Category Archive: U.S. House & Senate

Let the C-SPAN cameras in, Democrats [The Party’s "Open Government" bluff just got called]

As originally posted in the reader-diary section of; the post’s 2010 comment thread is available at that link.

On December 30, 2009, C-SPAN’s Chairman and CEO Brian Lamb made the following written offer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of these [health reform bill House/Senate] sessions ["all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings"] LIVE and in their entirety.


Now that the process moves to the critical stage of [conferencing or merging bills] between the two Chambers, we respectfully request that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American.

Multiple national outlets are reporting today on Lamb’s offer, five days after it was made, and a day after anonymous leaks from Congressional staff (and original FDL reporting about on-the-record remarks by the powerful Henry Waxman) asserted that no formal conference would be held between the House and Senate, or by appointed, accountable conferees, on this major piece of legislative policy, that’s in dramatically different form after passage by the House and Senate.

Is there a chance, at long last, to get the "mainstream" national media to focus on the paucity of, and maybe even to promote, open, democratic process in our House and Senate, thanks to C-SPAN’s extremely-helpful and timely offer? Lamb’s offer could be a game-changer, on multiple fronts, depending on how it is covered, how it is responded to, and how that response is then queried by media reporters and bloggers. [That focus and game-changing may have already begun, based on the defensive responses – including the claim, contrary to Waxman’s Sunday comments, that no decision has yet been made about bypassing a formal conference – by the House democratic leadership in a press conference today at which they were asked about the C-SPAN letter.]

I noted in a comment here yesterday some of the differences between a formal conference committee between House and Senate, which includes both Democrats and Republicans (a process that, unfortunately, under both Parties, has been increasingly transformed into nothing but a single public rubberstamp for private deals dictated by Party, often at the behest of the White House), and the planned non-conference, wholly-private, Party-directed, off-the-record negotiation, which – not for the first timeremoves the voices of every American represented by a Republican Member of Congress from the negotiation process. See also the formal Senate rules for (the bypassed-in-spirit, if not letter) conference committees, their "open meetings" and conference reports, here.

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"Debating" health care reform: Party abuse of Senate procedure serves the President and concentrated power at the expense of the People

As originally posted in the reader-diary section of; the post’s 2009 comment thread is available at that link.

Why hasn’t there been a vote on a health care-related amendment on the Senate floor since last Tuesday, although the Senate has been in public session since, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and hundreds of amendments, from members of both Parties, have been filed on the bill, with only a dozen or so given the opportunity for a vote to date?

Premise: The leadership of the Democratic Party in Congress – especially in the Senate – is, and has been, allowing, encouraging and/or tolerating the wholesale dictation of legislative policy by the Executive Branch to the independent Legislative Branch on the health reform bill, while using extreme secrecy to try to hide their actions from the public, and even from fellow Members of Congress.

And those Party leaders are now trying to force that Executive Branch-created and blessed legislation through the Senate and House essentially unchanged, and promoting it as a Party product, rather than letting America’s federal legislature as a whole create its own product. [Cue the incredulous partisan-war-fueling "Party of No" cliches or, alternatively, the exasperated sighs of no kidding.]

You may think that such power-driven and power-motivated abuse of regular order and democratic process is a good thing, if your pet policy (or your job) happens to align with the private will of the President and/or his most-powerful appointees, but such back door, unchecked concentration of legislative power in the Executive’s hands is an extremely dangerous thing for this nation and its separation of federal powers.

Does the U.S. Senate exist to serve the President and the Party, or to serve the American people?

The most recent public manifestation of this secret process, from Friday, 12/11/09’s Congressional Record:

Mr. McCAIN. Could I ask my friend about the situation as it exists right now? Right now, no Member on this side has any idea as to the specifics of the proposal the majority leader, I understand, has sent to OMB for some kind of scoring. Is that the way we want to do business, that a proposal that will be presented to the Senate sometime next week and voted on immediately–that is what we are told–is that the way to do business in a bipartisan fashion? [Never mind a democratic fashion – a word McCain can’t quite bring himself to speak… -ed.] Should we not at least be informed as to what the proposal is the Senate majority leader is going to propose to the entire Senate within a couple days? Shouldn’t we even know what it is?

