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Senate Report Ties Rumsfeld to Torture PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Morgan, Reuters   
Thursday, 11 December 2008

ImageWashington - Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials share much of the blame for detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to portions of a report released on Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The report's executive summary, made public by the committee's Democratic chairman Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and its top Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, said Rumsfeld contributed to the abuse by authorizing aggressive interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay on December 2, 2002.

He rescinded the authorization six weeks later. But the report said word of his approval continued to spread within U.S. military circles and encouraged the use of harsh techniques as far away as Iraq and Afghanistan.

The report concluded that Rumsfeld's actions were "a direct cause of detainee abuse" at Guantanamo and "influenced and contributed to the use of abusive techniques ... in Afghanistan and Iraq."

"The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own," the executive summary said.

"Interrogation techniques such as stripping detainees of their clothes, placing them in stress positions and using military working dogs to intimidate them appeared in Iraq only after they had been approved for use in Afghanistan and at (Guantanamo)."

The detainee scandal at Abu Ghraib and later revelations of aggressive U.S. interrogations such as "waterboarding" led to an international outcry and charges that the United States allowed prisoners to be tortured, a claim denied by the Bush administration.

The Bush administration has since recanted the policies under pressure from Congress, while President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

The report found that the military derived the techniques from a Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape program, or SERE, which trains U.S. soldiers to resist enemy interrogation that does not conform to the Geneva Conventions or international law.

"These policies are wrong and must never be repeated," McCain, who last month ended an unsuccessful bid for the White House, said in a statement released with the executive summary.

McCain said the report revealed an "inexcusable link between abusive interrogation techniques used by our enemies who ignored the Geneva Conventions and interrogation policy for detainees in U.S. custody."

The full report, billed as the most thorough examination of U.S. military detainee policy by Congress, remains classified.

Committee staff said the full report was approved on November 20 in a unanimous voice vote by 17 of the panel's 25 members. The panel consists of 13 Democrats and 12 Republicans.

The executive summary also traces the erosion of detainee treatment standards to a Feb,. 7, 2002, memorandum signed by President George W. Bush stating that the Geneva Convention did not apply to the U.S. war with al Qaeda and that Taliban detainees were not entitled to prisoner of war status or legal protections.

"The president's order closed off application of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment," the summary said.

Members of Bush's Cabinet and other senior officials participated in meetings inside the White House in 2002 and 2003 where specific interrogation techniques were discussed, according to the report.

The committee also blamed former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers for undermining the military's review of interrogation methods.

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Comments (36)Add Comment
Lay Ecclesial Health Care Minister (aka Chaplain)
written by Tom , December 12, 2008
This is not surprising news. It does confirm the crimes committed by many in the G.W. Bush Administration that ought to be brought to a Grand Jury. Indictments and convictions would come next. If we let these actions go without redress, then we can be ready to see them happen again.
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written by Arthur Grunbaum, December 12, 2008
Honor and respect for the law demands that we must fully investigate the actions of the Adminstration. Without the rule of law, we become less and will crumble into complete disrepair and ultimate oblivion as a progressive leader.
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Votes: +52
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written by Frank Millin, December 12, 2008
Bush and Cheney should have been impeached years ago !!! They lied to America and the World in order to gain support for their War of Choice. Rumsfeld was their minister of Torture.
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Votes: +51
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written by Jim Cook, December 12, 2008
No wonder Bush backed out of the International Criminal Court early in his first term. Membership in the court would have made Rumsfeld (and many other senior officials) subject to war crimes trials. Hopefully, they will be help accountable for their war crimes through action in this country. One of President-elect Obama's first actions should be to sign the treaty joining the International Criminal Court. It is an national disgrace that we are not members.
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Votes: +56
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written by Steve Neubeck, December 12, 2008
i.would like to see the upper echelon level persons of the US government who authorized torture prosecured for their crimes.It is not just a few bad apples but an inhuman policy .In addition this added extra perils to our troops
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Votes: +42
Justice for all
written by Ralph Timberlake, December 12, 2008
I believe that all governmental officials should be held accountable for their wrong doing. The higher up the governmental officials are the more punishment they should be subjuected to by the good people of the wonderful United States of America. "Righteousness exalt a nation but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverb 14:34.

