Several US guards allege they witnessed military-intelligence operatives encouraging the abuse of Iraqi prison inmates at four prisons other than Abu Ghraib, investigative documents show. \nCourt transcripts and Army investigator interviews provide the broadest view of evidence that abuses, from forcing inmates to stand in hoods in 49oC heat to punching them, occurred at a Marine detention camp and three Army prison sites in Iraq besides Abu Ghraib. \nTestimony about tactics used at a Marine prisoner-of-war camp near Nasiriyah also raises the question whether coercive techniques were standard procedure for military intelligence units in different service branches and throughout Iraq. \nAt the Marines' facility Camp Whitehorse, the guards were told to keep enemy prisoners of war -- EPWs, in military jargon -- standing for 50 minutes each hour for up to 10 hours. They would then be interrogated by "human exploitation teams," or HETs, comprising intelligence specialists. \n"The 50/10 technique was used to break down the EPWs and make it easier for the HET member to get information from them," Marine Corporal Otis Antoine, a guard at Camp Whitehorse, testified at a military court hearing in February. \nUS military officials say US troops in Iraq are required to follow the Geneva Conventions on prisoners of war for all detainees in Iraq. Those conventions prohibit "physical or moral coercion" or cruel treatment. \nThe Army's intelligence chief told a US Senate panel this month that intelligence soldiers are trained to follow Geneva Convention rules strictly. \n"Our training manuals specifically prohibit the abuse of detainees, and we ensure all of our soldiers trained as interrogators receive this training," Lieutenant General Keith Alexander told the Senate Armed Services Committee. \nViolation \nThe Marine Corps judge hearing the Camp Whitehorse case wrote that forcing hooded, handcuffed prisoners to stand for 50 minutes every hour in the 49oC desert could be a Geneva Convention violation. Colonel William Gallo wrote that such actions "could easily form the basis of a law of war violation if committed by an enemy combatant." \nTwo Marines face charges over the death of Nagem Sadoon Hatab at Camp Whitehorse last June, although no one is charged with killing him. Military records say Hatab was asphyxiated when a Marine guard grabbed his throat in an attempt to move him, accidentally breaking a bone that cut off his air supply. Another Marine is charged with kicking Hatab in the chest in the hours before his death. \nArmy Major General George Fay is finishing an investigation into military-intelligence management and practices at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq. Alexander and other top military-intelligence officials say they never gave orders that would have encouraged abuses. \n"If we have a problem, if it is an intel oversight problem, if it is an MP [military police] problem or if it's a leadership problem, we have to get to the bottom of this," Alexander told the Senate panel. \nEncouraged \nMost of the seven enlisted soldiers charged in the Abu Ghraib abuses say they were encouraged to "soften up" prisoners for interrogators through humiliation and beatings. Several witnesses also report seeing military-intelligence operatives hit Abu Ghraib prisoners, strip them naked and order them to be kept awake for long periods. \nOther charges leveled against military-intelligence troops include stuffing an Iraqi general into a sleeping bag, sitting on his chest and covering his mouth during an interrogation at a prison camp at Qaim, near the border with Syria. The general died during that interrogation, although he also had been questioned by CIA operatives in the days before his death. \nDetainees at an Army prison camp near Samarra, north of Baghdad, were said to have been choked and beaten and to have had their hair pulled. Prisoners are also alleged to have been placed in painful positions for hours at Camp Cropper, a prison at Baghdad International Airport for prominent former Iraqi officials. \nMilitary officials say they are investigating all of those incidents. \nOne focus of the incident at Qaim is Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshover, an interrogator with the 66th Military Intelligence Group. \nWelshover was part of a two-person interrogation team that questioned Iraqi Air Force Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush, 57. Military autopsy records say Mowhoush was asphyxiated by chest compression and smothering. \nArmy officials say members of a California Army National Guard military-intelligence unit are accused of abusing prisoners at a camp near Samarra, north of Baghdad. The New York Times has reported that those accusations include pulling prisoners' hair, beating them and choking them to force them to give information. \nThe Red Cross complained to the military in July that Camp Cropper inmates had been kept in painful "stress positions" for up to four hours and had been struck by military-intelligence soldiers. \nOne of the military-intelligence soldiers interviewed in the Abu Ghraib probe claimed some prisoners were beaten before they arrived at Camp Cropper. \nCorporal Robert Bruttomesso of the 325th Military Intelligence Battalion told Army investigators he reported that abuse to his chain of command. The report of his interview does not include details on what action, if any, Bruttomesso's commanders took.
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JAPAN Deer-edible bags invented The deer that roam Nara no longer face discomfort — or far worse — after local firms developed a safe alternative to the plastic packaging discarded by tourists that often ended up in the animals’ stomachs. Last year, several of the 1,300 deer that wander around the ancient capital’s central park were found dead after swallowing plastic bags and food wrappers. Firms collaborated to develop bags that pass safely through the animals’ complex digestive system. The bags are made with recycled pulp from milk cartons and rice bran, one of the main ingredients of the shika senbei savory