Mr. DURBIN. I would say to the Senator from Arizona, I am in the dark almost as much as he is, and I am in the leadership. The reason is, because the Congressional Budget Office, which scores the managers’ amendment, the so-called compromise, has told us, once you publicly start debating it, we will publicly release it. We want to basically see whether it works, whether it works to continue to reduce the deficit, whether it works to continue to reduce the growth in health care costs.

We had a caucus [late Wednesday afternoon] after this was submitted to the Congressional Budget Office, where Senator Reid and other Senators who were involved in it basically stood and said: We are sorry, we can’t tell you in detail what was involved. But you will learn, everyone will learn, it will be as public information as this bill currently is on the Internet. But the Congressional Budget Office has tied our hands at this point putting it forward. Basically, what I know is what you know, having read press accounts of what may be included.

Mr. McCAIN. Could I ask my friend from Illinois–and by the way, I would like to do this again. Perhaps when he can get more substance into many of the issues.

Mr. DURBIN. Same time, same place tomorrow?

Mr. McCAIN. I admit these are unusual times. But isn’t that a very unusual process, that here we are discussing one-sixth of the gross national product; the bill before us has been a product of almost a year of sausage-making. Yet here we are at a position on December 12, with a proposal that none of us, except, I understand, one person, the majority leader, knows what the final parameters are, much less informing the American people. I don’t get it.

Mr. DURBIN. I think the Senator is correct, saying most of us know the fundamentals, but we do not know the important details behind this. What I am saying is, this is not the choice of the majority leader. It is the choice of the Congressional Budget Office. We may find that something that was sent over there doesn’t work at all, doesn’t fly. They may say this is not going to work, start over. So we have to reserve the right to do that, and I think that is why we are waiting for the Congressional Budget Office scoring, as they call it, to make sure it hits the levels we want, in terms of deficit reduction and reducing the cost of health care.

It is frustrating on your side. It is frustrating here. But I am hoping, in a matter of hours, maybe days, we will receive the CBO report.

[By the way, is any reporter going to ask the White House or Majority Leader Reid whether anyone at the White House knows what Reid sent to CBO…?]

While the backroom sabotage of the public legislative process has been underway this week on a couple of fronts (because the Party needs a "win" at any cost, and doesn’t dare let representative democracy work its will if the President has other ideas), the finger-pointers of the Senate have been quarrelling about whose Party team is to blame, or who deserves more credit for the inaction on the Senate floor.

Meanwhile, those Senators actually trying to publicly legislate in the best interests of the American people are stymied and obstructed. Even, unbelievably, name-called by anonymous Senate insiders as ‘in it for themselves’ simply because they’re trying to do their jobs like adults on behalf of the American people, while privileged to be among the relative few empowered to act on our behalf in our independent Legislative Branch of government.

Byron Dorgan, whose prescription-drug-importation amendment is the most-recent Democratic amendment called up for debate from the hundreds of filed amendments that sit idling, speaking last Tuesday, 12/08/09:

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How we might break the merciless stranglehold that the two corrupt Parties maintain on our Congress and nation

As originally posted in the reader-diary section of; the post’s 2009 comment thread is available at that link.

This diary is an attempt to clearly describe and explain what I’ve come to believe is the most promising and least time-consuming route to a Congress filled with legislators who actually represent the will, and the best interests, of the American people, while honoring and respecting our Constitution – for fear of genuine, realistic challenges to their jobs should our will and best interests (continue to) be ignored: My proposal is for a limited-objective, but detailed and focused, pledge challenge that candidates for Congress would need to adopt to receive our support, and that they will pledge to honor to the best of their ability despite opposition from the Party to which they belong.

