A leading US civil liberties group has obtained a document showing that the former US commander in Iraq sanctioned the abuse that took place in Abu Ghraib prison.

The document, which is published on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website, reveals that Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez authorised interrogation techniques using dogs, stress positions, sleep and isolation.

General Sanchez authorised interrogation techniques that were in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and the army’s own standards,” ACLU attorney Amrit Singh said.

“He and other high-ranking officials who bear responsibility for the widespread abuse of detainees must be held accountable.”

ACLU is accusing General Sanchez of perjury after he denied that he had permitted such techniques during a Senate Armed Services Committee in May 2004.

“I never approved any of those measures to be used … at any time in the last year,” he said under oath.


Somebody please explain to me why this is not being reported ANYWHERE in the American press.

Lieutenant-General Sanchez’s testimony, given under oath before the Senate Armed Services committee, is utterly inconsistent with the written record, and deserves serious investigation,” Anthony D Romero, ACLU executive director, said in a letter to attorney-general Alberto Gonzales, asking him to open an investigation into possible perjury.

Now that is kinda funny – the ACLU is asking a perjurer to investigate, or appoint a special prosecutor to investigate, someone else’s perjury.

Anyway, how is this seen in the Arab world?

Reacting to the development, Alaa Shalabi, a senior researcher with the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in Egypt, said the revelations were not a surprise.

“We have proof that these kinds of techniques were practised, especially in Abu Ghraib,” he said. “Such actions raise suspicions about the whole chain of command all the way to [US President George] Bush. These practices have been justified by the Pentagon.”

Shalabi said he thought abuses were common in all of the detention camps run by the US military.

The US Defence Department said they will respond to the issue in due course of time

Our only hope is to take the House back in 2006.  Without investigatory powers, we’ll never stop this shit.

Meanwhile, MSNBC scares us all with this Newsweek report:

Terror Broker

Bin Laden needed a role in the Iraqi insurgency, and Zarqawi needed outside support. How a deadly deal was made.

Zarqawi had “a terrifying face,” al-Iraqi recalled later. But the envoy said he knew at once that Zarqawi was exactly what Al Qaeda needed. “There is no –doubt that he is the best man to lead foreign and Iraqi insurgents in Iraq,” al-Iraqi told bin Laden when he got back to the caves, according to Zabihullah’s account. “He deserves our support.” The envoy has made three trips to Iraq since then. Just before the last, in September, a London-based Arabic-language daily quoted Zarqawi as repudiating bin Laden and Al Qaeda: “I have not sworn allegiance to the sheik and I am not working within the framework of his organization.” But after meeting again with al-Iraqi, the Jordanian proclaimed his loyalty to bin Laden and announced a new name for his terrorist group: “Al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers.” “I’m a loyal soldier and ready to sacrifice myself to the sheik, who is our leader,” he told al-Iraqi.

Bin Laden replied by issuing an audiotape that praised Zarqawi’s exploits and called him the “prince of Al Qaeda in Iraq.” The tape instructed all Qaeda supporters to follow Zarqawi’s orders. Bin Laden had already made his wishes known to Zarqawi via al-Iraqi. “My greatest wish is for you to keep the resistance alive and growing, to increase the number of local insurgents and give the Iraqis more decision-making powers,” Zarqawi was told. “Make it as much of an Iraqi organization as possible.” Bin Laden also urged his prince to widen the war against America: “We have to expand our attacks on the enemy outside Iraq.”

The envoy is proud of his work. “I’m the person who broke the silence and solved the difficulties between Zarqawi and the Al Qaeda leadership,” he told Zabihullah. Donations to Al Qaeda’s coffers had dried up as bin Laden’s top men were killed or captured. Now private money is once again flooding in. Bin Laden himself is looking more confident and relaxed–maybe too relaxed, al-Iraqi said. When he visited the Qaeda leader in November, the envoy noticed fewer checkpoints than previously along the trail. “The sheik has a new mentality and is more healthy,” he told Zabi-hullah. On his last visit to Iraq, the envoy got an offer from Zarqawi: if life got too risky in the mountains along Pakistan’s border, bin Laden would be welcome to take refuge with him among the insurgents in Iraq. The envoy politely declined. At present, the Qaeda leader seems to be doing just fine where he is.

I think we should make this our cause celebre.  The proof here is so damning, if we could just get the Dems to hang together and insist on investigations, we might finally make some headway.

Caveat:  this could reinforce the false stereotype of Dems being anti-military.  

Fuck that tho – this is a pro-military stance to take, we all know it and it’s time for Democrats to stop underestimating Americans.

This is a scandal that should, in a decent world, explode.  The documents probably lead right up to Rummy’s doorstep – possibly even to Rove’s, or even Bush’s…

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