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    Secret Document Frago 242 Wiki-leaked

    Wikileaks documents released Friday evening to The Guardian, UK, The New York Times, Der Spiegel and Le Monde are full of revelations that are being underplayed by MSM as ‘not revelatory’.  Don’t be fooled.  They include documents showing that the DoD had previously lied, but actually was keeping track of civilian deaths after a fashion; that there were far more killings of civilians by Blackwater employees and US soldiers than reported; that Iran was funding Shiite combatants (known already), and reports of death squads operating under Nouri Al-Maliki.  They show that US soldiers abused detainees until at least the end of 2009. 

    But torture of Iraqis by Iraqis (including women and teenagers) is what I’ll address here today.  More analysis of the almost 400,000 documents will come, and more commentary. 

    In a recent poll, only 3% of Americans listed the Wars as primary issues informing their voting choices.

    Watch this video on Frago 242 if you can stomach it; the Guardian says it was issued in June 2004, not May 2005, as the New York Times article implies.


    Please note that General Peter Pace wanted torture stopped, and for US troops to help stop it; Rumsfeld argued with him publicly.  And obviously won the argument.

    From The Guardian:

    Other logs record not merely assaults but systematic torture. A man who was detained by Iraqi soldiers in an underground bunker reported that he had been subjected to the notoriously painful strappado position: with his hands tied behind his back, he was suspended from the ceiling by his wrists. The soldiers had then whipped him with plastic piping and used electric drills on him. The log records that the man was treated by US medics; the paperwork was sent through the necessary channels; but yet again, no investigation was required.

    This is the impact of Frago 242. A frago is a "fragmentary order" which summarises a complex requirement. This one, issued in June 2004, about a year after the invasion of Iraq, orders coalition troops not to investigate any breach of the laws of armed conflict, such as the abuse of detainees, unless it directly involves members of the coalition. Where the alleged abuse is committed by Iraqi on Iraqi, "only an initial report will be made … No further investigation will be required unless directed by HQ".

    Frago 242 appears to have been issued as part of the wider political effort to pass the management of security from the coalition to Iraqi hands. In effect, it means that the regime has been forced to change its political constitution but allowed to retain its use of torture.

    One section’s summary on prisoner abuse by the NYT:

    Summary: If the war was dangerous for Americans, it was far worse for the Iraqis who worked for them. One Iraqi interpreter was killed by an American sniper from his own unit, who mistook him for a militant when the Iraqi became separated from his platoon.  (my bold)

    Allegations and documentations of prisoner abuse in Iraqi prisoners by Human Rights Watch were reported by the Los Angeles Times in a piece about Al_Maliki’s massive torture operations a month before Al- Maliki  met with the President at the White House on October 20, 2009.

    The Pentagon warned on Friday that releasing secret military documents could endanger US troops and Iraqi civilians:

    "By disclosing such sensitive information, WikiLeaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

    He said the documents were "essentially snapshots of events, both tragic and mundane, and do not tell the whole story."

    Secretary of State Clinton denounced the leaks, saying they will endanger US forces.

    In 2009, fifty-five cases have been investigated by the Iraqi government.

    Duties of the Occupying Power:

    Hague Conventions of 1907
    Art. 43.
    The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.

    This photojournalism collection by James Estrin and David Furst is called In American Custody was published October 22, 2010 at NYT online.

    The US handed over more than 2000 Iraqi prisoners to Iraqi security in July, 2010, allegedly as part of a greater picture to give legitimacy to the new, if not yet formed, Iraqi government.  Al-Maliki claims that the leaks are part of a plan to discredit him.



    S "By disclosing such sensitive information, WikiLeaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us." - Let us just keep in mind that there IS NOT A SINGLE INSTANCE of an Afghan civilian working with the US being harmed since the Afghan war doc leaks in July. So basically this is bullshit.

    great blog, stardust

    There are so many lies, and so much bullshit available, Obey.  We have so totally lost our moral compass that it's hard to see how we will ever pull back and find it again.  I can't help wondering on days like this what wouldhave happened had this administration investigated the last one for war crimes. 

