Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Gen. Geoffrey Miller Still Covering His Posterior

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Beauty is only skin deep...ugly goes to the core.

Major General Geoffrey Miller, Donald Rumsfeld's hand-picked man to "Gitmo-ize" Abu Ghraib prisoner of war camp, maintains his silence.

Two low-level dog handlers at Abu Ghraib -- a few of the supposed "bad apples" that the Bush administration is shamelessly blaming the torture scandal on -- are on trial for abuse of "detainees" (prisoners of war). They maintain, like almost every other bad apple who has been tried, that they were following orders from superior officers--a stupid but plausible legal defense.

Miller has refused to testify at their court martial, invoking Article 31 of the military justice code, the military equivalent of the fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.

Former senior military lawyers say Gen Miller could be key to understanding whether the Abu Ghraib abuses were the result of a few rogue soldiers, as President George W. Bush has argued, or whether responsibility lies higher up the chain of command. “For a general officer to invoke [Article 31] unparalleled,” said John Hutson, who served as the navy judge advocate-general from 1997 to 2000.

“Where there are other people being court- martialled whose fate may rest in his testimony, for him not to testify and let them take the rap is...not something that a general officer would do lightly.”

Walter Huffman, dean of the Texas Tech School of Law and a former army judge advocate-general, says Gen Miller’s decision not to testify could prevent the military justice system from determining accountability for Abu Ghraib.

“I thought that through the [military justice] system, accountability would develop because those lower-ranking personnel who asserted essentially ‘I was just following orders’ would bring in then those people as witnesses,” he said. “[So] when Gen. Miller is asked to testify and then asserts his rights under Article 31, it certainly causes a lot of people, including me, to say, ‘Hmm, that does not allow the system to continue to ferret out what I believe the system is fully capable of doing’.”

Uh huh. Funny, huh? It's like putting up a stone wall between investigators and the truth. Hmmm. Stonewalling....where have I heard that before?

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