Having decided to protect the Bush administration torturers, President Obama is forced to take one outrageous position after another. Tranparency? In the ditch. Ending abuse? Depends on what the meaning of abuse is. Ending Military Commissions? So campaign mode.
The New York Times now reports on yet another outrageous idea. The administration is considering changing the Military Commission rules to allow tortured prisoners to plead guilty to capital charges so the administration won’t face the danger of having to reveal the torture. How convenient. The evidence can then be made to vanish with swift executions, with no danger that it will return later.
Of course, the total strategic defeat the US will suffer — from conducting indefnsible “trials,” from executing prisoners they had previously tortured, and from creating martyrs — is less important than hiding the previous administrations crimes. I guess Obama’s really into the swing of being President.
June 6th, 2009
In a detailed reading of the recent Senate Armed Services Committess [SASC] report on interrogations, Jeff Kaye calls attention to the crucial roles of two Special Forces officers in bringing SERE-based abuse to Iraq:
Recently, there was a spike of interest in the command responsibility Obama nominee for top military commander, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, might hold for the use of torture by Special Operations forces under his command in Iraq. But at the Senate Armed Services hearing for his nomination the other day, according to Spencer Ackerman, only Senator Levin even queried him on the subject, and no senator appeared opposed to his nomination.
But I want to look at the actions of two generals mentioned in the SASC report, “Inquiry on the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody.” Both of them are singled out for actions related to the approval of torture under their commands. Both had command responsibility for these actions, and one of them, Air Force Special Operations Brigadier General Lyle Koenig, was specifically singled out for obloquy (although not by name). The other senior officer, Brigadier General Thomas Moore, was the Director of Operations and Plans (J3) for Joint Forces Command (JFCOM).
Both officers dropped out of sight after 2004, or, that is, an extensive web search on their activities turned up practically nothing. It was on September 24, 2004 that JFCOM finally withdrew official approval for use of SERE-like interrogation techniques, at least by SERE personnel (or rather, through SERE’s parent agency, Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, or JPRA). Earlier, BG Koenig and BG Moore had played crucial roles in the implementation of SERE torture, giving approval to the use of SERE techniques in interrogations.
Read the article for a detailed explication of their roles.
June 6th, 2009