    We now pretend to believe that the war in Iraq has ended; that is another Major Lie; a lie so large that it's impossible (at least for my limited google skills) to discover how many contract tropps have now taken the place of the last batch of soldiers who left in July.  And how the contract security will help the situation, given the incedible crimes they've committed in both theaters of war.  God help the innocent civilians in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and the soldiers who are on the line for our depraved policies.

    And things are getting worse with Pakistan/India.  Next blog will be about the sole footnote in Bob Woodward's book, and the ISI.  Bugger all..

    John F. Burns and Ravi Somaya imply that such results may still be coming but just will take some time, and that Assange himself does not dispute such risk:

    A Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan using the pseudonym Zabiullah Mujahid said in a telephone interview that the Taliban had formed a nine-member “commission” after the Afghan documents were posted “to find about people who are spying.” He said the Taliban had a “wanted” list of 1,800 Afghans and was comparing that with names WikiLeaks provided.

    “After the process is completed, our Taliban court will decide about such people,” he said.

    Mr. Assange defended posting unredacted documents, saying he balanced his decision “with the knowledge of the tremendous good and prevention of harm that is caused” by putting the information into the public domain. “There are no easy choices on the table for this organization,” he said. 


    WikiLeaks Founder on the Run, Trailed by Notoriety, published October 23

    (recommended to read all especially because it includes quotes from an interview with Assange in person last Sunday as well as from disgruntled and unhappy wikileaks persons.)

    Thanks for the link, AA. I'm not convinced by the "Bureaucratic red tape in the Taliban administration holding up proceedings" argument. To put it mildly.

    As for Assange's excentricities described in the piece, and the infighting amongst Wikileakers, I tend to take that kind of stuff with a grain of salt. All the great investigative reporters I know are similarly excentric and paranoid and have delusions of grandeur. It does not detract from their work. One should judge them by the consequences of their actions. And infighting is natural in an organization undert THIS KIND OF PRESSURE.

    In this case, we have no ascertainable harm. So far...

    Yeah all that is wrong with this country are publications like Wikleaks and the Pentagon Papers.

    Without disclosures like those contained in these publications, we wouldn't know what is really going on, what was really going on.

    No harm, no foul.

    Plus: keep in mind that these are only Secret doucuments; the borrower of the documents (ahem) wasn't privy to Top Secret documents... I'll bet there are some real hair-curlers there!

    There are those who feel like the leaks make conditions as such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on!

    We have always had the force necessary to maintain security!

    Could you explain further?  I'm not sure I'm getting your meaning, NCD.

    Woose wips sink ships!

    You know dat! Anybody knows dat! 

    Stop da weaks! 


    There are medical facilities that can fix...er...speech defects like yours.

    Just ask Senator Sessions. hahahah

    Great blog, Stardust. Not comfortable, but really important, and TIMELY. Thanks for all the views from the Guardian et al giving us a broader perspective than our own MSM. 

    The New York Times is not necessarily referencing FRAGO 242. It really looks like the NYT missed (ignored?) FRAGO 242 completely and seems more likely they were referencing FRAGO 039. This order appears to be identified in a field report from 5/16/2005 although it looks as if the actual FRAGO was issued April 29, 2005. My guess is they referenced the date from the report instead of the FRAGO issue date.


    FRAGO 242 orders military personnel to not even report Iraqi on Iraqi abuse. FRAGO 039 modified the orders and tells soldiers to report abuse, but take no action unless ordered by HHQ.

    I first heard about FRAGO 039 from this Al Jazeera video which is a worthwhile, if depressing, thing to watch IMO.

    (h/t MadDog over on FDL for the report link).

    A certain amount of confusion over the dates and order numbers, but I believe that the Guardian said 242 ws issued in April, 2009.  The video you post I had posted; it may get removed by management, though I've not been able to grasp the Why of it; it may be illegal.  Don't want to get Dagblog in trouble.

    Thanks for posting your understandings, Kgb.  Always illuminating, they are.  ;o)

    I'm confused twice by this comment.

    First, all accounts seem to have 242 issued in June of 2004. By 2009 it seems like policy was pretty much established, no?

