Wednesday, August 08, 2007
WALTER BURNS: Listen, the last man that said that to me was Archie Leach, just a week before he cut his own throat.
The US soldier who exposed the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison found himself a marked man after his anonymity was blown in the most astonishing way by Donald Rumsfeld . . . .
Joe Darby was a reserve soldier with US forces at Abu Ghraib prison when he stumbled across those images which would eventually shock the world in 2004.
They were photographs of his colleagues, some of them men and women he had known since high school - torturing and abusing Iraqi prisoners . . . .
Joe Darby knew what he saw was wrong, but it took him three weeks to decide to hand those photographs in. When he finally did, he was promised anonymity and hoped he would hear no more about it.
Mr Darby feared repercussions from the soldiers in the photos
But he was scared of the repercussions from the accused soldiers in the photos.
"I was afraid for retribution not only from them, but from other soldiers," he says.
"At night when I would sleep, they were less than 100 yards from me, and I didn't even have a door on the room I slept in.
"I had a raincoat hanging up for a door. Like I said to my room mate, they could reach their hand in the door - because I slept right by the door - and cut my throat without making a noise, or anybody knowing what was going on, and I was scared of that" . . . .
And then he was sitting in a crowded Iraqi canteen with hundreds of soldiers and Donald Rumsfeld came on the television to thank Joe Darby by name for handing in the photographs . . . .
" . . . I did receive a letter from him which said he had no malicious intent, he was only doing it to praise me and he had no idea about my anonymity.
"I really find it hard to believe that the secretary of defence of the United States has no idea about the star witness for a criminal case being anonymous."
After Donald Rumsfeld blew his cover, he was bundled out of Iraq very quickly and lived under armed protection for the first six months.
Mr Darby and his family have moved to a new town. They have new jobs. They have done everything but change their identities.
UPDATE: Six Dungeons, No Waiting! If you've somehow managed to miss it, an Article That Everyone Will Be Linking to Soon If They Haven't Already: Jane Mayer on the CIA's overseas black sites.