War Crimes In "W"onderland, Recalling the bestiality in Abu Ghraib of US and Israeli forces
By Greg Ford
Ford was part of a four-member team from the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion assigned to Samarra in 2003.
My hands shook with anger as I read the letter from Lt. Col. Stephenson of Human Resources Command, Washington, DC. It was stated that I had been under the extended care and treatment of a Captain Merle Madera for: Psychosis that occurred while conducting intelligence operations in Iraq, and I was under heavy medication with on-going follow-up treatment. The letter was fabricated, fraudulent, and highly illegal.
So that's how the Intelligence Command was to sleaze out of yet another investigation resulting from Abu Ghraib. It seems that the British government knew that they'd been lied to from stem-to stern concerning the role of psychiatrists in the interrogation/torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. I should know.
Just over six years ago. Captain Victor "Sworn Statements" Artiga was pacing back in fourth in the Balad Airbase headquarters of the now-notorious 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, commanded by the now infamous Colonel Thomas Pappas. "Sworn Statements" Artiga was in a foul mood, he'd been kept from his daily siesta, which as a rule took place in spite of on-going operations in the field, agents being shot at, and potential hostage situations. He was now being irritated by a counter-intelligence agent, myself, who had the audacity to insist that he first wake up from his 1400-1600 nap, second, do the job that he was supposed to do in spite of the fact that he had zero intelligence operations training. It was a small detail his immediate commander Lt. Colonel Timmy "Lying" Ryan conveniently overlooked. Captain Victor "Sworn Statements" Artiga only had a artillery background and no human intelligence training, thus he was placed in charge of the largest collection of Counter-intelligence agents the United States of America had collected in one group since World War II.
It made as much sense as when he accused me of having no "honor or integrity." It seems that when I insisted that the torture and abuse stop at Abu Ghraib prison and the police station in Samarra, Iraq, I was hindering intelligence collection, I was labeled a malcontent.
I was given the "You're gone in 30 seconds" warning -- if you don't drop the accusations." Artiga's sycophantic Master Sergeant Veguilla stood by Artigas's left shoulder wearing a smirk on his face, assuming a retraction was coming.
This is where the Abu Ghraib disaster could've and should've stopped, simply and clearly. Disasters always start with the lowest arrogant and self serving denominator possible. Artiga was the right person to initate this disaster. Born in a Central American brass hat junta, where if you want out of your hut and you're a member of the lower caste, you either become a policeman or soldier, a fact I was reminded of as I read a court transcript several years later. The only point-of-pride the country of his birth could claim is a battalion of psychopathic soldiers charging around the countryside killing and torturing at will, indiscriminately hanging children by the scores and now this same individual with pride was dismantling the very inviolate structures of America's system.
"You're not retracting your statements," so your going to see the psych," Artiga said with a very satisfied sneer. It seems the Officer Basic Course had trained him well in the career threat procedure, the "Rabbit Hole" opened wide. The next stop was Captain Merle "write it up, I'll sign it" Madera.
Combat stress was a new idea and Captain Merle Madera was clearly uncomfortable in this position. It appeared I was taking time away from schmoozing and real politicking. With a "throw every lie and fabrication" at me on a memo from Artiga, the DSM-4 evaluation proceeded for a daunting ten minutes and Madera asked, "Where is the guy getting this nonsense?"
I explained that Artiga was doing his best to initiate damage control over war crimes and that if he threw enough at the psych department surely they would "find something wrong with me." She recorded that I was stable and fit for duty on an SF88 and SF93. Whoops, I was given the originals. This was the last and only evaluation I received. That evaluation is now as of my writing this on the way to the: American Medical Association, California Medical Association, and American Psychiatric Association.
Years later, it would seem that every investigater into Abu Ghraib was thoroughly lied to and misled. Officers of the military not only lie but make a career of fine tuning the process. Itseems a complete casefile was fabricated by Merle Madera when Abu Ghraib broke and the British medical magazine Lancetreported psychiatrists being involved in the interrogations process as well as its cover up.
The Air Force medical transport opened it's cargo hatch at Balad. Another potential disaster. The US Air Force was questioning why I was leaving Iraq on their transport with obviously nothing wrong, against all military law and protocol, and leaving a war zone without any orders.
Forty-eight hours before, Artiga was very upset and demanded that Captain Madera follow his orders to interfere with medical protocol and get me out of the country. No matter, since this was an intelligence matter and not a medical issue. Furthermore, with eight witnesses standing there opened-mouthed, Artiga preceded to order Madera to fake a medical evacuation and with tears in her eyes, amazingly, she capitulated to this ranting socio-path.