    Second, this video was posted to YouTube by Aljazeera themselves - they are the copyright holder. There is nothing illegal about linking to their videos. Did Genghis or someone ask you to remove it? That seems odd.

    As a general rule, a site (or user) should never have any liability from posting YouTube links/embeds. If there is a copyright violation, Youtube handles the takedown notices and any links to the content display a "This content has been removed at the request of the copyright holder" message. This means users can assume if it hasn't been taken down, it's OK to link (and if there were a problem, Youtube holds the liability not Dagblog).

    Speaking of the video, it was broadcast earlier today along with a few other segments. The segment on Iraqi reaction was quite interesting also (doubling down on the vid links :-). If the attitudes highlighted are prevalent they seem to significantly undermine the "increases danger to the troops" narrative. The logic "of course those in Iraq know what's been going on" seems to be borne out ... in light of this, it is silly to believe that our own population's ignorance make our troops any safer.

    It also highlights a little discussed (to date) impact of the leaks. While the focus is on what this means for America and American soldiers and the American war effort. In Iraq, it seems to be empowering the people to have a legitimate point of focus from which to demand accountability within their own government. Regardless the impact on us, it seems to me that for the average Iraqi this release of information is a very significant and ultimately positive development.


    Thanks for the reaction link, kgb.  Management had some concerns that I had linked to video I shouldn't have, but then moved away from.  Sorry I didn't understand the ins and outs well enough to share them.

    One source I read said the NYT reported the May 2005 date.  I think that the rhubarb had something to with the date that security was handed to the soveriegn government of Iraq, which if it were in 2004, some would claims that US forces had no standing to investigate or prosecute torture.  Sounds lame to me, but then...

    I did wonder if the reports about the 55 investigations opened by the Iraqis were a bit of a feint by Maliki to make it appear they were taking the torture question seriously., but there are so many allegations by human rights organizations of Dark and torture prisons still operating, it's hard to have much faith they'll be changed.

    I'm fading, and Garbo is on the teevee.  Hope I answered your questions at all.

    The segment on Iraqi reaction was quite interesting also

    Indeed, thank you for linking to it.

    Reminded me of Seymour Hersh's assertion at the time of Abu Ghraib relevations that general shock and anger about the story in the Arab world was not so much about the fact of torture occuring but at the hypocrisy of the U.S. about it, and moreso, at the sexual nature of the torture directed by Americans.

    Which reminds me of an even larger topic vis-a-vis "democracy promotion." Small-d democracy is not always a friendly match with human rights issues, depending upon the culture involved--the tyranny of the majority and all that. (Most were quite happy to allow slavery to continue in an earlier U.S.A, for a blatant example.) I sometimes wonder how many of those who strongly argue that we should get every last American miltiary person out of Iraq pronto to "let Iraqis work everything out themselves" would continue to do so if abuse of civilians by Iraqi government went to horrific genocidal-like levels. Especially after our little intervention we could be blamed by the rest of the world as the ones who caused the destabilization that caused it.

    I read a piece a few years ago about the horrors of prisons in a democracy in Africa that really hit home on related--I can't recall which country, sorry. The article argued quite convincingly that the reason for those horrible conditions was that the enfranchised masses generally felt strongly about not putting more money put into jails, prisons  and enough criminal courts, and also supported a pretty ruthless crackdown on crime that included arresting people on small suspicions and then letting them suffer unindicted, much less given a trial, in horrible jails without a chance for trial for years--again not supportive of spending more money on a criminal justice system. Politicians not exceedingly "tough on crime" were losing their jobs. That when crime gets out of hand, human rights issues often end up on the chopping block in a democracy. All human rights as described in our Consitution or by international organizations are not always the easy sell they are made out to be, especially when a lot of ordinary citizens are suffering from hunger or lack of personal safety.

    Excellent points all. And it is not lost on me that this dynamic also applies somewhat to our own reality today here in America where prison conditions are increasingly atrocious and the "liberal" commentariat is openly gleeful at the proposition of sodomy being a side-effect of incarceration.

    But in terms of the implications for Iraq/Afghanistan (I see us in the same Catch-22 in both conflicts) I can only see three overarching possible end games.

    #1 We abandon the idea evangelical Democracy imposed at the barrel of a gun is a workable solution and set up a strong-man along the lines of Saddam to maintain stability.

    #2 We stop meddling all together and allow them to work out a stasis within their own cultural boundaries. Which, as you point out, could be rather bloody until the stasis is achieved.

    #3 We fully embrace empire and make these places American protectorates and accept the responsibility of holding the dominant authority - along the lines of the British commonwealth.

    To this observer, it looks like our government is trying to pull off #3 in a half-assed way while pretending we're working towards a less-bloody version of #2. But by not just biting the bullet and being honest about it, we are creating conditions every bit as bloody as just leaving them to their own devices ... and then pretending the bloodshed isn't really bloodshed because the security forces and our own military are "protecting the lives of American soldiers." This an increasingly untenable situation I fear.

    I just finished some of today's New York Times' ancillary pieces related to the Wikileaks story--just adding what came to mind in doing that.

    Your #2 point is adressed in  Tensions High Along Kurdish-Arab Line which is more appropriately titled in the print version as "A Fear That Kurdish-Arab Tensions Will Worsen After U.S. Leaves."  (Much is being said about the leaks on Iran's involvement right now, but a reminder that that this particular conflict area also involves Turkey, which means the possibliity of a wider more complicated mess at some time in the future. )

    And Sabrina Tavernise's overview analysis of the Iraqi wikileaks, Mix of Trust and Despair Helped Turn Tide in Iraq, does try to put it into the context of "is there anything we learn from this as regards Afghanistan?" And interesting to me, of course, in her summary, she brings up my point about human rights being sacrificed for safety:  Iraqis of all stripes began to use the Americans as a bridge, coming forward with information about everything from Al Qaeda hide-outs to gas station extortions. Uses of the word “source” peak in 2007, with five times as many references as in 2004......By 2009, civilian deaths had dropped to the lowest levels recorded in the archive. In interviews in the summer of 2008, Iraqis said they were so deeply frightened by the killings in 2006 that they would do anything to avoid being dragged into that kind of violence again. Which in turn, reminded me of how and why the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan--mainly to provide pretty brutal "rule of Islamic law" safety from warlord anarchy.

    Edit to add:

    Salam Pax March 26, 2009, on "It's fear that keeps the peace."

    We seem to have a long history of supporting rulers who were fraudulently elected.  Karzai, for one of the most recent examples.  My mind is pinging with thoughts about Pakistan, but I'll head back to Iraq.

    The objective of the Neo-cons never was to create a democracy there, but only some government we could deal with, and rulers who might create some hedge against Iranian influence (with our Mega-Help and bases and embassies).  It hasn't worked well over the past decade, and we seem to always choose the worst characters to support.  Now Al-Maliki is openly being courted by Iran and Al-sadr, and working to form a coalition to form a government.  Seeing that, the US is now urging them to 'go slowly', though it's not clear what speed has to do with any of it to me. 

    Who, by now is left to be the victims of this mass genocide, Artie?  So many Sunnnis left in the many years of diaspora and genocide by the Shiites, which is probably an oversimplification as there are so many different factions in Iraq.  But the degree to which it's said to be dangerous in both Iraq and Afghanistan seems to be a huge factor in the argument for our leaving (which of course won't happen).  The gargantuan embassy is being expanded as we speak, and God knows how many contract soldiers or Dark Army players are in-country now, deciding who to kill, and for what ultimate aim.

    If the mission of the 50,000 US troops remaining is just to guard the diplomats, what help is that, and what are the diplomats there for?  DoS has it's small (maybe) army 'to train security forces'.  I don't buy it; I think there are more hidden reasons for our continued presence than the stated ones.  (resources, Iran...)  We can't even get the people more than four hours of electricity a day after eight years of 'hearts and minds' work.  And a majority of Iraqis say they were better off under Saddam.

    Shoot; it's just too depressing to wade further into...I say bring back Ahmed Chalabi for the fourth time, and give him his head... 

