Thu, Dec 09, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Special forces harmed prisoners

INTERROGATIONS Memos show that officials who tried to record abuse in Iraq were threatened, while the FBI was concerned about tactics used in Guantanamo Bay

AFP , WASHINGTON

Members of a US special operations task force in Iraq punched a prisoner in the face to the point he needed medical attention and then threatened Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) interrogators after they attempted to document the abuse, a newly released document shows.

Two DIA interrogators also saw prisoners arriving at a detention facility in Baghdad with burn marks on their backs, bruises and in some cases complaining of kidney pain, according to a June 25 memo.

The memo from DIA director Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby to Stephen Cambone, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, was among a batch of declassified document obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and made public on Tuesday.

"One of two DIA/DH interrogators/debriefers witnessed TF 6-26 officers punch a prisoner in the face to the point the individual needed medical attention," the memo said.

It said the TF 6-26, the designation for a special operations task force in Iraq, did not make a record of the medical treatment given the prisoner and ordered the DIA debriefers out of the room.

"One DIA/DH interrogator/debriefer took pictures of the injuries and showed them to his TF-26 supervisor who immediately confiscated them," Jacoby wrote.

He said the special operations team then confiscated the interrogators' vehicle keys, instructed them not to leave the compound even for a haircut at the PX [post exchange], and threatened them.

They informed them that their e-mails were being screened and told them not to talk to anybody in the US, the memo said.

But the debriefers notified their operations officer who in turn reported the situation up the chain of command on June 24. The director of the Iraqi Survey Group, the US intelligence team in the country, directed the commander of the task force to investigate.

Other documents released showed that FBI officials were concerned about interrogation techniques used at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where hundreds of war-on-terror suspects are detained.

One FBI e-mail sent May 13 refers to reports quoting former Abu Ghraib prison commander Brigadier General Janice Karpinski as saying that Major General Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of the Guantanamo detention center, wanted to "Gitmoize" detainee operations at Abu Ghraib.

"Gitmo" is a nickname for Guantanamo Bay.

"I'm not sure what this means. However, if this refers to intell [intelligence] gathering, as I suspect, it suggests he has continued to support interrogation strategies we not only advised against, but questioned in terms of effectiveness," the e-mail said.

The names of the sender and address on the e-mail were blacked out.

An FBI e-mail from May 10 notes that FBI supervisors sent to Guantanamo were told to stay within FBI interrogation guidelines, and that the issue was raised in a meeting with Miller and Major General Michael Dunleavy, the head of intelligence at Guantanamo.

"Both agreed that the Bureau [FBI] has their way of doing business and DoD has their marching orders from the SecDef," it said using acronyms for Department of Defense and secretary of defense.

"Although the two techniques differed drastically, the two generals believed they had a job to accomplish," it said.

However, in meetings with justice department officials, FBI officials discussed the techniques and how they were not effective or producing reliable intelligence, the e-mail said.

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