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Taguba Stirs The Ghosts Of Abu Ghraib

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Hop over here and check out the interview with Seymour Hersh about his new article in the New Yorker. In it he reveals the man behind The Taguba Report, former Major General Antonio M. Taguba, and new information that the torture was much more severe than we were told…

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. Such images would have added an even more inflammatory element to the outcry over Abu Ghraib. “It’s bad enough that there were photographs of Arab men wearing women’s panties,� Taguba said.

And yes, Rumsfeld probably lied to Congress…

On January 20th, the chief of staff at Central Command sent another e-mail to Admiral Keating, copied to General Craddock and Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the Army commander in Iraq. The chief of staff wrote, “Sir: update on alleged detainee abuse per our discussion. DID IT REALLY HAPPEN? Yes, currently have 4 confessions implicating perhaps 10 soldiers. DO PHOTOS EXIST? Yes. A CD with approx 100 photos and a videoâ€â€?CID has these in their possession.â€Â? […]

Rumsfeld told the legislators that, when stories about the Taguba report appeared, “it was not yet in the Pentagon, to my knowledge.â€Â? As for the photographs, Rumsfeld told the senators, “I say no one in the Pentagon had seen themâ€Â?; at the House hearing, he said, “I didn’t see them until last night at 7:30.â€Â? […]

Taguba, watching the hearings, was appalled. He believed that Rumsfeld’s testimony was simply not true. “The photographs were available to him�if he wanted to see them,� Taguba said. Rumsfeld’s lack of knowledge was hard to credit. Taguba later wondered if perhaps Cambone had the photographs and kept them from Rumsfeld because he was reluctant to give his notoriously difficult boss bad news. But Taguba also recalled thinking, “Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There’s no way he’s suffering from C.R.S.�Can’t Remember Shit. He’s trying to acquit himself, and a lot of people are lying to protect themselves.� It distressed Taguba that Rumsfeld was accompanied in his Senate and House appearances by senior military officers who concurred with his denials.

Taguba with the last word on accountability…

““From what I knew, troops just don’t take it upon themselves to initiate what they did without any form of knowledge of the higher-ups,� Taguba told me. His orders were clear, however: he was to investigate only the military police at Abu Ghraib, and not those above them in the chain of command. “These M.P. troops were not that creative,� he said. “Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority. I was limited to a box.�

But now this is just another historical footnote, a military he said/he said.

And so it goes.