the enmy is israel!
I can't wait to see Abu Ghraib prison reduced to rubble by the Americans -
at the request of the new Iraqi government, of course. It will be turned to
dust in order to destroy a symbol of Saddam's brutality. That's what
President Bush tells us. So the re-writing of history still goes on.
Last August, I was invited to Abu Ghraib - by my favourite US General Janis
Karpinski, no less - to see the million-dollar US refurbishment of this
vile place. Squeaky clean cells and toothpaste tubes and fresh pairs of
pants for the "terrorist" inmates. But now, suddenly, the whole kit and
caboodle is no longer an American torture centre. It's still an Iraqi
torture centre, and thus worthy of demolition.
The re-writing of Iraqi history is now going on at supersonic speed.
Weapons of mass destruction? Forget it. Links between Saddam and al-Qa'ida?
Forget it. Liberating the Iraqis from Saddam's Abu Ghraib life of torture?
Forget it. Wedding party slaughtered? Forget it. Clear the decks for both
"full (sic) sovereignty" and "chaotic events". This is, at any rate,
according to Mr Bush. When I heard his hesitant pronunciation of Abu Ghraib
as "Abu Grub" on Monday night, I could only profoundly agree.
But we're in danger again of missing the detail. Just as the unsupervised
armed mercenaries being killed in Iraq are being described by the
occupation authorities as "contractors" or, more mendaciously, "civilians"
- so the responsibility for the porno interrogations at Abu Ghraib is being
allowed to slide into the summer mists over the Tigris river. So let's go
back, for a moment, to the long weeks in which the Department of Bad Apples
allowed its jerks to put leashes around Iraqi necks, forced prisoners to
have sex with each other and raped some Iraqi lasses in the jail.
And let's cast our eyes upon that little, all-important matter of
responsibility. The actual interrogators accused of encouraging US troops
to abuse Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail were working for at least one
company with extensive military and commercial contacts with Israel. The
head of an American company whose personnel are implicated in the Iraqi
tortures, it now turns out, attended an "anti-terror" training camp in
Israel and, earlier this year, was presented with an award by Shaul Mofaz,
the right-wing Israeli defence minister.
According to Dr J P London's company, CACI International, the visit of Dr
London - sponsored by an Israeli lobby group and including US congressmen
and other defence contractors - was "to promote opportunities for strategic
partnerships and joint ventures between US and Israeli defence and homeland
The Pentagon and the occupation powers in Iraq insist that only US citizens
have been allowed to question prisoners in Abu Ghraib - but this takes no
account of Americans who may also hold double citizenship. The once secret
torture report by US General Antonio Taguba refers to "third country
nationals" involved in the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq.
General Taguba mentions Steven Staphanovic and John Israel as involved in
the abuses at Abu Ghraib. Staphanovic, who worked for CACI - known to the
US military as "Khaki" - was said by Taguba to have "allowed and/or
instructed MPs (military police), who were not trained in interrogation
techniques, to facilitate interrogations by 'setting conditions' ... he
clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse". One of
Staphanovic's co-workers, Joe Ryan - who was not named in the Taguba report
- now says that he underwent an "Israeli interrogation course" before going
We know the Pentagon asked Israel for its "rules of engagement" in the
occupied West Bank and Gaza. Israeli officers have briefed their US
opposite numbers and, according to the Associated Press, "in January and
February of 2003, Israeli and American troops trained together in southern
Israel's Negev desert ... Israel has also hosted senior law enforcement
officials from the United States for a seminar on counter-terrorism".
Staphanovic of CACI, who may also be Australian, was accused by Taguba's
army report of making "a false statement to the investigation team
regarding ... his knowledge of abuses". Another outside interrogator, Adel
Nakhla,who may be of Egyptian origin, was a witness to the "stacking" of
naked prisoners in Abu Ghraib. John Israel "misled" investigators by
denying he had witnessed misconduct and did not have "security clearance".
Israel, according to Titan - two of whose employees were mentioned in
Taguba's report - works for one of the company's "sub-contractors". Titan
refused to name the "sub-contractor".
Why? Among the company's former directors is ex-CIA director James Woolsey,
one of the architects of the US invasion of Iraq, a friend of Ahmed Chalabi
and a prominent pro-Israeli lobbyist in Washington. Dr London says CACI
"does not condone or tolerate or endorse in any fashion (sic) any illegal,
inappropriate behaviour on the part of its employees in any circumstances
at any time anywhere".
But it is clear the torture trail at Abu Ghraib has to run much further
than a group of brutal US military cops, all of whom claim "intelligence
officers" told them to "soften up" their prisoners for questioning. Were
they Israeli? Or South African? Or British? Are we going to let the story
Check out this Must read article about Abu Ghraib: