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Wednesday, April 26, 2006


The short memory of The New York Times

Today we read this in The New York Times:
The Army plans to charge Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, the former head of the interrogation center at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, with dereliction of duty, lying to investigators and conduct unbecoming an officer, Army officials and a lawyer for the officer said on Tuesday.

Colonel Jordan was the last major figure from Abu Ghraib whose status remained unresolved two years after the graphic accounts and photographs of detainees being abused and sexually humiliated became public. Other more senior officers have been reprimanded, fined and relieved of command.
Leaving aside the question of whether such people as George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, or Alberto Gonzalez qualify as "major figures from Abu Ghraib," the Times has omitted the most important one of all: Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the man who was sent to "Gitmo-ize" Abu Ghraib, the man widely viewed as the point man for what went on there, a man who back in January invoked his right against self-incrimination and refused to testify in the trial of two of the Abu Ghraib dog (mis)handlers. Miller was just mentioned in The New York Times three days ago in a short piece by the same author (!), Eric Schmitt, as having changed his mind and agreed to testify.

Is Miller's status "resolved"? Hardly. Here's what his status was back in January:

Miller, now based at the Pentagon as a senior official managing Army installations, was recommended for administrative punishment for his alleged mishandling of interrogations of a valuable detainee in Guantanamo Bay. But high-ranking military officials have declined to impose the penalty.
In my mind is the information that Miller tried to resign from the Army, but has been prevented from doing so because of his "taking the fifth" (technically, not exactly the "fifth"), but I can't find documentation for that claim anywhere. If true, that may explain his change of heart about testifying.

By the way, "Gitmo-izing" has a cutesy ring to it. If you want to know more about what it really means, and the role Geoffrey Miller played in it, start with this Democracy Now! interview with Alfred McCoy, author of "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror." For more complete documentation, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has it all, having played (and still playing) a lead role in the fight against torture, or read the transcript of the Frontline show on the subject.

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