Thursday, January 12, 2006

General Invokes Right Not To Incriminate Himself In Abu Ghraib Investigation

Hey - whatyya know? Some of the Army higher-ups maybe kinda sorta really did know what was happening on the Abu Ghraib nightshift or perhaps could have maybe ordered it:

General refuses to be interviewed in abuse cases
Key figure in Abu Ghraib scandal invokes right not to incriminate himself

By Josh White
The Washington Post
Updated: 6:54 a.m. ET Jan. 12, 2006

WASHINGTON - 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 indicated he might have information that could implicate him in wrongdoing, according to military lawyers.

Harvey Volzer, an attorney for one of the dog handlers, has been seeking to question Miller to determine whether Miller ordered the use of military working dogs to frighten detainees during interrogations at Abu Ghraib. Volzer has argued that the dog handlers were following orders when the animals were used against detainees.

Miller's decision came shortly after Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the commanding officer at Abu Ghraib, accepted immunity from prosecution this week and was ordered to testify at upcoming courts-martial. Pappas, a military intelligence officer, could be asked to detail high-level policies relating to the treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib.

He also could shed light on how abusive tactics emerged, who ordered their use, and their possible connection to officials in Washington, according to lawyers and human rights advocates who have closely followed the case. Pappas has never spoken publicly.

A few rotten apples?
"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."


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 attorneys.

Miller declined to comment through a spokesman, citing the ongoing judicial actions. His defense attorney, Maj. Michelle E. Crawford, also declined to comment.

Eugene R. Fidell, a Washington expert in military law, said that Miller's decision is "consistent with his being concerned that he may have some exposure to worry about. It's very unusual for senior officers to invoke their Article 31 rights. The culture in the military tends to encourage cooperation rather than the opposite."

Funny how General Miller doesn't want to testify about whether he ordered the use of military dogs against detainees at Abu Ghraib.

I thought the dogs were thought up by those scofflaws on the Abu Ghraib nightshift.

But maybe General miller had something to do with it, eh?

I bet once Miller is forced to address the question of who ordered the use of dogs against prisoners, he might also have to answer additional questions about whether he ordered some of the more "extreme interrogation techniques" used at the prison.

You know, like smearing fake menstrual blood on prisoners faces, having women interrogators perform strip tease shows for Muslim prisoners in order to humiliate them, waterboarding prisoners until they nearly drown and shoving a man into a canvas sack and beating him with cudgels until he died.

Those kinds of things...

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