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"Chain Of Command" by Seymour Hersh

In an explosive extract from his new book, Seymour Hersh reveals how, in a fateful decision that led to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, the US defence secretary gave the green light to a secret unit authorised to torture terrorist suspects
Rumsfeld's dirty war on terror

In an explosive extract from his new book, Seymour Hersh reveals how,
in a fateful decision that led to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, the
US defence secretary gave the green light to a secret unit authorised
to torture terrorist suspects Read part two

Monday September 13, 2004
The Guardian

In the late summer of 2002, a CIA analyst made a quiet visit to the
detention centre at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
where an estimated 600 prisoners were being held, many, at first, in
steel-mesh cages that provided little protection from the brutally hot
sun. Most had been captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan during
the campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaida.

The Bush administration had determined, however, that they were not
prisoners of war but "enemy combatants", and that their stay at
Guantanamo could be indefinite, as teams of CIA, FBI, and military
interrogators sought to prise intelligence from them. In a series of
secret memorandums written earlier in the year, lawyers for the White
House, the Pentagon and the justice department had agreed that the
prisoners had no rights under federal law or the Geneva
convention. President Bush endorsed the finding, while declaring that
the al-Qaida and Taliban detainees were nevertheless to be treated in
a manner consistent with the principles of the Geneva convention - as
long as such treatment was also "consistent with military necessity".

But the interrogations at Guantanamo were a bust. Very little useful
intelligence had been gathered, while prisoners from around the world
continued to flow into the base, and the facility constantly expanded. The
CIA analyst had been sent there to find out what was going wrong. He was
fluent in Arabic and familiar with the Islamic world. He was held in high
respect within the agency, and was capable of reporting directly, if he
chose, to George Tenet, the CIA director. The analyst did more than just
visit and inspect. He interviewed at least 30 prisoners to find out who
they were and how they ended up in Guantanamo. Some of his findings,
he later confided to a former CIA colleague, were devastating.

"He came back convinced that we were committing war crimes in
Guantanamo," the colleague told me. "Based on his sample, more than
half the people there didn't belong there. He found people lying in
their own faeces," including two captives, perhaps in their 80s, who
were clearly suffering from dementia. "He thought what was going on
was an outrage," the CIA colleague added. There was no rational system
for determining who was important.

Two former administration officials who read the analyst's highly
classified report told me that its message was grim. According to a
former White House official, the analyst's disturbing conclusion was
that "if we captured some people who weren't terrorists when we got
them, they are now".

[Read more of the excerpt at  http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1303296,00.html]

homepage: homepage: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1303296,00.html

the arbitrary power of a king. 13.Sep.2004 15:56

this thing here

>that they were not prisoners of war but "enemy combatants"...<

>... In a series of secret memorandums written earlier in the year, lawyers for the White House, the Pentagon and the justice department had agreed that the prisoners had no rights under federal law or the Geneva convention.<

well, to be absolutely clear here, what the lawyers agreed to was the creation of an arbitrary definition of an individual, and therefore the rights allowed that individual. this is a terrible legal mechanism.

there is no difference in the tyrannical, arbitrary power of labelling someone something and therefore determining the quality of their legal rights, and a king ordering the arbitrary, summary arrest and hanging of an individual. none at all.

"you are hereby labelled 'crack dealer'. you will have the right to an attorney. however, you can and will be held indefinitely, until such time as you face a trial. you do not have the right to challenge this label."

"you are hereby labelled 'fradulent investment banker'. you will have the right to an attorney. you will have a speedy trial. you do have the right to challenge this label."

"you are hereby labelled 'grand theft auto thief'. you will have the right to an attorney. however, you can and will be held indefinitely, or until such time as you face trial. you do not have the right to challenge this label."

"you are hereby labelled 'terrorist'. you will have the right to an attorney. all of the discussions between you and your attorney will be monitored by the prosecution. you will be held indefitely, or until such time as you face trial. you may challenge this label. however, if the label does not stand, you will still face criminal charges, and therefore will be indefinitely, under the same rights listed above."

this is a fucking MOCKERY of law.

and which country, under what leadership, finds this acceptable? CUBA? BURMA? no...