July 05, 2004

Rumsfeld gave go-ahead for Abu Ghraib tactics, says general in charge

Yes, the stench of Abu Ghraib is on the Bush White
House, and the stench of the Bush White House is on
Abu Ghraib. Here is more evidence from the trail, still fresh,
illuminated by The Sentinel (Santa Clarita, California) and the Telegraph (London, UK), of a story already abandoned by the "US mainstream news media." Disgraceful cowardice.

Julian Coman, Telegraph: In an interview with The
Signal newspaper of Santa Clarita, California, which
was also broadcast on a local television channel
yesterday, Gen Karpinski was asked if she knew of
documents showing that Mr Rumsfeld approved
"particular interrogation techniques" for Abu Ghraib.
Gen Karpinski was interviewed for four hours by Maj-
Gen Antonio Taguba, who was ordered to investigate
abuse at Abu Ghraib and produced a damning report,
which heavily criticised Gen Karpinski for a lack of
leadership at the prison.
During inquiries into the scandal, she has repeatedly
maintained that the treatment of Iraqi detainees was
taken out of her hands by higher-ranking officials,
acting on orders from Washington.
"Since all this came out," she replied, "I've not only
seen, but I've been asked about some of those
documents, that he [Mr Rumsfeld] signed and agreed
to."
Asked whether the documents have been made public, Gen
Karpinski replied "No" and went on to describe the
methods approved in them as involving "dogs, food
deprivation and sleep deprivation".
The Pentagon has consistently denied that Mr Rumsfeld
authorised the transfer of harsher techniques of
interrogation and detention from Guantanamo Bay to Abu
Ghraib, where all prisoners are supposed to be
protected by the Geneva Conventions.

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Rumsfeld gave go-ahead for Abu Ghraib tactics, says general in charge
By Julian Coman in Washington
(Filed: 04/07/2004)


The former head of the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad
has for the first time accused the American Secretary
of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, of directly authorising
Guantanamo Bay-style interrogation tactics.

Brig-Gen Janis Karpinski, who commanded the 800th
Military Police Brigade, which is at the centre of the
Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal, said that documents
yet to be released by the Pentagon would show that Mr
Rumsfeld personally approved the introduction of
harsher conditions of detention in Iraq.


Brig Gen Karpinski [left] with Donald Rumsfeld, after
Guantanamo chief jailer Maj Gen Miller's visit to Iraq


In an interview with The Signal newspaper of Santa
Clarita, California, which was also broadcast on a
local television channel yesterday, Gen Karpinski was
asked if she knew of documents showing that Mr
Rumsfeld approved "particular interrogation
techniques" for Abu Ghraib.

Gen Karpinski was interviewed for four hours by Maj-
Gen Antonio Taguba, who was ordered to investigate
abuse at Abu Ghraib and produced a damning report,
which heavily criticised Gen Karpinski for a lack of
leadership at the prison.

During inquiries into the scandal, she has repeatedly
maintained that the treatment of Iraqi detainees was
taken out of her hands by higher-ranking officials,
acting on orders from Washington.

"Since all this came out," she replied, "I've not only
seen, but I've been asked about some of those
documents, that he [Mr Rumsfeld] signed and agreed
to."

Asked whether the documents have been made public, Gen
Karpinski replied "No" and went on to describe the
methods approved in them as involving "dogs, food
deprivation and sleep deprivation".

The Pentagon has consistently denied that Mr Rumsfeld
authorised the transfer of harsher techniques of
interrogation and detention from Guantanamo Bay to Abu
Ghraib, where all prisoners are supposed to be
protected by the Geneva Conventions.

Replying to Gen Karpinski's allegations, a spokesman
for the Pentagon told The Telegraph: "Mr Rumsfeld did
not approve any interrogation procedures in Iraq. The
Secretary of Defence was not in the approval chain for
interrogation procedures, which would have remained
within the purview of Central Command, headed by Gen
John Abizaid."

The Bush administration has been dogged by suspicions
that harsh interrogation methods employed at
Guantanamo were transferred to Abu Ghraib, as Iraqi
insurgents began to score significant hits against
coalition forces last year. In May, before the Senate
armed services committee, Stephen Cambone, the
under-secretary of defence for intelligence, publicly
denied charges that Mr Rumsfeld had approved
Guantanamo-style interrogations in Iraq.

Last month, the White House took the unusual step of
releasing hundreds of internal documents and debates
concerning interrogation procedures at Guantanamo.
Extreme interrogation techniques at the camp, it was
revealed, now require the explicit approval of Mr
Rumsfeld. The Bush administration insists, however,
that the notorious abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib
was an aberration on the part of a handful of rogue
soldiers. A Pentagon spokesman said that all relevant
documents on interrogation techniques in Iraq would be
made public but could not say when.

Gen Karpinski has been suspended from duty pending
ongoing investigations into abuse of prisoners at the
Baghdad prison. In a recent interview with the BBC,
she complained of being turned into a scapegoat for
the scandal, arguing that the running of the prison
was taken out of her hands.

In a separate embarrassment for the Department of
Defence last week, six recent studies, leaked to the
Los Angeles Times, heavily criticised the military for
failing to screen adequately potential recruits with
violent and even criminal backgrounds.

The reports were written by a senior Pentagon
consultant. One was delivered in September 2003, weeks
before the worst abuses of Iraqi prisoners took place.
The title of the report was Reducing the Threat of
Destructive Behaviour by Military Personnel.

In it the author, Eli Flyer, a former senior analyst
at the Department of Defence, stated: "There are
military personnel with pre-service and in-service
records that clearly establish a pattern of
sub-standard behaviour. These individuals constitute a
high-risk group for destructive behaviour and need to
be identified."

According to a 1998 report by Mr Flyer, one third of
military recruits had arrest records. A 1995 report
found that a quarter of serving army personnel had
committed one or more criminal offences while on
active duty. In his 2003 study, Mr Flyer said that
military personnel officers had been reluctant to
toughen up screening procedures, fearing that the
result would be a failure to meet recruitment goals.

Curtis Gilroy, who oversees military recruiting policy
for the Pentagon, told the Los Angeles Times: "It's
hard to pick out all the bad apples, but we are
striving to improve the system and are doing so."

27 June 2004: Disgraced Abu Ghraib guard claims she
is seen as a heroine
25 June 2004: US Abu Ghraib officer blames 'CIA' for
abuse
24 June 2004: Pentagon sanctioned harsh interrogation
of suspects


Previous story: New Iraq government accuses Iran and
Syria of backing insurgents
Next story: In defence of the indefensible

Related reports

British 'rescued Iraqis from US maltreatment'

External links

US Department of Defence



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Posted by richard at July 5, 2004 09:29 AM