Astonishing! Amazing! Can you believe this, and in secret, bureaucratic, police state America! In exactly three weeks of breaking the Iraqi POW torture scandal, we not only have a conviction, but sentencing as well. Now thats got to be the absolute height of United States government efficiency!
In an Associated Press article entitled, U.S. Soldier Is Sentenced to a Year in Prison for Iraq Abuse, published in The New York Times on May 19th, exactly three weeks to the day that CBS aired the Abu Ghriab prisoner abuse photos on 60 Minutes, one of the hapless victims of the war crimes planned and perpetrated by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, was sentenced to a year in prison. Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits received the maximum penalty Wednesday - one year in prison, reduction in rank, and a bad conduct discharge - in the first court-martial stemming from the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghriab prison, states the article by Scheherezade Faramarzi and Katarina Kratovac and others.
Of course, the story wasnt broken by CBS - just the pictures were. But that got the attention of reality TV and American Idol members of the American public. Graphic pictures of whats going on and wham! American government moves responding to the will of the people!
While Sivits was being court-martialed and disgraced, the two conspirators that carried out Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfelds SAP plan, as augmented by Defense Under Secretary for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, Sanchez and Miller, were being featured in another AP article carried in The New York Times that same day, entitled General Pledges Investigation of Abuse in Iraq. Apparently the top-level lead criminals did feel secure and protected so testifying was no big deal.
We may find that the evidence produced in these investigations not only leads to more courts-martial, but causes us to revisit actions previously taken in cases which may have been handled to date by adverse administrative action, the article quotes Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez as saying. The AP through these reports indicated that, the two top military commanders of U.S. forces in Iraq - Gen. John Abizaid and [Sanchez] -- appeared before a U.S. Senate committee to testify. Sanchez said the mistreatment will be investigated thoroughly up the chain of command, and that includes me. Miller was there as well.
Sounds like Sanchez said the right words, but thats all they are, words! This black project thing of theirs goes right to the White House, as evidenced by the presidents counsels memorandum to Bush warning of the projects violation of the Geneva Convention. The Seymour Hersh piece in The New Yorker points to the fact that there is a lot more evidence out there, and getting to the top of this matter is relatively easy. Something tells US that wont happen. Theyve got their scapegoats!
According to an article entitled Definitely a Cover-Up on ABCs website on May 18th, Brian Ross and Alexandra Salomon quote Sgt. Samuel Provance: Theres definitely a cover-up. People are either telling themselves or being told to be quiet. The article goes on, Provance, 30, was part of the 302nd Military Intelligence Battalion stationed at Abu Ghriab last September. He spoke to ABCNEWS despite orders not to. What I was surprised at was the silence by so many people that had to be involved, that had to have seen something or heard something. Also, Top military officials have claimed the abuse seen in the photos was limited to a few MPs, but Provance says the sexual humiliation of prisoners began as a technique ordered by the interrogators from military intelligence.
The information offered by the sergeant squares with the Hersh-New Yorker article. In yet another article in The New York Times by Douglas Jehl and Eric Schmitt on May 19th entitled Officer Says Army Tried to Curb Red Cross Visits to Prison in Iraq, the article details once again Sanchezs total control of the Abu Ghriab war crimes situation. As specified in the Geneva Convention, the International Committee of the Red Cross is the officially designated neutral, multi-national investigative body designated by the 191 nations that signed the GC in 1949. The ICRC found and reported abuses first at Guantanamo, where actual prisoners of war were detained and captured, for the most part, in Afghanistan. Yet these prisoners of war were identified as terrorists, so the intelligence spooks, better identified as American Gestapo, felt that they could do with the prisoners as they damned well pleased.
The guy in charge at Gitmo that permitted as well as directed outrages against prisoners was Miller, who was then transferred to Sanchezs command in Iraq. The prisoners at Abu Ghriab were not combatants at all, but kidnapped civilians. These illegal kidnappings, conducted in exactly the same fashion as civilian sweeps by the Nazis during World War II, brought innocent civilians into prison captivity for terrorist torture and humiliation. But the American Military Gestapo has offered that these are not captured enemy soldiers, but civilians! And that makes it more acceptable?! In my humble opinion, it in fact makes it much worse!
The Jehl and Schmitt article states, In an interview on Tuesday, the White House general counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, said he had not been aware that the issue of whether the Red Cross should be allowed to conduct such inspections was a point of dispute. He added, however, that he might have had concerns about allowing such inspections. Huh?! He went on to say that the ICRC should have provided advance notice concerning surprise inspections. But then how would they be a surprise? And this guy is a lawyer???
the same guy who pointed out in a memo to Unser Fuehrer that the SAP program
violated the Geneva Convention. Now how would he know that, and not know
that the ICRC was the impartial inspection agency selected to conduct
these inspections? And of what value are scheduled inspections when you
are trying to uncover the evildoing being perpetrated against helpless,
captive, defenseless victims of war crimes?
© 2004 THEODORE E. LANG All rights reserved
Ted Lang is a political analyst and a freelance writer.