From Guant

A new investigation suggests that military personnel at Abu Ghraib may have had help thinking up the abuses that happened there.


Tim Grieve
July 14, 2005 4:22PM (UTC)

In what the Washington Post calls "the strongest indication yet that the abusive practices seen in photographs at Abu Ghraib were not the invention of a small group of thrill-seeking military police officers," a new investigation by the U.S. military shows that some of the tactics employed at Abu Ghraib were used earlier at Guantánamo Bay.

According to the Post, military investigators have found that, in late 2002, interrogators at Guantánamo Bay "forced a stubborn detainee to wear women's underwear on his head, confronted him with snarling military working dogs and attached a leash to his chains." Months later, these tactics, which Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved for use in interrogating so-called "20th hijacker" Mohamed Qahtani at Guantánamo, had migrated to Abu Ghraib.

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A link between the two facilities: Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who helped run Guantánamo then traveled to Iraq in September 2003 to help set up the U.S. detention facility at Abu Ghraib. Soon after Miller left Abu Ghraib, the Post says, "military working dogs were being used in interrogations, and naked detainees were humiliated and abused by military police soldiers working the night shift."

So maybe the Lynndie Englands and Charles Graners of the world weren't just a "few bad apples" who were making things up on their own? That's what human rights advocates have long maintained, and the new investigation lends credence to the charge. "Reasonable people always suspected these techniques weren't invented in the backwoods of West Virginia," Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch tells the Post. "It's never been more clear than in this investigation."


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Abu Ghraib Iraq Middle East Torture War Room

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