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Thursday, May 14, 2009




"Pakistan News & Analysis on SWAT 10 May 2009"
On the ground, at the end of the day, innocent civilians are at risk: Real people trying to lead normal lives.

To Hell With Winning Hearts & Minds; Or Morality, Or Ethics, Or Law

Welcome to the end of civilization, folks. It's official: Nazi-wannabees on the American Right like Dick Cheney are now in full agreement on the practice of State Terror with "Democrat Socialists" like Barack Obama. What a little power, and a complete lack of law, with no legislative or judicial oversight, can do.

Funny that it's the law & order crowd that are howling for this. They're the ones who usually wail at any expansion of government power. Yet here they are supporting the complete elimination of all civilized norms, all checks and balances, all rule of law. Torture, kill, hunt, assassinate, it's all one big sadistic, idiotic TV show now, like "24." The end justifies the means, even if there is no end. We have become the Enemy. We are the terrorists now.

Leading us right on over the edge of the abyss is our moralistic anti-war candidate of change in 2008. Well, that was then, this is now. Now he actually has power. He's been seduced by it. He is becoming its' creature. Soon, he will be indistinguishable from Cheney.

On the military front, Obama's new man is bringing his "new thinking" to the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It sounds just like the former Secretary of Defense, the much reviled failure, Donald Rumsfeld and his same old twaddle, which was proved so dramatically wrong: That we could send in a few of our "super-soldiers," and use our advantage in "hi-tek" to hunt down and destroy all enemy forces, without sending a whole army to keep the peace. It didn't work in Iraq, it's not working in Afghhanistan, and it damned sure won't work in the neolithic tribal areas of unstable, nuclear-missile-armed semi-Islamic State Pakistan. If anything, McChrystal's well-known tactics of torture, terror, assassination, and all the collateral damage, will alienate the Pakistani's even more than it did the Iraqi's. Then, if we try to leave, the Islamists will be there to fill the vacuum, in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, backed by popular support generated by our terror. No problem. We'll just never leave: The new commanding General says he wants to institutionalise the occupation, start a sort of Afghan Corps of soldiers deployed and redeployed there year in year out many times over many years. Eternal terror.

Of course, we can't do that without people, soldiers, fighters, assassins, torturers. But we can't take them from Iraq, or it will collapse. And we don't have enough now in Afghanistan, according to the General they just fired for saying so. So where are all these warm bodies going to come from for this new war in Pakistan? Does anybody feel a draft? Hey, if the economy doesn't recover soon, maybe we won't need a draft. We'll already have an economic draft. And then there's all those "illegal aliens." Military service is one path to citizenship. If you survive.

Survival could be dicey for an undersized army of torturers and assassins. The Afghans are getting pretty tired of us dropping munitions on their kids. The Pakistani people have never formally invited us into their country. We're just sort of sneaking over the borders, unofficially invading their territory. Not to worry. We're puting a guy in charge who's a master of the cover-up. Sorta. Kinda. But that was before he became the official face of America in the 'Stans. Might be a little harder to keep the press and the Red Cross and Amnesty International and the representatives of the local people blinded and bamboozled, just by hiding out, wearing a ski-mask and saying "that's classified." The Commanding General can't really hide. He has to be the front man. So, I guess we'll see what happens. Everything that happens. Good luck with that, General Spook.

More on McChrystal yesterday.






"New US General Vs. Taliban, Pashtuns"
McChrystal is a great recruiter for Islamism.
' Fuller is an expert on political Islam, and a recurrent thesis in his recent work is that moderate Islamists are the antidote to radical and extremist Islamist movements. He writes: The Taliban represent zealous and largely ignorant mountain Islamists. They are also all ethnic Pashtuns. Most Pashtuns see the Taliban -- like them or not -- as the primary vehicle for restoration of Pashtun power in Afghanistan, lost in 2001. Pashtuns are also among the most fiercely nationalist, tribalized and xenophobic peoples of the world, united only against the foreign invader. In the end, the Taliban are probably more Pashtun than they are Islamist. He writes: "US policies have now driven local nationalism, xenophobia and Islamism to combined fever pitch." His prescription is to reduce the pressures that are inflating Pashtun nationalism and xenophobia: Only the withdrawal of American and NATO boots on the ground will begin to allow the process of near-frantic emotions to subside within Pakistan, and for the region to start to cool down. ... Sadly, US forces and Islamist radicals are now approaching a state of co-dependency. '

