Rumsfeld “ordered torture”

“This was the command of Donald Rumsfeld himself?” - YES

The Abu Ghraib Scandal Cover-Up? -

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005
Col. Janis Karpinski, the Former Head of Abu Ghraib, Admits
She Broke the Geneva Conventions But Says the Blame
"Goes All the Way to The Top”

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Karpinski, the highest-ranking officer demoted in connection with the torture scandal, speaks out about what happened at the Abu Ghraib prison. She discusses:
How the military hid "ghost detainees" from the International Red Cross in violation of international law;

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller calling for the Gitmoization of Abu Ghraib and for prisoners to be "treated like dogs";

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's secret memos on interrogation policies that hung on the prison’s walls;

The military’s use of private (and possibly Israeli) interrogators;

Her dealings with the International Red Cross;

Why she feels, as a female general, she has been scapegoated for a scandal that has left the military and political leadership unscathed; and
Calls for Donald Rumsfeld, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Alberto Gonzalez and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller to be held accountable for what happened. [includes rush transcript]


* Fmr. Army Chaplain James Yee on the Abuse of Prisoners at Guantanamo,
His Wrongful Imprisonment and Anti-Muslim Sentiment in the Military *

We spend the hour looking at the extraordinary case of Chaplain James Yee -one of the first Muslim Chaplains commissioned by the U.S Army. Yee was posted in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002, but less than a year after serving there, he was accused of espionage by the military and faced charges
o severe, that he was threatened with the death penalty.

The military leaked information about the case to the press and the media
went on a feeding frenzy. Chaplain Yee was vilified on the airwaves as a
traitor to his country and accused of being a mole inside of the Army. Then
the military's case began to unravel. The charges were eventually reduced
and eight months later, dropped altogether. Chaplain Yee has written a book about his experiences called  "For God an Country: Faith and Patriotism under fire."



Why was Lynndie England selected to pose with victims of torture at Abu Ghraib??

Lynndie R. England's Charge Sheet

Left: U.S. Army Pfc. Lynndie England, left, and her mother Terrie England walk into the 18th Airborne Corps Staff Judge Advocate Building at Ft. Bragg, N.C., in this Aug. 31, 2004. Pfc. Lynndie England will plead guilty to abusing Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison, her lawyer said late Friday, April 29, 2005.

Who Is Lynndie Endland?


England grew up in a trailer down a dirt road behind a saloon and a sheep farm in Fort Ashby, W.Va., a one-stoplight town about 13 miles south of Cumberland.
Yesterday afternoon, her mother, Terrie England, pressed her fingers to her lips when a reporter showed her a newspaper photo of her daughter smiling in front of what a caption said were nude Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

"Oh, my God," she said, her body stiffening as she sat on a cooler on the trailer's small stoop.

"I can't get over this," she said, taking a drag on her cigarette.

Lynndie England, a railroad worker's daughter who made honor roll at the high school near here, had enlisted in the 372nd for college money and the chance to widen her small-town horizons. In January, however, she gave her family the first inkling that something had gone woefully wrong.

"I just want you to know that there might be some trouble," she warned her mother in a phone call from Baghdad. "But I don't want you to worry."

Lynndie England said she was under orders to say no more. The military has told the family nothing; all the Englands know is that she has been detained, apparently in connection with the unit's alleged misconduct at the prison.

"Whether she's charged or not, I don't know," Terrie England said.

This was not supposed to be the fate of a girl who grew up hunting turkey or killing time with her sister at the local Dairy Dip, making wisecracks about the cars whizzing past.

"She wanted to see the world and go to college," said Terrie England, whose T-shirt bore a design of heart-shaped American flags. "Now the government turned their back on her, and everything's a big joke."

Lynndie England is pictured in her 2001 senior portrait from Frankfort High School in Short Gap, West Virginia. REUTERS/Handout

“What is offensive to me is that we have generals and the secretary of defence hiding behind a 20-year-old farm girl from West Virginia who lives in a trailer park,” Ra’Shadd said.

Asked if his client considered refusing to obey unlawful orders from jail commanders, he said: “She’s a private. Privates take orders from privates first class.”

Potential penalties for England could range from a reprimand to imprisonment and a punitive discharge. Ra’Shadd and the other lawyers are defending England for free, and he said they plan to meet with her for the first time tomorrow at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Ra’Shadd said his client joined the Army Reserves out of patriotism and to prevent another September 11.

