Thursday, May 28, 2009

In 2004 Seymour Hersh Told a Story, But No One Listened

Now, everyone is clambering about it and blaming Pres. Obama for not releasing the pictures. They seem to think he is wrong, but do not want to take the blame for covering up the story they refused to cover 5 years ago.

I tried to ask Jake Tapper today about it on Twitter, but he refused to even answer me. Mark Knoller same thing. They were too busy yelling at Robert Gibbs for telling them not to believe everything they read in the British tabloid papers.

However the story is out there about some of the pictures that are purported to show the rape of children and women being among the ones that Pres. Obama decided not to release.

These were referenced in an interview that Seymour Hersh did on July 15, 2004 while speaking with the ACLU. Some of what he said was recorded but the recordings are not linkable now.

This is a partial transcript from BoingBoing as follows:

" Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib ... The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."

Then there was this from Geraldine Sealey @ Salon who wrote this:

After Donald Rumsfeld testified on the Hill about Abu Ghraib in May, there was talk of more photos and video in the Pentagon's custody more horrific than anything made public so far. "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse," Rumsfeld said. Since then, the Washington Post has disclosed some new details and images of abuse at the prison. But if Seymour Hersh is right, it all gets much worse. (...)
Notes from a similar speech Hersh gave in Chicago in June were posted on Brad DeLong's blog. Rick Pearlstein, who watched the speech, wrote: "[Hersh] said that after he broke Abu Ghraib people are coming out of the woodwork to tell him this stuff. He said he had seen all the Abu Ghraib pictures. He said, 'You haven't begun to see evil...' then trailed off. He said, 'horrible things done to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run.' He looked frightened."

There are several questions here: Has Hersh actually seen the video he described to the ACLU, and why hasn't he written about it yet? Will he be forced to elaborate in more public venues now that these two speeches are getting so much attention, at least in the blogosphere? And who else has seen the video, if it exists -- will journalists see and report on it? did senators see these images when they had their closed-door sessions with the Abu Ghraib evidence? -- and what is being done about it?

One of the things referenced was the Taguba Report. Also that is the name of the retired officer who is quoted in the Telegraph article that Gibbs is dissing today. Here are some of the things they are quoting, still from 2004.

This makes me think there is something to the story, which I stated right at the time I thought may be the reason Pres. Obama decided NOT to release the pictures. At the time he stated he was going to, he was being told that there was nothing in those pictures, then he saw them, and he found out what was really there.

After seeing them, he realized he couldn't let them out as long as there are military in harms way, as long as he is still trying to heal what BushCo has screwed up so royally. Yeah, I know all the arguments. Get them out so everyone can see them, but I am sorry, why inflame tensions any more than needed?

Here is what they point out about this report, "What most of us have seen of the report are excerpts from the 50-page summary. In fact, there are well over 6,000 pages in the report itself, including statements by and interviews with witnesses. Among them, testimony from an Iraqi prisoner that would appear to substantiate Seymour Hersh's claims that boys were sodomized at Abu Ghraib. Maj. Gen. Taguba evidently found these statements credible -- they supported statements from interviews with soldiers and other witnesses."

Yes, 6,000 pages in the reports and the summary that people have seen is condensed version of 50 pages. Here is where it gets nasty in backing up what Hersh claimed.

At the end of this post are links to digital copies of two documents from the Taguba report, hosted on the Washington Post website. Is it possible that they document the exact incidents to which Hersh referred? Excerpt from statement provided by Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, Detainee #151108, on January 18 2004:

I saw [name deleted] fucking a kid, his age would be about 15 - 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard the screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn't covered and I saw [name deleted] who was wearing the military uniform putting his dick in the little kid's ass. I couldn't see the face of the kid because his face wasn't in front of the door. And the female soldier was taking pictures. [name deleted], I think he is [deleted] because of his accent, and he was not skinny or short, and he acted like a homosexual (gay). And that was in cell #23 as best as I remember.
Another testimony alleging abuse of minors from a statement provided by Thaar Salman Dawod, Detainee #150427, on January 17, 2004:
I saw lots of people getting naked for a few days getting punished in the first days of Ramadan. They came with two boys naked and they were cuffed together face to face and Grainer was beating them and a group of guards were watching and taking pictures from top and bottom and there was three female soldiers laughing at the prisoners. The prisoners, two of them, were young. I don't know their names.

That's exactly what Seymour Hersh stated in his story to the ACLU, so why didn't this get picked up? Why was there not more coverage of this and why were the so called media not all over it during the summer of 2004?

And there's this snip from a CBS interview with "leash girl" Pfc. Lynndie England, the guard seen grinning and pointing at Iraqi prisoners in the infamous photos:
When England was asked if there were other things that happened at Abu Ghraib, things that were not photographed, she said, "Yes." When asked if there were worse things that happened, she said "Yes," but would not elaborate.
Link to first PDF, Link to second PDF. (Thank you, Mark)

Yet, they say this isn't torture. This is acceptable because of what al-Qaeda has done to us. Excuse me, they just kill us for the most part that I have ever seen. One of the things everyone likes to point out is how they seem to prefer, if that's the word you would use, the decapitation of our people. Well, I think I would rather have that, at least it would be quick and done, rather than to be beaten, raped, waterboarded, starved, slapped, hung by my arms, kept in a small box, or had bugs put on me as we have done to the Iraqis and others we tortured.

Here is a link to the story from CNN world, where they reported the story. Why they put it in the world section instead of the front page is beyond me. It should have been front page news. Come on people. This is stupid. We covered up the rape of children and the murder of detainees.

There are more places where the story of these abuses are out there, but it is mostly blogs where they are posted. There was very little coverage if any in the main stream news media.

Today there is another piece in Salon which is linking some of the cables which were sent from Iraq to CIA headquarters in 2002 and may show the story of waterboarding and torture of Abu Zubaydah, the al-Qaida operative who was, according to government reports, subjected to the near-drowning, if that's what you want to call it, at least 83 times in August 2002.

There are more and more pieces to this puzzle coming out every day. Will we ever have the entire story? Who knows. Will we ever see trials and convictions? Again, who knows. I certainly hope so.

Pres. Obama said in his speech that he thought we had the framework in place to do it. Do we have the will in this country? That's another question.


trishSWFL said...

Just reading about it makes my stomach turn. We simply MUST try, convict and punish those responsible!

enigma4ever said...

I thank you for blogging on this....and I don't think it does any good to not go forward with prosecution- but I also think at this point Our Own JD- their hands are dirty and they too participated- and is still Bush Infested- it MUST go to the UN and the World Courts.....


I wish Obama would show more leadership on this-
but this is going to get very very tricky as ALL the House and Senate went and looked at the photos and videos that summer...remember that ...and there are 400 cases that the Military basically covered up....and yes, corpses...and yes,....Kapinski's book is coming will stain us as a country....for many many years to come...

Gibbs has not handlded the pressers on this all...."we need to move forward" what a load of shit- had I have never really heard Obama say that- just Gibbs....

Obama will have to address it all better....but he is also a some point it will come out whether he saw those videos and photos back in 2004....was he one of the ones that viewed them....I don[t know...

thanks for blogging on such a difficult thing...

Patricia said...

That's an excellent post to refresh our memories about all that. I don't know about releasing the photos. Frankly, if any of the victims are still alive I think they should be able to decide about releasing them publicly. Using them in a prosecution would be a different matter, of course.

Silly Ratfaced Git said...