A Congress so-reformed, in turn, could be expected to stand between the American people and the multinational corporation’s ceaseless hunt for profit, not to facilitate that profit-hunt at the expense of the American people, as is the case today, but to prevent the people and assets of this nation from becoming helpless prey for those corporate predators.

Though the pledge concept is quite simple, it will need coordination and publicity by one or more reform groups promoting a nationally-uniform blueprint, and will need to be implemented by local citizens using newspapers, blogs, word-of-mouth, and, where feasible, advertising. And, of course, worthy Congressional candidates will be a necessity for its success. It is Congressional candidates on which this diary focuses, not presidential candidates.

So: How, building on the laudable concept and structure of the AccountabilityNow PAC, might we get from here to there against long odds, in the absence of publicly-financed federal campaigns for office, or equal access to the ballot because of Party-implemented obstacles, or a central source of funding that can compete with those of corporate-underwritten Congressional incumbents and Parties…?

1. Where “we” is the American public at large, irrespective of Party membership, or lack thereof, acting, organizing and fundraising on its own, federal House district by federal House district and state by state, in pursuit of a nationally-uniform reform objective, but without top-down leadership from any single charismatic or well-funded candidate-leader, or established political Party…

2. And where “here” in 2009 is chronicled by these recent accounts illlustrating just portions of the ‘long (and growing) train of Congressionally-tolerated-or-instigated abuses and usurpations’ and Congressional abdications – which both dishonor and harm the American people, and to which we all feel compelled to respond – with which a reformed United States Congress will need to contend [time-pressed and other readers should feel free to skip/skim past these compiled excerpts, referring back to them later as needed]…: Read the rest of this entry »

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Harry Reid re-opens the Senate floor to amendments, but promotes UnConstitutional Bills of Attainder on "Constitution Day"

As originally posted in the reader-diary section of; the post’s 2009 comment thread is available at that link.

Action in the Senate and House this Thursday, September 17, 2009, “Constitution Day,” starkly highlighted the longstanding casual disregard for self-governance, and the disrespect for one of the most fundamental prohibitions of our Constitution, that many of our federal legislators exhibit, including Party leaders like Harry Reid who direct floor action and ought to know better.

First, the (Very) Good:

Mr. REID. […] I think it is important to say to everyone that we are now in a mode of doing some legislation. I appreciate very much the cooperation of all Senators, Democrats and Republicans. We are now in the mode of, when a bill comes up, people can offer amendments. For a number of years, that simply was not the case. When there are circumstances and a decision is made not to allow amendments, I understand, after people are in the habit of being able to offer amendments, how concerned they become. We will approach that whenever it comes about, if there is a decision made to so-called fill the tree and not allow amendments.

In the way we are working, we are taking some tough votes. Democrats are offering some difficult amendments, Republicans are offering some difficult amendments. But that is OK. We are working through these bills. We could have been voting on cloture on the Transportation appropriations bill. We could have been invoking cloture on that bill this morning. It simply has not been necessary.

We have some nominations we are still working our way through. One Republican Senator has held up a nomination for quite some time. He came to me yesterday and said: You can go ahead and put that one through.

I am satisfied and confident this is the way the Senate should operate.

We have the health care bill on the horizon. If we are able to get 60 votes to proceed to it, it is going to take everyone’s cooperation and patience to work through the amendments that will be necessary to go forward on that bill. I am hopeful and confident we can work through that bill. If not, we will have to go to reconciliation, which I hope we don’t have to do, but if we have to, we have to do that.

Anyway, I feel good about what we have been able to accomplish this week. I repeat, it sets a pattern of how we should be legislating.

Behind me is Senator Specter. He came to me a number of times last year and said: Are there going to be amendments allowed? And I said yes. He said he would vote to move forward on the bill. I think there were other people who felt the same way, but they just were not as vocal as Senator Specter.

