The unclassified 21-page summary of a 400-page secret Pentagon report prepared by Vice-Admiral Albert Church confirms that at least six detainees have died in more than 70 proven cases of abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq, and reveals that the U.S. military was holding an estimated 50,000 detainees in shadowy circumstances as of last September. However, the report exonerates Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Pentagon brass of ordering or turning a blind eye to torture.
"This looks like another whitewash. Almost a year after the Abu Ghraib pictures, we still haven’t had an independent investigation into the widespread prison abuse by someone not appointed by or subordinate to Secretary Rumsfeld," said Reed Brody, a special counsel for the New York-based group Human Rights Watch. (Globe & Mail, March 11)
Rumsfeld and other Pentagon figures still face civil charges in a suit brought by torture survivors.
See our last post on the ongoing torture affair.