Hell On Earth - The Taguba Report Annexes
July 12, 2004 6:51 PM   Subscribe

Hell On Earth. U.S. News... now has obtained all 106 classified annexes to the report... Taguba focused mostly on the MP s assigned to guard the inmates at Abu Ghraib, but the classified files in the annex to his report show that military intelligence officers--dispatched to Abu Ghraib by the top commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez--were intimately involved in some of the interrogation techniques widely viewed as abusive. The abuses took place, the files show, in a chaotic and dangerous environment made even more so by the constant pressure from Washington to squeeze intelligence from detainees. Riots, prisoner escapes, shootings, corrupt Iraqi guards, unsanitary conditions, rampant sexual misbehavior, bug-infested food, prisoner beatings and humiliations, and almost-daily mortar shellings from Iraqi insurgents--according to the annex to General Taguba's report, that pretty much sums up life at Abu Ghraib. Some PDFs are in Shining a light in a real dark place.
See also Making Torture Legal.
posted by y2karl (24 comments total)
Oh, woe the thousands of inmates horribly mutilated and murdered there. Or dare I say, tens of thousands who were made fun of and were humiliated by being ordered around by women. Oh, the degradation. The shame.

Triple whoopee.
posted by kablam at 7:15 PM on July 12, 2004

kablam, here's a one-way ticket there (your name is now Ali Whatever, and you were picked up in a sweep of a town)--report back on how it is, ok?
posted by amberglow at 7:18 PM on July 12, 2004

kablam, third-graders who fail that badly at actually reading something are left back a year. What's your excuse?

I was wondering the same thing. My guess, based on previous experiences with his comments, is that he fashions himself a "straight-shooter" who cuts through the bullshit and is hardened around the edges. Unfortunately for him, it seems that it has--in this case, at any rate--made him out to be a bit foolish.
posted by The God Complex at 7:36 PM on July 12, 2004

Perhaps everyone from US News to Sy Hersch is a misinformed liberal wuss. Or maybe kablam is just a worthless sub-Limbaugh asshole. It's so hard to decide.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:54 PM on July 12, 2004

Meanwhile, back at home: The Crisis in America's Prisons.
posted by homunculus at 8:00 PM on July 12, 2004

made even more so by the constant pressure from Washington to squeeze intelligence from detainees.

So.....how many of these people were being 'squeezed' looking for the Weapons of Mass Destruction?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:01 PM on July 12, 2004

tens of thousands who were made fun of and were humiliated by being ordered around by women.

It's been fun (in a sickening, horrifying way) watching certain folks downplay this more and more and more as time goes on. I guess in another week or so, it'll just be that we asked these prisoners nicely if they would please tell us where the WMD were hidden, pretty please, and then we had ice cream.

Prisoners were beaten to death, you fucking asshole. Not "made fun of." Beaten to death.
posted by ook at 8:21 PM on July 12, 2004

Sweet Jesus, kablam, what on earth were you thinking when you made that asinine comment?!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:45 PM on July 12, 2004

he was thinking "KABLAM!", what else?
posted by quonsar at 9:27 PM on July 12, 2004

Terror is winning.
posted by squirrel at 10:28 PM on July 12, 2004

A partial translation from the original German on sadlyno:

Soldiers looking for terrorists storm an apartment. Children are sometimes arrested during these raids. What the Army does with them, it will not say. We investigate. Meet with sources.

One that knows something about this is Sergeant Samuel Provance, from the US Military. He spent half a year stationed at Abu Ghraib. Today, 5 months later, we meet him in Heidelberg. His superiors have strictly forbidden him to speak to journalists about what he experienced in Abu Ghraib. But Provance wants to talk about it nevertheless. His conscience troubles him. He discusses a 16-year old he handled:

"He was very afraid, very alone. He had the thinnest arms I had ever seen.

His whole body trembled. His wrists were so thin we couldn't put handcuffs on him. As I saw him for the first time and led him to the interrogation, I felt sorry. The interrogation specialists threw water over him and put him into a car, drove him around through the extremely cold night. Afterwards, they covered him with mud and showed him to his imprisoned father, on whom they'd tried other interrogation methods.

They hadn't been able to get him to speak, though. The interrogation specialists told me that after the father saw his son in this condition, his heart was broken, he started crying, and he promised to tell them anything they wanted." --Samuel Provance

After this however the son remained in detention, and the 16-year old was put in with the adults. But Provance discusses a special children's section at Abu Ghraib -- a secret detention facility.

One that has seen the children's section with his own eyes is the Iraqi journalist Suhaib Badr-Addin Al-Baz. Our correspondent met with him in Baghdad. He explains how he was picked up while reporting and jailed 74 days in Abu Ghraib:

"There I saw a camp for kids, young, certainly not yet of puberty age. There must have been hundreds of kids. Some were released, others are certainly still there." --Suhaib Badr-Addin Al-Baz

From his cell in the adult's section he hears a girl of maybe 12 years of age crying. Later he found out that her brother was held in a cell on the second floor of the prison. Once or twice he says, he saw the girl himself. [...] "She called out her brother's name. She was beaten, she cried out "they took off my clothes, they poured water on me."" --Suhaib Badr-Addin Al-Baz

posted by y2karl at 10:56 PM on July 12, 2004

I often wonder if stupidity is its own reward, if people like kablam are genuinely less well off because of their beliefs and there's an approximation of karma at play. I think it happens often, but not always. Tell us how it goes for you in future, kablam.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:45 AM on July 13, 2004

