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December 19, 2006


Holy Cow, we could have gone to Mars and back with the wasted intellect, energy & funding Bush is employing to cover his ass on so many fronts. Of course since Rummy doesn't have the luxury that Conrad Burns has of a left over defense team cookie jar and Libby has his set of pocket books already reserved, it will be interesting to see if Rummy's defense $ come out of Halliburton's pocket. Rummy is ripe for the picking for one of these suits.

Remember, one of the fundamentals of using sexual pictures, or otherwise humuliating pictures had to do with reproducing and circulating these as a means for destroying clan and tribe leadership, or significant relationships within the insurgency. It has to do with what rubs against the grain of Iraqi-Muslim culture. These are tactics Rummy and apparently some in CIA borrowed lock, stock and barrel from Israeli sources, and have long been used against Palestinians.

It's a little difficult to write a policy against something when you have to obscure the origin of tactics, and at the same time prohibit something that is core to your own tactics.

It's a little difficult to write a policy against something when you have to obscure the origin of tactics, and at the same time prohibit something that is core to your own tactics.

An nice concise statement of a very common pattern with this Admin.

I don't dispute your suggestion of a good and revelatory reason to assail BushCo's timing in pursuing retrieval and de-de-classification of this memo as disingenuous. However, as to your premise that such is the biggest 'scandal' in this story, I demur.

The CONTENT of this memo evidences that the Bush administration, habitually inclined as we know it is to promote prejudice, foster myths, hide truths, distort facts and foster cover ups (eg. Valerie Plame Wilson), and which as we know routinely twists and perverts existing laws and regulations to the same ends (eg. Flynt Leverett), also promulgates WRITTEN POLICIES which AIM encourage those ends - by DISCOURAGING anyone in government from blowing a whistle.

Not wishing to steal steam from your frequent visiter William Ockham, does not Ockham's Razor apply here?

I suggest that while the timing of this effort by the Bush adminisration to de-de-classify suggests that the administration may have been asleep at the switch until lawyers working in defence of Donald Rumsfeld to lawsuits filed on behalf of Abu Ghraib detainees noted the great inconvenience to their task posed by photographs, both those already in the public domain and those maybe to come, it is this memo itself, ITS contents, which I would be concerned about were I in their position.

Since it is a straight forward fact of life that detainers have complete control over whether detainees are available to be depicted in photographs taken by anyone other than themselves as detainers, putting a lid on photographic evidence of detainee abuse by third parties would not require any 4 page memo replete with cross-references. All that would take would be: 1) a one-line order such as "Under No Circumstances Will You Permit Any Third Party To Photograph Any of Prisoner", and a one-line warning to bring home the consequences: BREAK THIS RULE AND IT WILL BE YOUR ASS.

But for the most part, if not entirely, the photos which depicted those detained at Abu Ghraib being subjected to abused by their detainers, and which depicted detainees being subjected to treatment any reasonable person would characterize as far worse than is implied by term word 'abuse', were NOT taken by journalists or other third parties to the detention.

They photos were taken by DETAINERS.

It seems to me that the thrust of this formerly classified memo Is to direct the intended reader, the detainer (Call him or her "Detainer Don" or "Detainer Dawn" if it helps to visualize.), how his or her boss, the government, interprets the relevant provisions of the Geneva Conventions -- namely, as follows:

1) Under no circumstances will your boss tolerate you the direct detainer allowing any journalist or other third party to photograph any detainee in such a way which depicts that detainee being abused or worse, by you or by any of your fellow detainers, WHICH MEANS that even if you imagine yourself motivated by some misplaced burst of humantanity, YOU CAN TAKE THIS TO THE BANK - you WILL be punished, maybe even court martialed, and we will do our worst to make sure you do time in a dungeon in, say Saudi Arabia or Egypt, for as long a period as we can get away with, or a term of imprisonment in a military prison, and you, and your wife and kids if you got'em, WILL be kissing your vet benefits goodbye.

2) Under no circumstances will you as detainer take any photograph of any detainee which, if it ever were to be seen by anybody else, could reveal anything at all of informational importance whatsever about your detainee, in particular your detainee's identity, and which, entirely incidental to this restriction, an unintended benefit (to us) if you will, could embarrass your boss, WHICH MEANS not that you can not take any photo of any detainee, but since there are lots of precedents for other clowns in your position taking footlockersfull of photos which as far as your government is concerned don't add any constructive to our War on Terror, other than increasing the value of stock in companies that make antacid, it's possible it will help if we make this crystal clear - DO NOT TAKE ANY PHOTO AT ALL, because if you do, and if we do not like it, you WILL find yourself in front of a court martial trying to explain how you think your "duties" compelled you to take that photo, to a panel of officers chosen by us from an ever-diminishing pool of those still willing to Stay the Course.

I see this as the prime motivation behind the memo being drafted: Any and all 'informational' value that is capable of being taken from any photo any journalist or third party is permitted to take in strict compliance with the policy articulated in this memo is limited to whatever one might take from it as to the physical condition of a detainee. And the memo lacks absolutely no clarity on this: any such complying photo which MIGHT be interpreted by some left wing NGO or blogger as showing that a particular detainee has been abused, or worse, shall contain this element critical to deniability - the detainee's anonymity.

So, I posit that the government's now aborted efforts to retrieve this formerly classified memo, amount to putting the ALCB to some grief and expense about a nasty genie that no longer could be stuffed back in the bottle: a policy with gravely serious provisions for hiding evidence potentially vital to the ongoing debate on detainee treatment, and which itself evidences a perverse interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Geneva Conventions.



Thanks for pointing that out--it's a point I try to remind folks of, so we keep at the forefront what we were trying to do in Abu Ghraib: create informers. Those folks HAD no information, we were just trying to humiliate them enough to be able to blackmail them into flipping for us.

Btw, I don't know if you've read the Bybee memo, but it does rely on Israeli precedent. I thought Neocons weren't supposed to use other nations' laws as precedent?

Great post, thanks. Don't know if you've seen these three short videos from Iraq yet or not, but both show the US Military engaging in some very dubious actions. I have them up on my site at www.minor-ripper.blogspot.com

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