"Stan McChrystal: The New U.S. Commander in Afghanistan"
Making a career out of a campaign.
' • As commander of special-operations forces in Iraq, he sent troops returning to the theater back to their original neighborhoods — a system he has suggested for general infantry soldiers in Afghanistan as head of a recent task-force review. '

"A General Steps From the Shadows "
Now the spooks are running the asylum 24/7/52. And on amphetamines, it sounds like. Good for the temperment.
' Most of what General McChrystal has done over a 33-year career remains classified, including service between 2003 and 2008 as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, an elite unit so clandestine that the Pentagon for years refused to acknowledge its existence. But former C.I.A. officials say that General McChrystal was among those who, with the C.I.A., pushed hard for a secret joint operation in the tribal region of Pakistan in 2005 aimed at capturing or killing Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s deputy. When General McChrystal took over the Joint Special Operations Command in 2003, he inherited an insular, shadowy commando force with a reputation for spurning partnerships with other military and intelligence organizations. But over the next five years he worked hard, his colleagues say, to build close relationships with the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. He won praise from C.I.A. officers, many of whom had stormy relationships with commanders running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “He knows intelligence, he knows covert action and he knows the value of partnerships,” said Henry Crumpton, who ran the C.I.A.’s covert war in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks. As head of the command, which oversees the elite Delta Force and units of the Navy Seals, General McChrystal was based at Fort Bragg, N.C. But he spent much of his time in Iraq commanding secret missions. Most of his operations were conducted at night, but General McChrystal, described nearly universally as a driven workaholic, was up for most of the day as well. His wife and grown son remained back in the United States. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, brought General McChrystal back to Washington to be his director last August, and the physical proximity served General McChrystal well, Defense officials said. In recent weeks, Admiral Mullen recommended General McChrystal to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates as a replacement for General McKiernan. One other thing to know about General McChrystal: when he was a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2000, he ran a dozen miles each morning to the council’s offices from his quarters at Fort Hamilton on the southwestern tip of Brooklyn. “If you asked me the first thing that comes to mind about General McChrystal,” said Leslie H. Gelb, the president emeritus of the council, “I think of no body fat.” '

"Manhunter To Take On a Wider Mission"
Can a small-force-commanding micromanaging grunt run multiple large multi-national armies in the "graveyard of empires"? Oh, let's just flip a COIN!
' Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former Special Operations chief who is President Obama's new choice to lead the war in Afghanistan, rose to military prominence because of his single-minded success in a narrow but critical mission: manhunting. To succeed in the more expansive and varied Afghanistan mission, military officials and analysts said, McChrystal will have to transcend the perception that he is, at his core, an Army Ranger, an elite practitioner of rapid-fire raids intended to "find, fix, finish" the enemy. Instead, he will have to embrace the more unwieldy work of building Afghan security forces from disparate tribes, extending governance and cultivating diplomatic skills -- as well as a thirst for endless cups of tea -- that goes along with leading a counterinsurgency campaign. "McChrystal kills people. Has he ever worked in the counterinsurgency environment? Not really," said Roger Carstens, a senior nonresident fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a former Special Forces officer. McChrystal, a 1976 West Point graduate who regularly runs to and from work, is known for tackling assignments with intensity and exhaustive energy, according to military peers who know him well. As a young commander in the 1980s, he "was big into road marching in the Rangers -- he expanded it exponentially," said one officer. McChrystal served as an operations officer for the JSOC in the Persian Gulf War and was chief of staff for an Army task force during operations to overthrow the Taliban government in Afghanistan. McChrystal shuns an armchair style of commanding, and even as a three-star general he often joins his men on operations, officers said. As the JSOC commander overseeing Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, McChrystal spent the vast majority of his time overseas, rather than at his Fort Bragg, N.C., headquarters. '

"Fighting in the Shadows"
Failing upwards: If it didn't work in Somalia, why should the spooks' way work in Afghanistan?
' The U.S. warlord-support strategy is part of a series of clandestine operations around the world conducted with little accountability back home. The broad shadow war is conducted by the CIA, Special Operations commander Gen. Doug Brown, "black ops" commander Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the Pentagon's intelligence czar, Steve Cambone, along with his deputy, Lt. Gen. William Boykin. The U.S. strategy of quietly destroying jihadist cells outside Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 has had its successes. Among them: the capture of Algerian terrorist Abderrazak al-Para in 2004, the assassination of a jihadist leader in Yemen by a Hellfire missile strike in 2004 and the routing of Abu Sayyaf from Basilan Island in the Philippines. Publicly, the administration will not admit to any policy of aiding warlords. But officials with the Red Cross and other aid groups in Mogadishu report seeing "many Americans with thick necks and short haircuts moving around, carrying big suitcases," says one aid official whose agency does not permit him to speak on the record. And in recent months a diplomat critical of U.S. policy in Somalia, Michael Zorick, apparently was removed from his post in Nairobi after writing cables complaining about the strategy. (Zorick, who was moved to the embassy in Chad, could not be reached for comment Friday.) A political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, Lisa Peterson, refused to comment on the reasons for Zorick's departure. But she said that U.S. policy is under review, with State Counterterrorism chief Hank Crumpton currently on a visit to the Horn. Asked whether Zorick's dissent, and the current debate, were mainly about whether Washington might be creating more Islamist radicals than it is killing or capturing, she said, "Those are certainly questions that have come up." At CIA stations in East Africa, some agency officials believe the United States is being "essentially defrauded," says a retired CIA station chief who recently visited there and wanted to remain anonymous because he was discussing sensitive issues. "They think we should take a deep breath and settle down. We're throwing money at anybody who will say they're fighting terrorism." Indeed, some suspects grabbed in recent years by friendly militia leaders have turned out to be mere drifters: in one case, a hapless Iraqi was snatched at a cybercafé in Mogadishu, only to be interrogated for a month and released. '

"Why Did Violence Plummet? It Wasn't Just the Surge."
Obama is about to do the same thing Bush did: try to get out on the cheap, putting in less forces than required and "leveraging" them with Special Ops. But in Iraq, it took more boots on the ground, ultimately. A tough sell, politically. Anyone feel a draft? No. I didn't think so. Not with unemployment this high.
' On one level, the surge was beginning to have its intended effect. Doubling the U.S. forces in and around Baghdad from 17,000 to nearly 40,000, coupled with Petraeus's counterinsurgency game plan, had helped quell some of the sectarian and other violence that had defined the previous year and a half. About 30 joint security stations had been established around Baghdad; security along the borders with Iran and Syria had improved; and the Iraqi army was performing better. In Washington, conventional wisdom translated these events into a simple view: The surge had worked. But the full story was more complicated. At least three other factors were as important as, or even more important than, the surge. These factors either have not been reported publicly or have received less attention than the influx of troops. Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) responsible for hunting al-Qaeda in Iraq, employed what he called "collaborative warfare," using every tool available simultaneously, from signal intercepts to human intelligence and other methods, that allowed lightning-quick and sometimes concurrent operations. [On Friday, Stephen J. Hadley, the president's national security adviser, issued a statement about the news report, asserting that the surge of troops was the most important because it "enabled" the other three. Hadley wrote, "It was the surge that provided more resources and a security context to support newly developed techniques and operations."] '

"Death of a Terrorist"
It took our best people and all their gear three years to get one loudmouth *ssh*le. For that, McChrystal got promoted? Meanwhile, the war in Iraq grinds on. So, what can we expect in Afghanistan? More of the same, or worse?
' Last week's ambush of Zarqawi was a model of military efficiency, a triumph of patient intelligence gathering and high-tech snooping. But it seems fair to ask why it took three years to get him. Ever since Zarqawi emerged as a threat after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, an elite team--the best of the best, men from Delta Force, Navy SEAL Team Six, Army Rangers and other highly trained special operators--has been on the manhunt, backed by spy satellites and code-crunching computers. Their target, while vicious, seemed to be something of a blowhard and a buffoon. In a video released by the Pentagon in May, Zarqawi, oddly baby-faced despite his beard, could be seen strutting in a brand-new pair of New Balance white sneakers peeping out from his black commando garb. He appeared to be having trouble trying to fire an American automatic weapon. Still, Zarqawi hardly seemed to qualify as an Islamic Scarlet Pimpernel. His infamy was, at least to some degree, a creation of the U.S. government, whose spokesmen seized on him as the visible face of Al Qaeda in Iraq--and living proof that the war in Iraq was the main battlefield in the grander global war on terror (GWOT, in governmentese). Though a high-school dropout, Zarqawi was smart enough to spread his message of death-cult jihad by Internet all over the world. The making of Zarqawi is an ugly Pygmalion story; the catching and killing of him is a reminder that noxious weeds, once they take root, are not easily eradicated. '

