Powell aide - Cheney ordered US prisoner torture
"WASHINGTON Vice President Dick Cheney's office was responsible for directives that led to U.S. soldiers' abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, a former top State Department official said Thursday.I believe that this may be a moment for what the Terrorism Freedom Institute's Richard Waghorne refers to as "moral clarity". US Senator John McCain - hardly a bleeding heart liberal - is determinedly pushing an anti-torture measure in Congress which is being fought tooth and nail by none other than... Dick Cheney. The complicity of Ireland, Poland and the Czech Republic in this cannot be ignored any longer, either.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, then the secretary of state, told National Public Radio he had traced a trail of memos and directives authorizing questionable detention practices up through Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's office directly to Cheney's staff.
"The secretary of defense under cover of the vice president's office," Wilkerson said, "regardless of the president having put out this memo" - "they began to authorize procedures within the armed forces that led to what we've seen."
He said the directives contradicted a 2002 order by President George W. Bush for the U.S. military to abide by the Geneva conventions against torture.
"There was a visible audit trail from the vice president's office through the secretary of defense, down to the commanders in the field," authorizing practices that led to the abuse of detainees, Wilkerson said.
The directives were "in carefully couched terms," Wilkerson conceded, but said they had the effect of loosening the reins on U.S. troops, leading to many cases of prisoner abuse, including at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, that were contrary to the Geneva Conventions.
"If you are a military man, you know that you just don't do these sorts of things," Wilkerson said, because troops will take advantage, or feel so pressured to obtain information that "they have to do what they have to do to get it."
He said that Powell had assigned him to investigate the matter after reports emerged in the media about U.S. troops abusing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both men had formerly served in the U.S. military.
Wilkerson has also said recently that Cheney and Rumsfeld operated a "cabal" that hijacked U.S. foreign and military policy."
From The New Yorker's Jane Mayer (via Laura Rozen):
"John Radsan, a lawyer formerly in the C.I.A’s Office of General Counsel, says, “Along with the usual problems of dealing with classified information in a criminal case, this could open a can of worms if a C.I.A. official in this case got indicted—a big fat can of worms about what set of rules apply to people like Jamadi. The sixty-four-thousand-dollar question is: What has been authorized? Can the C.I.A. torture people? A case like this opens up Pandora’s box.”The question someone such as Amnesty needs to be asking this Irish Government (and if necessary in court) is: Do we have blood on our hands?
Since September 11, 2001, the C.I.A.’ treatment and interrogation of terrorist suspect has remained almost entirely hidden fro public view. Human-rights groups estimate tha some ten thousand foreign suspects are bein held in U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan Iraq, Cuba, and other countries. A small bu unknown part of this population is in th custody of the C.I.A., which, as Dana Pries reported recently in the Washington Post, has operated secret prisons in Thailand and in Eastern Europe. It is also unclear how seriously the agency deals with allegations of prisoner abuse. "