Pentagon tightening interrogation rules

Stung by prisoner abuse charges in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon is implementing new restrictions on detainee interrogations.

    US soldiers abused and tortured detainees

    Senior Army intelligence official Thomas Gandy said on Wednesday that the Defence Department is creating new "boundaries of behaviours" for interrogation techniques in policy changes.

    "We will leave far less up to the interrogator to decide what they can and cannot do," Gandy said, acknowledging that previous Army doctrine on interrogation methods had not been specific enough.

    For example, Gandy said military dogs will never be used in interrogations. Some of the photos from Abu Ghraib showed US prison guards menacing detainees with snarling dogs.

    Major General Donald Ryder, Army law enforcement policy chief, said Army regulations clearly state dogs can be used in detention facilities, but only for external security.

    Wolfowitz memo

    In a 12 January memo to US military commanders worldwide, Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz wrote that the military should not perform "routine detainee body cavity exams or searches" because this invasive procedure "may conflict with the customs of some detainees".

    "Body cavity searches are to be conducted only when there is a reasonable belief that the detainee is concealing an item that presents a security risk," Wolfowitz wrote.

    "We will leave far less up to the interrogator to decide what they can and cannot do"

    Thomas Gandy
    Army intelligence official

    In an interrogation manual nearing completion, Gandy said, requirements of the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners "are well integrated into the techniques" permitted to be used by the US military interrogators.

    Officials also said the Army will create 35 special "internment/settlement" units comprising 3000 soldiers specialising in handling detainees by 2008.

    Ryder said the Army Criminal Investigation Command had conducted 308 criminal probes of allegation of detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan and 107 of those were ongoing.

    Col. Joe Curtin, an Army spokesman, said one ongoing investigation involved allegations made in May 2004 by an Iraqi woman who said US soldiers in August 2003 held her in custody for several days, sodomized her and robbed her.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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