In 2010, WikiLeaks revealed through its release of the Iraq War Logs and its partnership with organizations like the Bureau of Investigative Journalism “303 allegations of [detainee] abuse by coalition forces were reported in the military files after 2004.” Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who just published an op-ed in the Washington Post condemning WikiLeaks while at the same time using the information they have released to prop up his own views on US policy in the “war on terror,” pledged to “make changes as needed” to ensure that Abu Ghraib didn’t happen again.
The Iraq War Logs proved changes had not been made. And now, with this new report out from The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute and PBS’s Need to Know there is further confirmation that perpetrators of atrocities continue to go unpunished, those who allow for systemic abuse to continue have not been held accountable, and nothing has really changed since the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Joshua E.S. Phillips, a writer, journalist and author of None of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture, details in the current issue of The Nation, a Detainee Abuse Task Force, created after the Abu Ghraib scandal, had six full-time agents that were “charged with investigating abuse cases that occurred in and around Victory Base Complex—a huge area of responsibility that included the heaviest concentration of detainees.” According to Jon Renaud, “a retired Army Warrant Officer who headed the task force as the Special Agent in Charge for the first half of 2005, now says of the DATF: ‘It didn’t accomplish anything—it was a whitewash.”
Add to that the revelation that, “US soldiers witnessed, or were told of, more than 1,300 cases of detainee abuse by Iraqi authorities. But following the Abu Ghraib scandal of 2004, they were given explicit orders not to investigate unless coalition personnel were involved.”
This great investigative journalism report shows another aspect of the Iraq War that was largely unknown to the world. It is yet another opportunity to confront the reality of a US military occupation that continues in the form of a permanent presence in Iraq. It is a chance, once again, for people, who think those responsible for looking the other way and allowing torture should be held accountable and prosecuted, to raise their voice.
One might recall that after the revelations human rights organizations like Amnesty International called for the US to further investigate abuse and torture. The United Nations also called for the US and Iraq to investigate revelations revealed by WikiLeaks.
As with the Iraq War Logs, this is yet another opportunity for the US to recognize the abuse and torture that has occurred and acknowledge that detainees who have been abused deserve justice.
Read the entire investigation in The Nation here.
View PBS’ video on the story below orhere .