Ralph Timberlake
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Votes: +30
Ms.
written by Joyce Landry, December 12, 2008
Rumsfield should have gone to jail long ago for his participation in torture and treatment of prisoners but..........he's still free and clear. I hope I live long enough to see him pay for his war crimes.
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Votes: +34
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written by Albert F. Pishioneri, December 12, 2008
I call attention to Mr. Runsfeld and those who with him tarnished the name of The United States who led the World against the likes of Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini and World War II and gained the leadership as respected by the peoples of the world, only to drag down the good works in the world by their crimes. They should be impeached to flush out the facts of those who are responsible the the demise of our Nation's good name. I beg of you for the sake of those friends and relatives who gave their lives in World War II, consequently, gaining the thanks and love of the peoples of Europe and the world. Especially, for those who serveved with the 8th Air Force in the ETO. Sincerely, for those who died doing their duty. ALbert F. Pishioneri.
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Votes: +28
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written by Dianna Mullen, December 12, 2008
The entire Bush administration should have been impeached years ago. It's past time for Congress and the justice department to stand up and do the right thing.
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Votes: +30
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written by Thomas, December 12, 2008
When one hears all that Mr. Rumsfeld did while he was at the Defense department. It is a wonder that we have anyone in the world would want our help.
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Votes: +17
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written by Philip J Dennany, December 12, 2008
Simple change of policy will be pointless except where those that set the crime as policy be properly made an example for future would be tyrants. The crime must be followed with the full process due, so that we may have hope to again stand staight in our own eyes as well as in the World view. Torture is and was known as crime against humanity before the Bush Administration decided to routinely disregard that law and many others. Torture is never needed and it's use has never proven to provide any truth, but rather only what a torturer wants to hear. Rumsfled and any other leader that had any involvement in the use of torture must be deal with in accordance with law.
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Votes: +26
International Human Rights Activist
written by Ifin dashoefiktz Wareit, December 12, 2008
All of the misdeeds of the USA/UK cabal of corpratists and extreme capitalists can be quantified in the future with one term; "Blowback." A recent, salient example is the recent attack on Mumbai, India. The extreme brand of Morton Friedman style corprate socialism (capitalism for everyone else) we are now seeing is no different than real socialism. It is simply a different face and name. The indigent, lower class, middle class and hard working but honest upper crust all are the losers. Simply the upper 5%, and maybe fewer, are those that slip away to their mountain chalet.
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Votes: +16
HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE NOW!
written by Dr. Bill Kildall, December 12, 2008
The Bush/Cheney/ Rumsfeld cabal and their neocon followers have perpetrated crimes against humanity and the enviornment in the name of the American people while undermining the United States Constitution to carry out these crimes under the banner of "WAR AGAINST TERRORISM". They must be tried by a court of competent jurisdiction or forever shall their acts besmirch this Nation and leave open the possibility of a repeat performance.
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Votes: +28
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written by FREDDIE LONG, December 12, 2008
I am hoping that the Obama-Biden administration will deal harshly and expediently to prosecute Donald Rumsfeld and others in the Bush adminstration, including Bush himself. We must restore justice in this country. No one is above the law and these folks should face impeachment long ago.
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Votes: +19
Dignity - Peace - Prosperity
written by Byam McGoodwin, December 12, 2008
Not Spam Please look at Wordsofpeace.org for a free DVD and booklet about it. Thank you. Byam
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Votes: +3
They should all be ashamed of themselves and at LEAST do some prison time for their abuses!!
written by jmart, December 12, 2008
They were all getting big salaries and REALLY enjoying themselves. They all knew better. These were grown men for heavens sake! They conspired to cover this up but lots of people knew about it while it was going on.
My husband killed people in the Korean War. He didn't sleep well at night for many years!! People just don't kill others for the fun of it. They don't torture people for the fun of it.
How did these people sleep at night?
My husband earned a Silver Star for killing people and he couldn't sleep peacefully at night even though he saved peoples lives. They were his friends, his buddies, they would have done the same for him.
I guess that's all I have to say about this subject.
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Votes: +10
Rumsfeld, et al, terrorism r us
written by Sallyb, December 12, 2008
I've never been able to understand why people like myself, who were against the invasion of Iraq and innumerable other crimes and treasonous actions, have been called unpatriotic.