"Death of a Terrorist"
Who found Zarqawi? Jordan? CIA? Mossad? That's OK, McChrystal will be there to take the credit, and claim he won the war, too. A world-class self-promoting BS artist.
' In the end, Zarqawi may have been brought down by his own vanity and virulence. In an effort to stir sectarian violence, to pit Shiites against Sunnis in civil war, Zarqawi had staged several bombings against Shia holy places, including a February attack against a revered shrine in Samarra. The bloodbaths had their desired effect; Iraq seemed to be verging on all-out civil war. But they brought a reprimand from bin Laden's chief lieutenant, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, who chided Zarqawi for turning public opinion against Al Qaeda by targeting fellow Muslims. By the time Zarqawi was making videos of himself in April, he was increasingly marginalized and in danger of betrayal. "He felt under pressure, and he felt he was losing power," says a senior Jordanian security official who declined to be identified discussing intelligence. Zarqawi had recently formed a mujahedin Shura Council to put more of an Iraqi face on the insurgency. The tape was an effort to assert his control, says the official, who adds, "It was a big mistake. The minute the tape was released was the beginning of his end." The Jordanians had been aggressively seeking Zarqawi ever since his forces bombed three hotels in Amman in November, killing 60 people and wiping out a wedding party. In December, King Abdullah, wearing the uniform of the Jordanian Special Forces, personally told his top intel officers, "I am not going to wait for Zarqawi to come and hit Jordan." In short order, an elite unit called the Group of the Knights of God was established to hunt the outlaw. It appears that the Jordanians were the first to penetrate Zarqawi's network, although even Jordanian officials concede that the final attack on Zarqawi was the work of American special operators. The details remain murky, but military and intelligence officials laid out a basic outline of the final hunt. At some point about two weeks before the attack, the Americans learned the identity of Zarqawi's latest spiritual adviser, Sheik Abdel-Rahman. American intelligence began to stalk him, following his movements by an aerial drone, hoping he would lead the Americans to Zarqawi. Some news organizations also reported that American spooks had an informer inside Zarqawi's inner circle. It is hard to know for sure: American intelligence has been known to plant disinformation about spies and traitors in order to sow distrust among terrorist cells. U.S. intelligence officials, asking to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the matter, would say only that the Americans were able to piece together a mosaic from human sources, aerial reconnaissance and electronic intercepts. '

