New horrifying report-- 2004: Rumsfeld, Cheney, Col. Jim Steele, secret detention centers, and of course, torture


jim steele torture iraq war

Please, just go read the entire article at The Guardian. It's substantive, it's a little long, but it's a must-read.There's video there, too. Two of the videos are only seconds long:

On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the allegations of American links to the units that eventually accelerated Iraq's descent into civil war cast the US occupation in a new and even more controversial light. The investigation was sparked over a year ago by millions of classified US military documents dumped onto the internet and their mysterious references to US soldiers ordered to ignore torture. Private Bradley Manning, 25, is facing a 20-year sentence, accused of leaking military secrets.

Steele's contribution was pivotal. He was the covert US figure behind the intelligence gathering of the new commando units. [...]

Steele's career hit an unexpected buffer when he was embroiled in the Iran-Contra affair. ... While the congressional inquiry that followed put an end to Steele's military ambitions, it did win him the admiration of then congressman Dick Cheney who sat on the committee and admired Steele's efforts fighting leftists in both Nicaragua and El Salvador. [...]

But it was the actions of the commandos inside the detention centres that raises the most troubling questions for their American masters. Desperate for information, the commandos set up a network of secret detention centres where insurgents could be brought and information extracted from them.

The commandos used the most brutal methods to make detainees talk. ... [T]hey knew exactly what was going on and were even supplying the commandos with lists of people they wanted brought in. [...]

"We were having lunch. Col Steele, Col Coffman, and the door opened and Captain Jabr was there torturing a prisoner. He [the victim] was hanging upside down and Steele got up and just closed the door, he didn't say anything – it was just normal for him."

David Petraeus's name pops up a lot in the piece, too.

Will someone explain to me why there have been no prosecutions of Bush administration participants in these crimes? The details in the Guardian article are horrifying.

A terrible precedent has been set, and nobody has been held legally responsible. Rachel Maddow sure tried to make waves, but it seems that moment came and went pretty quickly.

Back to Dick Cheney, who tried to promote Jim Steele to general back in 1991:

The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioning the truthfulness of his testimony, refused to act on the Army`s request to promote Steele to brigadier general in 1988.

Defense Secretary Dick Cheney`s office then delayed a second attempt to promote Steele for more than 1 1/2 years while Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh also scrutinized Steele`s actions, several sources said. [...]

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who opposed Steele`s promotion in 1988, said he plans to urge Sens. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and John Warner (R-Va.), the committee`s ranking minority member, to stop it again...  "Serious questions about Col. Steele`s role in the (contra supply) operations and his association with Oliver North have yet to be answered," Harkin said.

If all this isn't getting your blood boiling, check out these two posts. One is by my dear friend Jason Leopold: EXCLUSIVE: Mystery Behind Guantanamo Prisoner's Suicide Endures, Despite Release of Autopsy Report.

The other is by another pal, Jeff Kaye: “A growing feeling here that death is the road out of Guantanamo”, which starts out with this:

“What would you do if your brother or uncle was kidnapped, sold, and beaten in a prison for 11 years without charge?”

Here's my own recent update on Fayiz Al-Kandari: After 11 years, still no justice for this Kuwaiti Gitmo prisoner. #FreeFayiz.

I also covered the hunger strike here: Gitmo “is forgotten and its condemned men will never get an opportunity to prove their innocence or be free.”


here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at

  • Richard_Pietrasz

     The "failure" to get al-Qaida in Afghanistan was not incompetence.  It was deliberately done in order to ensure the war would continue.  The same is true of US strategy against Iraq.

    The US military is extremely competent at many things, such as operating an aircraft carrier.  It knows it is using terror to incite counter-terror, because that justifies at least 90% of its budget.

  • And yet John McCain and Graham continue to make a big deal about a minor talking point during the first hours of Benghazi. Where were you ass wipes when 4000 American lives were lost in a private War by W, using WMD as a false reason to invade the wrong country. The 30,000 wounded are not the traditional one's we brought home from other wars. Most lost limbs, arms and legs, not to mention the 125,000 Iraqi civilians dead. Meanwhile, removing men from Afghanistan where we had Bin Laden at Tora Bora. This is real incompetence that you can touch. it's tangible. You can taste it. Where were the investigations then, where were the voices for truth then. This was an administration who vowed to bring honesty and transparency back to the WH. In addition, W destabilized the entire region and made Iran the top dog by taking Saddam's regime down without cause. It took another 10 years to positively find Bin Laden. I feel safe though because we take our shoes off at the airport.

  • It's very apparent that the U.S. has never been the good, lily white nation presented if we started school in the fifties or before.  In present years, however, I don't know if  I should applaud Dick Cheney for letting the evil (dark side) proudly hang out there, so psycho sure of himself with no remorse. Or cry because I have long known the "good guys" weren't really so good.  Surely, at least,  there is a decent medium.  I've never known a public figure I've despised more than Cheney, as Hitler died before I was gone.

  • pigboy

    "Since when is it US Policy to torture everyone in a prison? Seymour Hersh was so affected by an audio of children screaming from being sodomized by our soldiers that he could not write about it for a long time.  "....

    The problem for the sadists in the White House was that these horrors were being recorded. Not that the United States was party to this sick, sadistic behavior.
    Mind you, it was a sick and sadistic behavior that only made things worse for Iraqis' and it showed the world what kind of people we are that allowed this to happen.