Former Abu Ghraib General: Torture Is Continuing; Order Came From Very Top
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Former Abu Ghraib General: Torture Is Continuing; Order Came From Very Top
General says she was deliberately kept out of the loop and scapegoated to protect higher ups
The General commanding troops in Iraq whose career was ruined in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, Janis Karpinski, appeared on the Alex Jones Show yesterday and made some amazing revelations.
Prisonplanet.tv subscribers can hear the entire interview here.
Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski will be reduced to the rank of colonel as a result of an Army Inspector General investigation into a scandal that tarnished the United States' reputation abroad and set in motion a string of high-level inquiries.
Karpinski was the only general punished in the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Her Army Reserve unit was in charge of the prison compound when Iraqi detainees were physically abused and sexually humiliated by military police and intelligence soldiers in the fall of 2003.
Karpinski had previously admitted that rather than being an isolated incident under her command, the abuses were, "the result of conflicting orders and confused standards extending from the military commanders in Iraq all the way to the summit of civilian leadership in Washington."
The General described how the abuses came to pass and how she was used as the scapegoat.
"It started when we were assigned this new mission for detention operations. We were basically sold a false bill of goods, they told us that we were going to Baghdad, that we were going to receive support from the CJTF7, General Sanchez's headquarters, and from Ambassador Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority, that we would be working with these prison experts at the Coalition Provisional Authority to work towards restoring Iraqi Prisons to turn them back over to Iraqi control." She commented.
"To arrive in Baghdad to discover that they had just begun to identify some locations, they had a list of 121 prisons that they wanted to restore and that they wanted us to run, and I told them I didn't have nearly that number of resources, I could run about fifteen, we settled on seventeen and they were responsible for providing the funding to restore and renovate those prisons."
Karpinski revealed that the prisons were basically left as they had been by the Iraqis before the war.
"...After those contractors had left, most of the contract work had been allegedly done and paid for was in fact never done. So we had MP's that were running these facilities, very very austere conditions, the prisons that were restored were done to the minimal standard. In one case the contractors put all the hinges on the inside of the doors and the prisoners took all the hinge pins out."
Abu Ghraib was never intended to be a permanent prison or permanent detention center, it was used as an interim facility, largely because there was real estate inside the twenty foot high retaining wall for Karpinski to establish temporary camps.
"If there was still a war going on, this would have been much like a prisoner of war camp. It was never an ideal location of any kind, for detention operations, let alone interrogation operations as it ultimately became." She commented.
Karpinski went on to describe how military intelligence took over and became rooted within her own reservations.
"The Military Intelligence Brigade Commander relocated to Abu Ghraib after two of his soldiers were killed in an RPG attack out at the prison facility. He was visiting one night, only intended to stay one or two nights and there was an attack and two of his soldiers were killed and shortly after that he decided to relocate inside Abu Ghraib." She said.
"He had six interrogation teams shortly after this became about a dozen. These were military interrogation teams, soldiers who were serving as interrogators, they were following the regulations, their doctrine. We had a very small number of prisoners that needed to be interrogated, they were mostly Iraqi criminals, nonviolent crimes, looting, missing curfew, a weapon in the trunk of the car, whatever it may have been."
Of course, the official army report on Abu Ghraib said that between seventy five and ninety percent were totally innocent and just hadn't had their papers in order. The General confirmed this:
"That's correct and I believe that it remains so today because they are still doing these raids, these round ups where they will go out and target an individual, and whoever happens to be around that individual, they bring them all in. And then there is no avenue to release them, once they are tagged as security detainees, they fall into this relatively new and unsupervised category."
Karpinski went on to say that the General in charge of the military interrogations at Abu Ghraib had the authority to do whatever he wanted and was not required to report any of his findings through her.
She also stated that even though innocent detainees had been deemed of no further Intel use and were recommended to be released by their interrogators, the higher uppers read the riot act and started a pattern whereby no one was to be released and innocent people were kept locked up without trial or charges.
The General went on to speak about the direct links to leading members of the Bush Administration:
"We can trace back now, through documents that were released through court order, back to the original document, the one that Alberto Gonzales reviewed and discussed with the President of the United States, a departure from the Geneva Convention. These are not prisoners, these are terrorists and these techniques will be more effective." She said.
"And then Secretary Rumsfeld putting his signature on a document authorizing more aggressive and harsher techniques during interrogation. That document goes over to Guantanamo Bay and over to Afghanistan, and it's used first in smaller groups and then it's used at Guantanamo Bay as a standard practice."
The General also agreed that private contractors were brought in to over see the interrogations. The orders to use torture techniques can be traced back to the criminals in Government.
