This article originally appeared at The Nation on May 19, 2009.
According to reliable intelligence sources in Washington, General Stanley McChrystal, slated to become the top American commander in Afghanistan, directed an entity known as the Terrorist Screen Center (TSC) in Iraq in 2003, which held Iraqi suspects in secret facilities in violation of the Geneva Conventions requirement that the Red Cross have access to all detainees.
The TSC existed before the Abu Ghraib prison scandal exploded in 2004, during a period when the United States, as an occupying power, fell under the Geneva obligation to provide Red Cross access.
McChrystal's appointment could be threatened if an investigation establishes his direction over the secret facilities. Under international law, delayed access for the Red Cross can be justified only due to a "military necessity," such as extreme battlefield conditions, a far different scenario from detaining and interrogating prisoners in secret locations.
McChrystal has been reprimanded by the Pentagon before. A 2007 Pentagon investigation found McChrystal responsible for falsifying a claim that blamed the 2004 death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman on "devastating enemy fire." Tillman died of friendly fire.
In addition, Bob Woodward's 2008 book The War Within describes McChrystal as responsible for running a "top secret" 2006 program of extra-judicial killings of alleged Iraqi insurgents.
Nearly all of McChrystal's five-year tenure in Iraq was spent in clandestine operations.