Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

War crimes: SecDef Guidance Ignored and the GAO and DoDIG failed to adequately forward allegations of SECDEF failure to enforce law

There are more problems emerging with the Commander in Chief's oversight.

There are many holes in this evidence and the Commander in Chief needs to explain himself, what actions he took, and what plans he had in place to ensure the troops were trained and ready to properly handle the detainees.

There's a very long list of gaps in the information. The White House has a very big problem.

  • SECDEF clear guidance issued, without any demonstration that troops were adequately trained on treatment of prisoners;

  • No evidence either the GAO or DoDIG incorporated the 2002 6th Group findings into a credible oversight plans;

  • No evidence the Commander in Chief seriously responded to repeated information from either the NSA, CIA, or Joint Staff about prisoner abuses to ensure that troops were adequately trained and ready to treat prisoners in a manner consistent with Geneva;

  • No evidence the Commander in Chief responded to repeated 6th Group and Joint Staff concerns about the lack of readiness of troops prior to invading Iraq or their inability to properly manage prisoners in a manner consistent with Geneva.

    Rumsfeld in Jun 2004 issued specific reminders on 5100.77, the standards for handling Prisoners of War and the Geneva Conventions. These were updated in 1998.

    One month later, personnel in Afghanistan are unsure what the standard operating procedures are for handling detainees.
    Q: were any SOP's [Standard Operating Procedures] in place about handling of detainees by your unit or the command?

    A: Unit I am not sure what the SOP was for care of the detainees because I had my SOP for radios and vehicle radios.
  • Why didn't command ensure that all persons were aware of the SOPs?

    Even the squad commander who supervised four [4] other troops confirmed that prisoners were not all treated the same, as is required under Geneva
    Q: Were there any standing operating procedures (SOP) in place about handling of detainees/prisoner by your unit or command?

    A: There wasn't anything form our unit or command, everything came cam down from the Special Forces Group who ran the camp In this case it was the 3rd Group, Special Forces out of Fort Bragg, NC who were running this camp.

    Q: Was there an SOP that they provided?

    A: We never received anything in writing like you would see in a standard SOP, everything was done verbally through them. We could get instructions on dealing with the prisoners/detainees depending on their status.

    Q: What was this guidance that was verbally given to you?

    A: They advised us that the non-violent detainees were to be flexed cuff on their hands only, no sandbags on their head and the received a mattress, pillow, blanket and were allowed to sleep. The other type of prisoner/detainee were either violate or had information and were to be flexed cuffed on their hands, head covered and not allowed to sleep. This was our guidance, very general and broad.

    Q: Were you ever advised about handling of the prisoners and not to photograph them?

    A: No.
    Isn't this curious. Despite all the dog and pony show one month prior about 5100.77 [See SecDef Memo Jun04], here we have a squad leader that doesn't know. Isn't sure.

    Who's fault is that? Answer: 5100.77 puts that responsibility squarely on the commanders and the Secretary of Defense.

    Translation: That the local units and individual soldiers "don't know" and "aren't sure" is only half the problem. The other half of the problem is, why despite the 2002 known communications from 6th Group to the Joint Staff did it take two years to do anything; and why, despite the memos in Jun04, were personnel still not clear?

    But for those of you who are in doubt, let's take another look at a different question and answer session.
    Look at line 12:
    Q: Were any standard operating procedures (SOP's) in pace about handling of detainees by your unit or the command?
    A: I don' know . . .

    Later: Q: Were you updated periodically on changing rules of engagement?

    A: No.
    Mind you, the 5100.77 requirement from 1998 apparently hasn't had enough time to sink in.

    What's the Joint Staff waiting for? A birthday celebration in the form of CID showing up and taking photographs?

    "Oh, we're not allowed to treat the Joint Staff like that."

    Really. When people are put under arrest for allegations of war crimes; and failing to ensure that 5100.77 is followed, do you expect to be paraded around, have your photograph taken, and have gun put to your head?

    According to 5100.77 nobody is allowed to mistreat prisoners of war. So what would happen if the CID shows up and says, "Joint Staff, you have violated the laws of war; who's going to be there to take some pictures; will someone present to you a nice birthday cake and say, "Hay General Staff, you had your collective head up your ass since 2002 when CID through 6th Group told you there was a problem. But now in 2005 you want to play stupid?

