Further embarrassment regarding torture at the
US military prison at Abu Ghraib, Iraq emerged today, as high-level US civilian
officials denied knowledge of torture in Iraq.
US officials have stuck to the story that they had no prior knowledge of the
torture going on at Abu Ghraib but that tale is starting to unravel, as new
revelations come to light.
In addition to the charges of torture levied against US military personnel,
there have also been reports
that private contractors have participated in torture.
Asked on Monday, Coalition spokesman Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said he
was unsure what private contractors were doing at the prison.
to Public Radio host Allex Chadwick, from Baghdad, General Kimmitt was asked
whether private contractors were carrying out interrogations of prisoners in
the prisons in Iraq. "Are you clear on the role of the civilian contractors
at the prison?" asks the host. "I personally am not clear on the role of the
contractors. At the prison." Kimmitt admitted demurely.
While Kimmitt pleaded his prior ignorance about what happened inside Abu Ghraib,
CPA head L. Paul Bremer was dealing with accusations that he was informed about
abuses by Iraqi Human Rights Minister Abdel Basset Turki as early as November
Interviewed in Baghdad, Turki said,
"In November I talked to Mr. Bremer about human rights violations in general
and in jails in particular. He listened but there was no answer. At the first
meeting, I asked to be allowed to visit the security prisoners, but I failed,"
"I told him the news. He didn't take care about the information I gave him."
Turki resigned from his post on April 8.
Bremer may have had other things on his mind, he is rumored by the Washington
Post, to be interested in a cabinet job if Bush wins in November. He
took time out from running Iraq on Monday to mend
fences with the President regarding a comment he had made in February 2001,
saying then that Bush's administration was "paying
no attention" to preparedness for terrorism.
He is reported to have said then, "What they will do is stagger along until
there's a major incident and then suddenly say, 'Oh my God, shouldn't we be
organized to deal with this,'''
In Baghdad on Monday Bremer used the word "regret" to describe those previous
statements critical of Bush.
While the rest of the world is seething at the brutality that took place in
the Iraqi prison, Bush Administration officials are characteristically singing
a different tune from the rest of the world.
When asked by a reporter whether torture has taken place in Iraq, Rumsfeld
"My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which
I believe technically is different from torture."
He added that he did not know "that torture took place."
Our allies in Europe and else ware can be but aghast at these sentiments.
Appearing with Rumsfeld at the same press
conference was Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace.
General Pace referred to the secret Army report on Abu Ghraib as containing,
"… hundreds and hundreds of pages of documentation that are classified."
However, the secret
report obtained by Seymour M. Hersh and disclosed in The
New Yorker magazine has been described as containing only 56 pages,
not "hundreds and hundreds of pages."
It may well be that what was leaked to Seymour Hersh was only a summary of
the secret report's findings, and if that is true then there may be more revelations