Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 19, 2007

Sodomized in Iraq - Who Cares?

This evening I found some time to reread Seymour Hersh latest piece. A report on his interviews with General Taguba who investigated parts of the torture going on at Abu Ghraib.

The article recieved a small echo in the blogsphere but the general media seems to be uninterested.

At TPM Spencer Ackerman asks about Separate Interrogation Rules For Special Forces?. Of course there are special rules allowing special forces to torture out of sight of congress and any law. That's old news.

Emptywheel detects Rummy's Plausible Deniability as he never acknowledged to have seen the Taguba report or any picture in it. Steve Clemons is demanding a new Congress hearing of Rumsfeld.

But the Hersh's piece on Taguba has more than the obvious culpability of Rumsfeld.

Could you tell us what happened?” Wolfowitz asked. Someone else asked, “Is it abuse or torture?” At that point, Taguba recalled, “I described a naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum, and said, ‘That’s not abuse. That’s torture.’ There was quiet.”

Taguba explains, though not up to jury standards yet, how the complete chain of command, from the privates doing what they have been told to do, up to the president, did know what was happening.

There were not a few bad apples at the bottom plus one bad apple at the top. There was a whole basket of bad apples inbetween that did know and covered up what happened. I'd suggest to ask these people within the chain of command. The lower generals, the colonels, majors, captains and master sergeants. What did they order? What did they know? What does the CID, the military's criminal investigation division, has at its hand? What does it hide? Some hints from Hersh:

I learned from Taguba that the first wave of materials included descriptions of the sexual humiliation of a father with his son, who were both detainees. Several of these images, including one of an Iraqi woman detainee baring her breasts, have since surfaced; others have not. (Taguba’s report noted that photographs and videos were being held by the C.I.D. because of ongoing criminal investigations and their “extremely sensitive nature.”) Taguba said that he saw “a video of a male American soldier in uniform sodomizing a female detainee.” The video was not made public in any of the subsequent court proceedings, nor has there been any public government mention of it.

The torture and crimes that happened have not been made public. They have not been independently investigated. The criminals who did this have not been prosecuted. Are some of them in your town? Your neighborhood? Would you like to know?

And the victims? Do they have help to cope? Did they see some satisfaction? Did they receive any care?

Posted by b on June 19, 2007 at 20:33 UTC | Permalink


Why be surprised...Who cares indeed, what do you expect when we've come the place where a presidential candidate associates themselves with.. ughhh..

So let me get this straight the Clinton's (Hill an Bill) use a parody of a popular tv show that glamorizes a notorious and murderous Mafia thug and his subsequent hit. I.E., video on the Clinton's website that is like the last scene from the Sopranos:

Don* Hillary

Sodomized in America.

*as in Don: the head of the Family; see boss. As in a crime family.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 19 2007 21:38 utc | 1

hersh was also on democracynow tuesday (transcript here) to talk about his article & some other stuff

found this bit interesting

And it’s my belief -- so I’ve been told by my sources, not Taguba; the story is partly about Taguba and partly about this -- that what happened was, the White House, and basically Rumsfeld, was in a real problem when Abu Ghraib broke. If you have a full investigation into Abu Ghraib, you’re going to stumble into the very, very highly classified -- in fact, the most classified there -- most of the missions, the task forces, were put into what they called the SAP, the Special Access Program, the highest level of secrecy in the government -- the U-2 spy plane was built in a SAP, for example -- mostly used for technical stuff. But under Rumsfeld, after 9/11, it began being used for field operations.

These guys -- we now probably in as many as thirteen countries, the President of the United States has delegated a hundred killer teams, they call them, from the Joint Special Operations Command, JSOC -- they have been given pre-delegation. When they find a high-value target, they can act against them, capture, or in most cases, kill. So you’re given a group of guys that are given the authority to kill in North Africa, the Middle East, obviously, also in other parts of Africa. They have been given the authority to kill or make contact on site. They go into a country without clearing it with the ambassador or the CIA station chief. This is going on now. And this technique -- some of their techniques were brought into Abu Ghraib. And so, if you do a full investigation into Abu Ghraib, you could unravel a lot of stuff nobody wanted to unravel then.

And the other aspect was -- sort of amazing -- was that there was another side to the photographs. As bad as they were, they did not show lethality. In other words, the MPs weren’t killing people. The killing was being done in task forces and other places, but you had a situation where you’ve got a bunch of kids, and so let them go face charges. It’s OK. Nobody could have assumed at that point that the photographs or the Taguba report would get out. Let them go face charges, because let some lower level kids be hung out to dry, which they were -- I mean, not that they didn’t do what they did. They were in the photographs. I’m talking about those -- Lynndie English or England, whatever her name was -- you remember the thumbs-up and thumbs-down lady. Certainly they deserve some time, but not the ten years they got.