    I'm not all that impressed. Hay its OK to treat the detainees like garbage; put guns to their heads; but anytime Americans are held to account for war crimes, what do they want?

    They want lollipops. They want birthday cakes. They want to be paraded as if the rest of the country should grovel at the feet.

    For what? Why should the country even care how you are treated in prison? Why should anyone care whether you are subjected to having photographs taken of you standing in your underwear?

    Why should anyone care whether any of those who have allegedly been accused of war crimes be treated any differently than those who are depicted in these photos?

    I'll tell you why you're going to get first class treatment. Not because you deserve it, but because those are the rules that we all agreed to follow.

    We may not like them. We may secretly desire to see you howl at the moon with your body excrement or menstrual fluid smacked across your face.

    But we're not going to do that. We're going to treat you just as nicely as the Nazis were. With reverence. With respect. With compassion.

    And we're going to let you wear your uniform. And you're going to be shown by the court the reverence that you Should have shown to any other human being under your care.

    Which you collectively chose not to do. How many times did 6th Group e-mail you back? Oh, we can find that out. Thanks to the wonderful NSA tapes and GCHQ. That's right Ms Gunn and Frank Koza. The ones that keep track of all the communications coming in and out of your offices in DC.

    It's all there. on Echelon. And you have a problem. It's not in your control anymore. It's stored in overseas locations. And there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.

    You liking this? You really enjoying the fact that for how many years you played stupid, didn't do anything, blindly followed unlawful orders, and now you want the world to feel sorry for you?

    I have as much respect for you as your officers have shown to those your officers have beaten, interrogated, abused, and tortured to death. I have absolutely no regard or compassion for you.

    But, we're not going to treat you how you treated others. We're going to give you a trial. We're going to give you the right to counsel. And you're also going to be given the right to keep you mouth shut.

    Just like the Nazis were. Just like Goering. Just like Goebbels. All of them.

    You chose this. It was your choice. You had clear orders. And you failed.

    Why? What's the excuse? The answer is: It doesn't matter what your excuse is of the day. The only thing that matters is: The Constitution.

    That's it. And everything that springs from there through Article VI is your problem. The treaties your office was supposed to enforce, you failed.

    The oath of office you took is worthless. The constitution you swore to uphold, you are throwing it away.

    But what do you want now that you're caught? You want to rely on the document that you deny others. You have the audacity, arrogance, and complete absurd argument to suggest that the troops should be afforded rights to jury trial, but you want to deny those rights to American Citizens by watering down the right to open trials, and warrants with probable cause.

    Why should America give you, what you have denied to them?

    The answer: Because we still have a constitution, no thanks to you and the stench that continue to try to hide, avoid liability for war crimes, and destroy everything about the Constitution.

    You make your profession of "arms" a disgrace to mankind. You have brought discredit upon yourself, your country, and you have done nothing to demonstrate that you are serious about your oath of office, or preserve the Constitution.

    All we hear are excuses. That is unacceptable. And this nation took how many years to defeat the Nazis?

    Ladies and Gentlemen: Look before you. Look at the group who calls the world "liberal". They even call those who are right-wing hawks, "liberal."

    What does that mean? It means that if they are calling someone who is a hawk a "liberal," then the only way that that hawk could be "left" of them is if they are a Nazi.

    That's right: Your General Staff, the ones who got the 6th Group memoranda in June 2002, are Nazis. And they love the fact that nobody has done anything to hold them accountable for failing to enforce 5100.77.

    Are you not proud of these fine "warriors"? They are a disgrace to all who fight for the constitution.

    There are not leaders. They're alleged criminals. Who have no chance of being leaders unless compelled by others who dare to have a backbone.

    This General Staff has no backbone. It cowtowed to the President. It went along with the ruse. Failed to ensure the troops followed Geneva. And then, on top of that, went along with the big circus act to invade a sovereign country.

    "Are we better off?" Who cares about us. Look at the constitution. It has holes in it. The moths are eating it. Every time I look at it before it descends each nite into the bowels of the District of Columbia, I wonder how many more moths are going to find their way into that box.

    What does it take?

    Answer: When the president took his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and Article VI of the Constitution . . . that meant he was bound to follow the law, preserve the Geneva Conventions, and make sure that combat operations and prisoners were treated according to the Conventions.

    It was his decision. He freely took the oath. Nobody made him. Nobody forced him. He freely took the oath to preserve the constitution. And that means he also swore an oath to uphold Article VI which is the requirement to uphold all treaties and the Geneva Conventions.

