Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

D. Swanson: Rumsfeld Admits to "Ghosting" Detainee

Rumsfeld Admits to "Ghosting" Detainee


By David Swanson

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has admitted that he "ghosted" a detainee, meaning that he made the decision to hold a prisoner without keeping any records of the fact.

While prisoners of war can be theoretically stripped of their rights by calling them other names (like "unlawful combatants"), they are probably most effectively stripped of all rights by keeping their imprisonment secret. That is what Rumsfeld says he did.

An account of what we know on this matter can be found on page 110 of a new report by Congressman John Conyers called "The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Cover-ups in the Iraq War."
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5769

Following a catalog of evidence of other crimes sanctioned by top Bush Administration officials, the report reads:

"We also have an admission that George Tenet specifically approved the ghosting in Iraq of a specific individual, and that Mr. Rumsfeld admitted to approving of ghosting of detainees as a special matter. During a press conference in June 2004, Secretary Rumsfeld confirmed not only that he was asked by CIA Director George Tenet to hide a specific detainee, but also that he hid the detainee and that the detainee was lost in the system for more than eight months:

"Q -- Mr. Secretary, I'd like to ask why last November you ordered the U.S. military to keep a suspected Ansar al-Islam prisoner in Iraq [Hiwa Abdul Rahman Rashul] secret from the Red Cross. He's now been secret for more than seven months. And there are other such shadowy prisoners in Iraq who are being kept secret from the Red Cross.

"SEC. RUMSFELD: With respect to the -- I want to separate the two. Iraq, my understanding is that the investigations on that subject are going forward. With respect to the detainee you're talking about, I'm not an expert on this, but I was requested by the Director of Central Intelligence to take custody of an Iraqi national who was believed to be a high-ranking member of Ansar al-Islam. And we did so. We were asked to not immediately register the individual. And we did that. It would -- it was -- he was brought to the attention of the Department, the senior level of the Department I think late last month. And we're in the process of registering him with the ICRC at the present time . . ."

This is from June 17, 2004, and can be found here: http://www.denfenselink.mil/transcripts

This is the Secretary of Defense publicly stating that the Director of the CIA told him not to register a prisoner with the Red Cross, and that he obeyed, and that several months later the prisoner was still not registered.

Why do Nuremberg Principles III and IV both come to mind?

Principle III
The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

Principle IV
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Why was the CIA calling the shots here? Because they had taken Mr. Rashul out of Iraq for "questioning" at an undisclosed location. They were transferring him to military custody.

Rumsfeld agreed to keep Rashul off the books, and issued a classified order, that the New York Daily News reported on June 20, 2004, as reading: "Notification of the presence and or status of the detainee to the International Committee of the Red Cross, or any international or national aid organization, is prohibited pending further guidance."

General Sanchez issued his own order to implement Secretary Rumsfeld's order. Sanchez' order, as reported in the media, "accepts custody and detains Hiwa Abdul Rahman Rashul, a high-ranking Ansar al-Islam member;" orders that he "remain segregated and isolated from the remainder of the detainee population;" "[o]nly military personnel and debriefers will have access to the detainee. . . . Knowledge of the presence of this detainee will be strictly limited on a need-to-know basis." "Any reports from interrogations or debriefings will contain only the mininum [sic] amount of source information . . ."

The ghosting of Rashul can neither be blamed on low-ranking personnel nor be described as an isolated incident.

In a statement to investigators, Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the top military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib, said that in September 2003, the CIA requested that the military intelligence officials "continue to make cells available for their detainees and that they not have to go through the normal in processing procedures."

Army General Paul Kern testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in September 2004, that the U.S. had held as many as 100 ghost detainees in Iraq.

Rumsfeld himself has confirmed that this was no isolated incident:

"Q -- But then why wasn't the -- why wasn't the Red Cross told, and are there other such prisoners being detained without the knowledge of the Red Cross?

"SEC. RUMSFELD: There are -- there are instances where that occurs. And a request was made to do that, and we did."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Keith Rankin: Narrow Vision: Subsidised Cars And Street Immunity
Problems make the world go round. Many of us – maybe the majority of workers, and certainly the majority of well-paid workers – earn our living addressing problems. A problem-free world would represent a major crisis for modern social-capitalism. (Yet standard economic theory continues to present the productive economy as a mechanism for 'satisfying wants', as distinct from 'addressing problems... More>>


Biden In Tokyo: Killing Strategic Ambiguity
Could it have been just another case of bumbling poor judgment, the mind softened as the mouth opened? A question was put to US President Joe Biden, visiting Tokyo and standing beside Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida: “You didn’t want to get involved in the Ukraine conflict militarily for obvious reasons. Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?” The answer: “Yes. That’s a commitment we made.”.. More>>

Dunne Speaks: Robertson's Budget Gamble On Treasury
The popular test of the success or failure of Grant Robertson’s fifth Budget will be its impact on the soaring cost of living. In today’s climate little else matters. Because governments come and governments go – about every six to seven years on average since 1945 – getting too focused on their long-term fiscal aspirations is often pointless... More>>


Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>




The Conversation: Cheaper food comes with other costs – why cutting GST isn't the answer

As New Zealand considers the removal of the goods and services tax (GST) from food to reduce costs for low income households, advocates need to consider the impact cheap food has on the environment and whether there are better options to help struggling families... More>>