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Today's Big Story

From Abu Ghraib to the RCMP

What leaders don't want to know.

By Richard Warnica 19 Jun 2007 | TheTyee.ca

Richard Warnica is a senior editor at The Tyee.

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Two big stories on either side of the border this week are both in their own ways about gross abuse of authority and plausible deniability.

Down south, the New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh has another in his periodic dispatches on the still smoldering Abu Ghraib scandal. This week, Hersh interviews Antonio Taguba, the Army general who first investigated the allegations of abuse in the prison and saw himself sidelined for accurately reporting what he found.

If you get past the horror flick depictions of abuse Taguba uncovered, what is remarkable about the piece is just how far the General’s superiors went to be able to deny they knew of the assaults.

“Here I am,” Taguba recalled Rumsfeld saying, “just a Secretary of Defense, and we have not seen a copy of your report. I have not seen the photographs, and I have to testify to Congress tomorrow and talk about this.”…

At best, Taguba said, “Rumsfeld was in denial.” Taguba had submitted more than a dozen copies of his report through several channels at the Pentagon and to the Central Command headquarters, in Tampa, Florida, which ran the war in Iraq. By the time he walked into Rumsfeld’s conference room, he had spent weeks briefing senior military leaders on the report, but he received no indication that any of them, with the exception of General Schoomaker, had actually read it.

In Canada, meanwhile, our own never-ending scandal continued last Friday when a lawyer investigating the RCMP pension scandal found the national police force’s management structure “paramilitary” and “horribly broken.”

The report was just the latest in a catalogue of condemnations of RCMP behaviours that have surfaced in the past 12 months. But despite the growing list, the minister in charge of the force, B.C.’s own Stockwell Day, announced there would be no public inquiry into the RCMP.

Just like Taguba’s superiors, it seems, Day and the rest of Ottawa’s political leadership would rather not know what has gone on on their watch.  [Tyee]

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