If you are like me, you have been more right than wrong in how our country should have been led the last 8 years. You and I should have been running it. Instead, the Bush cabal ran it in the ground.
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Votes: +13
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written by jon spar, December 12, 2008
All of the current administration must be held accountable for the illegal actions under their watch whether they want to tell the truth and take responsibility or lie about it. This mis-administration besides the most heinous affliction on our country and the world has ever known will be well known and (in)famous for lying their way thru 8 years.
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Votes: +11
KEEP UP THE PRESSURE
written by Fred Schroeder, December 12, 2008

Someone should develop a petition that all of us can sign DAILY and forward to our new administration and congress that demands:
(a) that Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and all who promoted the use of torture be brought to trial.
(b) that congress and this administration guarantee us that torture will NEVER again be used to attempt to extract information from anyone held in detention.
(c) that we will close the prison at Guantanamo within the coming year.
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Votes: +13
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written by MARY PATTERSON, December 12, 2008
THE PRESENT ADMINISTRATION AND ITS FLUNKIES MUST NEVER BE PARDONED!!!!!!!
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Votes: +7
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written by Gerilyn Gess Healey, December 12, 2008
No one is above the law...especially those who start wars, and occupy nations that never did anything to US.
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Votes: +6
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written by Richard Chamberlin, December 12, 2008
You have expressed concern that individuals in their official capacities used torture as a method of gaining information from prisoners - a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions to which the United States is a signatory.party. But, perhaps we are overlooking a much larger picture. Kofi Annan commented shortly after Bush invaded Iraq that the invasion was "illegal." President Carter has commented in print that the invasion was "unnecessary and unjust." Renato Cardinal Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, has said that the invasion was "a crime crying vengeance before God."

Pope John Paul II observed publicly in March 2003, just before Bush invaded Iraq, that: "any military intervention in Iraq would be immoral, risky and a crime against peace." John Paul II choose his words carefully. Having survived the Nazi occupation of his homeland, the Pope was well aware of the fact that a crime against peace is the equivalent of a war of aggression - a war crime,

Benjamin Ferencz, the former chief prosecutor for the Army at the Nuremberg Trials, successfully convicted 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating death squads that killed more than one million people in the famous Einsatzgruppen Case. Ferencz, now 87, has gone on to become a founding father and author of international law regarding war crimes, and his essays and legal work drawing from the Nuremberg trials and later the commission that established the International Criminal Court remain a lasting influence in that realm. Ferencz's biggest contribution to the war crimes field is his assertion that an unprovoked or "aggressive" war is the highest crime against mankind. It was the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 that made possible the horrors of Abu Ghraib, the destruction of Fallouja and Ramadi, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, the torture at Guantanamo, civilian massacres like Haditha, and on and on. Ferencz believes that a "prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation."

It is the architects of this war who must be indicted and tried for these crimes. The architects being the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, The Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Is the idea of American exceptionalism imbedded so deeply in our psyches, both individually and collectively,
that we are unable to see the larger truth. Howard Zinn recently described this as our "inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism. We are penned in by the arrogant idea that this country is the center of the universe, exceptionally virtuous, admirable, superior."
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Votes: +12
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written by William Manners, December 13, 2008
We are a Law abiding country and we need to show the world that those who break laws will be held accountable and pay the penalties for their actions. It is a small small world after all.
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Votes: +5
Mother of Very Seriously Injured (VSI) Soldier in Iraq
written by Katy Zatsick, December 13, 2008
My son lost his arm and eye to a roadside bomb October 2005. I spent 8 months with him at Walter Reed. This country must stand up to oppressive, torturing administrations. Jason's body contains the wounds from which there is no recovery and his mind is in anquish. Why have churches not condemned such inhuman leaders who lead the country into such acts and excommunicate them from their faith community? Our country is broke financially and spiritually. Who will give us a vision to seek forgiveness, reconciliation and healing?
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Votes: +6
retired
written by Bob LeHew, December 13, 2008
We are a Law abiding country and we need to show the world that those who break laws will be held accountable and pay the penalties for their actions. This is one case that I would not object to the penalty of death for those that participated in the deliberate destruction of our country and constitution.
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Votes: -3
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written by Jillian Greenriver, December 13, 2008
There's an old document called the Magna Carta that says that all leaders must obey their own rules and laws. I hold to that document, and we all should too.
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Votes: +2
IN AGREEMENT WITH RICHARD CHAMBERLIN Dec 13
written by Virginia Slater, December 13, 2008
Richard Chamberlin commentary is the most articulate I have read here. We should all study it. Another commentary of great importance is the one that reminds us that George W. Bush withdrew our nation's membership in the World Court in the Hague. No question now that there was an ulterior motive in this action. My recall of history is that the USA was in strong support of the establishment of the World Court. As I say, this is my recall...it's been many years since I've been in history class.

