-martialed in the Abu Ghraib scandal renewed outrage from human rights advocates who complained that not enough military and civilian leaders were held accountable for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

Those critics found an unlikely ally in the officer himself, Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, whose conviction on a minor charge of disobeying an order was dismissed this week, leaving him with only an administrative reprimand.

Jordan told The Associated Press on Thursday he believes many officers and enlisted soldiers did not face adequate scrutiny in the investigation that led to convictions against 11 soldiers, none with a rank higher than staff sergeant.

He said the probe was "not complete" and that a link between abusive interrogations at Abu Ghraib and in military prisons at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan was not adequately established.

Under the logic of the Bush League, failure and incompetence gets rewarded -- people fail upward, and spectacularly so, until they have nowhere to go but out -- to roam free among the public.

Why is this a concern?

Primarily because that means they are getting away with crimes that they should be held accountable for.

Abu Ghraib -- you know, this place (full quote source):

"Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib ...[...snip...]...those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out."


[Emphasis mine]

There's little doubt that the line of criminality goes all the way to the top, beyond just Rumsfeld's role as SecDef. The BBC News Online had an excellent article that includes a table (recreated below) linking to several "Smoking Gun" documents. From the BBC News article,

BBC Washington correspondent Justin Webb says the documents might go some way towards reassuring the US public.

But he adds that they do not fully address allegations that abuse in Iraq was tacitly encouraged from the top.

A series of photographs depicting abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad has provoked worldwide outrage, prompting this release of documents.

[...snip...]

A Department of Justice memo from August 2002 argues that the torture and even deliberate killing of prisoners could be justified as necessary to protect the US.

The memo from the then Assistant Attorney General, Jay Bybee, says that only actions causing severe pain akin to organ failure would constitute torture.

It is from the Bybee memo definition of torture that President George W. Bush relies upon for his "working" definition, so that he can claim "We do not torture" -- and yet still know that he himself signed off on techniques such as waterboarding, which are, undeniably, torture. Waterboarding had previously been declared torture by the US Government several times in the past.


BUSH ADMINISTRATION "SMOKING GUN" DOCUMENTS [PDF format]
Justice Dept memo, 22 Jan 2002 (3.3mb)
Memo signed by President Bush, 7 Feb 2002 (130k)
Justice Dept memo, 1 Aug 2002 (27.5mb)
Defence Dept memo, 2 Dec 2002 (780k)
Rumsfeld memo, 16 Apr 2003 (1.6mb)

With the latest ruling and the decision to neither properly investigate nor pursue the full truth in the Abu Ghraib crimes, our government has once again proven that under the leadership of criminals and cowards who operate in the shadows, Justice becomes a warped and twisted thing. It is nothing but a word to these men, a word which provides convenient laundering of justification and dismissal of embarassing scrutiny so that they can continue their dark terrors uninterrupted.

NOTE: The PDF documents linked to are currently the self-same links provided by the BBC article; in the interest of saving their bandwidth, we are in the process of moving them locally and ensuring that you will still be able to access them.

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from here:

I had been hesitant to speak out before because this Administration is so vindictive. But now I will ... Anybody who confronts this Administration or Rumsfeld or the Pentagon with a true assessment, they find themselves either out of a job, out of their positions, fired, relieved or chastised. Their career comes to an end.
-- Janis Karpinski, interview with Marjorie Cohn, August 3, 2005

And for a timeline regarding the detention of "enemy combatants" you can check out this one over at NPR.

in this week's The New Yorker ... it's not online, most very, very unfortunately, and it's long, but it details much about the thinking of the new head of the combined Intelligence branches on all things torture related.

Here's at least a link to the audio that The New Yorker has on its site. What We Know

I'll also see if I can download it to transcribe it fully.