"TASK FORCE 6-26: Inside Camp Nama; In Secret Unit's 'Black Room,' A Grim Portrait of U.S. Abuse "
Even the DIA, the CIA and the FBI objected to McWonder-Boy's harsh treatment of prisoners of war. He got promoted. His subordinates got court-martialed. Leadership, much? He's a West-Pointer, all right: Advanced CYA training.
' Most of the people interviewed for this article were midlevel civilian and military Defense Department personnel who worked with Task Force 6-26 and said they witnessed abuses, or who were briefed on its operations over the past three years. Many were initially reluctant to discuss Task Force 6-26 because its missions are classified. But when pressed repeatedly by reporters who contacted them, they agreed to speak about their experiences and observations out of what they said was anger and disgust over the unit's treatment of detainees and the failure of task force commanders to punish misconduct more aggressively. The critics said the harsh interrogations yielded little information to help capture insurgents or save American lives. ''We take all those allegations seriously,'' Gen. Bryan D. Brown, the commander of the Special Operations Command, said in a brief hallway exchange on Capitol Hill on March 8. ''Any kind of abuse is not consistent with the values of the Special Operations Command.'' General Brown's command declined requests for interviews with several former task force members and with Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who leads the Joint Special Operations Command, the headquarters at Fort Bragg, N.C., that supplies the unit's most elite troops. Cases of detainee abuse attributed to Task Force 6-26 demonstrate both confusion over and, in some cases, disregard for approved interrogation practices and standards for detainee treatment, according to Defense Department specialists who have worked with the unit. Some complaints were ignored or played down in a unit where a conspiracy of silence contributed to the overall secretiveness. ''It's under control,'' one unit commander told a Defense Department official who complained about mistreatment at Camp Nama in the spring of 2004. Just beyond the screening rooms, where Saddam Hussein was given a medical exam after his capture, detainees were kept in as many as 85 cells spread over two buildings. Some detainees were kept in what was known as Motel 6, a group of crudely built plywood shacks that reeked of urine and excrement. The shacks were cramped, forcing many prisoners to squat or crouch. Other detainees were housed inside a separate building in 6-by-8-foot cubicles in a cellblock called Hotel California. Task Force 6-26 was a creation of the Pentagon's post-Sept. 11 campaign against terrorism, and it quickly became the model for how the military would gain intelligence and battle insurgents in the future. Originally known as Task Force 121, it was formed in the summer of 2003, when the military merged two existing Special Operations units, one hunting Osama bin Laden in and around Afghanistan, and the other tracking Mr. Hussein in Iraq. (Its current name is Task Force 145.) The task force was a melting pot of military and civilian units. It drew on elite troops from the Joint Special Operations Command, whose elements include the Army unit Delta Force, Navy's Seal Team 6 and the 75th Ranger Regiment. Military reservists and Defense Intelligence Agency personnel with special skills, like interrogators, were temporarily assigned to the unit. C.I.A. officers, F.B.I. agents and special operations forces from other countries also worked closely with the task force. In January 2004, the task force captured the son of one of Mr. Hussein's bodyguards in Tikrit. The man told Army investigators that he was forced to strip and that he was punched in the spine until he fainted, put in front of an air-conditioner while cold water was poured on him and kicked in the stomach until he vomited. Army investigators were forced to close their inquiry in June 2005 after they said task force members used battlefield pseudonyms that made it impossible to identify and locate the soldiers involved. The unit also asserted that 70 percent of its computer files had been lost. Despite the task force's access to a wide range of intelligence, its raids were often dry holes, yielding little if any intelligence and alienating ordinary Iraqis, Defense Department personnel said. Prisoners deemed no threat to American troops were often driven deep into the Iraqi desert at night and released, sometimes given $100 or more in American money for their trouble. Accusations of abuse by Task Force 6-26 came as no surprise to many other officials in Iraq. By early 2004, both the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. had expressed alarm about the military's harsh interrogation techniques. The C.I.A.'s Baghdad station sent a cable to headquarters on Aug. 3, 2003, raising concern that Special Operations troops who served with agency officers had used techniques that had become too aggressive. Five days later, the C.I.A. issued a classified directive that prohibited its officers from participating in harsh interrogations. Separately, the C.I.A. barred its officers from working at Camp Nama but allowed them to keep providing target information and other intelligence to the task force. The warnings still echoed nearly a year later. On June 25, 2004, nearly two months after the disclosure of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, an F.B.I. agent in Iraq sent an e-mail message to his superiors in Washington, warning that a detainee captured by Task Force 6-26 had suspicious burn marks on his body. The detainee said he had been tortured. A month earlier, another F.B.I. agent asked top bureau officials for guidance on how to deal with military interrogators across Iraq who used techniques like loud music and yelling that exceeded ''the bounds of standard F.B.I. practice.'' American generals were also alerted to the problem. In December 2003, Col. Stuart A. Herrington, a retired Army intelligence officer, warned in a confidential memo that medical personnel reported that prisoners seized by the unit, then known as Task Force 121, had injuries consistent with beatings. ''It seems clear that TF 121 needs to be reined in with respect to its treatment of detainees,'' Colonel Herrington concluded. By May 2004, just as the scandal at Abu Ghraib was breaking, tensions increased at Camp Nama between the Special Operations troops and civilian interrogators and case officers from the D.I.A.'s Defense Human Intelligence Service, who were there to support the unit in its fight against the Zarqawi network. The discord, according to documents, centered on the harsh treatment of detainees as well as restrictions the Special Operations troops placed on their civilian colleagues, like monitoring their e-mail messages and phone calls. The tensions laid bare a clash of military cultures. Combat-hardened commandos seeking a steady flow of intelligence to pinpoint insurgents grew exasperated with civilian interrogators sent from Washington, many of whom were novices at interrogating hostile prisoners fresh off the battlefield. ''These guys wanted results, and our debriefers were used to a civil environment,'' said one Defense Department official who was briefed on the task force operations. Within days after Admiral Jacoby sent his memo, the D.I.A. took the extraordinary step of temporarily withdrawing its personnel from Camp Nama. Military and legal experts say the full breadth of abuses committed by Task Force 6-26 may never be known because of the secrecy surrounding the unit, and the likelihood that some allegations went unreported. In the summer of 2004, Camp Nama closed and the unit moved to a new headquarters in Balad, 45 miles north of Baghdad. The unit's operations are now shrouded in even tighter secrecy. General McChrystal, the leader of the Joint Special Operations Command, received his third star in a promotion ceremony at Fort Bragg on March 13. On Dec. 8, 2004, the Pentagon's spokesman, Lawrence Di Rita, said that four Special Operations soldiers from the task force were punished for ''excessive use of force'' and administering electric shocks to detainees with stun guns. Two of the soldiers were removed from the unit. To that point, Mr. Di Rita said, 10 task force members had been disciplined. Since then, according to the new figures provided to The Times, the number of those disciplined for detainee abuse has more than tripled. Nine of the 34 troops disciplined received written or oral counseling. Others were reprimanded for slapping detainees and other offenses. The five Army Rangers who were court-martialed in December received punishments including jail time of 30 days to six months and reduction in rank. Two of them will receive bad-conduct discharges upon completion of their sentences. Human rights advocates and leading members of Congress say the Pentagon must still do more to hold senior-level commanders and civilian officials accountable for the misconduct. '