I appreciate the good work, including that of my colleague, the senior Senator from Kentucky, who is one of the people who has stressed how important it is to have amendments. I recognize he cannot control his Senators all the time, nor can I. In spite of that, we have been able to work through legislation.

I want to get the appropriations bills done, as does Senator McConnell. He and I have been members of the Appropriations Committee during our entire tenure in the Senate. It is important that we work through these bills. As of today, we will have completed five of them. We are going to do our utmost to do the conference reports before the first of October. We may have to–not may–we will have to have a short-term CR, and by the end of that short-term CR, hopefully we can complete all the appropriations bills.

English translation for Reid’s first couple of semi-coded paragraphs in this floor statement: “Circumstances” means Party politics (too-often dictated by the White House) and the desire of Senators to avoid the accountability of casting a vote, yea or nay, on the public record. “Filling the tree” because “a decision is made” is the Majority Leader’s practice (under both Parties) of providing cover for his Party members by blocking what Reid openly admits here are (considered to be politically) “tough votes” from ever needing to be taken by the Senate. Filling the tree and allowing only a pre-selected, very limited group of amendments to receive floor debate and votes, via secretly-negotiated unanimous-consent agreements between the Party leaders, prevents the legislative and democratic process of full and fair floor debate from taking place in the Senate. It’s a way of controlling political fallout, at the expense of genuine legislating and a full hearing and debate on germane amendments any Senator wishes to offer.

For whatever reason, at least on these mostly-unnoticed, under-reported appropriations bills, Harry Reid is obliquely announcing here that the Senate has returned to being an actual legislature until further notice, after years of Party manipulation of floor proceedings. Reid states he will not abuse the process, or thwart the democratic will of the Senate, by blocking politically-sensitive amendments with negotiated deals to limit amendments on these spending bills (or with early cloture votes), and has instead opened the floor equally to all Senators to offer improvements to the bills.

And, better yet, even on an unquestionably controversial, politically-potent topic – the upcoming floor debate on health insurance reform – Harry Reid is stating that he is prepared for an open, democratic debate on the Senate floor, without a rigged game of pre-arranged 60-vote margins for passage, or severely-limited amendments. [Though the content of the consolidated bill brought to the floor of course remains hugely significant, and very much under his control.]

All germane health reform ideas would therefore be eligible for debate on the floor, and Senators will be expected to vote them up or down, or to filibuster and block filibusters, as each is considered in turn. Only after that process is given its full measure of floor time, will the possibility of reconciliation be considered, Reid indicates. So the process of reconciliation would be necessary only if some Democratic Senators betray their own Party platform, and refuse even to end debate on key amendments, or the bill itself, so as to allow their colleagues to cast their simple-majority votes – yea or nay – on particular provisions. Meaning the specious, unproven public claims that “we don’t have the votes” will finally be put to the test, in the open, on the public record, on the Senate floor.

Hear, Hear. If Reid keeps to his word, and allows the necessary time for that healthy floor debate on the Senate health care bill, the nation will see the Senate work its will – out in the open, in the democratic, fair method, as designed, of one Senator, one vote, without interference by top-down Party dictates. This is essentially the Senate acting as adults – as legislators, not just political Party pitchmen – and though it pleases the Republican minority by giving them more of a voice, it will also helpfully expose Democratic pretenders, while reducing the need for Reid to enforce Party-line conformity in an effort to reach labor-intensive, off-floor deals that try to pre-determine outcomes. So far, so good.

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What’s a Party for? A more-perfect union, or presidential PR? Americans should know the difference

As originally posted in the reader-diary section of; the post’s 2009 comment thread is available at that link.

The House Progressive Caucus [link broken, 2/2012; the Washington Post offers only post-2009 Plum Line posts in its website archive] has, very commendably, again made it crystal clear – this time [link broken, 2/2012; the Washington Post offers only post-2009 Plum Line posts in its website archive] directly to a President of their own Party – that their overriding objective for health insurance reform legislation, as federal legislators and representatives of the people, is the well-being of their constituents. In this arena, improving the well-being of all necessarily means favoring the greater public good at the expense of some of the immense profits of privately-owned health insurance and other medical services companies.

