Froomkin: Establishing The Connection Between The Bush Administration And Abu Ghraib


As former Vice President Dick Cheney continues his feckless crusade to save his legacy and once again mislead the world about the war crimes he was party to, new revelations about those crimes are beginning to surface.

Denying that White House policy was directly responsible for the vile abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib has been the central goal of a five-year disinformation campaign by Bush officials. 'Torture Team' author Philippe Sands argues that newly-disclosed records show how blatantly Bush officials were willing to lie in order to lead reporters away from the truth. Eighth in a series of articles calling attention to the things we still need to know about torture and other abuses committed by the Bush administration after 9/11.

Soon after the photos of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib went public, Bush administration officials contrived a high-stakes disinformation campaign to prevent the American people from linking the White House to the vile, sadistic treatment of detainees in that Iraqi prison. They repeatedly insisted that the abuses were just the work of a few “bad apples.” They scoffed at the notion that their orders circumventing historic limits on interrogation were remotely responsible.

Five years later, they’re still at it, with former vice president Dick Cheney waging a clever campaign that would have the debate over government-sanctioned torture turn on what techniques were employed at the CIA’s secret prison -- and whether they “worked.”...

But “Torture Team” author Philippe Sands points out that a vivid illustration of the disinformation campaign – showing just how far officials were willing to mislead and lie in their desperate attempt to avoid culpability for Abu Ghraib – can now be found by comparing one of the newly-released Justice Department memos with statements made by then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales in June 2004. Read on...

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