From a New York Times article by James Risen today (emphasis added):
American officials had been reluctant to pursue an investigation — sought by officials from the F.B.I., the State Department, the Red Cross and human rights groups — because the warlord, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, was on the payroll of the C.I.A., and his militia worked closely with United States Special Forces in 2001, several officials said. They said the United States also worried about undermining the American-supported government of President Hamid Karzai, in which General Dostum had served as a defense official....
The question of culpability for the prisoner deaths — which may have been the most significant war crime in Afghanistan after the 2001 American-led invasion — has taken on new urgency since the general, an important ally of Mr. Karzai, was reinstated to his government post last month.
Here's part of that AP article:
Asked about the report, Marine Corps Col. David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said that since U.S. military forces were not involved in the killings, there is nothing the Defense Department could investigate.
"There is no indication that U.S. military forces were there, or involved, or had any knowledge of this," Lapan said. "So there was not a full investigation conducted because there was no evidence that there was anything from a DoD (Department of Defense) perspective to investigate."
Meanwhile, a Justice Department spokesperson says the FBI doesn't have jurisdiction to investigate. That's bullshit. Physicians for Human Rights, who have been on top of this issue for seven years now, pushing for investigations, filing FOIA suits, conducting forensic investigations in the field (even as the Bush administration refused them any security protection), answered back Obama administration spokespeople in a press release tonight (emphasis added):
"For US Government officials to claim that there is no legal basis to investigate this well-documented mass atrocity is absurd," stated Physicians for Human Rights Deputy Director Susannah Sirkin. "US military and intelligence personnel were operating jointly and accepted the surrender of the prisoners jointly with General Dostum’s forces in northern Afghanistan. The Obama Administration has a legal obligation to determine what US officials knew, where US personnel were, what involvement they had, and the actions of US allies during and after the massacre. These questions, nearly eight years later, remain unanswered."
"Furthermore," added Nathaniel Raymond, PHR’s lead researcher on the Dasht-e-Leili case, "The New York Times has shown that the Bush Administration engaged in a coordinated effort to prevent this alleged war crime from ever being investigated. Under the Geneva Conventions, the cover-up of a war crime can itself constitute a war crime."
This is a moment of truth, Kossites. If Obama can so blatantly cover-up Bush major war crimes tantamount to mass murder, then all pretense to progressivism with this administration is at an end. All of you waiting for Obama, giving him a chance, how does it feel to swallow the deaths of thousands of SURRENDERED SOLDIERS, suffocated to death, packed in metal containers and dying in agony? What apologia is there for this?
I admit fatigue: I'm tired of cover-up for crimes, crimes of torture, crimes of invading other countries and bombing innocent men, women and children, crimes that go back before 2001, to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, to MKULTRA, to the mass napalming of North Korea (a crime even barely known today, but which by destroying that country, laid the groundwork for the rise of the bizarre and paranoid current regime that rules there today).
But while fatigued, I'm not indifferent, nor politically dead. I ask that readers here watch the following, then call the White House and demand an immediate investigation. And sign PHR's petition to Attorney General Eric Holder to commence an investigation, essentially picking up the FBI inquiry that was spiked some years back.
If this community cannot rise up and protest this cover-up of mass atrocity, if this is not outrage enough, then outrage is dead, and Cheneyism's dismal spread across this land will have made its greatest conquest: the hearts and energies of the progressive community.