Top Abu Ghraib General Invokes Article 31
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
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.”
Pappas’s attorney, Maj. Jeffery D. Lippert, said yesterday
that Pappas would not comment. But he added in an e-mail that “the Commanding
General of the Military District of Washington has ordered Col. Pappas to
testify if called as a witness in pending courts-martial, and granted him
testimonial immunity to facilitate his appearance as a witness.”
Miller invoked his military Article 31 rights
through his Army lawyer on Tuesday, after a Navy judge in the Military District
of Washington ruled that lawyers defending the two dog handlers could interview
Miller this week. Article 31 rights are almost identical to those afforded
civilians by the Fifth Amendment, and invoking them does not legally imply
guilt. Miller now will not meet with the defense lawyers.
It may sound simplistic, but our troubles began when General Geoffrey
D. Miller turned his torture
techniques from Gitmo to Abu Ghraib, all on George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld’s
encouragement, through the White House counsel’s torture memos.
With immunity in place, Col. Pappas is positioned to lower the
boom on the people at the top that have so far escaped justice, while the grunts
take all the blame.
However, something that has mostly gone unnoticed, is that another
top ranking official, General Sanchez, may retire, rather than face questions
over his role in Abu Ghraib.
The Army career of Lt. Gen. Ricardo S.
Sanchez, the American commander in Iraq during the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse
scandal, is coming to an end.
General Sanchez has told senior Army officials that he plans to retire, probably
this summer, rather than face a bruising Senate confirmation fight over any
new assignment, said two senior officials who were granted anonymity because
General Sanchez has not made his decision public. …
But the legacy of Abu Ghraib and its
photographs of prisoner mistreatment that prompted worldwide outrage dogged
General Sanchez and ensured that any promotion would ignite a political storm
on Capitol Hill over holding senior military officers and top Pentagon officials
accountable for the misconduct.
A classified portion of a second report, by
three Army generals, said that General Sanchez approved the use of some severe
interrogation practices in Iraq that had been intended to be limited to prisoners
at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan. By issuing and reviewing
rules for interrogations in Iraq three times in 30 days, General Sanchez and
his legal advisers sowed such confusion that interrogators acted in ways that
violated the Geneva Conventions, the report said.
General Sanchez and his deputies consistently maintained
that the only practices they authorized for use in Iraq were consistent with
the Geneva Conventions, which cover the care and treatment of detainees.
Will we ever get to the bottom of Abu Ghraib? — No, wait a minute, correctly phrased, the question actually is, will we ever get to the top?