    He failed. And it wasn't a lapse. But it was a decision. To instruct the commanders to continue treating the detainees like terrorists, not like prisoners of war.

    It was your decision, Commander in Chief. You took the oath. You were in charge of the war. In charge of the troops. Responsible for ensuring the laws of war were followed, not ignored.

    Let's review

  • What prompted the 2004 SECDEF memo?

  • What oversight and review plan did the Commander in Chief expect there to be to ensure that "the conditions which prompted the SECDEF Jun2004 memo" were resolved?

  • Based on the statements during the interrogation, why should we believe there was a plan in place to ensure "the conditions which prompted the SEC DEF memo" were actually addressed and resolved?

  • How was it demonstrated to DoD IG and/or Congressional GAO that the 5100.77 references in the SECDEF Jun2004 memo were complied with?

  • What kind of oversight plan did either the GAO and/or DoDIG have in re 5100.77 and the SECDEF Jun2004 memo?

  • What form were the original complaints compiled; how was it determined that the SECDEF memo was required; and what was the follow-up plan by both DoDIG and GAO to ensure the concerns prompting the Jun2004 SECDEF memo were resolved?

  • What communications were made to Congress in advance of the Jun 2004 SECDEF Memo in re 5100.77?

  • What oversight responsibilities existed in both the HASC and SASC when reviewing these conditions?

    Let's go back to the CID reporting in 2002.

  • Why did it take 2 years fro SECDEF to issue guidance; yet a month later, troops in the field still didn't have a clue what the SOPs were in re handling detainees/

  • What happened between the time that 6th Group in 2002 briefed both Congress and the Joint Staff that there were problems?

  • Was there no training; how were the GAO and DoDIG spun up to adequately review these lesson.

    Let's consider the personnel transfers. FBI agents were also assigned to fireteams in Iraq. It is not unusual to hear of CID also being assigned to combat units.

  • After the information was revealed in 2002 that there was a problem in 2002 with prisoner treatment, what effort was here to monitor the troops and units who were then subsequently assigned to Iraq and/or Afghanistan after their assignment in Guantanamo?

    Going back to the FBI original report templates which match the NAVY IG, doesn't it seem a little odd that there was all this cross-flow of personnel, reports, status, and memos about war crimes, but then people aren't able to follow the rules?

  • Troops don't know their SOPS

  • Troops confirming that, despite the problems in 2002 in Guantanamo, SECDEF and the commanders were still telling troops to treat the detainees like terrorists and ignore Geneva?

    Each of the Commanders has a duty under the statutes to timely report information about war crimes.

    Yet, is two years too long? I think that that is outrageous. Again, despite the clear and multiple reports from CID 6th Group to the Joint Staff and Congress, we have a group of commanders who are pretending things are going well.

    Yet, despite 5100.77 that imposes a legal duty on commanders to ensure troops are trained and ready to properly treat detainees, what do we have?

    Troops not knowing the SOPS. Where's the followup? Where's the review of the SECDEF memo?

    We see no evidence before us that there was any meaningful action taken to ensure that the SECDEF guidance, 2 years after being n notified by 6th Group, actually translated into all troops knowing their SOPs.

    "We're not sure."

    I'll tell you what is sure: There's a small thing called the Constitution. And it, through US Constitution Article VI, makes the 5100.77 requirements passed in 1998 part of your job to follow.

    How could so many people issue so many policies and guidance, but then we have the mistreament of prisoners.

    What could possibly explain that?

    How can we go for two years after Joint Staff was notified, to still having people in the same military still clueless?

    Answer: there's one commander in Chief. He has, under the law, the requirement to ensure his troops are trained, they are ready to do their job, and that there are sanctions imposed.

    But what did the Commander in Chief do for two years? He continued to tell his commanders to treat the detainees like terrorists; ignore the Geneva Conventions; and then try to cover his trail with memos.

    Yet, where's the follow-up plan and report provided to Congress?

    How were these findings provided to Congress?

    Who read the reports?

    Who issued the instructions?

    Who was specifically in charge of the units?

    This falls on the back of one man: The man who made up the information, who decided in 2002 that he was going to war, but failed to ensure that the troops were ready, had enough equipment, and were trained and ready to treat all POWs in a manner consistent with Geneva.

    These are not issues of perception. These are matters of criminal law.