Thursday, February 23, 2006

NYT: Well . . . at least there's a strong Associated Press story

The longest sentence for any member of the American military linked to a torture-related death of a detainee in Iraq or Afghanistan has been five months, a human rights group reported Wednesday.
In only 12 of 34 cases has anyone been punished for the confirmed or suspected killings, said the group, Human Rights First, which is based in New York and Washington.
Beyond those cases, in almost half of 98 known detainee deaths since 2002, the cause was never announced or was reported as undetermined.
"In dozens of cases documented here, grossly inadequate reporting, investigation and follow-through have left no one at all responsible for homicides and other unexplained deaths," it said in the report, based on military court records, news reports and other sources.

The above is from the Associated Press' "Abusive G.I.'s Not Pursued, Survey Finds" which is carried by the New York Times today. When we open with the Associated Press, you know the paper's in trouble. What's even more strange is that they leave the topic to the Associated Press when there's a trial on prisoner abuse currently going on. From the Associated Press article that the Washington Post is carrying, Alicia A. Caldwell's "Reservist Goes to Trial in Afghanistan:"

Army prosecutors in the final case involving an Army reserve unit from Ohio linked to prisoner abuses in Afghanistan say a sergeant abused two prisoners while they were shackled and helpless.
Sgt. Alan Driver's attorney countered in opening arguments in his prison abuse trial Wednesday that the military policeman was putting his life at risk to guard dangerous terrorists at Bagram Air Base detention center.

[. . .]
Driver, of Indianapolis, is the last of 11 soldiers from the 377th to be tried on charges of abusing detainees, including two who later died. Only one soldier has been convicted by an Army jury, and he was spared jail time.
The investigation was launched shortly after two detainees, men known as Dilawar and Habibullah, died within days of each other in Bagram in December 2002.
No one has been prosecuted for the detainees' deaths, though both cases were ruled homicides and the Army claims the men were beaten to death inside the jail.

By emphasis and omission, the press determines what America follows and what it doesn't follow. A point made strongly with regards to the Times by Amy and David Goodman in their book The Exception to the Rulers. The abuse and deaths of prisoners isn't a story the Times is interested in today. As you flip through this morning's paper, you realize the lack of interest isn't because they're covering anything major or 'breaking' any news. It reads like a Monday paper -- full of lazy "reporting" and naval gazing.

Back in the real world, Rod notes this:

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