Intimidating Whistle Blowers

Troubling testimony on the Hill yesterday. We have widespread evidence of detainee abuse and widespread lack of any real accountability. Now we have alleged punishment of witnesses to war crimes:

Spec. Samuel Provance, also dressed in Army green, said he was demoted and humiliated after telling a general investigating the Abu Ghraib scandal that senior officers had covered up the full extent of abuse during interrogations of detainees at the U.S. military prison in Iraq.

"Young soldiers were scapegoated while superiors misrepresented what had happened and tried to misdirect attention away from what was really going on," Provance said. "I considered all of this conduct to be dishonorable and inconsistent with the traditions of the Army. I was ashamed and embarrassed to be associated with it."...

Provance made a new allegation about the Abu Ghraib controversy, saying that U.S. forces had captured the 16-year-old son of an Iraqi general under Saddam Hussein, Hamid Zabar, to pressure the general into providing information.

"I was extremely uncomfortable about the way General Zabar had been treated, but particularly the fact that his son had been captured and used in this way," Provance said. "It struck me as morally reprehensible, and I could not understand why our command was doing it."...

Asked what his current military duties are, the former computer specialist replied," The only thing I've been doing since being demoted is picking up trash and pulling guard duty."

The soldier's testimony fits the pattern, however, as revealed in the various government and international inquiries. In this war, the U.S. has clearly used threats against family members to coerce testimony from detainees.