Thursday, July 15, 2004 12:26 EDT
Donald Rumsfeld testified on the Hill about Abu Ghraib in May, there was talk of more photos and video in the Pentagon’s custody more horrific than anything made public so far. “If these are released to the public, obviously it’s going to make matters worse,” Rumsfeld said. Since then, the Washington Post has disclosed some new details and images of abuse at the prison. But if Seymour Hersh is right, it all gets much worse.
Hersh gave a speech last week to the ACLU making the charge that children were sodomized in front of women in the prison, and the Pentagon has tape of it. The speech was first reported in a New York Sun story last week, which was in turn posted on Jim Romenesko’s media blog, and now EdCone.com and other blogs are linking to the video. We transcribed the critical section here (it starts at about 1:31:00 into the ACLU video.) At the start of the transcript here, you can see how Hersh was struggling over what he should say:
“Debating about it, ummm … Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.”
“It’s impossible to say to yourself how did we get there? Who are we? Who are these people that sent us there? When I did My Lai I was very troubled like anybody in his right mind would be about what happened. I ended up in something I wrote saying in the end I said that the people who did the killing were as much victims as the people they killed because of the scars they had, I can tell you some of the personal stories by some of the people who were in these units witnessed this. I can also tell you written complaints were made to the highest officers and so we’re dealing with a enormous massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there and higher, and we have to get to it and we will. We will. You know there’s enough out there, they can’t (Applause). …. So it’s going to be an interesting election year.”
Notes from a similar speech Hersh gave in Chicago in June were posted on Brad DeLong’s blog. Rick Pearlstein, who watched the speech, wrote: “[Hersh] said that after he broke Abu Ghraib people are coming out of the woodwork to tell him this stuff. He said he had seen all the Abu Ghraib pictures. He said, ‘You haven’t begun to see evil…’ then trailed off. He said, ‘horrible things done to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run.’ He looked frightened.”
So, there are several questions here: Has Hersh actually seen the video he described to the ACLU, and why hasn’t he written about it yet? Will he be forced to elaborate in more public venues now that these two speeches are getting so much attention, at least in the blogosphere? And who else has seen the video, if it exists — will journalists see and report on it? did senators see these images when they had their closed-door sessions with the Abu Ghraib evidence? — and what is being done about it?
(Update: A reader brought to our attention that the rape of boys at Abu Ghraib has been mentioned in some news accounts of the prisoner abuse evidence. The Telegraph and other news organizations described “a videotape, apparently made by US personnel, is said to show Iraqi guards raping young boys.” The Guardian reported “formal statements by inmates published yesterday describe horrific treatment at the hands of guards, including the rape of a teenage Iraqi boy by an army translator.”)
– Geraldine Sealey
A chilling exposé of corporate corruption and government cover-ups, this account of a nationwide child-trafficking and pedophilia ring in the United States tells a sordid tale of corruption in high places.
CNN – May 14, 2009
Justice Department prepared to fight detainee photo release
Mike Malloy Show – May 13, 2009
“Sadistic . . . violent . . . inhuman.”
After Downing Street – November 23, 2006
Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Child Rape Photos
Daily Kos – June 14, 2004
Kids sodomized at Abu Ghraib, Pentagon has the videos – Hersh
Monday, March 16, 2009
Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has called for a formal Congressional probe into allegations by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that former Vice-President Dick Cheney had his own SS-style political assassination unit.
Kucinich made the call Friday in a letter to Chairman Edolphus Towns of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee which has been published on the Congressman’s website.
Kucinich explains in the letter that, “Mr. Hersh made the allegation before an audience at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. He stated, ‘Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving… It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. . .Congress has no oversight of it.’”
“If true, these operations violate longstanding U.S. policy regarding covert actions and illegally bypass Congressional oversight,” Kucinich adds. “Hersh is within a year or more of releasing a book that is said to include evidence of this allegation. However, we cannot wait a year or more to establish the truth.”
The claims were made by the Award-winning New Yorker writer last Tuesday when he told a University of Minnesota audience “After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet.”
Hersh then went on to describe how the Joint Special Operations Command was an executive assassination unit that carried out political`assassinations abroad. . “It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently,” he explained. “They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. … Congress has no oversight of it.”
In our exclusive story last weekend we detailed how the assassination unit was not a creation of the Bush administration or Dick Cheney. The Joint Special Operations Command, has in fact been active for decades, has been deployed domestically in the U.S., has killed U.S. citizens, and continues as an integral part of Barack Obama’s expanded wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Kucinich has previously targeted the former Vice President, when in April 2007, he filed an impeachment resolution against Cheney charging manipulation of evidence regarding Iraq’s weapons capabilities prior to the invasion of 2003.
The measure was blocked by the Democratic leadership, as were articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush in June 2008.
The full text of Kucinich’s letter follows:
March 13, 2009
The Honorable Edolphus Towns
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Towns:
As you may already be aware, recent media reports indicate that investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh, while answering questions before a public audience at the University of Minnesota divulged information about what he calls an “executive assassination ring” operating under the George W. Bush Administration.
If substantiated, the allegation would have far reaching implications for the United States. Such an assertion from someone of Hersh’s credibility that has a long and proven track record of dependability on these issues merits attention. Mr. Hersh is within a year or more of releasing a book that is said to include evidence of this allegation. However, we cannot wait a year or more to establish the truth. As such, I request that the Full Committee immediately begin an investigation to determine the facts in this matter.
Mr. Hersh made the allegation before an audience at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. He stated, “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving.”
Mr. Hersh continued, “It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently,” he explained. “They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. . .Congress has no oversight of it.”
If true, these operations violate longstanding U.S. policy regarding covert actions and illegally bypass Congressional oversight. Current statute governing covert action (50 U.S.C. 413b) requires a presidential finding and notification to the appropriate congressional committees. Additionally, Executive Order 12333 clearly states that “[n]o person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in or conspire to engage in assassination.”
I urge the Committee to explore Mr. Hersh’s allegation. Please do not hesitate to call on me or my staff if we can be of assistance.
Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress
Wednesday March 11, 2009
Hersh: ‘Executive assassination ring’ reported directly to Cheney