[News] Abu Ghraib crimes

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Thu Oct 21 09:04:31 EDT 2004


Soldier says Abu Ghraib interrogators told him to stage mock electrocution

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Thursday October 21, 2004

The Guardian
A US soldier on trial for abusing Iraqi prisoners told a Baghdad court 
martial yesterday that he hooked up wires around a hooded detainee in a 
mock electrocution at the behest of military and civilian intelligence 

Staff Sergeant Ivan "Chip" Frederick, 28, pleaded guilty to five charges 
including assault, indecent acts, mistreatment of detainees, and 
dereliction of duty. He is expected to be sentenced today.

Under an arrangement secured with the prosecution, Sgt Frederick will 
testify at the trials of other soldiers linked to the prisoner abuse 
scandal in return for reducing the gravity of charges against him.

Sgt Frederick, an army reservist, is the second member of the 372nd 
military police to plead guilty in return for lesser charges, and the most 
senior of the seven unit's soldiers charged so far to stand trial.

In his testimony yesterday, he described a prison regime where policy was 
set by military and civilian officials involved in the interrogation of 
prisoners. However, Sgt Frederick played a pivotal role in the events at 
Abu Ghraib.

His experience as a prison guard in civilian life led his superiors to put 
him in charge of the night shift in the main prison block at Abu Ghraib, 
including the tier where the abuse was photographed.

Yesterday, he told the presiding military judge, Colonel James Pohl, that 
he had played a role in constructing one of the most harrowing images of 
the abuse that surfaced last April: the photo of a hooded detainee, 
standing on a box, with wires emerging from his hands.

"I took one and wrapped it around his finger. Sgt [Javal] Davis put one on 
his hand, Spc [Sabrina] Harman one on his toe," Sgt Frederick said.

He said military and civilian interrogators regularly asked prison guards 
to set conditions for detainees, and he believed that officials wanted him 
to scare the prisoner to help with interrogation. However, he had 
misgivings: "I knew it was wrong at the time because I knew it was a form 
of abuse."

He went on to describe his role in other episodes, including the occasion 
when he hit a detainee in the chest with such force that the prisoner 
needed medical attention, and forcing Iraqi prisoners to masturbate in 
front of US soldiers.

He said his command gave him little guidance on the law governing the 
treatment of prisoners. "I had no support when I brought things up to my 
command. They told me to do what [military intelligence] told me to do."
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

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