Saturday, April 01, 2006
Don't Talk About The Mercenaries
And don't prosecute them, either, even though they're the ones with key roles in the US' torture facilities in Iraq:
The man known as "Big Steve" did not attend the court-martial this month of Sgt. Michael J. Smith, an Army dog handler at Abu Ghraib. But no one could miss his looming presence in the courtroom. According to both the prosecution and defense, "Big Steve" was deeply involved in the abuse committed by Smith, who was convicted March 21 for using his dog to terrify prisoners. "Big Steve," whose real name is Steven Anthony Stefanowicz, worked as an interrogator for military intelligence at Abu Ghraib. But he was no ordinary soldier. Stefanowicz was one of dozens of civilian employees from Virginia contractor CACI International hired by the Pentagon to work at the prison. [...] Graner told Army investigators that he followed Stefanowicz's orders because Stefanowicz worked with military intelligence, which was in charge of prisoners. Graner said Stefanowicz gave instructions about "harassing, keeping off balance, yelling, screaming" and stripping prisoners naked. Under Stefanowicz's direction, according to Graner, prisoners could be put on sleep plans: 20 hours awake, four hours of rest. They could be put in stress positions. They could be sexually humiliated. Graner described the treatment of a prisoner, nicknamed "Taxi Driver" by U.S. soldiers, which he claimed had been ordered by Stefanowicz in late October. The prisoner, whose name has not been made public and is being withheld by Salon to protect his identity as a victim, later gave an account of his abuse. It included tactics Graner said Stefanowicz had ordered. "He put red woman's underwear over my head," the prisoner told Army investigators, describing his treatment by a military policeman. "And then he tied me to the window that is in the cell with my hands behind my back until I lost consciousness." [...] Back in 2004 -- even before the latest allegations -- military investigators left little doubt that Stefanowicz was a perpetrator of abuse at Abu Ghraib. The Fay report found that he had directed the use of dogs on prisoners, forced a prisoner to wear women's underwear, kicked a prisoner into his cell, failed to report abuse, and lied to investigators. The Taguba report found that he instructed military police to abuse prisoners in an effort to "set the conditions" for interrogation. "He clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse," Taguba concluded about Stefanowicz. It remains unclear whether any charges will be brought against him.Remember that during this time (and probably up to the present time as well), between 70 to 90% of all Iraqis held by US forces were arrested "by mistake". In other words, the people "Big Steve" was torturing were probably guilty of nothing more than being Iraqis.
The rest of the world is mostly undecieved by the lies of the American media on Iraq. They don't have any reason to buy the myth of The Noble American. And, doing this to people from a culture that takes revenge seriously and remembers what was done to whom this isn't going away. Not for generations.
The United States, if we had a news media, might learn the lesson that it is very dangerous to allow the loser of a presidential electon to have the seat stollen for him. It might even learn that lies are no substitute for the truth. But since we have no news media, it's going to be education by other means.
"Experience keeps a dear school but fools will learn in no other,". Ben Franklin The only real democrat among the "founders".
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