    Star, what great composing so early in the morning.

    Decider must of course have been aware of all these complexities before he invaded. Branding pledges with a red hot clothes hanger at the DKE house at Yale must have helped shape his thinking about the destabilization of a society and the possible aftermath.

    But, about the embassy, and the oil underneath it--do you, or does anyone else, know what is the latest on the actual oil deals made by the Iraq "government"?


    Thanks for thinking it was good, but I felt leaden, and I'd been up and coffeed for two hours. ;o)    It's a hard subject, because for so many reasons, we've been encourage to buy into memes that had their beginnings in bad doctrine trying to cover for even worse foreign policy of Empire.  It has to end sometime, but not in the frseeable future. 

    I have Antonia Juhasz's email address on another account; I keep meaning to try to contact her.  She was the go-to person for a long time on Iraqi oil contracts.  I did google for the most recent contracts a few months ago, and if there were American companies, they were disguised a bit, which in such a global economy wouldn't be too rough.  I know the Kurds said F*ck It a while back, and cut some deals with the Chinese.  Good for them; the US has screwed them multiple times in the past, ginning up revolution, then casting them aside to the victors.  I hope they get some oil production going, myself. 

    Pepe Escobar has a new, extremely lengthy piece posted called "The New Silk Road".  It's not the neo-con dream of Afghanistan's New Silk Road, in which new Western alliances form to build railroads across Afghanistan to help rape aid the nation in developing its estimated billions and trillions of untapped mineral wealth and ship it out by sea (through Pakistan?  Who knows or remembers?), but he (at great length) points out the US folly of waging insanely expensive wars for resource domination, while China working with ,so wisely just spends her money on gargantuan bids for rights and production of oil and gas and pipelines.  (Ah; those inscrutable and wiley fiends!) 

    Anyway, there were seven or eight multi-national oil companies that have secured contracts, but last I read none had much development going.  I'll scout around and see if I can find the links to refresh my memory, and maybe give Antonia a jingle.  She was great in always responding to a nobody...  ;o)


    Here's a video of Pepe:


    and the ling piece from Asai Times:


    Got them. Appreciate your response.

    You took my "I sometimes wonder how many of those who strongly argue" more specifically than the general rhetorical thoughts I am refering to. Actually, the older I get, the more I myself tend to sympapthize with isolationism excepting for trade, ala George Washington. But to me that requires a certain cold heartedness that I don't see in a lot of people who argue about getting American troops out of here or there. They are often the ones who would like to see UN troops in here or there to save people from themselves, like Israel/Palestine or Haiti, who when atrocities happen somewhere say "why can't we help them?". Anyone who thinks there is a great difference between UN troops and US troops as to the potential for messing things up and causing atrocities as well as preventing them is just believing in magic ponies. Policing by outsiders is like that. Heck, often policing by insiders is like that.

    Whew; glad I didn't say that these are problems for the world community to help with!  And I get your drift, Artie.  How many calls to help in Darfur, Congo, etc.? 

    The UN peacekeepers do seem to stand and watch a lot, don't they?  It may be why nationalism drives a more ruthless and/or efficient military, if you believe or can be convinced to believe, in what you're fighting for.

    When someone on the boards said about Afghanistan and not-leaving-soon, in order to make it better before troops departed (as if), I started trying to find some reports on what's going on there; the pictures weren't a bit pretty.  Toxic dumps galore, lots of depleted uranium, millions of tons of concrete rubble, little potable water or electricity...just hideous.  And it all makes me wonder how much worse off they'd be in any of the important ways without us. 

    So much of the disappeared billions in both Iraq and Afghanistan have made the problems worse in terms of corruption and sectarian alliances, and so much money wasted by the many, many, NGOs contribute to the problems.  Citizens see us as unable to deliver, PLUD aiding increased corruption.  Damn.

    I guess I'd try to harden my heart, if leaving could be done well, as in the bases turned over to the governments.  But it won't happen, in any event.

    And not to be over-the-top critical of the US, but how many around the world are left who don't believe that US foreign policy and wars and hegemony are anything but er...messed up?

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