|Description||'Copper Green' was one of several codewords for a US Black Ops program, formed with the direct approval of the then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who reportedly told special access members to “Grab whom you must. Do what you want.”|
Copper Green, September 2004
“If anyone still thinks that the only people who dreamt up the idea about torturing prisoners were just some privates and corporals at Abu Ghraib, this document should put that myth to rest.” - Tom Malinowski, Washington, Director of Human Rights Watch.
I suppose one has to shake-off the feeling of shame and take a look at what’s happened. It’s predictable perhaps that the top brass are ducking the allegations of a review body appointed by Torturer-in-Chief Donald Rumsfeld, cheered to the rafters on his sneak visit to Iraq after Abu Ghraib first blew open.
The facts are plain and depressingly simple. After witnessing acts of physical and psychological abuse during a visit to Abu Ghraib in October 2003, Red Cross delegates queried US military officers at the prison about the practice of keeping some prisoners naked, in completely bare and unlit cells. According to the report:
- “The military officer in charge of the interrogation explained that this practice was `part of the process’.”
Most prisoners at Abu Ghraib have not been charged with any crime and are being held without trial. A report released by human rights group Amnesty International in March observed that, “families waiting outside Abu Ghraib prison say most of their relatives were picked up in indiscriminate raids” aimed at netting some suspected supporters of Iraqi resistance attacks on US occupation troops.
In some cases, the detainee has simply been related to an Iraqi whom the US invader army wants to detain – spouses and children being arrested to “encourage” people sought by the US occupiers to come forward, a blatant violation of international law. But this is not isolated to one jail in Iraq, cases against the Coalition of the Willing are being pressed for incidents in unknown sites across the country and in numerous secret camps throughout the world.
In December 2002, the Washington Post revealed that suspected Taliban and al Qaeda fighters held at the US-controlled Bagram air base in Afghanistan were being tortured. It reported:
- “Those who refuse to cooperate inside this secret CIA interrogation center are sometimes kept standing or kneeling for hours, in black hoods or spray-painted goggles, according to intelligence specialists familiar with CIA interrogation methods.”
The debate becomes centred around not whether this happened, nor how widespread it was, but whether it was part of a systematic programme or a general failure of control, a collapse of moral authority, or the assertion of an immoral one. It becomes increasingly clear that the only sensible analysis is that it was the latter. As Seymour Hersh has written:
- “The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focused on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.”
According to interviews with American intelligence officials, the Pentagon’s operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq.
According to Hersh:
- “A senior CIA official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from [[Donald Rumsfeld]|Rumsfeld]]’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the CIA.”
Although the new report into the abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison is expected to incriminate at least a further two dozen military personnel it states clearly:
- ” … there was no official policy of abuse at the jail.” It’s not so much a cover up as a dumb-down. “The report will show that these actions were bad, illegal, unauthorised, and some of it was sadistic,” a defence department official told the Washington Post.
Bad actions. Unauthorised actions.
- “But it will show that they were the actions of a few, actions that went unnoticed because of leadership failures,” he added.
Crucially, and here’s the centre of the storm, according to Mr Schlesinger, it would be wrong for the Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to resign:
- “His resignation would be a boon to all of America’s enemies.”
Neither did the four man panel think the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, should resign.
No surprise there then. But while Hutton, Butler and now Schlesinger get these thugs a Get Out of Jail in the short term, their evasion erodes remaining confidence in the elite rule they represent. Even functionaries like Hoon, normally anonymous in state torture, suddenly become more prominent, as do their apologists and escapologists in the media.
Lounge columnist and war-enthusiast Christopher Hitchens is one who’s feeling embarrassed. Columns like his "Moral Chernobyl – prepare for the worst on Abu Ghraib" are almost enough to elicit sympathy for his compromised position. You can almost feel him squirm after a heavy Washington lunch when he writes:
- “So in a distressing sense … we face something like a collective responsibility, if not exactly a collective guilt.”
|Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse||Top level sanctioned torture on US prisoners, both to gather information about the effects of torture on victims and perpetrators as well as to intimidate and sew dragon's teeth.|