In any case, this is all also going down as Taguba is sort of running around trying to figure out what’s going on. There’s real machinations at work. And right now, we’re still very much in the hunter-killer business. It’s basically -- my friends on the inside know these units. This is not disrespecting the men who serve in them, mostly men, because they’re competent soldiers, Delta Force, Navy Seals, CIA paramilitary. They’re very competent. If they had different orders, they would probably behave differently. But they’re there now. They’re on the border with Iran right now. We have units right now that are dying for permission to go across the border and start whacking away at the Iranians. And that is the situation today. And that has not changed. A lot of hunter-killer teams are at work fighting the alleged al-Qaeda in Iraq, many of whom, as I’m sure you’re aware, many in your audience are aware, are really Sunni insurgents -- they’re not really al-Qaeda. The foreign element in Iraq is very minor. But nonetheless, it’s good publicity.

Posted by: b real | Jun 19 2007 21:52 utc | 2

I found myself behind a silver lexus suv with a blackwater decal this afternoon. Should have flipped him off. Ah well, he saw my stickers too.

Posted by: beq | Jun 20 2007 1:29 utc | 3

b real- I'm so glad you posted that link. I heard that segment of democracy now! today too.

Hersh also noted how Rumsfeld mocked Taguba when he came into the room to tell them about the abuse. Taguba, according to Hersh, got three masters degrees that he paid for himself because the racist powers-that-be in the military thought he was too dumb.

This nation deserves every bit of condemnation heaped upon it because Bush has been allowed to remain in office after this shit. What a nightmare for the world to have to bear this reign of terror.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jun 20 2007 2:13 utc | 4

someone let Scalia out wearing his extra large celice, it seems.

this is from the same man who talked about god's justice and ours...according to Scalia, god is a bad mo-fo and let he who is without sin cast the first stone is trumped by St. Paul of the grand mal seizure.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jun 20 2007 3:02 utc | 5

Uncle is 100% correct. With the U.S. Administration scandals coming continuously for so many years, one slowly fading out while the next emerges, and with the mainstream media’s purposeful avoidance of the seriousness of any of these scandals (especially the torture issue), I too say "Why be surprised?" I am sure Bernhard wasn't surprised with this latest torture expose, nor were probably any of the regular MOA Barflies. However, I am worried there will be future surprises, and not the good kind.

And Uncle continues, “…Who cares indeed, what do you expect when we've come to the place where a presidential candidate associates themselves with.. ughhh..” I assume this “ughhh” is for the torture that each of the leading GOP Presidential candidates support, though “ughhh” could be for one of a number of things. And “ughh” is about all any of us can say. But let me just add that on this point I am totally surprised. I am surprised that so few here in America actually care as the scandals (along with the quality and quantity of evidence) keep continuing. I really cannot understand the depths of so many people's ignorance. Nor can I understand the depravity that so many people reflect in their attitudes.

Along with this surprise comes further realizations and fear. The fear stems from an intellectual thought process, but one does not need the brain potential of a rocket scientist to realize such a cavalier attitude that people show others will, at some future time, be the same attitude that denies themselves the support they will need in an emergency. Examples of such attitudes become more apparent with each nightly newscast, whether for the plight of Iraqi civilians, the Palestinians, the poor in Africa, or even for an individual poor woman in Los Angeles, who was totally ignored while vomiting and in dire pain, and after an eternity, succumbs while still in the hospital emergency waiting room. A better description of my latest feelings is an overwhelming anxiety regarding this new, obscure threat to my security. Sure I have family and friends that I can depend on, but as many in the world can tell us, a family or friend can do only so much. Just think of the Iraqis being bombed, or ask an older Minority or Native American who lived not too many years ago in racist America. And of course, Women have often been marginalized in societies, usually with the assistance of their families and friends. No doubt, our own barfly “jj” and other woman here may feel marginalized, perhaps threatened, even while existing in the most modern of our nations and societies.

I probably can assume that I am not alone in such new feelings of anxiety, and in the larger scheme, depending upon the number of individuals who neglect self-realization of their particular condition, this could all be a very bad thing indeed. Can such an ailment be like a cancer growing in a society, eventually leading to catastrophic consequences?

And this anxiety is even more pronounced when examining my religious beliefs. As a follower of One who preached “Love thy Neighbor as Thyself” it is quite a scary thought that not only your leaders, but the very person praying next to you in church, advocates torture and disregard for innocent civilian life in a unnecessary war.

Yes there is a cancer, and it is spreading.

Posted by: Rick | Jun 20 2007 3:46 utc | 6

fauxreal wrote, "Hersh also noted how Rumsfeld mocked Taguba when he came into the room..."

Yeah, that hit home too, like a slap in the face, especially after recently watching HBO's GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB which can be seen in it's entirety here. What was stunning and in particular ominous was the scene in which Sgt. Joseph M. Darby, who provided the compact disc of photographs of torture was told he would be kept and remain anonymous for rightly exposing the torture at that hell hole, was in my view completely and utterly set up by the powers that be, for ratting out the game. And for what I also view as blatantly given something akin to a death sentence by none other than Defense sec. Donald Rumsfeld on national television. You would have to watch the above documentary to understand. In other words to get it. For me it was the gut punch of the whole movie. And you will know it when you see it.

