July 04, 2008

Flashback: Bush Says He Approved Torture. What About Sexual Torture?

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 18:23 EDT

Axis of Evil

Read the whole thing here.

Statue Of Torture

A Friday ABC interview confirms: Bush "approved" of the torture techniques ABC's Wednesday story detailed. But ABC fails to mention even more severe torture techniques that were implemented by Don Rumsfeld and Stephen Cambone - did George W. Bush give Rumsfeld the authority to implement what became known as "Copper Green" ?

Did George Bush sign an NSC document authorizing sexual torture methods, then delegate to Rumsfeld authority to implement those sex-torture methods ?

That's the real question, this new ABC story is only the prologue...

ABC news has developed a new component of the torture story almost in perfect sync with my Thursday post on torture which stressed that because Bush is head, as president, of the National Security Council, of course he would have known of the overall gist of the "NSC Principals" White House meetings on torture policy because, regardless of whether Bush sat in on all meetings or not, all major NSC decisions and policy formulations have go to Bush's desk for final approval, his signature. Bush is, indeed the "decider".

Once again, ABC News has pushed the White House torture program scandal further along and once again the story is embedded in a false frame.

And, the techniques discussed by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Powell, Rice and Ashcroft were not the worst of the torture techniques in question. ABC's story discussed on level of torture severity but there was another level expressed through a secret program implemented by Don Rumsfeld and his operative Stephen Cambone: "Copper Green". That program resulted in, as After Downing Street details, child rape.

So here's the REAL question ABC's story fails to confront and which was raised almost four years ago in the New Yorker by Sy Hersh's may 15, 2004 story "The Gray Zone" : Did George W. Bush delegate authority to Rumsfeld to implement a second, even more severe torture regime ?

Did George W. Bush delegate to Donald Rumsfeld the authority to implement psycho-sexual torture at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere ?

As Sy Hersh's story described:

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 focussed 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 several past and present 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. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld's long-standing desire to wrest control of America's clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.

In the March 2008 edition of Vanity Fair, in a story titled The Green Light, Philippe Sands lays out a very similar groundwork, and if George W. Bush is not directly implicated let me say this - I know of no major media publication in America that has, so far, run that charge up the flagpole.

As Sands writes:

"The Bush administration has always taken refuge behind a "trickle up" explanation: that is, the decision was generated by military commanders and interrogators on the ground. This explanation is false. The origins lie in actions taken at the very highest levels of the administration"

ABC's team, Jan Crawford Greenberg, Howard L. Rosenberg and Ariane de Vogue, landed an exclusive interview with president George W. Bush, who seemed unperturbed and unrepentant about the torture program he had ultimately spawned. The story breaks little ground, past details revealed last Wednesday by ABC, except to make crystal clear the fact that George W. Bush "approved" of torture methods prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.


An extensive torture timeline, courtesy of the Cooperative Research Commons

A deep history of psychological torture techniques, courtesy of dKos member Valtin

Torture is wrong & it doesn't work, says interrogation expert.

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