Gen. Antonio Taguba is one of America’s most respected senior officers, was put in charge of the Abu Ghraib investigation, and has now leveled a series of powerful public charges that will soon blow this case sky-high.
Gen. Taguba went public early this week in long on-the-record interviews with Sy Hersh reported in his New Yorker piece now on newsstands.
Among other things, Taguba says:
1. He was ordered not to investigate higher-ups in the chain of command, which means there was (is) a cover-up protecting the highest-ranking Bush administration officials who might have criminal liability.
2. Early in his investigation he was threatened with career retribution if he dared to seek the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
3. After his investigation he was punished by being forced into early retirement.
4. He suggests that Don Rumsfeld might have lied when he testified before Congress, which would be a criminal offense.
5. He details meetings in which Rumsfeld spoke to him in terms that were sarcastic,rude and unprofessional shortly before Rumsfeld would publicly say how much he supported the investigation and wanted the truth to come out.
6. He reveals specific acts of torture that are beyond what was publicly known, and videos of Abu Ghraib torture have not been released that provide strong evidence that the crimes of Abu Ghraib were known earlier and far higher up than previously reported.
7. He expresses serious concern that the same forms of torture used at Abu
Ghraib were (are?) also used at Guantanamo Bay, which remains open and the subject of world-wide condemnation.
At some point Gen. Taguba will be called to testify publicly and will prove one of the most explosive witnesses in six years, while investigative reporters and almost certainly congressional committees are currently looking into Abu Ghraib.
The implications of this are enormous because they go to potential perjury and giving false testimony to Congress and investigators, and lead outward throughout the dark side of the Bush years.
There is a high probability that investigation of the Abu Ghraib crimes and cover-up will lead upward to Donald Rumsfeld and his coterie of neoconservative aides and theirshadow CIA run through the Department of Defense.
There is a substantial possibility this leads to the role of Alberto Gonzales on the range of torture issues at the Department of Justice and during his years as White House Counsel.
There is significant possibility this leads to Vice President Cheney, the most aggressiveadvocate of what the world considers torture of any senior official anywhere in the free world.
Gen. Taguba should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his honor, integrity and courage throughout this shameful episode and for having the honor to speak out publicly, visibly and unequivocally now.
The stakes are high and the storm clouds are gathering for those who committed, ordered or covered up crimes of torture.