I flew to Germany sitting next to Madera. She was good enough to tell me the events that led up to this insane abduction. Apparently, Artiga, Ryan, and, especially, Thomas Papas were terrified of what I had to say and the fact that I didn't back down from their threats baffled and enraged them even more. I experienced this first hand when I witnessed Ryan excitedly brief Papas that "they were going to medevac me" and that it should "get rid of the problem." Or, so they thought.
Colonel J. Tsai read my case and asked me with sincerity why I was there sitting in front of him. My letter was in for retirement. Tsai asked how did Madera get the justification for this medevac and what did I see in Iraq that terrified the command so much. I told him the whole story. Tsai asked if I wanted to go back to the command. I replied, do you think I am crazy? "No," Tsai quietly replied, I didn't think so. Tsai ..I'm concluded with, "I
am sending you home, next stop, San Antonio,Texas.
These legitimate psychiatrists weren't that easily fooled by the command-dictated events. Madera was not a psychiatrist after all, which would explain her cowardice and dereliction of duty in the face of a ranting half-wit. Colonel Richard Hathaway read the statement from Major Stuckie, which stated that a fraud was being perpetrated on the medical command by the 205th Intellience Brigade. After a cursory interview of fifteen minutes, Hathaway released his findings to me along with Colonel Tsai's and Major Stuckie's: Their findings which concluded I was stable and an Inspector General investigation into my accusations was warranted immediately.
Department of Defense Inspector General Joe Schmitz would have his hands full trying to cover up, stall and release false press conference statements over the next two years.
Schmitz was eventually fired at about the time that Steven Anthony, who called Schmitz his supervisor would make the statement that "my testimony was not credible" after Schmitz's firing and his subsequent hiring by Blackwater. The global scandal of Abu Ghraib was raging at the time.
My detractors had to lie and cover up atrocities and war crimes. And they relied on a swift boating group of phonies (Veriseal). The flakes and phonies came out of the woodwork like a locust plague. Veriseal armed itself with a raft of Artiga-fed phoney accusations, selectively culled from my classified personnel file.
My attorney, who was informed from moment that the 205th MI abduction was initiating immediately contacted Adjutant General Ayers of the California National Guard and his directions were very clear: I better not come home in a "body-bag." I arrived a few days later safe but the command was still terrified. The WMD that the America invaded Iraq to stop was key -- an incident of my work in Iraq. The British military would expose our whole "terrorist" effort -- 29 missing VX canisters -- air deployable, tertiary component construction -- were located in a bunker on Balad airbase. The"Great Bush Document Purge" had missed the manufacturer, bills-of-lading,and shipment manifest that Hans Blix listed as last of shipment that was still missing. It was found still in packing crates and the Iraqi sources were telling the truth -- "our WMD is really your WMD and we have the receipts in our bunker to prove it. It was very embarassing as I remember Donald Rumsfeld shaking the hand of Saddam Hussein to close the deal before the Anfal campaign against the Kurds was initiated. The command was given one of the dispersant doors from the "mother lode of WMD" cannisters as a memento.
There was still something the command wanted. Strange way of asking for it: abduction, I'm nuts claim, tried to read me my rights, but never go to war without an attorney. Ah! the rub. Several weeks before an impeccable source had insisted that the U.S. removed Hussein from his series of well known bunkers: information came with a 10-digit coordinate series. But one catch, drop the charges against the agents who were directing torture during interrogation and the Command would graciously accept my information. These idiots were worse than the half-wits at Veriseal. The CIA accepted the information and utilized it painlessly and discreetly, thus, I was amused when some moron Army colonel claimed on CNN that he had captured Saddam Hussein.
Thus, with great satisfaction, my attorneys are filing a request for government litigation. Six years later and a lifetime, I truly want to hear the explanation of reports, documents, and un-photoshopped pictures showing in great detail who really was aware of torture at Abu Ghraib, who was behind my abduction (confessions are good for the soul), why we really went to Iraq, who exposed Valerie Plame and for what reason, and the reason my home was burgled twice. All of this in the face of a fresh new investigation by outraged British allies who now know how they were lied to.
Postscript: On July 16, The Independent of the UK reported: "Claims that British soldiers used water torture on a badly beaten Iraqi man before unlawfully handing him over to US interrogators are being investigated by the Ministry of Defence. The troubling case includes the first evidence before a UK court of British soldiers being directly involved in a joint torture operation with US forces . . . Today High Court judges are to clear the way for a court case to force the Government to open a judicial inquiry into all allegations of abuse and torture."