He accused intelligence operatives of staging many of the scenes captured in the photographs in order to scare prisoners into talking.

“That is a standard psychological war method,” he said.


A Chicken in Every Plot
Eternally linked: Lynndie England, chicken-stomping, human-stomping, predatory lending, Bush campaign cash, the Dobsons, and the National Day of Prayer

God-fearin': Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim (left) and one of the many creatures he kills for Christ

Lynndie England's life has degenerated into little more than a double-wide soap opera. But before you wash your hands of her, feast on this link between her and last week's holier-than-thou National Day of Prayer—and to the Bush campaign chest and predatory lending. Connect the dots and you'll see there's a chicken in every plot:

Before enlisting in the Army, the Abu Ghraib poster girl worked in a chicken-processing plant an hour's drive from her Fort Ashby, West Virginia, trailer, according to USA Today.

The most popular such plant for Fort Ashby residents—it's exactly 59 minutes away, according to MapQuest—is the huge Pilgrim's Pride chicken-processing complex in Moorefield, West Virginia.

In July 2004, PETA released a video— secretly shot inside the Pilgrim's Pride plant in Moorefield—that showed murder most fowl:

    Workers were caught on video stomping on chickens, kicking them, and violently slamming them against floors and walls. Workers also ripped the animals’ beaks off, twisted their heads off, spat tobacco into their eyes and mouths, spray-painted their faces, and squeezed their bodies so hard that the birds expelled feces—all while the chickens were still alive.

This stomach-turning stuff—and its link to England's home state—was noted at the time by several bloggers, including those on Digestible News.

Say, that "stomping" sounds familiar. I wrote about that technique last summer in "You Flinched!"—an item about testimony from an Abu Ghraib soldier.

Also last summer, Princeton ethicist Peter Singer made the connection between the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the torture of chickens at Moorefield. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece he co-wrote (and that was re-posted by Dangerous Citizen), Singer noted:  Pilgrim's Pride

The sickening images echo the snapshots and videotapes that found their way out of another inhumane facility: Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

In both Baghdad and Moorefield, W.Va., a simple cruel dynamic was at work. When humans have unchecked power over those they see as inferior, they may abuse it. Slaughterhouse workers do not expect to be chastised for hurting animals. And the American soldiers at Abu Ghraib clearly did not expect punishment, or they would not have posed for photographs. In both instances, laws or treaties that should have protected against the abuses were unknown or ignored. That is not surprising: Where much abuse is allowed, the protections that do exist are unlikely to be taken seriously.

The Department of Justice has considered in detail when prisoners in the war on terror may be exempt from the humane protections of the Geneva Convention. The government has long since made that leap with animals. Chickens, for example, are exempt from the U.S. Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

Singer didn't mention Lynndie England, but I'll bet she didn't treat chickens any better than she treated Iraqis.

Pilgrim's Pride is the second largest chicken producer in the country. Here's how Reuters (through Yahoo's page on the company) puts it:

    During fiscal year ended October 2, 2004 (fiscal 2004), the company sold 5.3 billion pounds of dressed chicken and 310.2 million pounds of dressed turkey and generated net sales of $5.4 billion.

Its profit margins were gross:

    For the 26 weeks ended 4/2/05, revenues rose 13% to $2.74 billion. Net income totaled $104.9 million, up from $43.2 million. Revenues reflect an increase in chicken sales. Net income also reflects an increase in gross profit margins.

Operating out of the Pilgrim's Pride home office in Pittsburg, Texas, the company's owner, Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim (see photo), is one of the country's major individual donors to George W. Bush and the Republican Party. He was a "Minor League Pioneer" for Bush in 2000 and a "Major League Pioneer" for Bush in 2004, according to Texans for Public Justice.

Recall the company's history: In 2002, TPJ reminds us, Pilgrim's Pride recalled 27 million pounds of meat after one of its plants was thought to be the source of "a listeria outbreak that killed eight people, caused three miscarriages, and hospitalized dozens of victims." Heavily fined by environmental regulators for illegally discharging massive amounts of chicken shit and other filth, Pilgrim's Pride was at the same time "the 10th largest recipient of federal agricultural subsidies from 1995 through 2002," adds TPJ.

Bo Pilgrim wears his fundamentalist Christianity on his sleeve and on his butcher's apron. As Marv Knox of the Baptist Standard quoted him as saying in 2002:

    here's no doubt that God wanted me to exemplify being a Christian businessman. I have that feeling, and I am forever conscious of that. I'll go out and make lots of talks around the country. There's where I give Jesus credit for everything I am.