"Camp Nama"
The U.S. military's version of Hell.
' Camp Nama is a military base in Baghdad, Iraq, originally built by the government of Saddam Hussein, from which its name derives, and now used by U.S. military forces. Purportedly, the original Iraqi name has been repurposed by U.S. personnel involved with the facility as an acronym standing for "Nasty Ass Military Area". After the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the camp was taken over by elite American Special Operations forces. The main purpose of the camp was to interrogate prisoners for information about Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The New York Times reported on 19 March 2006, the three-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion, that the elite unit, known as Task Force 6-26, used the facility to torture and abuse prisoners both before and after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. Some of the torture took place in "The Black Room," which used to be a torture chamber when Saddam's government ran the facility. The camp was the target of repeated warnings and investigations from U.S. officials since August 2003. There were placards around the camp that read "No Blood No Foul," a reference to the notion, described by a Pentagon official, that "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." The report included an extensive interview with one Sergeant, using the pseudonym "Jeff Perry", who worked as an interrogator with the task force running the detention center. Sergeant "Perry" indicated that written authorizations were required for most abusive techniques, indicating that the use of these tactics was approved up the chain of command: Techniques involving outright assault—hitting, slapping, and beating—were apparently not on the list, but were regularly used at Nama, indicating that the harsh methods that were approved often degenerated into even harsher treatment in practice. '

""No Blood, No Foul""
Here's the rest of McNasty's record.
' Soldiers' Accounts of Detainee Abuse in Iraq: July 22, 2006: Torture and other abuses against detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq were authorized and routine, even after the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal, according to accounts from soldiers in this 53-page report. Soldiers describe how detainees were routinely subjected to severe beatings, painful stress positions, severe sleep deprivation, and exposure to extreme cold and hot temperatures. The accounts come from interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch, supplemented by memoranda and sworn statements contained in declassified documents.
"I was very annoyed with them because they were saying things like we didn't have to abide by the Geneva Conventions, because these people weren't POWs. . . . [T]hey're enemy combatants, they're not POWs, and so we can do all this stuff to them and so forth. . . . It just went against everything we learned at Huachuca." - Military Intelligence Interrogator attached to a secretive task force stationed at CampNama, at Baghdad airport in Iraq, describing a briefing by military lawyers in early 2004 after soldiers raised concerns about abusive interrogation methods.
Human Rights Watch asked whether Jeff knew whether the colonel was receiving orders or pressure to use the abusive tactics. Jeff said that his understanding was that there was some form of pressure to use aggressive techniques coming from higher up the chain of command; however neither he nor other interrogators were briefed on the particular source. "We really didn't know too much about it. We knew that we were only like a few steps away in the chain of command from the Pentagon, but it was a little unclear, especially to the interrogators who weren't really part of that task force." Jeff said that he did see Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. Joint Special Operations forces in Iraq, visiting the Nama facility on several occasions. "I saw him a couple of times. I know what he looks like." '

More on McChrystal yesterday.

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