washingtonpost.com  > Business > Industries > Defense/ Aerospace

Quick Quotes

Page 2 of 2  < Back  

Soldier Who Reported Abuse Was Sent to Psychiatrist

Those conclusions are consistent with the majority of the 226 Army investigations into alleged wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan that have been completed so far; in 70 percent of those, the Army closed its probes after concluding it could not substantiate the allegations. Of the soldiers who have been disciplined in the remaining cases, only 32 faced a court-martial, which is roughly equivalent to a criminal trial, while 88 others were given nonjudicial or administrative sanctions.

The Army intelligence sergeant subjected to a psychiatric evaluation was serving with Detachment B, 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, and told investigators that he witnessed an escalation of violence against detainees shortly after arriving at the unit's Samarra detention facility in April 2003.

Although his name is not listed in the documents, the episode precisely matches events described publicly last year by California National Guard Sgt. Greg Ford, a former state prison guard and Navy SEAL team medic whose complaints were dismissed by the Army in October 2004 as lacking sufficient evidence. Ford said last night, after hearing what the documents stated, that he is the sergeant described.

The soldier complained that he had had to resuscitate abused detainees and urged the unit's withdrawal. He told investigators that the unit's commander, an Army captain, responded by giving him "30 seconds to withdraw my request or he was going to send me forcibly to go see a psychiatrist." The soldier added: "I told him I was not going to withdraw my request and at that time he confiscated my weapon and informed me he was withdrawing my security clearance and was placing me under 24-hour surveillance."

A witness in his unit told investigators that the captain later pressured a military doctor -- who had found the soldier stable -- into doing another emergency evaluation, saying: "I don't care what you saw or heard, he is imbalanced, and I want him out of here."

The next day, after the doctor did another evaluation, the soldier was evacuated from Iraq in restraints on a stretcher to a military hospital in Germany, despite having been given no official diagnosis, according to the documents. A military doctor in Germany ruled he was in stable mental health, according to the documents, but sent him back to the United States for what the soldier recalls the doctor describing as his "safety."

The soldier depicted the evacuation as part of an effort to cover up wrongdoing. But other members of his team denied the allegations, saying that the unit was professional and that they never saw abusive behavior at the facility. Investigators closed the case without filing charges, writing that the investigation "did not identify any witnesses" to the abuse and did not "produce any logical subjects."

The new documents also describe allegations by a military interrogator, who was not named, that members of Task Force 626 -- an elite U.S. military unit assigned to hunt in Iraq for senior officials in Saddam Hussein's government -- used harsh interrogation tactics and abused detainees at a secret detention facility called Camp Nama in Baghdad in April and May of last year. The Army's criminal investigators turned the investigation over to Special Operations and closed the case; the Special Operations probe concluded the allegations of wrongdoing were unfounded.

In the "Ramadi Madness" case, investigators determined the video "contained footage of inappropriate rather than criminal behavior" and determined that the detainee who was kicked was not abused.

Research editor Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.


< Back  1 2

© 2005 The Washington Post Company