News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinewar-on-terroriraqwar-crimes — Viewing Item


Detainees beaten with baseball bat { September 24 2005 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)
   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/24/AR2005092400506.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/24/AR2005092400506.html

82nd Airborne Soldiers Allege Iraq Abuse

By LOLITA C. BALDOR
The Associated Press
Saturday, September 24, 2005; 8:39 AM



NEW YORK -- Soldiers in the Army's elite 82nd Airborne Division vented their frustration by systematically torturing Iraqi detainees from 2003 into 2004, hitting them with baseball bats and dousing them with chemicals, a U.S. rights group alleges in a new report.

The Human Rights Watch report, issued Friday, was compiled from interviews with a captain and two sergeants who served in a battalion of the 82nd Airborne that was stationed at a military base called Mercury near Fallujah, the insurgent stronghold retaken by U.S. forces last year.

The soldiers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the abuse took place almost daily and often came under orders. Anything short of causing an inmate's death was allowed, they said.

The residents of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, nicknamed soldiers at the nearby base "the Murderous Maniacs," New York-based Human Rights Watch said. "The soldiers considered this name a badge of honor."

It said soldiers in the elite 82nd Airborne deprived detainees of sleep, food and water, subjected them to extreme heat and cold, stacked prisoners in human pyramids, kicked them in the face, and put chemicals on exposed skin and eyes.

One of the sergeants allegedly told the group that military intelligence personnel, eager for information, often instructed soldiers to "smoke" detainees _ called Persons Under Control or PUCs _ during questioning, the report said. "Smoking" prisoners meant physically abusing them until they lost consciousness.

But the motive was not always to gain intelligence, one sergeant was quoted as saying.

"Everyone in camp knew if you wanted to work out your frustration you show up at the PUC tent. In a way it was sport," he reportedly said.

"One day (another sergeant) shows up and tells a PUC to grab a pole. He told him to bend over and broke the guy's leg with a mini-Louisville Slugger, a metal bat."

The soldier said anything short of death was acceptable.

"As long as no PUCs came up dead, it happened," he said. "We kept it to broken arms and legs."

The timing of some of the alleged tortures coincided with the prisoner abuse by American forces at Abu Ghraib near Baghdad in fall of 2003.

"These soldiers' firsthand accounts provide further evidence contradicting claims that abuse of detainees by U.S. forces was isolated or spontaneous," the report said. "The accounts here suggest that the mistreatment of prisoners by the U.S. military is even more widespread than has been acknowledged to date, including among troops belonging to some of the best trained, most decorated, and highly respected units in the U.S. Army."

The soldiers quoted in the report expressed much confusion about what types of treatment were allowed under the Geneva Conventions, which bar mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilian detainees. They said senior officers provided little guidance.

Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. John Skinner criticized the report as a predictable effort to try to "advance an agenda through the use of distortions and errors in fact."

Skinner said the military has investigated all credible allegations of detainee abuse and "looked at all aspects of detention operations under a microscope."

The Army said Friday it had opened an investigation into one soldier's allegations that he witnessed and heard about widespread prisoner abuse, including torture and a beating with a baseball bat, while serving at a base in Iraq.

The captain said his complaints were ignored for 17 months, and he was denied a pass to leave the 82nd Airborne's base in Fort Bragg after planning to meet with Senate staff members, it said.

Army officials said, however, they began their investigation into the matter as soon as it came to their attention.

Army spokesman Paul Boyce said the soldier, whose name was not released, told superiors about the allegations and was referred to the Army's Criminal Investigation Command. The investigation began at least two weeks ago, he said.

Boyce said the soldier is allowed to contact or visit members of Congress or their staff but was stopped from traveling to Washington from Fort Bragg in North Carolina on one instance because he had not requested administrative leave or a pass to leave the base.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Capt. Ian Fishback of the 82nd Airborne had raised the complaints of abuse in letters to the staff of Sens. John Warner of Virginia and John McCain of Arizona, both senior Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Human Rights Watch harshly criticized the U.S. military in its report, saying it has launched investigations and prosecutions of lower-ranking personnel for detainee abuse. But in most cases, the military used closed administrative hearings where they handed down light administrative punishments such as pay reductions and reprimands, instead of criminal prosecutions before courts-martial.

"The military has made no effort to conduct a broader criminal investigation focusing on how military command might have been involved in reported abuse, and the administration continues to insist that reported abuse had nothing to do with the administration's decisions on the applicability of the Geneva Conventions or with any approved interrogation techniques," it said.

The group called for Congress to create a special commission to investigate the issue.

The Abu Ghraib scandal touched off a firestorm of criticism when photos of some of the abuse became public a year ago. Iraqi detainees were physically abused and sexually humiliated by military police and intelligence soldiers in the fall of 2003.

Some of the photos showed naked prisoners stacked in human pyramids or on dog leashes. The Pentagon has characterized it as acts of bored military police working the overnight shift.

The U.S. military has since opened 400 investigations of prisoner abuse allegations, and 230 soldiers have been court-martialed or faced nonjudicial punishment or another administrative action.

___

Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor in Washington, T.A. Badger in Fort Hood, Texas, and Larry McShane in New York contributed to this report.

