BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Be All That You Can Be

Alright.

Convicted US Soldier Says 'Worse Things' Have Happened at Abu Ghraib

You're kidding.

Really?
A US soldier convicted of humiliating and abusing Iraqi prisoners said in an interview she knew of "worse things" happening at Abu Ghraib and insisted military commanders were fully aware of what was going on in Iraq's infamous jail.

The comments, made by Private First Class Lynndie England in her first post-court marshal interview, contradicted assertions by top Pentagon officials that A SMALL GROUP OF OUT-OF-CONTROL SOLDIERS were responsible for abuse at Abu Ghraib, and that however repulsive that mistreatment was, it did not amount to torture.
Time-out.

Let's just "assume" that a small group of out-of-control soldiers were responsible for all the bad stuff that went down at "A-bu Gah-rape." "Abu-Ga-reb." "Ga-rabe."

If you ran the Army, you'd try to get rid of the "out-of-control" types, right?

Army to Lower Bar for Recruits

I guess not.
WASHINGTON — Facing recruiting shortages brought on by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has decided to accept a greater number of recruits who score near the bottom of military aptitude tests, the secretary of the Army said Monday.

Coming off a recruiting year in which the Army fell short of its goal of 80,000 active-duty soldiers, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey announced that the Army would allow up to 4% of its recruiting class to be Category IV recruits — those who scored between the 16th and 30th percentile in the battery of aptitude tests that the Defense Department gives to all potential military personnel.
Dumb guys with guns.

That's exactly what we need right now.
The Army until now allowed no more than 2% of its recruiting class to be from the Category IV level, fearing that letting too many LOW-ACHIEVING RECRUITS into the Army might dilute the quality of the nation's largest military branch.
The Army: Be all that you can be.

Or not.

Back to the first article re: Lyndie England:
England, who became the face of the scandal because of a photograph of her holding a naked prisoner by a leash, was sentenced last Tuesday to three years in prison and dishonorably discharged from the Army after a military jury found her guilty of maltreating prisoners and committing an indecent act.

The trial capped a damaging scandal that erupted in 2004, following publication of pictures that showed Abu Ghraib inmates piled up naked on the floor in front of US soldiers, cowering in front of snarling military dogs, chained to beds in stress positions and forced to stand naked in front of female guards.

But England, appearing on NBC's "Dateline" program, said the pictures did not convey the full extent of the abuse that took place in the cell block.

"I know worse things were happening over there," admitted the 22-year-old convict.

She said one night she heard blood-curdling screams coming from the block's shower room, where NON-MILITARY INTERROGATORS had taken an Arab detainee.
I'll address these NON-MILITARY INTERROGATORS in a minute.
"They had the shower on to muffle it, but it wasn't helping," she recalled. "They never screamed like that when we were humiliating. But this guy was like screaming bloody murder. I mean it still haunts me I can still hear it just like it happened yesterday."

The interrogators were not identified, but several investigations into the abuse have disclosed that Central Intelligence Agency operatives worked at Abu Ghraib alongside US military intelligence, trying to glean useful information.
Okay.

Non-military interrogators.

CIA operatives and...?

Mercs.

I'm sorry, I meant "private defense contractors." Ha!

Here's a quick excerpt from Seymour Hersh's brilliant article TORTURE AT ABU GHRAIB from May of 2004:
In letters and e-mails to family members, (Frederick) repeatedly noted that the military-intelligence teams, which included C.I.A. officers and linguists and interrogation specialists from PRIVATE DEFENSE CONTRACTORS, were the dominant force inside Abu Ghraib.
Capice?

"Is that a problem, commie?"

Uh...

Uh...

Uh...

Forget it.

(Read the Hersh piece: It's one of his best.)

Finally - some crazy stuff from Josh Marshall today. He's been digging into all things Abramoff:
As you know, Jack Abramoff rented SKYBOXES at several DC area sports and entertainment complexes, which he used to dole out favors, goodies and fundraising assistance to Republican members of Congress and their staffs.

Recently I've been working my way through records from Preston Gates (Abramoff's firm before he decamped to Greenberg Traurig) which detail which staffers and members got tickets to what events, who they brought with them and so forth.

Now, for instance, below is a roster from Abramoff's assistant SUSAN RALSTON which goes in to who got to go to the "WWF RAW IS WAR" event on October 2nd, 2000.

(The roster) includes STAFFERS from Reps. Forbes, Lazio, Pombo, Green of Wisconsin, McKeon, Blunt, Sens, Smith and Chafee, and one staffer from the House Rules Committee, Celeste West.
Um...

The WWF's "Raw is War?"

Congressional staffers were going to see the WWF?!

WTF?

Apparently, Kurt Angle pinned Triple H that night. Rikishi Phatu and The Rock defeated Chris Benoit and Kane, too. FYI.

Aaaggghhh!!!

By the way, Susan Ralston used to work for Karl Rove. As his personal assistant.

More later...

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