Well, he certainly is an effective and well fed troll, able to derail with a single comment and much assistance.
posted by y2karl at 6:39 AM on July 13, 2004

able to derail with a single comment

How is it a derail? His harmless-frat-boy-hijinks attitude is part of the cause.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:09 AM on July 13, 2004

Thumbs up!
posted by hama7 at 8:47 AM on July 13, 2004

Well, eventually "might makes right" idiots are usually done in rather nastily by very angry people who get sick of their posturing and turn the might on them, so I tend to not worry about people like kablam and hama7.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:58 PM on July 13, 2004

Oh my! Such righteous indignation! And it all means so very much to you because it means so very little. Abu Ghraib is an unimportant aside, a dead issue, a footnote in an otherwise brilliant campaign waged by the US military.

I pity any defendant who sits before you when you have jury duty. You will judge him by his attractiveness, his fashion sense, his charming demeanor and winning smile--anything but the facts. The facts make your head hurt, and they are unimportant anyway. So you fixate on trivia, prejudice and pettiness to reach your verdict.

SO WHAT? I ask. About Abu Ghraib? IT DOES NOT MATTER. You have no feelings for the people inside, just that it makes what you think is fine political theater to unseat a candidate you despise.

How can I feel anything but contempt for you? That you are reduced to this is pathetic. Someday, perhaps you will vent your spleen to an Iraqi who will punch you soundly on the nose, then curse you for wanting to damn his people--for stupid politics!
posted by kablam at 9:30 PM on July 13, 2004

Abu Ghraib is an unimportant aside, a dead issue, a footnote in an otherwise brilliant campaign waged by the US military.

Iraq insurgency much larger than estimated, officials say

Participation in the Iraq insurgency is far greater than the 5,000 guerrillas previously thought to be at its core, U.S. military officials said, and it's being led by well-armed Iraqi Sunnis angry at being pushed from power alongside Saddam Hussein.

Although U.S. military analysts disagree over the exact size, it is agreed that dozens of regional cells, often led by tribal sheiks and inspired by Sunni Muslim imams, can call upon part-time fighters to boost forces to as high as 20,000. That estimate, observers say, is reflected in the insurgency's continued strength after U.S. forces killed as many as 4,000 in April alone...

The developing intelligence picture of the insurgency contrasts with the commonly stated view in the Bush administration that the fighting is fueled by foreign warriors intent on creating an Islamic state.

"We're not at the forefront of a jihadist war here," said a U.S. military official in Baghdad, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The official and others told The Associated Press that the guerrillas have enough popular support among nationalist Iraqis angered by the presence of U.S. troops that they cannot be militarily defeated.

The military official, who has logged thousands of miles driving around Iraq to meet with insurgents or their representatives, said a skillful Iraqi government could co-opt some of the guerrillas and reconcile with the leaders instead of fighting them.

"I generally like a lot of these guys," he said. "We know who the key people are in all the different cities and generally how they operate. The problem is getting actionable information so you can either attack them, arrest them or engage them."

Getting the actionable information is why Abu Ghraib happened--no one knew who the insurgents were. And, contrary to what kapollyannablam contends, Abu Ghraib will be long remembered. No amount of wishful thinking will erase that stain on the America's reputation for some decades in the Arab world. We have not heard the last about it, either, nor seen the worst pictures yet. Mark my words.
posted by y2karl at 10:49 PM on July 13, 2004

You have no feelings for the people inside

You are a microbe.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:18 AM on July 14, 2004

kablam is the first MeFi user I've wanted banned from the site. I've yet to read anything informative from him, and his tireless hatred is a disservice to the community. I believe we would have a better MetaFilter community without his trolling and heartlessness.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:07 AM on July 14, 2004

On the contrary, Kablam. Abu Ghraib matters more than anything else in the entire war.

Any credibility we had as liberators went straight out the window when those photos came out. All the false justifications about WMDs, all the blustering about nonexistent connections between Iraq and 9/11, the forged documents and the duct-tape-and-balsa-wood spy planes and the nonexistent yellowcake and the aluminum tubes -- all that stuff might've been forgotten, eventually. But these photos, and the actions behind them, are going to haunt us for decades. They're the perfect recruitment posters for further terrorist attacks against the US. They're perfect justification for future enemies to torture US POWs. They're the end of US credibility on human rights. We'd have been hard pressed to find a more efficient way to make the world a more dangerous place if we'd tried.

If this was really supposed to be a War on Terror, Abu Ghraib is how we lost the war.

Trivia. That the vast majority of those prisoners were arrested "by mistake". Insignificant. That the rest of the world is reading reports about how children are among those tortured and abused. Inconsequential. That our president has declared himself above the law, that Rumsfeld authorized methods that violate the Geneva Convention. Unimportant. Right. Nobody cares, least of all the families and friends of the "accidentally" arrested and abused, who surely won't hate us after a few generations have passed. Just keep pretending everything is going according to plan, and it'll all be fine. And then we'll have ice cream.
posted by ook at 5:33 PM on July 14, 2004

"Thumbs up!"
posted by talos at 5:46 PM on July 14, 2004

Shit. The Abu Ghraib scandal hasn't even begun to hit full boil. It's going to blow fucking sky-high one of these days.

I hope the US Administration hasn't completely fucked America over. It's going to be damn difficult to fix this one up.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:37 PM on July 14, 2004

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