The Torture Squads

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Now that some version of Geneva has been reinstated, you will soon find, I'd wager, a slew of revelations about what really went on in Iraq, a place where even Rumsfeld said Geneva applied (while secretly monitoring and condoning Geneva violations against military prisoners). Here's a new piece in the latest Esquire that adds some detail to the story of Captain Ian Fishback, pioneered in part by this blog and its readers a while back now. What the Esquire story shows, I think, is how cloesly the Pentagon and White House were interested in torture, and how people very high up in the Pentagon not only condoned but gave elaborate, professional legal guidance for brutality. Camp Nama, for example, was clearly authorized by high authorities, was a mini-concentration camp for detainees, with U.S. soldiers in no uniform, with no names, licensed by their commander-in-chief to beat and terrorize and torture at will. Money quote from a soldier who witnessed the systematic, approved abuse:

"Once, somebody brought it up with the colonel. 'Will [the Red Cross] ever be allowed in here?' And he said absolutely not. He had this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there's no way that the Red Cross could get in — they won't have access and they never will. This facility was completely closed off to anybody investigating, even Army investigators." ...

During his first six or seven weeks at the camp, Jeff conducted or participated in about fifteen harsh interrogations, most involving the use of ice water to induce hypothermia ...

Within the unit, the interrogators got the feeling they were reporting to the highest levels. The colonel would tell an interrogator that his report "is on Rumsfeld's desk this morning" or that it was "read by SecDef." "That's a big morale booster after a fourteen-hour day," Jeff says with a tinge of irony. "Hey, we got to the White House."

It's past time for the press to connect this to the White House.

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