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May 20, 2005

Abu Ghraib’s training camp

The New York Times has obtained a confidential 2,000-page file of the Army’s investigation into the death of two detainees at the Bagram detention center in Afghanistan—and written 6,000 words about both the deaths and widespread abuse at the camp. Some lowlights:

In sworn statements to Army investigators, soldiers describe one female interrogator with a taste for humiliation stepping on the neck of one prostrate detainee and kicking another in the genitals. They tell of a shackled prisoner being forced to roll back and forth on the floor of a cell, kissing the boots of his two interrogators as he went. Yet another prisoner is made to pick plastic bottle caps out of a drum mixed with excrement and water as part of a strategy to soften him up for questioning.
…Some of the same M.P.’s took a particular interest in an emotionally disturbed Afghan detainee who was known to eat his feces and mutilate himself with concertina wire. The soldiers kneed the man repeatedly in the legs and, at one point, chained him with his arms straight up in the air, Specialist Callaway told investigators. They also nicknamed him “Timmy,” after a disabled child in the animated television series “South Park.” One of the guards who beat the prisoner also taught him to screech like the cartoon character, Specialist Callaway said.

So: two dead, many tortured… sorry, abused. A lot of folks will have been prosecuted, right?

Last October, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command concluded that there was probable cause to charge 27 officers and enlisted personnel with criminal offenses in the Dilawar [death] case ranging from dereliction of duty to maiming and involuntary manslaughter. Fifteen of the same soldiers were also cited for probable criminal responsibility in the Habibullah [death] case.
So far, only seven soldiers have been charged, including four last week. No one has been convicted in either death. Two Army interrogators were also reprimanded, a military spokesman said.

But before all that, while the Army slowly investigated the cases, many of the Bagram interrogators were redeployed to Iraq—and in July 2003 took charge of interrogations at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Posted by Stephen at 1:07 AM in War | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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