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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Saturday, May 21, 2005

The truth hurts

In today's Guardian, Seymour Hersh explains the lack of accountability at the top levels of the Bush administration:

"It's been over a year since I published a series of articles in the New Yorker outlining the abuses at Abu Ghraib. There have been at least 10 official military investigations since then - none of which has challenged the official Bush administration line that there was no high-level policy condoning or overlooking such abuse. The buck always stops with the handful of enlisted army reservists from the 372nd Military Police Company whose images fill the iconic Abu Ghraib photos with their inappropriate smiles and sadistic posing of the prisoners."

"There is no evidence that President Bush, upon learning of the devastating conduct at Abu Ghraib, asked any hard questions of Rumsfeld and his own aides in the White House; no evidence that they took any significant steps, upon learning in mid-January of the abuses, to review and modify the military's policy toward prisoners. I was told by a high-level former intelligence official that within days of the first reports the judicial system was programmed to begin prosecuting the enlisted men and women in the photos and to go no further up the chain of command."

But we shouldn't be surprised. With the lack of a real opposition in America, Britain or Australia, speaking truth to power is left to figures such as British MP George Galloway, saluted here by Scott Ritter:

"Galloway has...had the courage to stand up to unjust charges and an unjust war - and that is the only way that opinion will shift. Two years ago I wrote that the accusations of corruption against Galloway were too convenient, designed to silence one of the Iraq war's harshest critics. The honourable member for Bethnal Green and Bow has entered the lair of a conservative American political body to confront it head-on about a war and occupation that many on both sides of the Atlantic, politicians and public alike, seem only too willing to sweep under the carpet. So, Mr Galloway, please accept from this American three cheers for a job well done."

Independent American journalist Dahr Jamail, a regular visitor to Iraq without major news organisation backing, explains "living in two worlds", between an American public not being told the truth about Iraq and average Iraqis struggling to understand a country blighted by violence.

Meanwhile, back on planet Bush, pictures of Saddam Hussein, published in Murdoch's Sun in the UK, have further enraged the American administration. Once again, more concern is expressed about an American solider (presumably) leaking photos than actual abuses in Iraqi jails and beyond. The "mother of all smokescreens", as Galloway said earlier in the week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! Go Galloway! Go Ritter! Go Hersh!

What the Yanks did at A.G. was 100x worse than the legitimately elected Saddam Hussein!

Bring on shari'a! Hell, Mohammed loved underage girls, so why can't Ritter?

Saturday, May 21, 2005 7:14:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

Nah, Anon. What the yanks did in ensuring the death of half a million Iraqi children with their sanctions regime was at least 10x worse than the abuses committed by Saddam while he enjoyed the full support of the Whitehouse.

The Abu Ghraib stuff was just the icing on the cake to stop the Iraqis from getting the wrong idea from US propaganda and thinking that they were now free from arbitrary arrest and torture. After all, if they think they can speak out they may even get the idea that they can democratically elect their own government.

Then what?
Maybe an Islamic government and sharia law.

Nope, can't have that. We'd better install a new Saddam who can take back responsibility for the torture and murder of Iraqis from those hard working GIs and ensure that the vital US resources under Iraqi soil continue to flow to their rightful owners.

And never mind that Ritter was telling the truth about WMD while everyone else was lying through their teeth. Or that he was earlier telling the truth about how UNSCOM had become a front for Operation Rockingham, while that fine Australian, Richard Butler, was bullshitting the world into accepting the 'Desert Fox' airstrikes against suburban Baghdad (and, in retrospect, we can all see how accurate and impartial CNN reporting on that one was).

Nope, there are CNN reports of unconfirmed rumours that Ritter may have had sexualised contact with someone masquerading as a sixteen year old girl - so he has no right at all to speak out about lies that have led to the death of many thousands of children.

Sunday, May 22, 2005 1:34:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Michael, thanks for talking some sense. The increasing number of abuse scandals hitting the US military is causing, as one article I read today proved, that for the Muslim world, US institutions such as Guantanamo Bay, are beginning to define America.
The long term effects of this is scary yet predictable...

Sunday, May 22, 2005 7:33:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What poppycock. Muslims kill, torture, massacre, and abuse each other with the full sanction of states and fatwas on a religious basis, but -- ooooh! -- someone gets wrapped in an Israeli flag (which might be torture if inflicted upon you, Anty) or (allegedly) wings a koran down the dunny and everyone loses their mind.

Why can the actions of a few define the West to the Muslim world, yet if I say that a few members of the religion of peace flying planes into buildings or strapping bombs on themselves and wandering into cafes or having deadly riots because someone mistreated a book (and I love books, but I wouldnt kill because somene flushed one, any more than I would riot because an artist took a leak on a crucifix) or committing genocide against Kurds or black Sudanese or Timorese is starting to define the Muslim world for me, you'd sigh call me a racist?

This is the most reactionary kind of thinking, where only America is to blame and no one else has to examine their actions. Find a little nuance, mate!

Monday, May 23, 2005 8:38:00 am  
Anonymous michael said...

Umm, Anon, perhaps you'd care to point out which Muslim states sanction their citizens murdering each other any more than, say, the US or China, where state sanctioned executions are currently at levels not seen since just after WWII.

And of course, none of them can hold a candle to the US when it comes to state sanctioned murder of other countries' citizens.

On the other hand, as citizens of the sort of 'democracies' we are trying to impose on the Middle East, it would be understandable if Mideast Muslims assumed that the murders, torture and desecrations carried out by our governments and their minions have our sanction. After all, the war apologists never tire of telling us that the re-election of Bush, Howard and Blair shows that the majority of their citizens back their homicidal policies.

But of course, being closer to the action, we are in a better position to know that our supposed 'democracies' are no more accountable to their citizens than the Mideast 'tyrannies' are to theirs. But we can also see that there are plenty of crackpot psychopaths and racists around who do support the slaughter of Arab kids in 'revenge' for Bali, Sep 11, etc.

So are Muslims so much more moral than Christians and Jews that we should imagine that none of them will be incited to homicide by attacks on their people and cultures?

Or should we be doing our damned best to ensure that the maniacs who've seized power in the Anglophone countries don't continue to incite the unbalanced minority of Muslims to do the same to us that our unbalanced minority is currently doing to them?

Monday, May 23, 2005 3:55:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

*** Correction ***

Seems my earlier assertion that the US execution rate is at record levels is now about a decade out of date.

See the recent Houston Chronicle artice I copied to Sydney IndyMedia for the correct data.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 2:53:00 pm  

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