May 20, 2004

MI Comes Forward

Washington Post:

Military intelligence officers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq directed military police to take clothes from prisoners, leave detainees naked in their cells and make them wear women’s underwear, part of a series of alleged abuses that were openly discussed at the facility, according to a military intelligence soldier who worked at the prison last fall.

 

Sgt. Samuel Provance said intelligence interrogators told military police to strip down prisoners and embarrass them as a way to help “break” them. The same interrogators and intelligence analysts would talk about the abuse with Provance and flippantly dismiss it because the Iraqis were considered “the enemy,” he said.

 

The first military intelligence soldier to speak openly about alleged abuse at Abu Ghraib, Provance said in a telephone interview from Germany yesterday that the highest-ranking military intelligence officers at the prison were involved and that the Army appears to be trying to deflect attention away from military intelligence’s role.

 

Since the abuse at Abu Ghraib became public, senior Pentagon officials have characterized the interrogation techniques as the willful actions of a small group of soldiers and a failure of leadership by their commander. Provance’s comments challenge that, and attorneys for accused soldiers allege that the techniques were directed by military intelligence officials.

 

In an interview, Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski, the commander of U.S. detention facilities in Iraq at the time of the alleged abuse, claimed that military intelligence imposed its authority so fully that she eventually had limited access to the interrogation facilities. And an attorney for one of the soldiers accused of abuse said yesterday that the Army has rejected his request for an independent inquiry, which could block potentially crucial information about involvement of military intelligence, the CIA and the FBI from being revealed.

Tell the administration you want accountability now.


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