Pentagon and Rumsfeld Approved Secret Prisoner Abuse Program

Update: Pentagon denies that Rumsfeld or other officials approved operations that led to the interrogation methods used on Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison, the Defense Department said.

Update: The Iraqi detainees released Friday from the Abu Ghraib prison are urging the issuance of an international arrest warrant for U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his trial over their abuse.

Original Post:

Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker, who wrote this ground-breaking article on the Iraqi prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, does it again with his new article on a secret program approved by the Pentagon that encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners.

The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld's decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America's prospects in the war on terror.

According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon's operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld's long-standing desire to wrest control of America's clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.

[link via Atrios]

Update: Here's a Reuters article discussing the New Yorker article. And Memeorandum has a compilation of blog coverage on it.

Update: The Hersh article is the story of the day--Associated Press; CNN; over 1400 articles on Google already.

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