[Mb-civic] New Reports Surface About Detainee Abuse - Washington
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Sat Sep 24 05:21:06 PDT 2005
New Reports Surface About Detainee Abuse
Mistreatment Was Routine, Soldiers Say
By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 24, 2005; Page A01
Two soldiers and an officer with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division have
told a human rights organization of systemic detainee abuse and human
rights violations at U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, recounting
beatings, forced physical exertion and psychological torture of
prisoners, the group said.
A 30-page report by Human Rights Watch describes an Army captain's
17-month effort to gain clear understanding of how U.S. soldiers were
supposed to treat detainees, and depicts his frustration with what he
saw as widespread abuse that the military's leadership failed to
address. The Army officer made clear that he believes low-ranking
soldiers have been held responsible for abuse to cover for officers who
The report does not identify the two sergeants and a captain who gave
the accounts, although Capt. Ian Fishback has presented some of his
allegations in a letter to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Their statements included vivid allegations of violence against
detainees held at Forward Operating Base Mercury, outside Fallujah,
shortly before the notorious abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison began. The
soldiers described incidents similar to those reported in other parts of
Iraq -- such as putting detainees in stress positions, exercising them
to the point of total exhaustion, and sleep deprivation.
They also detailed regular attacks that left detainees with broken bones
-- including once when a detainee was hit with a metal bat -- and said
that detainees were sometimes piled into pyramids, a tactic seen in
photographs taken later at Abu Ghraib.
"Some days we would just get bored so we would have everyone sit in a
corner and then make them get in a pyramid," an unidentified sergeant
who worked at the base from August 2003 to April 2004 told Human Rights
Watch. "This was before Abu Ghraib but just like it. We did that for
And like soldiers accused at Abu Ghraib, these troops said that military
intelligence interrogators encouraged their actions, telling them to
make sure the detainees did not sleep or were physically exhausted so as
to get them to talk.
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