have been 'order'
Washington - Abuse of Iraqi prisoners that sparked
worldwide condemnation may have been ordered by US military intelligence to
extract information from the captives, and was possibly more cruel than
officially acknowledged, The New Yorker magazine and Britain's daily
Guardian reported on Saturday.
Seymour Hersh, investigative reporter for The New Yorker,
said that Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick, one of six US military policemen
accused of humiliating Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Gharib prison outside
Baghdad, wrote home in January that he had "questioned
some of the things" he saw inside the prison, but that "the answer I
got was, 'This is how military
intelligence wants it done'."
According to his letter quoted by Hersh, military
intelligence officers had congratulated Frederick and other soldiers on the
"great job" done with prisoners because "they were now getting positive
results and information".
The Guardian newspaper said it had reviewed a journal
Frederick began keeping in January after an investigation was launched into
the alleged abuse of prisoners.
"The journals... detail the conditions of
the prisoners, apparent torture and the death of one inmate after
interrogation," the newspaper said.
According to Frederick's journal quoted in the Guardian,
"prisoners were forced to live in damp cool cells" and those placed in
isolation cells were left there with "little or no clothes, no toilet or
running water, no ventilation or window for as much as three days."
Frederick writes in his journal that he tried to raise the
issue with his superior who told him: "Don't worry about it".'
He said that soldiers were told to stress out prisoners as
much as possible to get information and on one occasion in November soldiers
"stressed out (an inmate) so bad that the man passed away".
Fredericks writes that the man's body was packed in ice
for 24 hours before medics "came in and put his body on a stretcher, placed
a fake IV in his arm and took him away".
The prison scandal broke out on Wednesday, after CBS's "60
Minutes II" programme broadcast a picture showing a prisoner standing on a
box with a hood over his head and wires attached to his hands.
Other pictures showed nude prisoners lying on each other
and simulating sex acts as smiling US troops pointed and laughed.
Six US military police were charged in March with
conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty, maltreatment, assault and indecent
acts against up to 20 prisoners at the jail last November and December. They
may face a court martial.
But Gary Myers, a civilian defence attorney who represents
Frederick, said his client and the other soldiers were only carrying out
orders that came from their superiors.
"Do you really think a group of kids from rural Virginia
decided to do this on their own? Decided that the best way to embarrass
Arabs and make them talk was to have them walk around nude?" Myers is quoted
source: SA - May 01, 2004