Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Thursday, January 12, 2006
Miller takes the 'Fifth'
From WaPo today:

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, a central figure in the U.S. detainee-abuse scandal, this week invoked his right not to incriminate himself in court-martial proceedings against two soldiers accused of using dogs to intimidate captives at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to lawyers involved in the case.

The move by Miller -- who once supervised the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and helped set up operations at Abu Ghraib -- is the first time the general has given an indication that he might have information that could implicate him in wrongdoing, according to military lawyers.

Harvey Volzer, an attorney for one of the dog handlers, has been seeking to question Miller to determine whether Miller ordered the use of military working dogs to frighten detainees during interrogations at Abu Ghraib. Volzer has argued that the dog handlers were following orders when the animals were used against detainees.
Meanwhile, Miller just might have himself an Abramoff-Scanlon problem, in which he's Abramoff:

Miller's decision came shortly after Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the commanding officer at Abu Ghraib, accepted immunity from prosecution this week and was ordered to testify at upcoming courts-martial. Pappas, a military intelligence officer, could be asked to detail high-level policies relating to the treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib.

He also could shed light on how abusive tactics emerged, who ordered their use and their possible connection to officials in Washington, according to lawyers and human rights advocates who have closely followed the case. Pappas has never spoken publicly. Crawford said Miller was unaware of Pappas's grant of immunity. "This could be a big break if Pappas testifies as to why those dogs were used and who ordered the dogs to be used," said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. "It's a steppingstone going up the chain of command, and that's positive. It might demonstrate that it wasn't just a few rotten apples."
Invoking Article 31 rights is apparently highly unusual for senior military officers. And who is Miller? He was the subject of a big chunk of Seymour Hersh's work, accused of devising the humiliation, dog attack and other tactics to use against terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, and than taking those tactics to Abu Ghraib when he and his trainers were transferred there to "Gitmoize" that facility and improve the intel coming out of the Iraqi prison. This at a time the U.S. was desperate to get a handle on the growing Iraqi insurgency. According to Hersh's reporting, the man behind much of the ratcheting up of U.S. tactics against Iraqis and detainees in Cuba was Pentagon Undersecretary for Intelligence Stephen Cambone -- the number three man at DoD. Hersh has described the tactics as a Special Access Program (SAP) gone wrong when it was taken out of the hands of a small group of Special Ops guys and handed over, willy-nilly, to a bunch of kids from Appalachia -- perhaps like the NSA SAP that had the agency spying on probably thousands of international phonecalls made by Americans?

And of course, if Miller's program wandered up the chain of command to Cambone, and to the other civilian Machiavelli in the Pentgon, Douglas Feith, you've got to assume it got to (or came from) Rumsfeld, too.

The real problem, of course, is that assuming all of this can be proven, who in their right mind believes the Pentagon, the Gonzalez Justice Department, the president or the Republican Congress will take any action?

Tags: , , , Middle East, War, Torture, Foreign Policy, Abu-Ghraib
posted by JReid @ 10:49 AM  
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