Gibbs, Pentagon “Shoot the Messenger” on Taguba Report of Rape…Updated

Simulposted at Daily Kos

While continuing to passively ignore the crimes that are being reported in those reports. How long can the Obama Administration continue a policy of passivity on the Bush War Crimes?

In 2004, [General] Taguba was assigned to head an investigation into accusations of prisoner abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Taguba became known worldwide when the Taguba Report, a classified, internal U.S. Army report on the investigation, was leaked to the public and published to national attention.[2] The report was extremely critical of U.S. Army conduct and found widespread negligence and abuse.

From the Telegraph report today…

Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.

Maj Gen Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.

In light of these truly sensational photos….despite Obama’s now apparently disingenuous statement when he reversed his decision to comply with a court order to release them:

“I want to emphasise that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib.”

Barack Obama

….Taguba’s descriptions and the implications of their impact are apparently sensational enough to cause his Press Secretary to use the lowest form of propaganda flackery…..impugning the credibility of the source.

He did not even dare directly attack the primary source, General Taguba, but instead resorted to a cheap hacktastic smear attack on the British Press in general…

(Warning: 15 second commercial)

Gibbs does NOT address the charges of rape.

The evidence of which, the photos that Obama refused to (immediately) release, would indeed cause a “sensation.” A sensation certainly among Islamic fundamentalists who would surely say that there can be no greater outrage or crime than Americans raping a male Arab child AND an Arab woman.

I have the pictures. They are indeed infuriatingly sensational. I can virtually guarantee that they will also be “sensational” to ANY human being, anywhere, of any faith. Pictures of soldiers in uniform raping civilians always are. That is why it is a War Crime. And it is the crime that matters here, not the photos of the crime.

The mere appearance that Obama is even attempting to cover up….or defend these truly outrage inducing crimes is incredibly damaging.

President Obama justified this reversal of transparency, an issue on which he heavily campaigned, on the grounds that it would “inflame anti-American opinion.” And “put our troops in greater danger.”

There is a very thin line at play here. All of the published evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the Bush Administration conspired to commit War Crimes. War Crimes that are now charged to include to of the biggest taboos in the world of Islam and in Arab, if not world, culture. The Obama Administration, in its quest to prevent “anti-American opinion” that would “put our troops in greater danger,” would be wise then to tread very carefully along the line of being perceived as covering up these crimes.

President Obama has worked hard to restore America’s image and reputation after the Bush Administration blatantly exposed the very worst part of our national character through torturing innocent people and Waging Aggressive War against an ‘innocent’ nation.

It would behoove him in his efforts to remember that he risks doing even more damage to his credibility and the nations severely tarnished reputation by not remembering the caveat that “The cover-up is worse than the crime.”

If he is perceived as covering up these crimes, after staking his credibility on reversing America’s gross hypocrisy on Human Rights under Bush, the world will not forgive him….or America.

Gibbs’s glib attack on the entire British Press Corps, in lieu of actually seriously addressing these very serious charges and their implications, certainly increases the perception that Obama is not just passively seeking to “move forward,” but is willing to actively cover-up or even defend the horrid Bush Torture Policy.


General Taguba, who was forced to retire over the accuracy of his report on the Bush Torture Program, later went on to author the preface to a report by Physicians for Human Rights on prisoner abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib prison, in Guantanamo Bay, and in Afghanistan.

The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained, are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever justified. Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full scope of the damage this illegal and unsound policy has inflicted-both on America’s institutions and our nation’s founding values, which the military, intelligence services, and our justice system are duty-bound to defend.

In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. And the healing professions, including physicians and psychologists, became complicit in the willful infliction of harm against those the Hippocratic Oath demands they protect.

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current [Bush] administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.


With every day that passes, with every new revelation of just how abominably inhuman and pervasive the official American Policy to torture was, the continued policy of passivity of the Obama administration inches closer to a policy of ‘sin of omission.’ The omission of accountability for American War Crimes.

Mr. President, there is only one sure way to ensure against “inflam[ed] anti-American opinion” that would “put our troops in greater danger.”

And that is to ensure that those responsible for authorizing these War Crimes are held accountable to the full extent of the law.

You can only tap dance along that thin line for so long Mr. President, Mr. Gibbs. Eventually you have to actually take a stand.

If Congress doesn’t act, you will have to. Or you risk everything you have worked for in rehabilitating America’s image in the wake of the Bush War Crimes. The issue here is NOT the pictures and what effect they may have.

The issue here is that the United States raped, tortured and killed people in the process. we did that. It cannot be tapdanced away.

It is the crimes that need to be dealt with, Mr. President, not the evidence of those crimes. You simply cannot make that go away by hiding the pictures, or by having your press secretary dismiss the crimes they depict.




Update: from the comments at DK, and per Patriot Daily..

   The limited number of photos the Court ordered released are the ones he referenced here –


“I want to emphasise that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib.”

      Barack Obama

   Those are not photos of rape, child abuse, and forcible sodomy with foreign objects.

