Friday, August 20, 2004

Fog Fading Fast 

We've been yammering about the links nobody is making on the Abu Ghraib story. Read these three pieces and you will know as much as anybody on earth. By reading all three you will know more than the writers of each story did, once you look at how things link together.

The stories are:

A superb and very long backgrounder from Salon. Just two grafs as they link to the next piece:

Army Spc. Luciana Spencer is a good example of the problem. A military interrogator, Spencer was cited in the Taguba report for forcing a detainee to strip and walk back to his cell naked, in an effort to humiliate him. In a still-classified sworn statement, she also admits to hearing other interrogators instructing the military police to abuse prisoners, and once witnessed Spc. Charles Graner slapping a detainee. Asked why she didn't report Graner, Spencer told investigators that she didn't know that what he had done constituted abuse.

That's not surprising given her level of experience. Spencer had graduated from "the schoolhouse," the military training ground for interrogators at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., in the summer of 2003, just months before arriving at her first assignment, Abu Ghraib.
Now this would be a good time to go back to our reports linked above from July 11 about Gen. Barbara Fast. We thought then that she had managed to get away "clean" (in the sense of not getting caught) from Abu Ghraib, since she was all set to take over management of that just-mentioned Fort Huachuca.

This turns out to not quite be the case, according to the ArizonaRepublic:
FORT HUACHUCA - She may know as much about intelligence gathering in Iraq as anyone.

And she wants to share her experience with the next generation of military interrogators heading to the war.

But for now, Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast is stuck.

The Pentagon announced earlier this year that Fast would assume command of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, 75 miles southeast of Tucson, after she finished a tour of duty in Iraq.

Fast finished her tour two weeks ago...but the Pentagon isn't saying when, or if, she will be given the command she was promised.

The hold-up involves ongoing investigations into the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal.

But everyone in the chain of command at the Army Intelligence Center insisted that the current doctrine of Fort Huachuca is sound, that if it had been followed, Abu Ghraib never would have happened.

None of the soldiers charged in connection with the prison scandal was trained at Fort Huachuca. All seven were military police reservists.
So Spc. Spencer WAS trained at Huachuca, but WASN'T charged, so that proves that everything is cool. Um, yeah right.

Finally, this third story is out of the LATimes, although this link is to the Chicago Tribune because LA didn't have it posted yet when I found this last night, go figure. This is on the Fay Report, of which more later since there hasn't been any real analysis yet. A brief snip:
WASHINGTON -- A long-awaited report on abuses at Abu Ghraib prison will implicate about two dozen military intelligence soldiers and civilian contractors in the intimidation and sexual humiliation of Iraq war prisoners, but will not suggest wrongdoing by military brass outside the prison, senior defense officials said Wednesday.

But Defense Department officials said the report implicates no one outside the prison. "The report is going to say responsibility for Abu Ghraib stops at the brigade level," a senior defense official said.

But one senior defense official said the report by Army Maj. Gen. George Fay will make clear that "no one in Washington said stack people on top of each other, naked."
Sure glad to get THAT question cleared up.

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