Private Contractors in Iraqi Prison Scandal
Sickening. In the growing scandal about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison comes this lovely detail:
A military report into the Abu Ghraib case – parts of which were made available to the Guardian – makes it clear that private contractors were supervising interrogations in the prison, which was notorious for torture and executions under Saddam Hussein.
One civilian contractor was accused of raping a young male prisoner but has not been charged because military law has no jurisdiction over him.
The two companies involved at Abu Ghraib are CACI International Inc and the Titan Corporation. More info:
According to the military report on Abu Ghraib, both played an important role at the prison.
At one point, the investigators say: “A CACI instructor was terminated because he allowed and/or instructed MPs who were not trained in interrogation techniques to facilitate interrogations by setting conditions which were neither authorised [nor] in accordance with applicable regulations/policy.”
Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, speaking for central command, told the Guardian: “One contractor was originally included with six soldiers, accused for his treatment of the prisoners, but we had no jurisdiction over him. It was left up to the contractor on how to deal with him.”
She did not specify the accusation facing the contractor, but according to several sources with detailed knowledge of the case, he raped an Iraqi inmate in his mid-teens.
The lawyer for the six enlisted men accused of abuses is trying to blame the leadership at the prison for the abuses.
One of the soldiers, Staff Sgt Chip Frederick is accused of posing in a photograph sitting on top of a detainee, committing an indecent act and with assault for striking detainees – and ordering detainees to strike each other.
He told CBS: “We had no support, no training whatsoever. And I kept asking my chain of command for certain things … like rules and regulations.”
His lawyer, Gary Myers, told the Guardian that Sgt Frederick had not had the opportunity to read the Geneva Conventions before being put on guard duty, a task he was not trained to perform.
Boo-f**kin’-hoo. Does it really require a close reading of the Geneva Conventions to _not_ perform “indecent” acts on prisoners? Does it really require that much training to avoid abusing shackled men, forcing them to simulate oral sex with one another or attaching wires to their testicles? In short, does it take some kind of special training to _not_ act like the Ba’athist thugs you went to war against?
I’m sickened and ashamed by this. Whether this was done by enlisted reservists, private contractors or enabled by shoddy leadership, it’s still horrible that this happened. Anyone with an ounce of common decency would know that treating Iraqi prisoners like this is wrong. I don’t care how little training you have. The soldiers and officers involved should be tried and, if guilty, sent to Leavenworth for a long time. The contractors, who conveniently fall outside the Uniform Code of Military Justice, should be arrested under whatever jurisdiction has them (Iraqi or American, if they’re back in the United States) and tried. I hope they would be convicted and sentenced to an equally long prison term. I’ll bet they get treated better than they treated the Iraqis.
Graphic pictures available here, here, here and here.