The fact remains though that the overall effect of the publicity on this is that ‘the world’ now knows that these particular photos DO exist.

So yeah, there is a technicality involved, to the extent that the specific photos that Obama specifically referenced are not (may not be) sensational.

But, the overriding fact is that these sensational picture do exist, are in the possession of the government, and are not being released.

I would bet that if these specific photos of rape and sodomy are not YET the subject of a freedom of Information suit, they soon will be. And then the whole process will start again.

I am willing to entertain objections to this diary on this basis, but my initial impression is that it doesn’t change much of the point of the diary.  


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  1. the Policy of Passivity….and President Obama.


    But only up to a point. And that point seems to be approaching like an oncoming train.

  2. Art imitates life, and vice versa.  The United States is a black comedy by Quentin Tarantino, wherein out of control criminal activity becomes nothing more than a shocking laff-riot of unspeakable greed, cruelty, murder, torture and violent mayhem gone wrong.  In this latest scene, Barack Obama has been tasked with damage control following the multiple botched crimes of the Bush administration.  Like the character Martin Wolf in Pulp Fiction, Barack Obama is a criminal fixer.  Just take one example, the Wall street bailout

    Pam Martens: Wall Street and Obama:

    Pam Martens, back in May, 2008 was prescient in The Obama Bubble Agenda:

    The Wall Street plan for the Obama-bubble presidency is that of the cleanup crew for the housing bubble: sweep all the corruption and losses, would-be indictments, perp walks and prosecutions under the rug and get on with an unprecedented taxpayer bailout of Wall Street. (The corporate law firms have piled on to funding the plan because most were up to their eyeballs in writing prospectuses or providing legal opinions for what has turned out to be bogus AAA securities. Lawsuits naming the Wall Street firms will, no doubt, shortly begin adding the law firms that rendered the legal guidance to issue the securities.) Who better to sell this agenda to the millions of duped mortgage holders and foreclosed homeowners in minority communities across America than our first, beloved, black president of hope and change?  

    Why do Wall Street and the corporate law firms think they will find a President Obama to be accommodating? As the Black Agenda Report notes, “Evidently, the giant insurance companies, the airlines, oil companies, Wall Street, military contractors and others had closely examined and vetted Barack Obama and found him pleasing.”

    Who is Barack Obama?


    Regardless of background, any crime-scene cleaner needs at least three qualities: a strong stomach, the ability to emotionally detach from his work and a sympathetic nature.

    Why sympathetic? Because cleaning up a crime scene has one very big difference from cleaning up after, say, a hazardous spill at a chemical plant: Grieving family members. People who loved the deceased are often at the scene while the cleaners are scrubbing blood off the walls. They might be sobbing and looking for support from the only non-grieving people still there — the clean-up crew. Crime-scene cleaners are in the awkward position of having to be stoic in the face of stomach-churning physical remains and yet sensitive in the face of a family’s tragedy. Not everyone can do both.

    Crime-scene cleaners handle a wide variety of messy situations, each of which carries its own dangers and particularly nauseating characteristics.

    The emotionally detached, yet sympathetic crime scene cleaner with a strong stomach.  In a nutshell, Martin Wolf.

  3. Right now it’s #3 on the Orange rec list.

    It’s time for Obama to lead, dithering time is over.

  4. rape rooms that he used this as one of his back up excuses to justify his invasion of Iraq–so he could get rid of that bad, bad man & his rape rooms:

    “Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers.”-President Bush, remarks to 2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala, Oct. 8, 2003

    And Bremer patted himself on the back a month earlier, saying:  

    “The Iraqi people are now free. And they do not have to worry about the secret police coming after them in the middle of the night, and they don’t have to worry about their husbands and brothers being taken off and shot, or their wives being taken to rape rooms. Those days are over.”-Paul Bremer, Administrator, [Iraq] Coalition Provisional Authority, Sept. 2, 2003

    Apparently the truth of the matter is that bush wanted to head up these types of atrocities himself.

    • urtica on May 29, 2009 at 2:31 am

    At the risk of redundancy, one thing that really bothers me is Obama’s statement, from the same article:

    he latest photographs relate to 400 cases of alleged abuse between 2001 and 2005 in Abu Ghraib and six other prisons. Mr Obama said the individuals involved had been “identified, and appropriate actions” taken.

    He seems to be saying there won’t be prosecutions at the lower or higher level, because the people responsible have already been dealt with in some way, which, quite frankly, I don’t recall.

    I agree that this should result in prosecutions for crimes against humanity to the top of the Bush admin., but with this type of sweeping dismissal from Obama at the outset, the prospects appear dim.

  5. I posted the following on my blog in reply to: “Some of us want to give Obama “a chance” – which is NOT fine.” To put it mildly, I wasn’t trying to be “PC”. If you don’t like it, flame me.

    Another point of clarification:

    I’m not “giving Obama a chance”. I’m giving the whole fucking country “a chance”.

    There’s no longer any doubt that this country’s leadership ordered the comission of war crimes. The torture, rape, and murder of prisoners in our custody. The collective punishment of (at least) Fallujah.

