Abu Ghraib: What Did 'They' Know and 'When' Did They Know It?
|This article is part of SourceWatch
coverage of Abu Ghraib
Speculation abounds as to What Did 'They' Know and 'When' Did They Know It? regarding the alleged acts of brutality, abuse, and torture in the ten Enemy Prisoner of War Camps in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca.
From the headlines
- Cursor.org comments on May 24, 2004: "Nicholas Kristof uses Taguba's report to defend Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, writing (May 22, 2004) that 'if, as Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba has said in his report... the problems were at much lower levels, then why make a scapegoat of the defense secretary (Donald Rumsfeld)?' But Taguba's investigation was limited to much lower levels. He testified that 'my task was limited to the allegations of detainee abuse involving M.P. personnel and the policies, procedures and command climate of the 800th M.P. Brigade.'" (emphasis added).
- Seymour M. Hersh, "Rumsfeld Knew: Iraq Prison Abuse Part of Pentagon-Approved Black Ops Program," Democracy Now!, May 17, 2004. Audio, video, and transcript.
- Washington Post writers Peter Slevin and Robin Wright reported May 8, 2004, that the "Pentagon Was Warned of Abuse Months Ago. U.S. Officials, Rights Groups Sought Changes."
- "From U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer [who discussed it with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice] and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to investigators for the International Committee of the Red Cross who "delivered repeated warnings", a broad array of officials pressed the Pentagon to improve conditions or face a likely Iraqi backlash, officials from the government and the organizations said yesterday.
- "Amnesty International sounded an alarm at a Baghdad news conference in May 2003 ..."
- "Powell raised the detainee issue frequently in meetings of the Bush national security team, aides reported. They said he often felt like a lone voice."
- James Cusick writes in the May 9, 2004, Sunday Herald (UK) that "Bush and Blair say they are shocked by the abuse of war prisoners ... but they knew about it two years ago. String of reports warned of widespread torture by troops dating back to Afghanistan."
- The Baltimore Sun's Mark Matthews writes May 12, 2004, that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell says "Bush (was) told of Red Cross reports. President may have known about Iraqi prisoner abuse earlier than he's admitted."
- Powell said "that he and other top officials kept the president 'fully informed in general terms,' about complaints made by the Red Cross and others of ill-treatment of detainees in American custody, [which] suggests Bush may have known earlier than the White House has previously acknowledged about complaints raised by the International Committee of the Red Cross and human rights groups about abuse of detainees in Iraq."
- "They Knew," Center for American Progress, May 7, 2004. CAP provides a very comprehensive overview with links.
- On May 7, 2004, the New York Times provided a chronology for "Who Knew of Abuses and When."
- Tom Bowman, "Army tightly guarded pictures of prison abuse. Bush unaware of photos until broadcast on TV," Baltimore Sun, May 6, 2004.
- Bob Gibson, "Inspector says he warned U.S. officials of Iraqi prisoner abuse," Media General News Service, May 6, 2004:
- "David Kay, the man who led the U.S. search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, says he repeatedly told people about problems with the interrogation of prisoners, but the military ignored him.
- "'I was there and I kept saying the interrogation process is broken. The prison process is broken. And no one wanted to deal with it,' Kay said. 'It was too, too distasteful. This is a known problem, and the military refuses to deal with it.'"
- Barbara Starr, "Details of Army's abuse investigation surface. Pentagon source: Photos may show soldiers, Iraqi detainees," CNN, January 20, 2004: "Sources have revealed new details from the Army's criminal investigation into reports of abuse of Iraqi detainees, including the location of the suspected crimes and evidence that is being sought."
- Matt Kelley, "Pentagon Memo Warned on Army Contractors," AP, May 7, 2004:
- In 2002, "A year before the Iraq invasion, the then-Army secretary warned his Pentagon bosses that there was inadequate control of private military contractors, which are now at the heart of controversies over misspending and prisoner abuse. ... The author of that memo, retired Army chief Thomas E. White, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that the recent events show the Pentagon has a long way to go to fix the problems he identified in March 2002."
- Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, Article 15-6 Investigaton of 800th Military Police Brigade. US Army Report on Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners (posted by CounterPunch, May 5, 2004):
- The report "was ordered by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of Joint Task Force-7, the senior U.S. military official in Iraq, following persistent allegations of human rights abuses at the prison."
- "Torture Report May Have Broken Classification Rules," Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, May 5, 2004: "By classifying an explosive report on the torture of Iraqi prisoners as 'Secret,' the Pentagon may have violated official secrecy policies, which prohibit the use of classification to conceal illegal activities."
- Also see Who leaked the 'Taguba Report'?
- According to the May 5, 2004, Daily Mislead, "Since late February, the Pentagon has been in possession" of the report. "Months later, despite knowing of the 53-page report's existence, top administration officials responsible for the military still have not read the document.
- "White House officials told the Los Angeles Times that 'the abuse of Iraqi prisoners sparked so much concern that President Bush was told about an investigation during the winter holidays.' But White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan tried to insulate the President from criticism by suggesting that the President was surprised by the report's findings. McClellan told reporters yesterday that Bush 'only become aware of the photographs and the Pentagon's main internal report about the incidents from news reports last week.' Yet President Bush still has not read the report.
- "Three weeks before the press reported the story of the Abu Ghraib report, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard B. Myers knew enough about it to call Dan Rather and ask him to delay airing the story. Yet, as of this Tuesday, Myers still hadn't read the report. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday that he had merely 'seen a summary.'"
- Rumsfeld's negligence exceeds having "confessed" to not reading the March 9 report." He had already received a warning issued on February 10, 2004, in a Letter sent by Human Rights Watch to him on "HRW's Concerns About the Rights of Iraqi Detainees."
- Lee Keath, "Groups Say They Cited Iraq Prison Abu Ghraib," AP, May 7, 2004: "Iraq's oldest human rights group and the international Red Cross say they asked U.S. authorities last year to do something about alleged abuse of detainees at an Iraqi prison but got little response."
- "The human rights organization, which was founded in 1960 but kept a low profile during Saddam Hussein's regime, asked repeatedly for meetings with coalition officials, but each time officials 'would give excuses for not meeting,' Adel al-Allami said. ... The group finally got a meeting three weeks ago and presented requests for compensation for mistreated Iraqis, he said."
- "Red Cross teams have been visiting Abu Ghraib every five or six weeks since last year, the organization's regional spokeswoman, Nada Doumani, told The Associated Press by telephone from Amman, Jordan. ... 'We were aware of what was going on, and based on our findings we have repeatedly requested the U.S. authorities to take corrective action,' she said."
- "Investigation Timeline. Who Knew About Alleged Iraqi Prisoner Abuse? When?," ABC News.
- Letter from Members of the House Judiciary Committee to Attorney General John Ashcroft "to request that you appoint a special counsel to investigate whether high ranking officials within the Bush Administration violated War Crimes Act , 18 U.S.C. 2441, by approving the use of torture techniques banned by international law. May 20, 2004.