Thursday, July 28, 2005

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

Zounds! More long held common knowledge emerges in today's mainstream media!

Surprise #1:

Josh White of The Washington Post files this today:

Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller told top officers during an advisory visit to Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison that they needed to get military working dogs for use in interrogations, and he advocated procedures then in use at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to court testimony yesterday.

Maj. David DiNenna, the top military police operations officer at Abu Ghraib in 2003, said that when Miller and a team of Guantanamo Bay officials visited in early September 2003, Miller advocated mirroring the Cuba operation.

"We understood he was sent over by the secretary of defense," DiNenna testified by telephone. DiNenna said Miller and his team were at Abu Ghraib "to take their interrogation techniques they used at Guantanamo Bay and incorporate them into Iraq."

The use of military dogs to exploit fear in detainees was approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for use on a specific important detainee in Cuba in late 2002 and early 2003.

DiNenna also supported claims made by Janis L. Karpinski, then a brigadier general in charge of U.S. prisons in Iraq as the commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade, that Miller said he wanted to "Gitmo-ize" Abu Ghraib.

The claim that prison abuses were "isolated instances" of actions by "a few bad apples" was never credible. At long last, Josh White and others in the mainstream media are managing to bring the truth to the surface.

Where I think the trail will lead? Well, we pretty much already know what happened--Rumsfeld (and most likely Cheney) decided they needed a way to maneuver around US civil and military law as well as a series of long standing international agreements in handling prisoners of the war on terror. Then White House Counsel Alberto Sanchez ginned up position papers that supported the objective. Then "Mad Dog" Miller went to Gitmo to carry out the policy, then Rummy sent him to Iraq, and then Torturegate spread to Afghanistan, where two prisoners were chained to the ceiling and beaten to death.

In the meantime, the only people to face criminal charges over Torturegate are enlisted personnel.


Surprise #2

I concur with Bob Herbert's assessment of the hoopla about troop withdrawal from Iraq: it's a political feint.

The Bush administration has no plans to bring the troops home from this misguided war...

What has so often gotten lost in all the talk about terror and weapons of mass destruction is the fact that for so many of the most influential members of the Bush administration, the obsessive desire to invade Iraq preceded the Sept. 11 attacks. It preceded the Bush administration. The neoconservatives were beating the war drums on Iraq as far back as the late 1990's...

The invasion of Iraq was part of a much larger, long-term policy that had to do with the U.S. imposing its will, militarily when necessary, throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Over at Huffington Post, Tom Hayden (who's never been one of my all time favorite guys) also hits what I believe to be the real stratagem behind the troop withdrawal talk.

The US (by "US" I assume Tom means the White House/Pentagon neocon cabal) wants to avoid more casualties on the battlefield and political losses in election year 2006.

They want to confuse, divide, lull and deflate American and global anti-war opinion.

They want to take the risk of some American troop withdrawals this winter or spring.

By seeming to begin withdrawal, they are looking for a way to stay.

If they succeed, public attention will drift away from the Iraq War and the peace movement will be isolated.

You'll notice, if you look carefully, that none of the happy talk about troop withdrawal coming from Rummy or US commander in Iraq General Casey contains words like "complete, permanent withdrawal."

The neocon men put our troops in Iraq to establish a permanent set of military bases and control of Middle East oil. They've come this far, they're not likely to change their aims now, or stop short of achieving them.


Surprise #3

Can you believe it?

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee want to know if John Bolton testified before Patrick Fitzgerald's Plame/Rove/Niger/Traitorgate grand jury.

Seems like a reasonable question to me. Bolton was, after all, the guy who put the bogus Niger intelligence into a State Department "fact sheet" and then tried to cover the fact he had done so. And he's known to have ties with New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who is presently doing time for refusing to speak to the grand jury. It strains the bounds of credulity to think that hard charging Patrick Fitzgerald didn't want the grand jury to hear what Bolton had to say for himself.

However, comma, as part of his confirmation process, Bolton was required to fill out a question form that asked whether he was "interviewed or asked to supply any information in connection with any administrative (including an inspector general), congressional or grand jury investigation within the past five years."

Bolton replied that he had not been.

Do I hear the sound of one football fumbling?


Bonus Surprise!

From Barry Schweid of the Associated Press:

An independent panel headed by two former U.S. national security advisers said Wednesday that chaos in Iraq was due in part to inadequate postwar planning.

Astounding, Holmes. We needed an independent panel headed by not one but two former national security advisers to figure that one out? How many tax dollars did we spend to arrive at such a revelation?


Okay, okay. Time to give the mainstream media a break. After the calculated drubbing they've taken at the hands of the Rovewellian propaganda machine, they have to make sure they cross every "t" and dot every "i" before they go to press. And, in fairness, I think they're making a hell of a comeback since the Rathergate fiasco.

I've been especially impressed with the tenacity of Josh White and Dana Priest of the Post and Newsweek's Michael Isikoff in sticking with the Torturgate story.

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