Monday, November 15, 2004

Prisoner Abuse covered up

LONDON (Reuters) - The U.S. general formerly in charge of Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib prison said on Tuesday abuse of Iraqi captives was hidden from her in a cover-up that may reach all the way to the Pentagon or White House.
Speaking on the same day a U.S. soldier at the center of the prisoner abuse scandal is due to face a military court, Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski said she was deliberately kept in the dark about abuse and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners.

"A very reliable witness has made a statement indicating that, not only was I not included in any of the meetings discussing interrogation operations, but specific measures were taken to ensure I would not have access to those facilities, that information or any of the details of interrogation at Abu Ghraib or anywhere else," Karpinski told Britain 's BBC radio.
Karpinski, responsible for the military police who ran prisons in Iraq when pictures were taken showing prisoners being abused, has been suspended from her post but not charged with any crime.
She said that those with "full knowledge" of what was going on in Abu Ghraib worked to keep her from discovering the truth.
Asked if a cover-up meant involvement of the White House or Pentagon, she said: "I have not seen the statement but the indication is it may have."
Photographs of U.S. military police abusing hooded prisoners in Abu Ghraib and accusations of abuse by British and other troops have fueled Arab and international anger, shaking President Bush 's efforts to stabilize Iraq.
In Britain , an Iraqi witness alleged at a court hearing last week that UK soldiers had tortured detainees by beating and kicking them and pouring freezing water over them.
U.S. Private First Class Lynndie England , the 21-year-old military police officer who became the public face of inmate abuse at Abu Ghraib, faces a hearing on Tuesday to determine whether she will be tried on charges of abuse and committing indecent acts.
Karpinski told the BBC she never personally witnessed abuse at Abu Ghraib or at any of the prisons she commanded.
She has also said she was told by a military intelligence commander that detainees should be "treated like dogs."

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