Public opinion polls continue to show that a majority of Americans want the choice of a robust public plan and we stand in solidarity with them. We continue to support the robust public option that was reported out of the Committees on Ways and Means and Education and Labor and will not vote for a weakened bill on the House Floor or returning from a Conference with the Senate.

Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, a public option built on the Medicare provider system and with reimbursement based on Medicare rates-not negotiated rates-is unacceptable. – Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Woolsey & Grijalva, 9/3/09

“Unacceptable,” because ineffective and even counter-productive.

This has been primarily a fight about insurance reform, instead of a fight about fundamentally reforming the health care delivery system of this nation, ever since single-payer reform was ruled out of bounds by the powers-that-be, before the current debate even got underway. Thus, those federal representatives dedicated to the well-being of their constituents, and a more perfect union, have already significantly compromised and moderated their minimum requirements, and lowered their expectations far below a quasi-“perfect” single-payer objective of fundamental health-care reform.
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The Senate Finance Committee, Chairman Baucus, Obama, and Reid promote backroom "bipartisanship" at the expense of open government and democratic debate

As originally posted in the reader-diary section of; the post’s 2009 comment thread is available at that link.

The last public testimony-gathering hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, or any of its subcommittees, regarding health insurance reform? May 12, 2009.

The first public meeting of the Senate Finance Committee to democratically debate and mark up (amend) health insurance reform legislation? On some unknown future date, more than eight months into 2009, contrary to a “schedule” that promised otherwise:

Senator Grassley and I have laid out a schedule to do just that. Our schedule calls for this committee to mark up a comprehensive health care reform bill in June. We should put a health care bill on the President’s desk by July 4.

Chairman Max Baucus, March 10, 2009

How can this be? Ask George Bush, Kit Bond, Jay Rockefeller, or Harry Reid, who successfully played a very similar game of inverting, and subverting, the legislative process, while recklessly breaching the separation of powers, when they used the Senate Intelligence Committee chaired by Rockefeller to force through “reform” (with telecom immunity) of FISA, in October, 2007. That telecom-immunity-laden FISA “reform” was a permanent replacement for the Protect America Act, and was passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee 3 months after the PAA was forced through Congress on the cusp of a month-long August recess, undebated and unexamined by those legislators responsible for its enactment.

For those who weren’t following closely at the time, we learned a bit about the (non-public) manufacturing and subsequent passage of the FISA Amendments Act in the Senate Intelligence Committee, thanks to the frustrated comments of Russ Feingold in the subsequent, public FAA mark-up in the Senate Judiciary Committee to which it was (purportedly) sequentially referred [Feingold, Feinstein, Whitehouse and a few Republicans sit on both committees]. Feingold revealed, basically in passing, that the Intelligence Committee was effectively presented with a fait accompli – a completed FAA bill, basically the Bush White House-written bill – by Jay Rockefeller and Kit Bond, which Rockefeller and Bond then insisted the committee pass essentially as was in the name of bipartisanship.

Meaning that, in practice, no meaningful committee amendments (unless endorsed by both Bond & Rockefeller) were to be entertained on this vital bill, for fear of disrupting said purportedly-delicate “bipartisan” deal (bipartisan meaning one Republican and one Democrat), per the dictate of Chairman Rockefeller. Disgracefully, most of the Democrats on that vital intelligence oversight committee simply went along with Rockefeller’s autocratic command (partly in hopes, it’s true, that they could remedy problems and actually offer amendments in the sequential referral of the bill to the Judiciary Committee – but, as we know, Harry Reid had the last laugh on that plan…). And thus the FAA bill was promptly passed out of Rockefeller’s Intelligence Committee 13-2, with all but two Democrats (Feingold and Wyden) voting in favor – upon which it was immediately, and repeatedly, hailed by its proponents as a triumphant and overwhelmingly “bipartisan” achievement, and declared essentially unimprovable by further (or any) amendment…

Talk about the bastardization of democratic process and the deliberate subversion of full and fair legislative debate and amendment.

Well, it’s now the Senate Finance Committee’s turn to undemocratically invert the legislative process, as part of the Democratic Party’s effort to reverse-engineer in private a health insurance reform bill, working backward from a pre-determined outcome dictated by Party, not by principle or merit, or by independent thinking or informed debate by our federal representatives in Congress.

Former Republican Party Leader Mickey Edwards:

Granted, there are distinctions in political philosophy that draw people to one party or the other, but it is nonetheless clear that there is far less independent thinking going on than good governance would demand.


Loyalty to party undermines the very essence of representative government, which depends on entrusting members of one’s community to act in one’s stead. What author Peter Shane labeled Madison’s Nightmare has come true: We live in a world of constant partisan warfare, a never-ending battle between clubs, undermining the belief that a citizen’s vote truly counts for something.

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The Congress of 1938, in its own words: Defending separated powers in the face of Party pressure to consolidate power

As originally posted in the reader-diary section of; the post’s 2009 comment thread is available at that link.

The federal legislators quoted herein, excerpted from a bygone Congressional era of genuine floor debate – an era that predates the destructive influence of the corporate-funded television ad election campaign – were broadcasting early warning signals to the nation, about how the increasingly-centralized, consolidated power and control of the modern Political Party, when wielded by the White House over Congress, represents a clear and present danger to our Constitution’s separation of powers.

“Increasingly” centralized, in that not until 1899 (in the House) and the early 1900s (in the Senate) did the position of “Majority/Minority Leader” – Party positions focused solely on a Party agenda – come into existence in our federal legislature. The Democratic Party led the way in both cases, followed shortly thereafter by the Republican Party:

Soon after Democrats took control of the Senate in 1913, they began to suffer from poor attendance at their party caucus meetings. Party leaders had decided to make key decisions on the Democratic administration’s legislative priority “tariff reduction” in [secret] caucus rather than in the [public] Finance Committee. This would allow Democrats to achieve a party position on politically sensitive tariff rates before confronting the Republican minority. Poor caucus attendance by those favoring tariff reduction, however, gave greater weight to Louisiana’s two Democrats who vigorously supported high protective tariffs on imported sugar. Additional defections would have risked letting these senators significantly undermine the party’s commitment to lower tariffs.

Of course, it’s one thing to attempt to enforce obedience to a Party line within Congress itself, using legislative whips and secret balloting, in pursuit of a genuine, well-known, accepted Party platform pledged to the voters during a campaign, to which all Party members essentially subscribe. [Though even this much enforced order obviously compromises the independent action and responsibility of our representatives, and dangerously empowers a select few, absent Party disagreements, in addition to entrenching a Party-created divide in our Congress that should be lessened, not deepened, if democratic debate in the greater public interest, with a minimum of close-minded partisan and parochial factionalism and gamesmanship, is our objective.]

The situation I’m focused on here, however, is that of the insidious modern phenomenom of a President who can successfully (and secretly) demand obedience in a Congress of the same Party, to the President’s preferred policy “agenda” in the name of Party loyalty. That is carrying consolidated Party power too far to preserve representative self-government, as the Bush years so dramatically demonstrated, and it dishonors and eviscerates the Constitutional division of power demanded by the American form of government. We do not have a Parliament, with a Prime Minister. We have an independent Legislative Branch of government. And though our democracy-hostile national media won’t honor or explain the difference, we must, if we mean to retain our liberty and to restore our ability to self-govern, by reforming the decrepit practices of our modern federal legislature.
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Military JAGs seek American justice for 9/11; Congress promotes Soviet-style injustice with the MCA

As originally posted in the reader-diary section of; the post’s 2009 comment thread is available at that link.

