Well Did You or Didn't You?

Most Australians will recall the most recent ex-defence official Rod Barton’s outing, regarding the poor treatment (interrogation/torture) of Iraqi prisoners, and the subsequent debate concerning the difference between an ‘interrogation’ and an ‘interview’. And what a mindlessly stupid debate it was too.

But guess what - now we have another statement, another claim. A new one. A contradictory one. . .

Iraqis not abused – official

IRAQI prisoners accused of making chemical weapons were given mobile phones and fresh fruit for lunch, a former defence official said yesterday.
What - another outing, from a different defence official?

Ahh - no. Hold onto your hats, people. It’s the same guy!
Weapons intelligence expert Rod Barton claimed just last month that prisoners at Camp Cropper, on the outskirts of Baghdad, were routinely interrogated and bashed into giving answers. But yesterday Mr Barton told a Senate committee he had witnessed no such interrogations first-hand and only conducted one interview during his time at Camp Cropper.
So what’s it going to be, Rod? Were they treated badly (with the clear implication that you had witnessed and/or had first-hand knowledge of acts tantamount to torture)?

Or weren’t they?
He said the man he interviewed was an "old friend" who was a general and a minister in Saddam Hussein's regime.

Mr Barton said yesterday he believed most of the interviews with prisoners were "cordial", but he objected to their small cells and the withdrawal of privileges such as mobile phones and fresh fruit if they did not comply.

He said prisoners received "small luxuries" such as reading and writing materials and fruit "instead of a military ration".

Just last month, Mr Barton told Four Corners that he had witnessed abuse at Camp Cropper and he and other Australian officials were called on to interrogate prisoners.
The withdrawal of Mobile phones and fresh fruit. Yep - mostly certainly the standard set of evil coercive tactics you’ll find in any respectable interrogation handbook. Maybe they also threatened to withdraw the Halal sheep’s cods ration? This is almost beyond belief! For crying out loud, this man was an Australian weapons intelligence expert?
"I had certain indications and certain evidence that this had occurred. . .
And we can find that precisely where, Rod? Was there ‘certain evidence’ or wasn’t there? Where is it? What’s it going to be?
. . .and I felt strongly enough about it to make a recommendation not only to mention this about the abuse, but to make a recommendation that we shouldn't -- 'we' meaning Australia -- should not be involved in the interview or interrogation of any of these prisoners at Cropper," he told Four Corners.
What ‘interrogation’, Rod? You told the Senate committee you 'had witnessed no such interrogations'! What the hell are you talking about?

Backtracking on the claims he made to the program last month, Mr Barton said yesterday: "I never made the statement that the prisoners were mistreated as such."

Actually, I think you did, Rod.

When pressed by Liberal Senator David Johnston, Mr Barton admitted his claim of abuse was based on second-hand information and two photographs of prisoners he believed had been punched in the face.

Mr Barton said he was satisfied no abuse had occurred at Camp Cropper while he was there, but suspected prisoners were abused at a holding facility known as Purgatory.

He said he believed Purgatory was a hangar somewhere on Camp Cropper's outskirts, but conceded he had neither been there nor knew its exact location.

In other words, Rod, you don’t know a damned thing and you never did. But that didn’t stop you flinging the most appalling slander, implying people were being tortured, and that you knew all about it. The fact that you knew nothing didn’t stop you trampling our nation’s reputation in the mud, not to mention that of one of our nation’s closest allies.

This is becoming a serious problem, not to mention being a total disgrace. Yet again we have a disgruntled ex-official, spinning the usual vivid tales of evildoing (aimed at the current government, of course), and yet again it’s turned out to be a load of unsupportable bollocks.

I don’t think this is about holding a government to account; about upholding rights; about outing acts of supreme wrong. It’s very simply all about telling lies. . .

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