have neither hope nor a chance to avoid great suffering and possible
murder at the hands of brutal interrogators/torturers... they are
totally alone against a brutal gang that has them in secret captivity in
a hole in the ground..."
Pentacon Games PLANNERS AND ABUSERS SHOULD BE ACCOUNTABLE!
Posted May 18, 2004 thepeoplesvoice.org
By: Ted Lang
The Abu Ghriab prison torture scandal has been identified as the continuance
of a Bush administration secret Pentagon plan identified by Seymour M. Hersh
in his article "The Gray Zone" as SAP, which stands for "special-access
program." Hersh's May 16th article appeared on The New Yorker website as
well as in its newsstand hardcopy version on May 17th. Hersh points
unmistakably to the culpability of the senior leaders at the Pentagon, to
whom he ascribes the top-level orders that authorized both CIA and Army
military intelligence interrogation and control of Iraqi prisoners at Abu
Ghraib prison just outside of Baghdad.
White House counsel Alberto Gonzales wrote a memorandum to President George
W. Bush warning him that the Pentagon's SAP activities were a blatant
violation of the basic principles of the Geneva Convention. Reportedly,
when Secretary of State Colin Powell got wind of both the Pentagon's SAP
program and the White House memo, "he hit the ceiling." That is entirely
understandable, as Powell's dedication and rise through the ranks of the
United States Army to four-star general culminated in his being selected as
the Chief of Staff under Bush I.
Basically, the Pentagon's SAP program allowed Geneva Convention violations
in order to terrorize, humiliate, and otherwise torture prisoners of the war
in Afghanistan. The primary attribute of this unconscionable and inhumane
treatment is its "legitimized" authorization via secrecy in reaction to the
need for national security. POW's at Guantanamo, colloquially dubbed
"Gitmo," were tortured frequently and regularly in violation of the GC.
Frustrated over the lack of intelligence, understandable even to the average
laymen due to the generally disorganized nature of terrorist acts of
"insurgents," Major General Geoffrey D. Miller was transferred to Abu Ghraib
with the full knowledge and approval of theater commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo
Miller and Sanchez's actions were therefore not isolated independent routine
actions - they were violations of the GC that Bush counsel Alberto Gonzales
warned the president about regarding SAP. And the execution of SAP policy
was designed, authorized and orchestrated by Defense Under-Secretary for
Intelligence Stephen Cambone, with the full knowledge and approval of
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Chief of Staff General Richard
The basic thrust of mental torture instituted by despotic military regimes,
better defined as militarized police states, is isolation. Think back to
when you were a small child and became separated at a crowded mall or beach
from your parent or parents. I remember such occurrences - it translates to
panic and terror. Isolating a single, solitary human being, and letting
that human being know with full certainty that they have neither hope nor a
chance to avoid great suffering and possible murder at the hands of brutal
interrogators/torturers, and that they are totally alone against a brutal
gang that has them in secret captivity in a hole in the ground, does provide
limitless terror for the victim of such captivity.
Such mental torture continues even after such interrogation victims are
released by their captors. As one individual related as concerns those that
were held in Nazi captivity but then released, "no one trusted them."
People would worry as to what secrets or confessions were made to such
brutal interrogators. They'd worry whether they'd be arrested next based
upon forced confessions falsely implicating them. In the case of the SAP
inquisitors, the sexually explicit photos that our low-level war-fighters
engaged in required graphic evidence of an Iraqi's debasement and therefore his subsequent isolation and distrust by his own people.
Hersh's article describes perfectly the intent of the Abu Ghraib methods:
"[T]here may have been a serious goal, in the beginning, behind the sexual
humiliation and the posed photographs. It was thought that some prisoners
would do anything-including spying on their associates-to avoid
dissemination of the shameful photos to family and friends.. 'The idea was
that they would be motivated by fear of exposure, and gather information
about pending insurgency action,' the consultant said. If so, it wasn't
effective; the insurgency continued to grow."
It is clear that the Pentagon officials and top military brass created the
environment for POW abuse, even if they didn't participate directly or
create orders to torture. This phony disconnect is what is being touted by
Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander offering that all the dirty work is attributable
only to the six rank and filers facing court martial. But as Hersh points
out, the SAP methods and their supportive arguments and secrecy, created a
"wide authority," where unconscionable abuse naturally evolved and
Copyright THEODORE E. LANG 5/18/04 All rights reserved. Ted Lang is a political
analyst and a freelance writer.