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Army report documents mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners


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A hooded and wired Iraqi prisoner is shown at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, Iraq, in this undated photo.
start quoteNumerous incidents of sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees.end quote
-- Investigation report
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Former military police commander at Abu Ghraib prison says she had 'absolutely no knowledge' of prisoner abuse.

Two former Iraqi prisoners talk about their treatment at the hands of the military in Abu Ghraib prison.

Ex-CIA officer comments interrogation techniques.

Reaction in the Arab world to the apparent abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops.
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(CNN) -- U.S. Army soldiers have committed "egregious acts" and "grave breaches of international law" at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to a classified report by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba made available to CNN.

An investigation report said key senior leadership of the Army's 800th Military Police Brigade and the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade failed to comply with established regulations, policies and command directives in preventing detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and Camp Bucca from August 2003 to February 2004.

The investigation, an account of which first appeared in New Yorker magazine, paints a picture of an understaffed military police brigade that was not properly trained for the detention of Iraqi prisoners under the Geneva Conventions and that was engaged in systematic abuse.

The brigade also was plagued by poor morale after its deployment in Iraq was extended, the investigation said.

The report states "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees."

It was based on tips from two whistleblowers, more than 50 interviews -- by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command -- of military police, potential suspects and detainees, as well as "numerous photos and videos portraying in graphic detail actual detainee abuse" taken by detention facility personnel at Abu Ghraib.

Taguba's investigation details alleged events at Abu Ghraib that took place between mid-2003 and early 2004.

An earlier incident at Camp Bucca was also noted as a case of alleged abuse in which lessons were not learned or passed along to MPs.

On May 12, 2003, four soldiers reportedly abused numerous detainees who were being transferred from Talil Air Base. Formal charges and court martial have been recommended in the Camp Bucca case.

The investigation recommends reprimands and disciplinary action for a dozen officers and senior noncommissioned officers on charges ranging from lack of leadership and failure to take proper disciplinary action to the negligent discharge of weapons and drunkenness -- not all related to the abuse of prisoners.

But the report does cite numerous examples of prisoner mistreatment at Abu Ghraib:

  • Threatening with a 9 mm pistol.
  • Pouring cold water on naked detainees.
  • Threatening males with rape.
  • Beating with a broom handle and a chair.
  • Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick.
  • Threatening with military dogs.
  • Attaching wires to extremities, including the penis.
  • Accusing prisoners of being homosexual.
  • Forcing detainees into compromising positions while naked.
  • At least 2 investigations

    At least two military investigations are looking at whether private contractors involved in the interrogation of prisoners had a role in their alleged abuse, senior Pentagon officials said.

    Photographs broadcast on CBS' "60 Minutes" showed naked Iraqi prisoners being forced to simulate sex acts and form human pyramids as American troops watched. One also showed a cloaked prisoner standing on a box with wires attached to his hands.

    A former prisoner who says he appeared in the photographs, Haydar Sabbar Ali, told CNN's Ben Wedeman that he was cursed and beaten and had his clothes cut off with a knife.

    "We are Muslims. We don't go naked in front of our families. But there we were, naked in front of American women and men," he said, adding that this treatment went on for about four hours as punishment for beating a fellow prisoner suspected of spying for the Americans.

    He also said guards "hit you hard in sensitive places, in the kidney, in the chest, in the throat."

    "Our bodies were full of bruises. They didn't let us out of the cells until all our wounds had healed."

    Military intelligence role questioned

    The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Jane Harman of California, wrote a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld demanding a briefing on the role military intelligence officials may have played in the alleged abuse.

    "The fog of war is thick, but these acts of abuse and humiliation contradict international norms, military regulations and the very values that our military fights to defend," Harman said in a statement.

    A senior military official said Monday that six U.S. soldiers -- all officers or noncommissioned officers -- received reprimands on the orders of Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, after separate criminal and administration investigations into the alleged abuse.

    Six other soldiers, who are members of the military police, face criminal charges, and other soldiers have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigations, the official said.

    Sanchez has also opened an investigation into the role that military intelligence may have played in the alleged abuse, according to Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the coalition military spokesman in Baghdad.

    The former commander of military police at U.S. prisons in Iraq, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, said MPs were being given instructions by military intelligence.

    "I don't know how they allowed these activities to get so far out of control, but I do know with absolute confidence that they didn't just wake up one day and decide to do this," she told CNN.

    Karpinski, an Army reserve officer who has since rotated out of Iraq, was admonished before the investigation got under way, her attorney said.

    "I certainly take responsibility for some of this, because those soldiers were assigned to a company under my command," Karpinski said. "I don't think the blame rests with me. In fact, it's unfair because we had 3,400 soldiers, and this was the only facility where interrogations were taking place, and this was the only facility with infractions."

    But Kimmitt said that military intelligence was not responsible for "individual acts of criminal behavior" by MPs, which he termed "absolutely horrible, absolutely inexcusable."

    "They made the choice to do that, and now they seem to be concerned about being caught," he said. "Those soldiers you see in the pictures let us down."

    However, Kimmitt said Karpinski was "exactly right" that there are "concerns with military intelligence," which prompted Sanchez to open a third investigation.

    "The first investigation, a criminal investigation from the Criminal Investigation Division, went after the individual conduct of the soldiers you see in those photographs," Kimmitt said. "The second investigation, an administrative investigation, looked into command policies and procedures, and from that there appeared to be issues with military intelligence as well."

    In her letter to Rumsfeld, Harman requested a copy of Taguba's report on the criminal investigation, which she complained was not given to anyone on her committee, even though it was completed in February.

    "As of yesterday, the report was still 'working its way' up the chain of command to senior Pentagon leaders," Harman said in her statement. "This is highly disturbing and raises questions about how seriously the administration and the White House were taking these allegations."

    According to the Pentagon, about 10,000 Iraqi prisoners are being held by the United States at six major prison camps around the country, including Abu Ghraib.

    CNN's Joe Johns, David Ensor and Mike Mount contributed to this report.


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