"The orders came right from the top, filtered down from the secretary of defense, with the endorsement of the President, the Vice President, whatever advisors are surrounding them, filtered down through the Commanders in the field, these practices were not only endorsed, but were in use at Guantanamo bay and in locations in Afghanistan. And when General Miller visited Iraq he brought those techniques with him. And then he sent contract interrogators who had 'performed well' at Guantanamo Bay to Iraq as well."
The General agreed that in effect torture seminars were taking place as Miller would teach how to make techniques of torture more effective.
Karpinski also went on to explain how it came about that photographs and video of the torture were taken and how despite Congress having seen thousands of them, few of the persons responsible for authorizing the raping of women, the beating to death of innocent people, and the torture of minors have been brought to justice.
"They needed a group of people to scapegoat and they must have believed naively that they were going to take the punishment, go to jail and be quiet and that they were never going to go out and hire their own attorneys and representatives for themselves and their own cases. They certainly believed that I was going to be quiet."
General Karpinski was not even informed of charges against her until the investigation was under way and she received a late night e-mail from the Commander of the Criminal Investigation Commission. His agent on site at Abu Ghraib was the one who received the disc of pictures from the MP. So the Commanding officer of all the reopened prisons in Iraq was not informed about an ongoing criminal investigation into occurrences at the prisons.
"They kept me out of the loop on purpose" Karpinski angrily asserted.
Karpinski reiterated that it was almost inconceivable to have an operation taken over by Military intelligence at Abu Ghraib, a site in the middle of the Sunni Triangle, that was being bombarded with mortars every night. Further more the objective of military intelligence is completely different from that of a military police soldier. MP's know how to humanly treat detainees and they did so at every facility, the only breach was at Abu Ghraib under the control of the military intelligence.
The MI would even hire former federal prison guards with bad records to undertake these operations.
"The prisons experts that were hired, we were supposed to have about eighty of them down at the Coalition Provisional Authority, there was three and then one of them got fired, and these are US contractors, of course they didn't share the information about their previous positions with us." Karpinski said.
The General went on to state that she saw many instances of decision makers being worried more about the political ramifications of their decisions back in Washington than the moral ramifications. She asserted that to disagree with Donald Rumsfeld would mean instant dismissal and everyone knew this.
"There is no backbone any more that the US military is so famous for. Our leaders are now afraid. They are afraid to voice their opinions, and they are afraid to say, no you're wrong." The General said.
Furthermore, all the data before the war, and the advice of all the big think tanks, suggested that more than 300, 000 troops would be needed to succeed. Of course all of this was ignored by the crazy Neo-Cons who are so convinced by their own convictions that they will not tolerate any one else's opinions or suggestions.
Becoming emotional, the General asserted that the higher uppers have been attempting to run the war "from their lap top computers". They refused to go out and walk the ground in Baghdad that the soldiers are walking, but they had no trouble sending those under them out there WITHOUT the armored vehicles which were being used to protect their own spokesmen and their own headquarters.
"The person who stopped the orders for additional armored equipment and armored vehicles is today a FOUR STAR GENERAL, and is in the Pentagon, and is serving as the acting chief of staff of the army." Karpinski angrily commented.
"You see how it works, you play the game, you go along with whatever is being spun by the Neo-Cons or by the Pentagon and you get promoted. But the people who have the strength and the moral courage to stand up and say This is wrong, this is a lie, they are removed from their positions, they take their security clearance away and then they're out on the street."
General Karpinski went on to say that the reason talk of banning torture has come to the forefront, even though there should be no need for discussion on the topic is because it IS STILL GOING ON.
"There is overwhelming proof that torture is going on, that it has been directed and is likely continuing, even to this day. I don't want to believe it is but the statements from the people just returning from the theater give every indication that in fact it is, they still don't know where to draw the line." The General said.
On the topic of why the torture is so extreme and degrading, the General suggested that the interrogators are getting a bizarre pleasure out of it. She gave the example of using naked menstruating women to break Muslim Iraqi men.
"Who studied the Arab culture to come up with such an idea, this is insulting to anybody." She said. "And the fact that they are using female soldiers to conduct this demonstrates what they think the likely role of women in the army is."
If you wrote a horror movie where the army was doing this it would be too unbelievable, yet this is happening in reality and the media has just accepted it as the norm now.
It seems clear and the General agrees that we are seeing the formation of a cold blooded torture core with Iraq as the beta test. Iraq is often referred to as a "laboratory". The test is to see how the prisoners, the soldiers and the public react to this.
"They are looking for the kind of people with this mind set, who can live with themselves whilst they are going forth with this global war on terrorism and trying to make a difference."