Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Bush torture policies: Follow the bytes! 

Oddly (or not) that liberal media is focusing on new revelations of acts of torture, not who's reponsible for them. The lede from Izvestia on the Hudson:

F.B.I. memorandums portray abuse of prisoners by American military personnel in Iraq that included detainees' being beaten and choked and having lit cigarettes placed in their ears, according to newly released government documents.

The lede from Pravda on the Potomac isn't much better:

The Bush administration is facing a wave of new allegations that the abuse of foreign detainees in U.S. military custody was more widespread, varied and grave in the past three years than the Defense Department has long maintained.

But—Surprise!—our liberal media is burying the real story: Bush is directly responsible for authorizing torture. We've always thought so; now we have hard evidence. Here's the paragraph from the memo that nails Bush from the FBI memos released by the ACLU under FOIA:

We [the FBI] are aware that prior to a revision in policy last week [May 22,2004] an executive order signed by President Bush authorized the following interrogation techniques among others: sleep "management," use of MWDs (Military Working Dogs)[back], "stress positions: such as half squats, "environmental manipulation" such as the use of loud music, sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc. We assume the OGC instruction does not include the reporting of these authorized interrogation techniques, and that the use of these techniques does not constitute "abuse."

As stated, there was a revision last week in the military's standard operating procedures based on the Executive Order. I have been told [by whom?] that all interrogation techniques previously authorized by theh Executive Order are still on the table but that certain techniques can only be used if very high-level authority [whose?] is granted.

So, case almost closed, one would think. Either someone in the FBI chain of command saw the Executive Order signed by President Bush, or they didn't. Could that special FBI someone be subpoenaed, perhaps? Just to clear the matter up?

Then again, that process would enable Bush to use The Fog Machine (back) to stonewall some more, so maybe we need a backup plan.

Here's a suggestion: Follow the bytes!

We already know (back) that "some of the information being collected from prisoners [at Abu Ghraib] had been requested by "White House staff." And we also know (back) that photographs of the tortured prisoners were taken as a matter of policy. Back then we asked:

Where were the torture photos stored, what was the chain of custody, and who has them now?

We've may have had an answer to the first and third of this question since August:

[T]he Army has one investigator looking at more than 100,000 documents contained in a secret computer server at Abu Ghraib and that the work would not be finished until December unless more staff workers were assigned to the job.
(via USA Today)

December, eh? I wonder how the investigator is coming along?

The Abu Ghraib photos were digital. Who wants to bet some were stored on the secret server at Abu Ghraib? And we know people in the White House (OK, Bush) keep photos of "terrorists" and put red X's through them when they're, um, no longer a threat (here). And we know the White House really likes to set up parallel institutions that it controls, outside of regular channels. So, who wants to bet that digital photos, taken under torture, made it all the way from the Abu Ghraib server to clients in the White House, and onto Bush's desk? (Maybe through a cut-out at the CPA?) Seems like a no-brainer to me—but it should be easy to find out. Someone should find out who the system administrators for that Abu Ghraib server were, and ask them.

Follow the bytes!

NOTE And what about the videos of screaming boys being raped at Abu Ghraib? They've been seen; when is someone going to leak them?

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