As shamefully continues to be the case with innumerable civilian whistleblowers, when honorable members of our Armed Forces speak up to expose serious wrongdoing, too-often corrupt higher-ups in the chain of command silence them or countenance whitewashed investigations.

And Members of Congress – particularly the members of its powerful Armed Services Committees, chaired by Carl Levin and Ike Skelton – likewise turn their backs and a deaf ear to honest troops who report mistreatment by other members of the U.S. military of Muslim prisoners held at its limited-access prisons abroad; thereby catastrophically failing to do their duty to oversee our Armed Forces, and directly contributing to the lowering of standards (and morale) of those forces.

April, 2005:

Investigation initiated after an Interrogator associated with the 22nd MP Battalion reported that he knew of abuse that had occurred at the Temporary Holding Facility at Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). The interrogator said that “he was reporting this conduct because he felt the actions were inhumane even though every harsh interrogation was approved by the J2 of the TF [Task Force 6-26] and the medical personnel prior to its execution” (9119). The abuse included sleep deprivation, 20-hour interrogation sessions, and a guard’s providing a prisoner with urine to drink. The CID investigation appears to have been terminated because “the subject of this investigation is a member of TF 6-26 and the Special Agent in Charge, SOTF [Security Operations Training Facility], has accepted investigative jurisdiction in this matter” (9118). SOTF’s case number is 0016-04-CID343. (The SOTF file is posted below.)

October, 2004:

Investigation into allegations by senior Psyops officers in Afghanistan who witnessed indiscriminate assaults by Special Forces on villagers during raids in Gurjay and Sukhagen. Abuses included hitting and kicking villagers in the head, chest, back and stomach, and threatening to shoot villagers. Investigation failed to prove or disprove allegations and was terminated because victim and other villagers could not be interviewed due to location in high threat combat area and status as Anti-Coalition Combatants. The report indicated that the investigation should be re-opened when the high threat level was lowered.

October, 2004:

Iraqi detainee stated that he was taken from his cell to another location by plain-clothed Americans who beat him in the head and stomach, dislocated his arms and “stepped on the detainee’s nose” and broke it, while demanding he admit to having committed crimes. He claimed that one of the soldiers later beat his leg with a baseball bat. Medical reports in the file confirm that the detainee had a broken nose, fractured leg and scars on his stomach. Soldiers confirmed that TF 20 interrogators questioned the detainee, and wore plain clothes. Although the case was initially closed, it was reopened based on an indication that the detainee’s initial reticence to make a formal complaint was due to threats by U.S. soldiers. The investigation was closed after it “failed to prove or disprove” the offenses.

August, 2004:

Investigation into allegations of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib in Sept. 2003 by members of the 519th Military Intelligence Batallion. SPC at Abu Ghraib provided sworn statement that he overheard a MP dog handler stating that a game was being played to see which dog handler could get the most detainees to urinate on themselves. Investigation established the offense of detainee abuse did not occur as alleged by members of the 229th MP company.

August, 2004:

Investigation initiated following discovery of a CD during an office clean-up in Afghanistan, containing numerous pictures of American soldiers posing with pistols and M-4 rifles pointed at the heads and backs of hooded and bound detainees. The photographs were taken by a number of soldiers from the Second Platoon of the 22nd Infantry Battalion while stationed at Fire Base Tycze, Dae Rah Wod.

Numerous soldiers admitted to posing in the pictures and taking and downloading the photographs as “mementos” of their time in Afghanistan. The investigation found probable cause to believe that eight soldiers committed the offense of Dereliction of Duty, but not the more serious charge of Aggravated Assault. Most of the soldiers interviewed stated that they were not aware of any set policy on the treatment of detainees, and did not realize at the time that their actions were wrong. A sergeant stated that he had also seen pictures on Army computers of detainees being kicked, hit or inhumanely treated while in U.S. custody.
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