Friday, June 22, 2007

Forced Retirement for Maj. General Taguba (Abu Ghraib Prison Fame)

General Says Prison Inquiry Led to His Forced Retirement

"Truth made you a traitor as it often does in a time of scoundrels".- - - Lillian Hellman

WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: (Note: Bold and/or underlined words are HTML links. Click on them to see the linked posting/article. Forwarding the postings to relatives and friends, especially in the homeland, is greatly appreciated).

In 2004 Major Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, a Filipino-American, became known throughout the world for his investigative report (Taguba Report) on alledged ABU GHRAIB PRISON Abuse. The NY Times article below visits him in his retirement.

After the Taguba Report became known as an expose of prisoner abuse, I felt and thought that Gen. Taguba's career future would be kaput. My gut feeling was confirmed shortly thereafter when I read that he was assigned to another remotely visible desk job: Taguba's "reward" for doing the right thing is not unique. He got essentially fired via early retirement.

In a more recent and similar case of military abuse, i.e. GUANTANAMO PRISON Abuse, Guantanamo Muslim Chaplain and West Pointer Capt. James Yee was arrested, vilified and charged for being a spy and traitor. After a year or so all charges were quietly withdrawn and finally dropped. James Yee published his experience in his book "For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire."

Any critically thinking person who follows American military/foreign policy will easily recognize a dual reality (aka hypocrisy): domestically, the American military is generally civil; in foreign lands it is the exact opposite. One can study various American military involvements in the historical past and present, especially covert ones and oftentimes by their local proxies, American-trained native intelligence agencies and counter-terrorism units such as in El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Vietnam, Indonesia/East Timor, Philippines, etc.; One can find a pattern of brutal and deadly abuse of combatants and noncombatants, incarcerated or not.

In most, if not all cases, many American citizens always assume American innocence and react with desperate denial, and insist that such stories of atrocities, brutality, murder, etc were hoax, fabricated and/or committed by the enemies of America: communists (assumptions proven wrong by later findings/events: Tiger Cages, My Lai Massacre and the Phoenix Program to name a few practices by American military intelligence units in Vietnam) and now such are dismissed as acts, in the more current coinage, by terrorists.

With the past and present American foreign policy based on a "climate of fear" -- then fear of Communism spreading and taking over; replaced now with fear of Terrorism spreading and taking over have only created the undesired outcomes --call them "self-fulfilling prophecies"-- with the implementation of such foreign policy.

Now let's go back to the fate of Maj. General Taguba who only did the right thing, i.e. perform his job; and was instead seen as a "whistle-blower" and thus he is bad for business, the business of US Military lies and cover-ups.

See also:US Foreign Policy and Human Rights.

"The heroes of our history are those Americans who refused to accept that we have a special claim to morality and the right to exert our force on the rest of the world" - Howard Zinn

"Truth made you a traitor as it often does in a time of scoundrels".- - - Lillian Hellman

"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad".- - - Aldous Huxley

"The road to truth is long, and lined the entire way with annoying bastards." - - - Alexander Jablokov "The Place of No Shadows"

"The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls. - - - Elizabeth Cady Stanton "


General Says Prison Inquiry Led to His Forced Retirement
By DAVID S. CLOUD, NY TIMES, June 17, 2007

WASHINGTON, June 16 — The Army general who investigated the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal has said he was forced into retirement by civilian Pentagon officials because he had been “overzealous.”

In an interview with The New Yorker, his first since retiring in January, Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba said that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other senior civilian and military officials had treated him brusquely after the investigation into the formerly American-run prison outside Baghdad was completed in 2004. He also said that in early 2006 he was ordered, without explanation, to retire within a year.

“They always shoot the messenger,General Taguba said. “To be accused of being overzealous and disloyal — that cuts deep into me. I was ostracized for doing what I was asked to do.”

In a brief interview on Saturday in which he confirmed his comments to The New Yorker, General Taguba said that Thomas F. Hall, the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, was the first to tell him, in January 2006, that he was being forced out.

“He called me in and said I was no longer part of the team,” General Taguba said. “When someone calls you in and says ‘I have to let you go,’ and offers no explanation, you connect the dots.”

That same month, he added, Gen. Richard Cody, the Army’s vice chief of staff, told him that he would have to retire within a year.

Mr. Hall could not be reached for comment on Saturday. General Taguba was assigned to the Office of Reserve Affairs at the Pentagon after completing the Abu Ghraib investigation. His March 2004 report on the scandal found that “numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees” at Abu Ghraib by soldiers from the 372nd Military Police Company from October to December 2003.

He also questioned Mr. Rumsfeld’s claims that he had been unaware of the extent of the abuse and that he had not seen photographs documenting it until months after the Army began an investigation into the allegations in January 2004. General Taguba said senior Pentagon officials had been briefed on the case and given accounts of the pictures early in the investigation.

When he briefed Mr. Rumsfeld the day before a May 7, 2004 Congressional hearing, he said Mr. Rumsfeld had complained then about not having a copy of his report. But General Taguba said he had submitted copies to superiors two months earlier.

Lawrence Di Rita, a former top aide to Mr. Rumsfeld, said Mr. Rumsfeld had not viewed the photographs because he had been advised by lawyers that doing so “could materially affect the ongoing criminal investigation.” He said Mr. Rumsfeld finally looked at the pictures the day before his Congressional testimony, the same day he was briefed by General Taguba.

Mr. Di Rita said General Taguba’s assertion that he was ostracized as a result of his investigation “is simply false.” He added, “Secretary Rumsfeld believed General Taguba managed a difficult assignment to the best of his abilities.” General Taguba said some of the most graphic evidence of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib had not been made public, including a videotape he said he had seen of a male soldier in uniform sodomizing a female detainee.

While his inquiry was limited to the conduct of the military police guarding the prison, General Taguba said he had strongly suspected that the guards had been influenced by military intelligence units, who were in charge of interrogating prisoners. Seven members of the military police, all enlisted soldiers, were convicted for their role in the abuse.


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