WASHINGTON – The general formerly in charge of Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison claims she was ordered to institute “more aggressive” forms of interrogation of prisoners including “hooding” and “stress positions.”
During an interview on the “America At Night” nationally syndicated radio talk show, Brig. Gen. Janice Karpinski said she viewed a memo signed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, which listed those techniques.
In the margin of the memo, she said, there was a handwritten note that said: “Make sure this happens.”
Karpinski said it appeared to be in the same handwriting as Donald Rumsfeld’s signature on the document. A copy of the memo was sent to Gen. Geoffrey Miller, then the head of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, who had visited Abu Ghraib for 10 days prior to the controversy about prison abuse.
Karpinski was removed from her position and demoted to colonel after the scandal.
“There’s no justice in any of this,” she said, “just a continuation of this nonsense that these [torture] techniques were designed by seven out-of-control MP reservists.”
Although she claims to have brought the memo to the attention of her superiors, the interview was the first public release by her of the information.
Last month, Sen. Carl Levin said an investigation, which looked into FBI allegations of abuse of prisoners, concluded abuse was not the result of a minority element.
“It is clear from the report that detainee mistreatment was not simply the product of a few rogue military police in a night shift,” said Levin, a Michigan Democrat.
Bush administration officials have sought to portray the excesses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq as just that.
But looking into FBI reports of abuse, the investigators found multiple instances at the prison, including the use of duct tape on at least one prisoner’s face, a threat to kill another prisoner’s family and inappropriate touching by female interrogators.
Investigators also determined that interrogators violated the Geneva Conventions and Army regulations three times. It was unclear from the aide’s description what those instances were.
Previous investigations of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo have hurt U.S. standing worldwide, and have prompted calls for a more thorough report.
The latest military investigation was conducted by Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt and Army Brig. Gen. John Furlow after the FBI agents’ reports of abuse at Guantanamo surfaced last year.
They recommended Miller be reprimanded for failing to oversee the interrogation of a high-value detainee, which was found to have been abusive, the aide said.
No officer of Miller’s rank or higher has been officially admonished in connection with any of the abuse scandals. He took command of the prison camp at Guantanamo in late 2002 with a mandate to get more and better information from prisoners.
He later went to Iraq to oversee detainee operations there. He is now stationed at the Pentagon in a position unrelated to prisoners.