- With mounting evidence that a shadowy group of former
Israeli Defense Force and General Security Service (Shin Bet) Arabic-speaking
interrogators were hired by the Pentagon under a classified "carve
out" sub-contract to brutally interrogate Iraqi prisoners at Baghdad's
Abu Ghraib prison, one only needs to examine the record of abuse of Palestinian
and Lebanese prisoners in Israel to understand what Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld meant, when referring to new, yet to be released photos
and videos, he said, "if these images are released to the public,
obviously its going to make matters worse."
- According to a political appointee within the Bush administration
and U.S. intelligence sources, the interrogators at Abu Ghraib included
a number of Arabic-speaking Israelis who also helped U.S. interrogators
develop the "R2I" (Resistance to Interrogation) techniques. Many
of the torture methods were developed by the Israelis over many years of
interrogating Arab prisoners on the occupied West Bank and in Israel itself.
- Clues about worse photos and videos of abuse may be found
in Israeli files about similar abuse of Palestinian and other Arab prisoners.
In March 2000, a lawyer for a Lebanese prisoner kidnapped in 1994 by the
Israelis in Lebanon claimed that his client had been subjected to torture,
including rape. The type of compensation offered by Rumsfeld in his testimony
has its roots in cases of Israeli torture of Arabs. In the case of the
Lebanese man, said to have been raped by his Israeli captors, his lawyer
demanded compensation of $1.47 million. The Public Committee Against Torture
in Israel documented the types of torture meted out on Arab prisoners.
Many of the tactics coincide with those contained in the Taguba report:
beatings and prolonged periods handcuffed to furniture. In an article in
the December 1998 issue of The Progressive, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb reported
on the treatment given to a 23-year old Palestinian held on "administrative
detention." The prisoner was "cuffed behin
- d a chair 17 hours a day for 120 days . . . [he] had
his head covered with a sack, which was often dipped in urine or feces.
Guards played loud music right next to his ears and frequently taunted
him with threats of physical and sexual violence." If additional photos
and videos document such practices, the Bush administration and the American
people have, indeed, "seen nothing yet."
- Although it is still largely undocumented if any of the
contractor named in the report of General Antonio Taguba were associated
with the Israeli military or intelligence services, it is noteworthy that
one, John Israel, who was identified in the report as being employed by
both CACI International of Arlington, Virginia, and Titan, Inc., of San
Diego, may not have even been a U.S. citizen. The Taguba report states
that Israel did not have a security clearance, a requirement for employment
as an interrogator for CACI. According to CACI's web site, "a Top
Secret Clearance (TS) that is current and US citizenship" are required
for CACI interrogators working in Iraq. In addition, CACI requires that
its interrogators "have at least two years experience as a military
policeman or similar type of law enforcement/intelligence agency whereby
the individual utilized interviewing techniques."
- Speculation that "John Israel" may be an intelligence
cover name has fueled speculation whether this individual could have been
one of a number of Israeli interrogators hired under a classified contract.
Because U.S. citizenship and documentation thereof are requirements for
a U.S. security clearance, Israeli citizens would not be permitted to hold
a Top Secret clearance. However, dual U.S.-Israeli citizens could have
satisfied Pentagon requirements that interrogators hold U.S. citizenship
and a Top Secret clearance. Although the Taguba report refers twice to
Israel as an employee of Titan, the company claims he is one of their sub-contractors.
CACI stated that one of the men listed in the report "is not and never
has been a CACI employee" without providing more detail. A U.S. intelligence
source revealed that in the world of intelligence "carve out"
subcontracts such confusion is often the case with "plausible deniability"
being a foremost concern.
- In fact, the Taguba report does reference the presence
of non-U.S. and non-Iraqi interrogators at Abu Ghraib. The report states,
"In general, US civilian contract personnel (Titan Corporation, CACI,
etc), third country nationals, and local contractors do not appear to be
properly supervised within the detention facility at Abu Ghraib."
- The Pentagon is clearly concerned about the outing of
the Taguba report and its references to CACI, Titan, and third country
nationals, which could permanently damage U.S. relations with Arab and
Islamic nations. The Pentagon's angst may explain why the Taguba report
is classified Secret No Foreign Dissemination.
- The leak of the Taguba report was so radioactive, Daniel
R. Dunn, the Information Assurance Officer for Douglas Feith's Office of
the Under Secretary of Defense, Policy (Policy Automation Services Security
Team), sent a May 6, 2004, For Official Use Only Urgent E-mail to Pentagon
staffers stating, "THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT IS CLASSIFIED;
DO NOT GO TO FOX NEWS TO READ OR OBTAIN A COPY." Considering Feith's
close ties to the Israelis, such a reaction by his top computer security
officer, a Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP),
is understandable, although considering the fact that CISSPs are to act
on behalf of the public good, it is also regrettable..
- The reference to "third country nationals"
in a report that restricts its dissemination to U.S. coalition partners
(Great Britain, Poland, Italy, etc.) is another indication of the possible
involvement of Israelis in the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners. Knowledge
that the U.S. may have been using Israeli interrogators could have severely
fractured the Bush administration's tenuous "coalition of the willing'
in Iraq. General Taguba's findings were transmitted to the Coalition Forces
Land Component Command on March 9, 2004, just six days before the Spanish
general election, one that the opposition anti-Iraq war Socialists won.
The Spanish ultimately withdrew their forces from Iraq.
- During his testimony before the Senate Armed Service
Committee, Rumsfeld was pressed upon by Senator John McCain about the role
of the private contractors in the interrogations and abuse. McCain asked
Rumsfeld four pertinent questions, ". . . who was in charge? What
agency or private contractor was in charge of the interrogations? Did they
have authority over the guards? And what were the instructions that they
gave to the guards?"
- When Rumsfeld had problems answering McCain's question,
Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, the Deputy Commander of the U.S. Central Command,
said there were 37 contract interrogators used in Abu Ghraib. The two named
contractors, CACI and Titan, have close ties to the Israeli military and
technology communities. Last January 14, after Provost Marshal General
of the Army, Major General Donald Ryder, had already uncovered abuse at
Abu Ghraib, CACI's President and CEO, Dr. J.P. (Jack) London was receiving
the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah's Albert Einstein Technology award at
the Jerusalem City Hall, with right-wing Likud politician Israeli Defense
Minister Shaul Mofaz and ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party Jerusalem
Mayor Uri Lupolianski in attendance. Oddly, CACI waited until February
2 to publicly announce the award in a press release. CACI has also received
grants from U.S.-Israeli bi-national foundations.
- Titan also has had close connections to Israeli interests.
After his stint as CIA Director, James Woolsey served as a Titan director.
Woolsey is an architect of America's Iraq policy and the chief proponent
of and lobbyist for Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress. An adviser
to the neo-conservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Jewish
Institute of National Security Affairs, Project for the New American Century,
Center for Security Policy, Freedom House, and Committee for the Liberation
of Iraq, Woolsey is close to Stephen Cambone, the Undersecretary of Defense
for Intelligence, a key person in the chain of command who would have not
only known about the torture tactics used by U.S. and Israeli interrogators
in Iraq but who would have also approved them. Cambone was associated with
the Project for the New American Century and is viewed as a member of Rumsfeld's
neo-conservative "cabal" within the Pentagon.