Friday, June 11, 2004

Sanchez or Pappas or Miller in the Doghouse?

From the Senate Hearing on May 19:
REED: General Sanchez, today's USA Today, sir, reported that you ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison. Is that correct?

SANCHEZ: Sir, that may be correct that it's in a news article, but I never approved any of those measures to be used within CJTF-7 at any time in the last year.

REED: Excuse me. Because I want to get back to this. It may be correct that you ordered those methods used against a prisoner. Is that your answer?

SANCHEZ: No, sir, that's not what I said. I said it may be correct...

REED: Well, I didn't hear; that's why I want...

SANCHEZ: ... that it's printed in an article, but I have never approved the use of any of those methods within CJTF-7 in the 12.5 months that I've been in Iraq.

From Today's Washington Post:
Sgts. Michael J. Smith and Santos A. Cardona, Army dog handlers assigned to Abu Ghraib, told investigators that military intelligence personnel requested that they bring their dogs to prison interrogation sites multiple times to assist in questioning detainees in December and January. Col. Thomas M. Pappas, who was in charge of military intelligence at the prison, told both soldiers that the use of dogs in interrogations had been approved, according to the statements.

"I have talked to Col. Papus [sic] and he said it was good to go," Smith told an investigator on Jan. 23.

* * *

In Army memos regarding interrogation techniques at the prison, the use of military working dogs was specifically allowed -- as long as higher-ranking officers approved the measures. According to one military intelligence memo obtained by The Post, the officer in charge of the military intelligence-run interrogation center at the prison had to approve the use of dogs in interrogations. There is no explanation in the memo of what parameters would have to be in place -- for example, whether the dogs would be muzzled or unmuzzled -- or what the dogs would be allowed to do. The Army previously has said that the commanding general of U.S. troops in Iraq -- Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez -- would have had to approve the use of dogs.

This all comes out immediately after Lt. Gen. Sanchez asked that a higher-ranking official take over the investigation so that he could be questioned about his role in the prison abuse (see this CNN article)

In an earlier story, the WP quotes Col. Pappas as saying that Gen. Miller did in fact approve the use of dogs (from Taguba's report--apparently Pappas's statement is in the 2,000 pages that the Pentagon failed to deliver to Congress (see this NYT story)--although this Reuters story claims the Army now certifies that the Senate now has a "true and accurate copy of the report")
"It was a technique I had personally discussed with General Miller, when he was here" visiting the prison, testified Pappas, head of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade and the officer placed in charge of the cellblocks at Abu Ghraib prison where abuses occurred in the wake of Miller's visit to Baghdad between Aug. 30 and Sept. 9, 2003.

"He said that they used military working dogs at Gitmo [the nickname for Guantanamo Bay], and that they were effective in setting the atmosphere for which, you know, you could get information" from the prisoners, Pappas told the Army investigator, Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, according to a transcript provided to The Washington Post.

* * *

After calling the use of dogs Miller's idea, Pappas explained that "in the execution of interrogation, and the interrogation business in general, we are trying to get info from these people. We have to act in an environment not to permanently damage them, or psychologically abuse them, but we have to assert control and get detainees into a position where they're willing to talk to us."

Pappas added that it "would never be my intent that the dog be allowed to bite or in any way touch a detainee or anybody else." He said he recalled speaking to one dog handler and telling him "they could be used in interrogations" anytime according to terms spelled out in a Sept. 14, 2003, memo signed by Sanchez.

That memo included the use of dogs among techniques that did not require special approval. The policy was changed on Oct. 12 to require Sanchez's approval on a case-by-case basis for certain techniques, including having "military working dogs" present during interrogations.

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