weblink: New York Times (free registration required)
"A senior Defense Department official" disclosed to the NY Times classified parts of an internal Army review of inhumane interrogation practices at Abu Ghraib that violate the Geneva Conventions. The disclosures concern how "senior Pentagon officials," by dispatching Guantánamo Commander Gen. Geoffrey Miller to Iraq in August 2003, prevailed upon Iraqi commander General Ricardo Sanchez to order the effective use of torture in interrogation. Sanchez, we are told, accepted Miller's "recommendation" of interrogation procedures that a Joint Task Force of the CIA and Special Operations Forces had used in Afghanistan and Iraq, and had formalized in a July 2003 policy, Joint Task Force 21's "Battlefield Interrogation Team and Facility Policy." The policy "endorsed the use of stress positions during harsh interrogation procedures, the use of dogs, yelling, loud music, light control, isolation and other procedures used previously in Afghanistan and Iraq." It's hardly unreasonable to conclude that Miller was sent to Iraq by the unnamed "senior Pentagon officials" to set Sanchez up as the foil for implementing, in Iraq, Rumsfeld's 2002 instructions to Special Operations Forces - as reported in the New Yorker by Seymour Hersh - to effectively use torture in interrogation as a means of extracting so-called "actionable intelligence." A March 2003 DOD memorandum, legally sanctioning illegal interrogation techniques in Iraq - together with the NYT's latest disclosures and other DOJ and White House memoranda - provide plausible circumstantial evidence that President Bush, or Rice and Rumsfeld, approved the use of torture in interrogating detainees, even as the White House creates a smokescreen of "plausible deniability" by first blaming a few soldiers and now implicating "derelict" or "negligent" military commanders.