U.S. Sent Specialists To Train Prison Units
Yesterday some legal specialists backed her argument.
"In international law, the standard is not only whether you knew but whether you had reason to know," said Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. "The question is: How far up the chain of command should people have been vigilant about the practices that were going on?"
Several military legal experts also said the Baghdad case may reflect a general loosening in standards for handling detainees stemming from conditions at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where captives from the war on terrorism are held. Indeed, Taguba indicated that the Guantanamo experience has provoked a sharp debate inside the military over the role of military police.
In late August and early September 2003, a team from Guantanamo overseen by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller visited Iraq to advise U.S. prison operations there. Among its recommendations were that military police guards act as "enablers" for interrogations, Taguba reported.
But Taguba challenged the notion that Iraqi detainees should be treated similarly to suspected terrorists in Guantanamo. He sided with another officer, Maj. Gen. Donald J. Ryder, who recommended in another report last November that military police avoid even a supporting role in interrogations.
While many of the reported tactics in the Abu Ghraib case exceeded legal bounds, some of the less abusive ones appeared in line with certain "stress and duress" techniques known to be used by U.S. military and CIA interrogators. Last year, after the deaths of two Afghan prisoners in U.S. custody at Bagram air base outside Kabul, human rights groups pressed the Bush administration for a clearer position on permissible interrogation measures.
On June 26, 2003, the administration pledged for the first time that the United States would not torture terrorism suspects or treat them cruelly in an attempt to extract information. "All interrogations, wherever they may occur," must be conducted without the use of cruel and inhumane tactics, Defense Department general counsel William J. Haynes II wrote to Congress.
Human rights activists believed the administration had agreed to bar such techniques as depriving prisoners of sleep, withholding medicine and forcing prisoners to stand for long periods in painful positions. U.S. authorities have used each technique against captives held abroad in the war on terrorism, according to current and former national security officials interviewed last year by The Washington Post.
Staff writer Dana Priest contributed to this report.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
Iraqi women wait outside Abu Ghraib prison, where U.S. guards reportedly abused detainees. A special U.S. team is now helping with training there.
(Faleh Kheiber -- Reuters)