I am also in agreement with trying to run an official petition to ascertain how many citizens believe that high ranked officials should be impeached and prosecuted for crimes against humanity and against the Laws of the Land.
Peace and Justice
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Votes: +2
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written by disillusioned citizen, December 13, 2008
War crimes and their perpetrators have not gone unpunished in the past - and they shouldn't now
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Votes: +1
WE HAVE KNOWN ALL ALONG
written by Carol Lems-Dworkin, December 13, 2008
We have really known all along who was responsible for the sanctioned torture of those considered to be our enemies.Why are we so timid anout seeing that justice done? It is long overdue!
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Votes: +0
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written by Susan Brown, December 13, 2008
Please read the excellent comment written by Richard Chamberlin in its entirety. There is nothing I could add.
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Votes: +0
War Criminal
written by Jay S. Brown, December 13, 2008
Any US authority figure that condones, let alone authorizes, the use of torture for any reason whatsoever, is, by Nuremburg standards, a war criminal and should be prosecuted as such. Arrest and extradite the bum to the Hague and let them deal with him. He should be strpped of his citizenship as part of the extradition process so that he cannot come home if he survives the trial and sentencing. I am a Naval Academy graduate and would not vote for John McCain beause he would not disavow the Bush Administration policy concerning torture.
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Votes: -1
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written by G. Wohlauer, December 13, 2008
As long as American military personnel has been found guilty and sentenced to prison terms in connection with the Abu Graib prisoner treatment, Rumsfeld and all others condoning his directives should be tried, sentenced and held in prison as well, preferably in a cell at Guantanamo.
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Votes: -1
rummy and asparatame
written by Mike Johnson, December 13, 2008
no one is even mentioning his arrogant greedy, corrupt FDA actions regards to company he is on board, asapartame makers, poison
give him and all of his to us for crab bait
but then may 1 2009, 10 million Mexicans I am laughing at you stupid gringes
urrr, i mean 'sheeples'
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Votes: -3
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written by Dolora Dossi, December 14, 2008
In life, we set an example for those around us to behave with integrity, to be honest, to have compassion and kindness. My six-year old son develops his character from the modeling he receives from the adults around him. The government is no different. Thanks, Mr. Rumsfield, for undoing years of good work on the part of noble role models, like Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, and others who truly provide the statesmanship and elderhood that citizens all across the world need in order to strive for a more perfect union. I hope you can atone for your wrongdoing and find peace with yourself. Apologies are a good first step to sleep better at night. Sincerely, Dolora Dossi
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written by donnie, December 19, 2008
This kind of torture needs to stop, torture is bad and evil, the U.S. shouldn't represent that type of evil
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Votes: -1
U people are correct!
written by Ken Paige, February 04, 2009
We should never have invaded Iraq. Saddam was a great fella, he only attacked Kuwait, broke 16 U.N. Resolutions, shot at U.S.jets in the no fly zone and only killed/gassed 350,000 of his own people.Milosevich was a great guy too, why did we go to Bosnia? I'm sure whoever's in charge of Darfur is nice,we wouldn't want to go help those people, would we? As far as coerced interrogation,we know that doesn't work. Richard Tennent (a Clinton appointee) said this method saved many American lives,I think he's fibbing.I'm sure if we just ask really,really nicely we'd get all the info we need.Bush was terrible!, he kept us safe for 7.5 years, only stopped Ft.Dix, and Buffalo group etc. To save thousands by pouring water over one person's face is reprehensible.
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