Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Attached email containing Startling Information Re: The Neroes Fiddle While the Humvees Burn

Attached E-Mail Containing Startling Information.
From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel

Dear Colleagues:

The attached e-mail, a response to a blog posting called The Neroes Fiddle While the Humvees Burn, is from the Chairman of the International Law Committee of the prestigious Association of the Bar of the City of New York. The e-mail contains information that I think is shocking.

Dear Dean Velvel,

Another good column. Of course, as Joe Conason points out in his piece on salon.com posted this morning, this was the second or third time soldiers in the field had put just this question to Rumsfeld--the story goes back at least to a May 13, 2004 townhall meeting in Baghdad. In my view, Rumsfeld's responses show a callous indifference to the plight of soldiers in the field--a shocking attitude to find in a secretary of defense.

Our group at the Bar here have been studying recently disclosed documents from the CIA, DIA and FBI which relate to the abuse of detainees in Guantanamo (and elsewhere). One thing emerging from these documents is that Donald Rumsfeld personally authorized the abuse or torture of detainees, and that the CIA, DIA and FBI all felt the "extreme" measures he authorized were illegal and unethical. Another thing that we see is that the worst abuses are done by some special ops groups which are being directed straight out of the Office of Secretary of Defense, with Undersecretary Steve Cambone and LTG Jerry Boykin clearly exercising operational control over them. We can now link the Cambone-Boykin special ops groups to at least two cases of apparent torture-murder as to which investigations are mysteriously stagnant.

In view of these disclosures, it's plain that Secretary Rumsfeld was misleading in his testimony last summer to the Senate Armed Services Committee, and that Cambone was downright dishonest. There is no question in my mind why Sen John McCain says he has "no confidence" in Rumsfeld and why Sen Chuck Hagel expresses his abhorrence at Rumsfeld's conduct. The truly amazing thing is how this man, doubtless the worst secretary of defense is our country's history, can continue in office. It's enough to make you wonder what's become of our democracy.
Scott Horton Chair, Committee on International Law, ABCNY