[Marxism] Prisoner abuse in Iraq

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Apr 29 11:49:43 MDT 2004


LI unit linked to Iraq prisoner abuse photos
The Associated Press, Mar 21, 2004

Photographs of Iraqi prisoners being humiliated at the hands of U.S. 
military police have resulted in criminal charges against six brigade 
members whose unit is based in Uniondale.

One photograph shows Iraqi prisoners, naked except for hoods covering 
their heads, stacked in a human pyramid, one with a slur written in 
English on his skin. That and other scenes of humiliation at the hands 
of U.S. military police appear in photographs obtained by CBS News.

The images were shown Wednesday night on "60 Minutes II."

CBS says they were taken late last year at Abu Ghraib prison near 
Baghdad, where American soldiers were holding hundreds of prisoners 
captured during the invasion and occupation of Iraq. At least one of the 
six is also a prison guard in civilian life.

In March, the U.S. Army announced that six members of the 800th Military 
Police Brigade faced court martial for allegedly abusing about 20 
prisoners at Abu Ghraib. The charges included dereliction of duty, 
cruelty and maltreatment, assault and indecent acts with another person.

In addition to those criminal charges, the military has recommended 
disciplinary action against seven U.S. officers who helped run the 
prison, including Brig. Gen. Janice Karpinski, the commander of the 
800th Brigade, a senior military official said Wednesday in Baghdad.

The investigation recommended administrative action against several of 
the commanders, which could include punishments up to relieving them of 
their commands, said the official, speaking on condition on anonymity.

When the abuse charges were first announced, U.S. military officials 
declined to provide details about the evidence. But on Wednesday, at a 
news briefing in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said the investigation 
began in January when an American soldier reported the abuse and turned 
over evidence that included photographs.

"That soldier said, 'There are some things going on here that I can't 
live with,'" said Kimmitt, who also confirmed that CBS had obtained the 
photographs.

One picture shows an Iraqi prisoner who was told to stand on a box with 
his head covered and wires attached to his hands. CBS said the prisoner 
was told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted. Other 
photos showed naked prisoners being forced to simulate sex acts.

The Army ordered an investigation into the actions of 17 soldiers from 
the 800th Brigade, which is based in Uniondale. Ten were investigated 
for criminal actions, six of whom were charged in March.

The other seven were officers who faced an administrative investigation. 
Those officers have received copies of the probe and will now have the 
chance to rebut the claims, with a final decision expected within a 
month, the senior military official said.

In an interview with CBS correspondent Dan Rather, Kimmitt said the 
photographs were dismaying.

"We're appalled," Kimmitt said. "These are our fellow soldiers, these 
are the people we work with every day, they represent us, they wear the 
same uniform as us, and they let their fellow soldiers down."

"If we can't hold ourselves up as an example of how to treat people with 
dignity and respect, we can't ask that other nations do that to our 
soldiers," Kimmitt said.

"60 Minutes II" identified one of the implicated soldiers as Army 
Reserve Staff Sgt. Chip Frederick, who described to Rather what he saw 
in the Iraqi prison.

"We had no support, no training whatsoever, and I kept asking my chain 
of command for certain things, rules and regulations, and it just wasn't 
happening," Frederick said.

Frederick was a corrections officer at the Buckingham Correctional 
Center in Dillwyn, Va., until he was called up for active duty, said 
Larry Traylor, spokesman for the Virginia Corrections Department.

He is a member of the 372nd Military Police Company based in Cumberland, 
Md., said Maj. Greg Yesko, public affairs officer for the 99th Regional 
Readiness Command. The 800th Brigade includes the 372nd Company, Yesko said.

No phone listing for Frederick could be immediately located.

"60 Minutes II" reported Frederick will plead not guilty to charges 
including maltreatment and assault, claiming the way the Army operated 
the prison led to the abuse of prisoners. He also said he did not see a 
copy of the Geneva Convention rules for handling prisoners of war until 
after he was charged, the show reported.

The show also quoted from an e-mail which Frederick reportedly sent to 
his family in which he said of Iraqi prisoners: "We've had a very high 
rate with our styles of getting them to break; they usually end up 
breaking within hours."

Former Iraqi prisoners told The Associated Press last November of 
mistreatment in detention, including beatings and punishments that 
included hours of lying bound in the sun.

Amnesty International, the London-based human rights group, said in 
March that many former detainees in Iraq claimed to have been tortured 
and ill-treated by coalition troops during interrogation.

Methods often reported, it said, included prolonged sleep deprivation, 
beatings, exposure to loud music and prolonged periods of being covered 
by a hood.

-- 

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