The crimes at Abu Ghraib are part of a larger pattern of abuses against Muslim detainees around the world, Human Rights Watch said on the eve of the April 28 anniversary of the first pictures of U.S. soldiers brutalizing prisoners at the Iraqi jail.
“Abu Ghraib was only the tip of the iceberg,” said Reed Brody, special counsel for Human Rights Watch. “It’s now clear that abuse of detainees has happened all over—from Afghanistan to Guantnamo Bay to a lot of third-country dungeons where the United States has sent prisoners. And probably quite a few other places we don’t even know about.”
Human Rights Watch called this week for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the culpability of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and ex-CIA Director George Tenet, as well as Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, formerly the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of the prison camp at Guantnamo Bay, Cuba in cases of crimes against detainees. It rejected last week’s report by the Army Inspector General which was said to absolve Gen. Sanchez of responsibility.
“General Sanchez gave the troops at Abu Ghraib the green light to use dogs to terrorize detainees, and they did, and we know what happened, said Brody. “And while mayhem went on under his nose for three months, Sanchez didn’t step in to halt it.”
“People around the world will be recalling the horrific images they saw a year ago and wondering what happened to those prisoners,” said Amnesty secretary general Irene Khan, noting that only a handful of low-ranking US soldiers had been prosecuted or disciplined over the outrage.
“But what was the role of those higher up, including, for example, the US secretary of defence?” she said, referring to Donald Rumsfeld.
So, once again, it’s those GI renegades whose imaginative abuse of prisoners ran to nakedness, stacking nude men in a pyramid and using leashed dogs to intimidate during questioning.
Bush has piously stated that he was opposed to torture. Fine. But the proof of the pudding is for him to issue an executive order against torture and to announce that the U.S. will once again abide by the Geneva Conventions.