Karpinski: General behind Iraq abuse

The former commander of the Abu Ghraib prison in

Last Modified: 13 May 2005 05:10 GMT
Karpinski said she was unaware of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse

The former commander of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has blamed a ranking officer for prisoner abuses.

Colonel Janis Karpinski said General Geoffrey Miller introduced the use of human pyramids and dog leashes in the abuse of detainees and said in an interview on Thursday that abuse may still be continuing there.


Karpinski, a former one-star Army Reserve general who was punished in the scandal, said she had no idea what was going on at the prison and blamed Miller for the methods that were used to humiliate detainees.


Miller headed the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and was sent to Iraq to recommend improvements in intelligence gathering and detention operations there.


"I believe that General Miller gave them the ideas, gave them the instruction on what techniques to use," she said in excerpts from an interview on the ABC News Nightline programme.


Prisoner abuse


Asked if she was referring to the positioning of prisoners in human pyramids and putting dog leashes on detainees, Karpinski said: "I can tell you with certainty that the MPs (military police) certainly did not design those techniques, they certainly did not come to Abu Ghraib or to Iraq with dog collars and dog leashes."


Miller (C) has been blamed for
introducing abuse to Abu Ghraib

Karpinski, who has made similar allegations in the past, was the first high-level military officer to be punished in the abuse scandal. She was demoted from brigadier-general to colonel on 5 May.


The demotion was announced 13 days after army officials disclosed that the army had exonerated Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, the former top US commander in Iraq, as well as three other senior officers.


Army Colonel Thomas Pappas, the former US military intelligence chief at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, was reprimanded and removed from his command as part of a punishment over the physical abuse and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners, the army said on Wednesday.


The publication a year ago of photographs depicting US forces abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib triggered international criticism of the United States. Numerous additional cases of detainee abuse have since surfaced.


Abuse continuing


In the ABC interview, Karpinski suggested that abuse might still be occurring at the prison.


"For several months after I first became aware of the pictures, I said: 'Well at least the photographs will stop this.' I'm not convinced," she said.


Karpinski said Rumsfeld knew
about the abuse at Abu Ghraib 

Karpinski had commanded the 800th Military Police Brigade at the heart of the Abu Ghraib abuse. Previous investigations found Karpinski feuded with Pappas, contributing to an atmosphere of chaos.


Karpinski told ABC she believes officials up the chain of command knew or should have known what was going on at Abu Ghraib.


Asked if that included Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, she said: "Well absolutely. And I would say that it is consistent with his direction for the military."


Karpinski said her superiors bore responsibility but reiterated her contention that it was convenient for the military to blame her because of her status as a reservist.


"All the way up to the top of the Pentagon, they have a long-standing mind-set about reservists and National Guard soldiers," she said. "And we are considered disposable."

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