So, much like Cheney's outing of Valarie Plame, Donny (redrum) Rumsfeld ruthlessly and vengefully outs this whistle blower. Again, in my opinion maliciously hoping it would send a message.

Well, it did, not long afterwards Specialist Joe Darby was seen as a pariah and reported at NPR at the time as run out of his own hometown and threatened with his life.

So yeah, somebody (read the Iraqi's and the American people)are and continue to be getting fucked, and sodomized by the very dinks who will walk away scott free.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 20 2007 3:58 utc | 7

I read a comment by someone who may or maynot have been kidding who said that when he hears of a story that really bothers him,he goes out and buys more ammo.

Posted by: R.L. | Jun 20 2007 4:02 utc | 8

rick, uncle - up the anxiety level and see "SiCKO". simply a vehicle to deliver the message in a form that is inescapably familiar. the taste of reality is bitter and rankles any illusion you might have had that things might turn out okay. it's entirely up to us.

Posted by: conchita | Jun 20 2007 4:25 utc | 9

unfucking believable...but not. abc news reports that terrorists planning suicide attacks are in the U.S. and Europe...the link is at

amazing how terrorists time their threats in such a way that it distracts from the war criminals who have taken over this nation...time after time after time...

and Americans fall for it time after time after time.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jun 20 2007 4:30 utc | 10

Just to be clear the scene I am referring to is at 1:06:44 in the above.
Where Rummy thanks Darby, but in all reality he is putting the finger on him.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 20 2007 4:48 utc | 11

what a frickin' insane society we are stuck in. why tolerate it?

Posted by: b real | Jun 20 2007 4:49 utc | 12

b real, good question. why do we? are we that beaten down or have we not been sufficiently violated yet? i heard two iraqi labor leaders speak last night. why, with what they face on a daily basis, are they that much more empowered than we? in SiCKO moore shows footage of various protests in france - describes it as a way of life and remarks first on how the french government is afraid of the people, and wonders it is the other way around here. why are we afraid of our government? why don't we feel motivated or empowered? imho, it is the media - both the sitcoms and the compliant corporate press. and i'll take it a step further, i think we are living in a fascist state and i honestly don't know what to do about it.

Posted by: conchita | Jun 20 2007 5:07 utc | 13

Uhmn, "Abu Ghraib" could be tranlated to "Father of Darkness" (a bit of poetic license allowed, "ghraib" is actually the dusk before nightfall.

The point here, otherwise, is that it weren't no "bad apples" it were a gawddamn bad barrel.

Someday, when the light dawns or something like that, I wish/predict/hope that Taguba and Hersh are awarded Freedom Medals or whatever the Codpiece calls them pieces of tin he gives out to azzholes that have let themselves be royally cornholed

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Jun 20 2007 9:19 utc | 14

why is it - it being fascism as postulated by conchita - tolerated?

many people are very comfortable, not only personally but with whatever has to be done by our duly elected leaders to guarantee that personal comfort and they just don't think about it.

I don't know many people that would even take a look at things like the patrons here. I don't mean agreeing with the POV, but just to examine it.

Others like this might go so far as to only have red or blue friends depending on their own bent. My team is winning and my leader is well dressed. rah rah sis boom bah Pop culture 24/7 for many many people, likely many more than not by a wiiide margin.

That the media is a joke for the most part, certainly doesn't help - Jesus was in a tree last night! Education too, I guess...

The French elite know what happens to them, but now they have better toys with which to deal with the rabble rather than the good ol' whiff of grapeshot, so who knows?

Posted by: jcairo | Jun 20 2007 12:38 utc | 15

I probably can assume that I am not alone in such new feelings of anxiety,

You have put into words exactly what I have been feeling for some months. The sense of being utterly alone and defenseless, should something terrible happen to shatter the veneer of tranquility in my orderly suburb world. I do not trust that there would be any systems out there to protect my security or well-being at all. Katrina made this inescapably apparent, but all the events of the past year have made it more so. Nor do I feel secure in having any solid legal protections any more. Beyond that, the whole purpose of life, when your government -- as your "uber parent" -- has become a monstrous evil killing machine for ends that are entirely immoral and have nothing to do with your nation's safety is thrown into a kind of darkness that I find hard to describe. It deeply affects even my sense of myself and who I am.

As for why we tolerate it - I ask myself that every day, indeed sometimes many many times a day. My efforts here -- and my attempts to spread what I learn here and elsewhere to friends -- are the only thing I have come up with to try and do something. But it is feeble and really delusionary to think it makes any difference. If someone would point me to a way to make a more meaningful difference I would do it. In this, I must say, I have nothing but the deepest respect for the Iraqis, Lebanese, and the Palestinians, for they have risen up and given their very lives to try and thwart this evil. And they have, particularly in Lebanon and Iraq, made a history-changing difference. But they have paid a very very steep price.

Posted by: Bea | Jun 20 2007 13:36 utc | 16

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