New, darker New Yorker report

From: Jay Lemke (
Date: Mon May 17 2004 - 05:02:40 PDT

NOTE: Sent this yesterday, but it got gremlin-gobbled. My mood is better
today, but my view remains.

I started today with the stimulating ideas of Morten Nissen in the current
MCA about anti-method and subjectification in social work.

But all my thoughts about the parallels with education were just blown
away, and my mood turned darkest black by reading the new Seymour Hersh
investigative report, to appear in tomorrow's New Yorker, but already on
their website:

It is also the lead story on CNN and BBC online, but I urge you to read the
whole report (not that long).

Evidently the CIA has decided not to get the blame for Abu Ghraib, and
they've been telling Hersh that it was Rumsfeld and his new (2003)
intelligence chief (Carbone) who really screwed up: they authorized the
rules of interrogation that had been created as a top-secret intelligence
program (i.e. torture) against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Guantanamo to be
also extended to ordinary prisoners in Iraq. They felt it was the fastest
way to counter the anti-US rebellions there. They brought the top guy from
Guantanamo to Iraq, put outside-the-law interrogators in there, and
recruited the poor dumb reservist prison guards to help with the dirty
work. Apart from the link to the top-secret torture program outside Iraq,
evidently everybody knew what was going on at Abu Ghraib: from the Red
Cross to the CIA's and the Army's own legal departments, and they all
objected but were brushed aside by Rumsfeld and his deputy.

This amounts to a deliberate government policy of torture and abuse of
ordinary prisoners, most of whom had no links to terrorism or the
insurgency (i.e. among the overall population of detainees in Abu Ghraib),
though obviously they were looking for people with info on the latter. It
also amounts to the first time ever that the US deliberately and
systematically violated the Geneva Conventions as a matter of state policy
in an ordinary theatre of war (Iraq), though the violations in Guantanamo
(which will probably be hitting the news sooner or later, too) were also
against the Convention and contrary to international law.

This is far worse than Watergate, and I hope it is enough to bring down
government-by-hybris in America and send at least a few of the people with
ultimate responsibility to prison. I wonder if it will be enough to make
more of my fellow citizens think.


Jay Lemke
University of Michigan
School of Education
610 East University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Tel. 734-763-9276

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