Start of digression: Knox tried to get Pilgrim to solve an age-old puzzle. Here's the exchange:

    Knox: With all your history in chickens, do you know why the chicken crossed the road?

    Pilgrim: I wish I could give you the answer. I guess everybody has a different answer, but I never really coined an answer for why the chicken crossed the road.

End of digression.

Last year, Bo Pilgrim, who controls more than 60 percent of his huge, publicly traded company, put Keith W. Hughes on its board of directors.

Hughes was the CEO of Associates First Capital, a subprime lender accused of predatory lending.

Associates First was so notorious that in 2000, the giant company's last year of independent existence, the United Methodist Church's pension fund, the Priests of Sacred Heart, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word brought a shareholders resolution to try to get the company to investigate itself for predatory lending and clean up its act. The resolution failed.

The government's case against Associates First was settled only after Citigroup swallowed Hughes's company and coughed up $215 million to the Federal Trade Commission to pay off 2 million former customers. At the time of the 2002 settlement, it was the largest in FTC history.

Last Thursday (May 5), George W. Bush hosted the annual National Day of Prayer ceremony in the East Room of the White House. The first speaker was Shirley Dobson, wife of right-wing radio evangelist James Dobson. Shirley Dobson is also chairman of the National Day of Prayer—yes, she calls herself "chairman" and "Mrs. Shirley Dobson."

After the choir stopped singing, Shirley Dobson stepped to the microphone in the White House, fawned over the Bushes for a little bit and officially launched the National Day of Prayer. (You can watch her performance, and Bush's speech, on the White House site.)

Millions of Americans, she said, "will seek the grace of God" today. She added:

    For example, Pilgrim's Pride, one of America's largest producers of chicken products, is holding prayer observances in 56 of its facilities in 17 countries.

It was the only company she mentioned. (She did say that 150,000 people were supposed to gather at Daytona Beach Speedway to try to crash the pearly gates. Yee-haw!)

With the saccharine tone and sing-song cadence of a beauty pageant contestant's spiel, she praised Pilgrim's Pride but scolded the rest of us.

Deserving of God's wrath: Shirley Dobson and Bush at the 2001 National Day of Prayer service

That scolding stuff is a familiar rap by the right-wing Christians—it's all explained by Shirley Dobson on her "Prayerfully Yours" page of the National Day of Prayer website:

    As sinners saved by grace we must realize not only that we don't deserve God's favor, but that we do deserve His wrath! The miracle of God's grace is that He extends mercy to us in spite of our wickedness and rebellion against Him. Put another way, "mercy" is not getting what we deserve, and "grace" is getting what we don't deserve.

    We need not look very far to see that our country stands in desperate need of God's healing touch. We have killed over 40 million babies since 1973, and saturated ourselves and our children with pornography and filth. We have numbed ourselves with drugs and alcohol, and taught our kids that premarital sex is a good thing if it is simply done right. We have pursued materialism and false security, while ignoring the Architect of our souls.

    As a nation, we have rebelled against the Creator. Our culture is steeped in immorality and self-sufficiency and is growing increasingly hostile toward religious expression.

Self-sufficiency? Have we fallen that far?

I know some chickens that could use "God's healing touch." But anyway, back to the White House. To her audience in the East Room, Mrs. Shirley Dobson toned it down a little bit, saying that her dictionary defines "grace" as something that's "undeserved," and adding:

    Almighty God continues to bless America despite the fact that we corporately and individually have turned our backs on Him in many ways.

    But our Creator is patient with us, granting His favor and forbearance even though we don't deserve it.

Speak for yourself, Mrs. America.

The president, of course, is a key part of any Christian puppet show. When Bush took the microphone, he smiled at the Dobsons and said:

    I want to thank Shirley Dobson, the chairman of the National Day of Prayer. Thank you for organizing this event and thank you for your wonderful comments.
Why did the chicken cross the road? To escape from these religious nuts. The rest of us humans could also use a wing and a prayer.
Posted by Harkavy at 06:27 PM, May 10, 2005


Behind Failed Abu Ghraib Plea, a Tangle of Bonds and Betrayals

Published: May 10, 2005
In a military courtroom in Texas last week was a spectacle worthy of "As the World Turns": Pfc. Lynndie R. England, the defendant, holding her 7-month-old baby; the imprisoned father, Pvt. Charles A. Graner Jr., giving testimony that ruined what lawyers said was her best shot at leniency; and waiting outside, another defendant from the notorious abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Megan M. Ambuhl, who had recently wed Private Graner - a marriage Private England learned about only days before.

