[QODLink]
Archive
Report: Rumsfeld approved abuse
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a secret programme that encouraged interrogation methods used at Abu Ghraib prison, reports The New Yorker magazine. 
Last Modified: 16 May 2004 06:44 GMT
Rules were: 'Grab whom you must. Do what you want'
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a secret programme that encouraged interrogation methods used at Abu Ghraib prison, reports The New Yorker magazine. 

Rumsfeld had approved "a highly secret operation" last year, which "encouraged physical coercion and the sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq," New Yorker investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote, citing current and former intelligence officials.

Excerpts of Hersh's report have been released before publication this week.

The Pentagon said Hersh's report was "outlandish, conspiratorial, and filled with error and anonymous conjecture."

"No responsible official of the Department of Defence approved any program that could conceivably have been intended to result in such abuses as witnessed in the recent photos and videos," Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said in a statement.

The New Yorker reported that the clandestine Defence Department operation was known as a special-access programme (SAP).

Its rules were: "Grab whom you must. Do what you want," according to one former intelligence official cited by Hersh.

Rumsfeld's decision to import such techniques into Iraq, after their use in Afghanistan, was opposed by members of US intelligence organisations, the report said.

Use in Afghanistan

"They said, 'No way. We signed up for the core programme in Afghanistan, preapproved for operations against high-value terrorist targets, and now you want to use it for cabdrivers, brothers-in-law, and people pulled off the streets,'" the former intelligence official told Hersh.

Pictures of naked, humiliated 
detainees have caused outrage

The source said the CIA objected to the programme's use inside Abu Ghraib, where a scandal involving the mistreatment of Iraqis has sparked Democratic calls for Rumsfeld's resignation. The CIA ended its SAP involvement in the jail.

Leaked photos from Abu Ghraib have shown US soldiers abusing Iraqi inmates, forcing them into sexually humiliating positions.

Hersh writes that Rumsfeld left the detailed planning to Pentagon intelligence chief Steve Cambone, but that the programme was ultimately approved by Rumsfeld and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers.

Tougher techniques

The Pentagon wanted to use tougher interrogation techniques as the US plan to occupy Iraq was hindered by a growing insurgency, Hersh wrote.
 
"As far as they're concerned, this is a covert operation, and it's to be kept within the Defence Department channels," the former intelligence official told Hersh.

"No responsible official
of the Department of Defence approved any programme that could conceivably have been intended to result in
such abuses as witnessed in the recent photos and videos"

Lawrence Di Rita, 
Pentagon spokesman

Hersh is an award-winning US journalist who broke the story of the 1968 My Lai massacre, when US soldiers executed Vietnamese civilians during the war in Vietnam.

Also on Saturday The New York Times reported that the mistreatment of Iraqi inmates at Camp Cropper, near Baghdad airport, predates abuse of Abu Ghraib prisoners by US soldiers.

A prisoner told the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that he had been beaten by interrogators, hooded, handcuffed, threatened with torture and murder, urinated on and kicked in the head, lower back and groin, the daily said.

He was also kept awake for four days and had a baseball tied into his mouth with a scarf, it added.

The ICRC lodged formal complaints with US officials in February, the Times said, and eventually documented 50 cases of abuse.

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.