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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Dirty Sanchez 

In response to an FOIA request, the ACLU earlier this week obtained a classified memo signed by Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez that put the lie to his testimony before Congress:
The ACLU says the documents reveal that the abuse of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere was the result of an organised and co-ordinated plan for dealing with prisoners captured during the so-called war on terror that originates at the highest levels of the chain of command. It says that far from being isolated incident, the shocking abuse at Abu Ghraib that was revealed last year was part of a pattern . . . .

In the September 2003 memo, Gen Sanchez authorised the use of 29 techniques for interrogating prisoners being held by the US. These included stress positions, "yelling, loud music and light control" as well as the use of muzzled military dogs in order to "exploit Arab fear of dogs". Some of the most notorious photographs to emerge from the Abu Ghraib scandal showed hand-cuffed, naked Iraqi prisoners cowering from snarling dogs . . . .

When he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee in May 2004, Gen Sanchez flatly refused approving such techniques in Iraq, and said that a news article reporting otherwise was false. "I never approved any of those measures to be used ... at any time in the last year," he said under oath. The ACLU accuses him of committing perjury and has asked the Attorney General to investigate. In a letter to Alberto Gonzales, the group said: "Gen Sanchez's testimony, given under oath before the Senate Armed Services committee, is utterly inconsistent with the written record, and deserves serious investigation. This clear breach of the public's trust is also further proof that the American people deserve the appointment of an independent special counsel by the Attorney General."
Major story, no? Well . . . no. A Google News Search on "Sanchez perjury" returns exactly 17 results: two unrelated articles that happen to contain the relevant keywords; a few foreign papers picking up the Independent (UK) story linked above; a couple of lefty websites; the Marine Times and the Air Force Times; and exactly one American daily -- Rev. Moon's Washington Times.

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