England family, via Associated Press
Charles A. Graner Jr. and Lynndie R. England on a 2003 holiday.

L.M. Otero/Associated Press
Megan M. Ambuhl, Pvt. Charles A. Graner Jr.'s wife.
To some, the grave misdeeds at Abu Ghraib, where the three soldiers worked for six months in 2003, have become a twisted symbol of the American military occupation of Iraq. But the scandal is also one rooted in the behavior of military reservists working at the prison, an environment that testimony has portrayed as more frat house than military prison, a place where inmates were routinely left naked and soldiers took pictures of one another simulating sex with fruit.

The reservists' treatment of Iraqi prisoners and their entanglements with one another - pieced together from documents, court testimony, e-mail and interviews - have produced a dark soap opera, one whose episodes have continued to play out in the months since the scandal erupted, and culminated in the Texas courtroom last week.

As with any soap opera, past episodes help explain the most recent.

Private England, who is now waiting for charges to be filed against her again, and Private Graner began dating while they were training with their Army Reserve unit, the 372nd Military Police Company, based in Cresaptown, Md.

A hell-raising young woman from West Virginia, Private England, now 22, was married at 19, on a whim, she told friends, and violated her parents' wishes when she joined the Reserve in high school to make money for college.

Private Graner, 36, a Pennsylvania prison guard and a former marine, had rejoined the military in a burst of patriotism after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

He was fresh from an ugly divorce in 2000. His ex-wife, Staci Morris, had taken out three protective orders against him, and after he was arrested for harassing her in 2001, Private Graner admitted that he had dragged her around by her hair.

He introduced the two women, and Ms. Morris said she felt "selfish relief" that with someone new, her ex-husband would stop being obsessed with her. And she liked Private England, finding her quiet and adoring.

"If he was as charming with her as he is with most women at the beginning, I can understand it," Ms. Morris said. "Charming, compliments, you name it. The things you would love to hear as a young woman."

Just after the 372nd received orders to go to Iraq in February 2003, Private Graner, Private England and another soldier had a last party weekend in Virginia Beach. They drank heavily, and when their friend passed out, Private Graner and Private England took turns taking photographs of each other exposing themselves over his head.

In Iraq, Private England was disciplined several times for sleeping with Private Graner, against military rules. She flouted warnings to stay on the wing where she worked as a clerk, and spent most of her nights in the cellblock where he worked the night shift.

One night in October, he told her to pose for photographs holding a leash tied around the neck of a naked and crawling detainee. He e-mailed one home: "Look what I made Lynndie do." The now infamous pictures of detainees masturbating, he said, were a birthday gift for her.

Specialist Ambuhl, who has been discharged from the Army, was Private Graner's partner on the nightshift. If he and Private England were loud and bawdy - they made a video of themselves having sex - Ms. Ambuhl was soft-spoken and serious. Private England had joined the army to see the world; Ms. Ambuhl had already been on college study trips to Kenya and the Galapagos Islands. She had worked as a technician in a medical laboratory in Virginia, where she grew up, and like Private Graner, signed up to defend the nation after Sept. 11.

Behind Failed Abu Ghraib Plea, a Tangle of Bonds and Betrayals

She had been involved with another soldier in the unit. But by late December, she had ended that relationship and started one with Private Graner. In e-mail messages, the two dreamily recalled their nights stolen away in the crowded prison cells where the military police lived.

"I was missing u too," she wrote just after Christmas 2003. "When I heard your voice coming up the stairs, it made me happy and kinda nervous too (good nervous)." She reassured him that she would not get back together with her ex-boyfriend.

But Private Graner had not completely cut off relations with Private England. On Jan. 2, 2004, he was caught sleeping in Private England's quarters and demoted.

A few days later, Ms. Ambuhl e-mailed him again. "I really do care about you," she wrote. "It's just that part of me says I just got hurt from a relationship so don't put myself in the position to get hurt again."

She fantasized about when they might be truly alone. "Is it going to feel strange for just the two of us to be in a room together, with no chance of anyone walking in??" she wrote a few days later. "Just kidding, I can't wait." They talked about taking a leave together in February.

But on Jan. 13, a soldier slipped investigators a disk with the graphic photographs of detainees. The investigation began the next day.

