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Abu Ghraib General Says Told Prisoners 'Like Dogs'
Published on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 by Reuters
Abu Ghraib General Says Told Prisoners 'Like Dogs'
 

LONDON - The U.S. general in charge of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was told by a military intelligence commander that detainees should be treated like dogs, she said in an interview broadcast on Tuesday.


"He said they are like dogs, and if you allow them to believe at any point they are more than a dog then you've lost control of them."

Janis Karpinski, the one-star general responsible for the military police who ran prisons in Iraq when pictures were taken showing prisoners being abused, said she and her soldiers were being made scapegoats for abuse ordered by others.

In the interview with Britain's BBC radio, Karpinski said Geoffrey Miller, a two-star general sent to Iraq from the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, had ordered new procedures in cell blocs where Iraqis were interrogated.

"He said, at Guantanamo Bay we've learned that the prisoners have to earn every single thing they have," Karpinski said.

"He said they are like dogs, and if you allow them to believe at any point they are more than a dog then you've lost control of them."

The United States has charged low-ranking military police officers commanded by Karpinski with abuse after several of them appeared in photographs abusing detainees.

The photographs and other reports of abuse have led to hearings in Congress and fueled international outrage.

But Karpinski, who has been suspended from her command for failings at Abu Ghraib but not charged with any crime, said military police would not have taken Iraqis out of their cells to pose them for photographs without being told to do so.

"I was absolutely sickened by those images. And I couldn't even fathom a guess as to what happened to these people to make them go so far away from what they had been trained to do.

"But I will say I know my military police personnel ... well enough to know they believed they were following instructions from a person authorized to give them instructions," she said.

"We don't know yet who the individuals were that convinced them that what they were doing was to enhance the effort overall to find Saddam."

Karpinski said Miller told her he planned to "Gitmo-ize" the treatment of detainees, using a colloquial term for Guantanamo.

"He said every time we remove them from a cell (at Guantanamo) there's two MPs (military police) that accompany them. They have ankle chains on, they have wrist chains on and they have a belly chain on," she said.

"That was the first time I said to General Miller: Sir, your conditions at Guantanamo Bay are different from our conditions here in Baghdad and throughout Iraq. You have 800 MPs to guard 640 detainees. We have 1,300 MPs to guard almost 14,000 detainees."

Asked if she was "out of the loop" she said: "I was in my own loop. I was not in the loop that General Miller was creating.

"The intelligence operation was directed. It was under a separate command and there was no reason for me to go out to look at Abu Ghraib at cell bloc 1a or 1b or visit the interrogation facilities."

© Copyright 2004 Reuters Ltd

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