Rene — Rumsfeld Okayed Abuses Says Former U.S. General

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Rumsfeld Okayed Abuses Says Former U.S. General
Saturday, November 25, 2006 by Reuters
MADRID – Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the
mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison’s
former U.S. commander said in an interview on Saturday.
Janis Karpinski, former U.S. Army Brigadier General speaks to media in
Berlin November 14, 2006. Karpinski, who ran the Abu Ghraib prison at
the time photographs depicting the abuse and humiliation of prisonsers
were widely published, said on Tuesday she was willing to testify
against her former boss U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on
behalf of civil rights groups seeking charges against the outgoing
defence secretary for alleged abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib and
Guantanamo prisons. The U.S.-based Center for Constitutional Rights
(CCR) hopes German prosecutors will take up the case under Germany’s
universal jurisdiction law, which allows them to pursue cases
originating outside the country. Karpinski, who was blamed for the
scandal, has said the torture and abuse was directed by U.S. military
intelligence agents over whom she had no control. REUTERS/Tobias
Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain’s El
Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld
which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep
deprivation during interrogation.
Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a
memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation
“The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same
handwriting in the margin was written: “Make sure this is
accomplished”,” she told Saturday’s El Pais.
“The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods,
sleep deprivation … playing music at full volume, having to sit in
uncomfortably … Rumsfeld authorized these specific techniques.”
The Geneva Convention says prisoners of war should suffer “no physical
or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion” to secure
“Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened,
insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of
any kind,” the document states.
A spokesman for the Pentagon declined to comment on Karpinski’s
accusations, while U.S. army in Iraq could not immediately be reached
for comment.
Karpinski was withdrawn from Iraq in early 2004, shortly after
photographs showing American troops abusing detainees at the prison
were flashed around the world. She was subsequently removed from
active duty and then demoted to the rank of colonel on unrelated
Karpinski insists she knew nothing about the abuse of prisoners until
she saw the photos, as interrogation was carried out in a prison wing
run by U.S. military intelligence.
Rumsfeld also authorized the army to break the Geneva Conventions by
not registering all prisoners, Karpinski said, explaining how she
raised the case of one unregistered inmate with an aide to former
U.S. commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.
“We received a message from the Pentagon, from the Defense Secretary,
ordering us to hold the prisoner without registering him. I now know
this happened on various occasions.”
Karpinski said last week she was ready to testify against Rumsfeld, if
a suit filed by civil rights groups in Germany over Abu Ghraib led to
a full investigation.
President Bush announced Rumsfeld’s resignation after Democrats
wrested power from the Republicans in midterm elections earlier this
month, partly due to public criticism over the Iraq war.
Additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington