Abu Ghraib is just the beginning

It has recently come to light that the abuses committed by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison were not the first instances of violence against detainees in Iraq. There is now evidence of the existence of Task Force 6-26, a special unit with secret headquarters at Baghdad International Airport called Camp Nama. According to The New York Times, soldiers used one of the torture chambers that were once used by the former Iraqi government as an interrogation room, calling it the Black Room.

“In the windowless, jet-black garage-size room, some soldiers beat prisoners with rifle butts, yelled and spit in their faces and, in a nearby area, used detainees for target practice in a game of jailer paintball.” U.S. officials have consistently maintained the torture that took place at Abu Ghraib prison was isolated and the due to the actions of a select group of individuals. However, as more and more information surfaces regarding the Black Room and Task Force 6-26, or any other manifestations of this task force, it is becoming evident that the U.S. government was not only aware of the torture that was taking place at Abu Ghraib, but more than likely encouraged it.

Above the special area for Task Force 6-26, soldiers allegedly put up a sign that read, “NO BLOOD, NO FOUL.” According to the Times article, “the slogan, as one Defense Department official explained, reflected an adage adopted by Task Force 6-26: ‘If you don’t make them bleed, they can’t prosecute for it.’” Yet again, this is a perfect example of the Bush administration creating its own rules, rather than obeying any sort of universal conventions. Like those at Guantánamo Bay, detainees are denied their rights, and the actions of the soldiers defy the Geneva Conventions.

It is not acceptable for the Bush administration to defend such atrocious actions with a blanket statement about the “terror” they are fighting; it simply isn’t enough. Behind all the rhetoric, all the verbal acrobatics and the work of spin doctors, the U.S. government has chosen to perpetuate the violence that it claims to be acting against, while at the same time failing to remain accountable to the very people it is defending: the American people.

Although some individuals involved with the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison have been charged and disciplined, the saga is far from over. As evidence of the existence of Task Force 6-26 as well as the Extraordinary Rendition program comes to light, it seems inevitable that more will be unearthed about the violations made by the U.S. government against Iraqis during the past three years of war.

However, the Bush administration has yet to realize that it is not above the law and that there are procedures for interrogation in place that must be followed.

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