Private Graner, quickly identified as the ringleader in the abuse, e-mailed his father in early March to discuss the accusations against him, then popped "more good news:" Private England was two months pregnant - he spelled her name Lynndee - and the pregnancy would most likely get them sent home from Iraq.

They found out she was pregnant two days after breaking up.

"I stopped seeing her back in january but when all this garbage came out i started seeing her again," he wrote. "chances are very good that it is my child....o well....daddy what did you bring home from the war????"

Ms. Ambuhl sent Private Graner e-mail in mid-March, after stumbling over old photos of them. "it seems like a dream that we were ever together, if you could call it that."

"doin ok lately?" she asked. "U seem kinda distant." She let off a flash of exasperation with Private England. "We never tried to exclude u and England," she wrote. "You never wanted to go to chow or anything with us. And she does exactly what you do so you can't help that."

Private England - but not Private Graner - was sent back to the United States because of the pregnancy. The Army moved Private Graner and Ms. Ambuhl, along with four other soldiers under investigation, to a tent apart from the rest of their unit. And they resumed their relationship.

In April, Ms. Ambuhl e-mailed Private Graner an article headlined, "Study Finds Frequent Sex Raises Cancer Risk." She added, "We could have died last night."

Privates England and Graner were no longer speaking when their son was born in October. She named him Carter Allan England.

Ms. Ambuhl, who had by then pleaded guilty and been discharged, was subpoenaed to testify at Private Graner's trial at Fort Hood, Tex., in January.

On the stand, prosecutors forced her to acknowledge the relationship, and accused her of lying to protect Private Graner.

"You don't want your friend to go to jail, do you?" the lead prosecutor, Maj. Michael Holley, asked.

"No, sir," she said quietly.

The two spent evenings together during the trial, and it was there that Private Graner proposed. He was convicted, sentenced to 10 years in a military prison and demoted from specialist to private. He had earlier been demoted from corporal.

Ms. Ambuhl had gone back to work at the laboratory and was living with her parents. They accompanied her to Fort Hood for the wedding in April. Another man stood in for Private Graner, because he had begun serving his sentence and Ms. Ambuhl, as an admitted co-conspirator, is not allowed to see him.

Private England heard about the wedding from her lawyers, who heard about it from a reporter the Friday before her trial was to begin. She had worked out a plea agreement that limited her time in prison to 30 months, and the jury could have given her less time. She planned to have her son live with her mother while she was in prison.

Ms. Morris, Private Graner's ex-wife, had been subpoenaed to tell the jury that Private Graner was a bad influence, and over pizza in a hotel room, she befriended Private England. She told Private England that she regretted not warning her away from him at the beginning.

"She said, 'I guess I should be grateful for Megan?' " Ms. Morris recalled, "And I said, 'Yeah, honey, you should be.' "

The day before his testimony, Private Graner sent a note to reporters saying he regretted that "Lynn" had pleaded guilty and hoped her plea would get her a light sentence. Private England did not return any such affection. She leaned down to a courtroom artist sketching Mr. Graner: "Don't forget the horns and goatee."

Prosecutors advised defense lawyers against putting Private Graner on the stand, but they did it anyway. He testified that he had ordered Private England to remove a prisoner from a cell by a leash and that it had been a legitimate military exercise. This presented what seemed to be a contradiction - a defendant pleading guilty but presenting a witness who testified that she was innocent. The military judge threw out her plea agreement and ordered that the court-martial process start over.

"It's nothing you did," the judge, Col. James L. Pohl, told her, "It's what he did."

Private England turned to Ms. Morris. "Well, he screws everything up, doesn't he?" Ms. Morris recalled Private England saying.

"I have to agree with you," Ms. Morris replied.


Lynndie "Oswald" England: "Case Closed"


            Without hope of a fair trial, Pfc. Lynndie England has plead guilty to charges stemming from her involvement in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.

Pfc. England (image, right) has now joined the ranks of other patsys -- those taking the rap for the guilt of higher status persons -- such as James Earl Ray and Lee Harvey Oswald (image, left).

The full truth about what really happened at Abu Ghraib is likely to follow the predictable route of past official investigations such as the Warren Report and the 9/11 Commission Report. Once more the profoundly guilty will escape justice. And once more it will be wondered why respect for the law diminishes.

FREE Lynndie ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!!

The Alberto Gonzalez Torture Memo Story 

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