___

On the Net:

Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org

2005 The Associated Press


abu-Ghraib-prison
british-beatings
haditha
11 american soldiers charged with abuse { July 16 2005 }
American pilots shooting unarmed civilians
Americans use wmds on falluja { November 8 2005 }
Army guard unit exorted shop keepers { July 27 2005 }
Army looting iraqi civilians { May 31 2004 }
Assault on fallujah most ferocious since vietnam
Baghdad bombing kills 34 children { September 30 2004 }
British also used white phosphorus
British contractors shoot at iraqi civilians { December 9 2005 }
Brits use drills in torture of iraqi prisoners { November 20 2005 }
Bush signed order to suspend geneva conventions { June 23 2004 }
Camera spattered with journalists blood { September 13 2004 }
Colonel staged mock execution scare iraqi { November 19 2003 }
Daily mirror apologizes for phony photos
Detainees beaten with baseball bat { September 24 2005 }
Detainees killed prisoners by assault
Detainees medical files shared { June 10 2004 }
Documents show army seized wives as tactic
Eight marines charged iraq death { October 18 2003 }
Eight marines investigation mistreatment prisoners { October 18 2003 }
Ex marines claim fraud and excessive force { April 2008 }
Fbi agents allege abuse of detainees { December 21 2004 }
Five soldiers charged for punching kicking detainees
Former iraqi detainees allege torture
Four soldiers charged in drowning death { July 2 2004 }
Four soldiers charged in iraqi generals murder
GI gets 100 years for iraqi rape murder
Hearing begins for marine accused of killing 2 iraqis { April 27 2005 }
Homocide charges for US troops in iraq rare { August 28 2006 }
Iraq arrests and detentions technically illegal { December 1 2004 }
Iraq probes US phosphorus weapons in falluja { November 16 2005 }
Iraq rights abuse worse than under saddam { November 28 2005 }
Iraq wedding film challenges US on air strike { May 24 2004 }
Iraqi beaten to death by us troops { April 14 2004 }
Iraqi civilians gen franks war crimes { April 28 2003 }
Iraqi details harsh treatment
Iraqi pows gagged bound beaten { May 25 2003 }
Iraqis accuse marines in april killing { June 5 2006 }
Iraqis say troops massacred families { March 21 2006 }
Israeli link possible in US torture techniques { May 11 2004 }
Journalists berates trigger happy troops { June 5 2003 }
Kill as many as possible
Lawyers decided bans on torture didnt bind bush { June 8 2004 }
Marine brags about war crimes { May 1 2003 }
Marine shoots unarmed wounded iraqi
Marine shot innocent iraqi in head 3 times { February 27 2007 }
Marine shot prisoner in head
Marine unit killed 30 unarmed civilians { December 8 2004 }
Marines accused of murdering iraqi farmer
Marines forced to kill innocent civilians { May 16 2004 }
Marines kill iraqi civilians in cold blood { April 2006 }
Marines planted evidence after killing { June 6 2006 }
Military coversup detainee homocide
Military probes death of wounded iraqi in fallujah
Nbc staff abused by US troops in iraq
New FBI files describe abuse of iraq inmates { December 21 2004 }
News staff forced to insert finger in anus by US forces
Officer in iraq fined harsh interrogation tactics
Over 100 child prisoners held in iraq { August 1 2004 }
Pentagon acknowledges uses incendiary white phosphorus
Records show marines tortured iraqi prisoners
Rifle shovel were planted by marines after killing
Rumsfeld admits holding ghost detainees in iraq
Sergeant refused to break law { May 20 2004 }
Shame of abuse of brit troops
Soldier admits murdering iraqi detainee
Soldier convinced of killing iraqi walks free
Soldier convincted of murdering unarmed iraqis
Soldier guilty of killing wounded iraqi teenager
Soldier kidnapping retaliation for 14yr olds rape { May 15 2007 }
Soldier kills protester { January 14 2004 }
Soldier kills woman with bread and tea { September 2 2004 }
Soldier reports prisoner beating to senate mccain { October 5 2005 }
Soldier took torture snaps
Soldiers charges with murdering iraqis
Soldiers fired on wedding during massacre { May 21 2004 }
Soldiers forced iraqis off bridge told to cover up { July 30 2004 }
Soldiers sent fleeing civilians back into fallujah { November 13 2004 }
Soldiers used unauthorized deadly force in iraq { July 28 2005 }
Solider charged with raping iraqi woman { July 4 2006 }
Solider investigated for shooting iraqi { March 4 2004 }
Solider ordered to shoot unarmed iraqi { September 27 2007 }
Solider shot 17 year old iraqi after sex
Solider shot unarmed iraqi to put out of misery { March 31 2005 }
Some marines linked to abuses { December 15 2004 }
Three civilians mistakenly killed in iraq { November 21 2005 }
Top pentagon officials aware of detainee abuse { June 18 2007 }
Troops brutalisation of reuters staff { January 14 2004 }
Troops shot dead women and children for revenge
Two journalists killed in fighting
UN says coalition troops violated rights in iraq { June 4 2004 }
US considers salvador option to tackle iraq { January 10 2005 }
US denies incendiary weapons on civilians
US guards shoot dead 4 in iraq prisons
US kills arab reporter on air { September 13 2004 }
US soldiers kill little girls in iraq fight { October 2006 }
Us soldiers shoots kills two iraqi journalists { March 29 2004 }
US soliders killed family and raped iraqi woman
US still uncovering iraq abuses { July 15 2004 }
Us tank crushes cleric { December 9 2003 }
US torture in iraq spread to mosul
Us troops beat iranian journalists
Us troops shot dead us funded arabic journalists { April 19 2004 }
Us war tactics questioned by rights groups { November 24 2003 }
Video shows brits brutally attacking iraqi teens { February 13 2006 }
War crimes evidence
Wedding video contradicts US details { May 24 2004 }
Whistleblower sent to psychiatrist { March 5 2005 }
White phosphorous usage is war crime { November 22 2005 }

Files Listed: 109



Correction/submissions

CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Archives
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple