Monday, June 1, 2009

General Ricardo Sanchez Calls for a Truth Commission to investigate torture and prisoner abuse

Over the weekend during an event in New York City, former commander of coalition forces in Iraq, Ricardo Sanchez, called for a commission to investigate torture and other abuses.

Sanchez was at an event that is intended to be first in a series produced by the Culture Project. Description of the event from their website:

Culture Project launches a unique, new series Blueprint for Accountability that will convene monthly gatherings to pose these questions and provide concrete tools for taking action. We will invest two years into opening a creative investigation into major themes of government, corporate and individual accountability including war crimes and torture, the economy, the environment, corporate media, criminal justice, immigration, health care, education, and global issues such as genocide and human trafficking. Our intention is to create an architectural plan for the restoration of an interactive population where citizens and their leaders are accountable to and for each other.

Rachel Maddow hosted the event and was joined by author Ron Suskind, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights Vince Warren, Ricardo Sanchez, Liev Schreiber, John Leguizamo, Julianna Margulies, Noah Emmerich, and Ramsey Faragallah. The Huffington Post reports the following on the comments of Sanchez:

The General described the failures at all levels of civilian and military command that led to the abuses in Iraq, "and that is why I support the formation of a truth commission."

The General went on to say that, "during my time in Iraq there was not one instance of actionable intelligence that came out of these interrogation techniques."

I interviewed General Sanchez after the event and asked him to elaborate on why he felt the US needed such a commission. "For the American people to really know what happened, " he replied, "...this was an institutional failure, a personal failure on the part of many...."

"If we do not find out what happened," continued the General, "then we are doomed to repeat it."

In other news that happened over the weekend and regarding torture, Retired Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba is claiming that this quote in Britain's Daily Telegraph:

"These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency."

has been wrongly labled as meaning that he had seen the photographs that the Obama Administration is currently trying to keep secret. From Salon:

"The photographs in that lawsuit, I have not seen," Taguba told Salon Friday night. The actual quote in the Telegraph was accurate, Taguba said -- but he was referring to the hundreds of images he reviewed as an investigator of the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq -- not the photos of abuse that Obama is seeking to suppress.

While Taguba claims that he wasn't referring to the suppressed images, we still have Scott Horton's report that the images on these unseen photographs depict both sexual abuse and humiliation.