Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Col. Janis Karpinski, the Former Head of Abu Ghraib, Admits She Broke the Geneva Conventions But Says the Blame "Goes All the Way to The Top”
The White House and CIA are urging Senators to exempt CIA officers from a proposed ban on torture. According to the New York Times, Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director Porter Goss met with Senator John McCain to urge him to rewrite the Senate’s proposed ban on torture. Three weeks ago the Senate voted 90 to 9 to ban the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of any detainee held by the government. Cheney reportedly said the CIA needed to be exempt because the president needs maximum flexibility in fighting the so-called war on terrorism.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union has released new documents this week that indicate at least 21 detainees have been murdered at U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ACLU came to the conclusion after obtaining reams of released Pentagon documents. According to the group, the documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions.
Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU said, “There is no question that U.S. interrogations have resulted in deaths. High-ranking officials who knew about the torture and sat on their hands and those who created and endorsed these policies must be held accountable.”
We look at the Iraqi prison at the center of the U.S. detainee abuse scandal – Abu Ghraib. It was here where the infamous photos of detainee abuse were taken: A hooded Iraqi man was forced to stand on a box with electrical wires connected to various parts of his body. Naked Iraqis were stacked on top of each other. U.S. military personnel posed with Iraqi corpses. And Iraqi detainees were held on leashes.
In April 2004, a secret Pentagon report concluded that U.S. soldiers had committed "egregious acts and grave breaches of international law" at Abu Ghraib. Since the photos first appeared, no senior Bush administration officials have been reprimanded for what happened at Abu Ghraib. Seven soldiers have been convicted for their role in the detainee abuse. Last month Lynndie England was sentenced to three years in prison. In January, Specialist Charles Graner was sentenced to 10 years. The highest ranking military officer reprimanded was Brigadier General Janis Karpinski who was commanding officer at the prison. She was demoted to colonel in May. She oversaw all military police in Iraq and was the first female ever to command soldiers in a combat zone.