    Even the wingers admit to the torture. They just add “but it was worth it” to the end of the admission.

    And when I say “leadership” I don’t just limit it to “Bush”, or “Bush/Cheney”, or even “Bush/Cheney and Rummy”. I don’t know who, in congress, knew about it or could have stopped it. Those facts aren’t out, yet. But, I’ll be shocked if there weren’t some Democrats in congress who were in a position to say “I can’t sanction breaking the law”, and didn’t. Republicans too. They should all fry.

    So, I don’t have a “set time” when I’ll give up. Maybe 2010. Maybe 2012. I’ll probably watch what happens over the next year, or so, and see if we’re closing in on the criminals, or not. It’s 2009, now, so SOMETHING better start happening, and fucking soon, or I’m going to know beyond any doubt that our system and country are so broken that we’re all just biding our time until it all goes to hell.

    “Socialist” Europe will crush us, economically, in the next 10 to 20 years. We won’t have nuke-ya-ler powered planes and gas for our air force so it’s going to get mighty expensive once we export NOTHING (other than jobs) to keep feeding the MIC beast. We can’t just keep borrowing/printing money to buy more cheap crap at WalMart. “Emerging markets” are the best investments in my 401(k) right now, so “the third world” is rising even as we sink ourselves. When your entire politcoeconomic system is based on “growth”, you can’t rely on the (money) printing press industry to keep you afloat forever.

    Then there’s the christofascists and their insistence that “this is a christofascist nation”. They are at war with our constitution, and no one dares to say it out loud. They insist that we have no “right to privacy”. The govenment is free to poke through whatever “they” want to poke through, and if you complain “you must have smething to hide”. BULLSHIT. The government has no right to poke. They grant it to the government, who their allies insist isn’t capable of running a program like “socialized medicine” (but paradoxically can’t spend our money fast enough on a military that’s apparently the height of efficiency) because they know it’s the only way to outlaw abortion. And outlawing abortion is more important than the very survival of our government.

    Or the tax protestors. “I should keep what I earn” they wail, even as they drive on our public roads, rely on our military to keep the gas for their hummers cheap, call the police when “scary black men” drive through their all-white neighborhoods too often. I honestly couldn’t believe the anger in my co-worker’s voice when he said “I don’t want to pay for medical care for kids! If you can’t afford medical care YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE THEM!” Tell that to Bristol “abstinence is just the BEST” Palin, asshole!

    So, it’s not that there aren’t plenty of reasons why we can and will fail.

    But I keep coming back to this: We’re a nation that sanctions it’s leaders committing war crimes with impunity.

    If our elected officials do nothing to arrest and try the criminals I’ll have lost faith in our system of government. I’ll know the corruption is complete, total, irreversible. I’ll even believe that the world will be a better place if THAT GOVERNMENT ceases to exist.

    It’s not all on Obama. It’s on congress. It’s on the American people. It’s on the news media.

    You (the other poster) want to talk about an “obligation” to criticize. THIS IS IT. We’re either a nation of laws, or we’re not. This will decide it, for me.

    Do we sanction war crimes committed in our names, or not?

    If we do, I’m permanently disgusted with the American people. Just stay the fuck away from me. Cowards.

    • Edger on May 29, 2009 at 2:49 am

    that whatever we do hear about, there is ten times worse still to come out? And that what has been released so far was released to cover up what hasn’t been yet released?

    • RUKind on May 29, 2009 at 2:59 am

    Same old, same old.


  6. that we’re enjoying a remarkably smooth transition from President Cheney to President Emmanuel.

  7. Looks like a few things might be getting your goat, as they say!  😉

    You know I’m kidding — frankly, I am sick and sickened by everything!  Is there nothing shocking or horrific enough that will cause people to react in outrage in this country?????  You see the outrage in other countries —  but, minimally, here!  Why?  People afraid of losing their jobs, people just plain and simply afraid — the NSA spying that has gone on — the threat of spying yet on the Internet, endless fear — fear of this, fear of that.  But, as Americans continue to lose everything, will fear continue to serve or still immobilize them?

    I don’t agree with Obama’s position or his attempt to quell the fury (as such).  But, also, it is NOT Obama’s position to decide or not decide to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate the crimes of the Bush Administration.  It is in the authority of the Attorney General, Eric Holder, and his offices, to make that decision.  On the other hand, I cannot agree that Obama should try to dissuade whatever the AG might feel appropriate to do.  

    I still have a feeling that intimidation is still going on — or a threat from various entities influencing what’s going on — not trying to use that as an excuse.  But, there is cause for concern in that respect.  Cheney has had/has his own “hit squad!”  Imagine that, he could just order the “Navy Seals” (I believe, they were) to just go literally, anywhere and take “out” this person and that.  Obama has two young girls!

    So, the REAL problem, as I see it, is the same as the “old problem,” i.e., if, at least, the Dems would/could be of “one mind” on the most critical issues of our history, we could, conceivably, “surpass” the “evil” and truly correct the wrongs!    

    • sharon on May 29, 2009 at 4:38 am

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