Monday, November 07, 2005

Cheney ordered US prisoner torture

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Powell aide - Cheney ordered US prisoner torture

From the International Herald Tribune:

"WASHINGTON Vice President Dick Cheney's office was responsible for directives that led to U.S. soldiers' abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, a former top State Department official said Thursday.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, then the secretary of state, told National Public Radio he had traced a trail of memos and directives authorizing questionable detention practices up through Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's office directly to Cheney's staff.

"The secretary of defense under cover of the vice president's office," Wilkerson said, "regardless of the president having put out this memo" - "they began to authorize procedures within the armed forces that led to what we've seen."

He said the directives contradicted a 2002 order by President George W. Bush for the U.S. military to abide by the Geneva conventions against torture.

"There was a visible audit trail from the vice president's office through the secretary of defense, down to the commanders in the field," authorizing practices that led to the abuse of detainees, Wilkerson said.

The directives were "in carefully couched terms," Wilkerson conceded, but said they had the effect of loosening the reins on U.S. troops, leading to many cases of prisoner abuse, including at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, that were contrary to the Geneva Conventions.

"If you are a military man, you know that you just don't do these sorts of things," Wilkerson said, because troops will take advantage, or feel so pressured to obtain information that "they have to do what they have to do to get it."

He said that Powell had assigned him to investigate the matter after reports emerged in the media about U.S. troops abusing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both men had formerly served in the U.S. military.

1 comment:

Brother said...

Hey - been trying to reach you. We would love to see you. It has made me think of a story I read in Phil Jackson's book. When I told you, you had already heard it, and expounded on it with several other stories over a bottle of wine (or two) and three or four hours.

Call soon.

Two monks were traveling together in a heavy downpour when they came upon a beautiful woman in a silk kimono trying to cross a muddy intersection. "Come on," said the first monk to the woman, and he carried her to a dry spot. The second monk didn't say anything until much later. Finally he said "We monks don't go near females. Why did you do that?"

"I left the woman back there," the first monk replied. "Are you still carrying her?"

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