on pictures to enlarge
unmuzzled dog appears to be used to frighten a detainee at
Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Two military dog handlers told
investigators that intelligence
personnel ordered them to use dogs to intimidate prisoners.
Iraqi detainee appears to be restrained after having suffered
injuries to both legs at Abu Ghraib.
It is unclear whether his injuries were from dog bites.
US soldier gives the "thumbs up" sign as she appears
to be stitching up a prisoner's leg wound.
It is unclear whether the injury was from a dog bite.
torture and abuse pictures here
A military intelligence interrogator also told investigators
that two dog handlers at Abu Ghraib were "having a
contest" to see how many detainees they could make
involuntarily urinate out of fear of the dogs, according to the
previously undisclosed statements obtained by The Washington Post.
The statements by the dog handlers provide the clearest indication
yet that military intelligence personnel were deeply involved in
tactics later deemed by a U.S. Army general to be "sadistic,
blatant and wanton criminal abuses."
President Bush and top Pentagon officials have said the criminal
abuse at Abu Ghraib was confined to a small group of rogue
military police soldiers who stripped detainees naked, beat them
and photographed them in humiliating sexual poses. An Army
investigation into the abuse condemned the MPs for those
practices, but also included the use of unmuzzled dogs to frighten
detainees among the "intentional abuse."
So far, the only charges to emerge have been against seven MPs and
do not include any dog incidents, even though such use of dogs is
an apparent violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Army's
field manual. The military intelligence officer in charge of Abu
Ghraib later told investigators that the use of unmuzzled dogs in
interrogation sessions was recommended by a two-star general and
that it was "okay."
The newly obtained documents reinforce the picture that the abuse
falls into two categories: sexual humiliation and beatings at the
hands of MPs, and intimidation using dogs that is clearly tied to
military intelligence. The sexual abuse happened weeks and even
months before the dog incidents, some of which appear to be part
of an organized strategy by military intelligence to scare
detainees into talking, according to the statements.
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.
Neither Smith nor Cardona has been charged in connection with the
abuse at Abu Ghraib. "It's all under investigation,"
said Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman.
The men could not be reached yesterday to comment. Two officers at
the U.S. Army Trial Defense Service said that a military lawyer
has been assigned to Cardona and that a message seeking a comment
would be relayed to the attorney. The officers said they did not
know whether a lawyer from the Army's defense service had been
assigned to represent Smith.
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.
Human rights experts said the use of dogs at Abu Ghraib violates
longstanding tenets regulating the treatment of prisoners and
civilians under the control of an occupying force, including the
Army's field manual, which prohibits "acts of violence or
intimidation" by American soldiers.
"Using dogs to frighten and intimidate prisoners is a
violation of the Geneva Convention," said Elisa Massimino,
Washington director of Human Rights First, an international
organization based in New York. "It's a violation of U.S.
policy as stated in the Army field manual, and it's a violation of
the prohibition against cruel treatment."
The dog teams at Abu Ghraib were part of a security detail that
also searched for weapons, explosives and contraband. The general
in charge of military prisons in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib, said
the dog teams were under the control of military intelligence but
had no training or experience in helping with interrogations.
Cardona's dog, a tan Belgian Malinois named Duco, was trained to
be part of a narcotics and patrol team. Cardona told investigators
he also helped military intelligence with two interrogations and
later was summoned by military police to draw information out of a
detainee on Tier 1 of the prison, site of the worst documented
Smith said military intelligence personnel asked him to instill
fear in detainees. He said that he would bring his dog, a black
Belgian shepherd named Marco, to the tier specifically to scare
prisoners after they were pulled out of their cells. At the behest
of interrogators, he said, in some cases he would bring the
barking dog to within six inches of the prisoners.
"Is using the dog in this manner an allowable tool by the MI
interrogators?" an investigator asked Smith.
"Yes," he replied.
The dog handlers arrived at Abu Ghraib in late November, sometime
after the abuse of detainees had been captured in photographs,
including the images of the naked human pyramid and forced
Master-at-Arms 1st Class William J. Kimbro, a Navy dog handler,
said he was summoned to Tier 1 one night in November to help
search a cell for explosives using his dog, Nicky, a black and tan
Belgian Malinois. Earlier that night -- records indicate it was
Nov. 24 -- a prisoner had allegedly been found with a weapon. When
Kimbro and Nicky concluded the search, they were called to the
second floor of the cellblock to search another cell.
"There was a bunch of yelling going on in the cell and my dog
started going ape," Kimbro told investigators, adding that
interrogators were yelling at a detainee in the corner. "I
remember one of the males saying to the detainee, if the detainee
did not provide the information the guy was asking about, then he
would have me let . . . my dog go on him."
Kimbro said he was surprised by the comment and tried to calm
Nicky down. He soon left, he said, upset that interrogators had
tried to use his dog as an interrogation tool.
"I was leaving because this is not what my dog is trained
for," Kimbro said in one of three statements he provided to
investigators. "We do not use our dogs for interrogation
Kimbro was singled out for praise in Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba's
report about abuse at the prison for refusing "to participate
in improper interrogations despite significant pressure from the
MI personnel at Abu Ghraib."
Smith and Cardona said they complied with the MI requests because
they believed the tactics had been approved by Pappas, the
military intelligence officer in charge of the prison. They told
investigators that they spent time on the cellblocks, allowing
their dogs to bark at the detainees.
They said a non-commissioned officer from military intelligence
approached them in mid-December.
"He asked us if we could use our dogs for interrogation
purposes," Cardona said in a statement. "They were
trying to get it cleared. We went outside and saw Col. Pappas. He
told us MI wanted to use the dogs for interrogations and he told
us that they had received permission to use dogs in an
Smith recalled the same conversation, saying he spoke with Pappas
in the parking lot the night after Saddam Hussein was captured --
Dec. 14. He said he was told that the use of the dogs was
Later that night, the two dog handlers took their dogs to an
interrogation booth holding a detainee. Interrogators told them
the dogs did not need to be muzzled, they said.
"When we got to the room the detainee was sitting in the
doorway, with his feet in the doorway and the door was open,"
Smith said. "My dog and Sgt. Cardona's dog were both barking
at the detainee and we never got closer than 18 inches. Neither
dog had a muzzle on."
Also in mid-December, the dog handlers said they were asked by one
of the MPs, Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II, for
help in dealing with an uncooperative detainee. Part of what
followed was captured in photographs that have come to define the
abuse at Abu Ghraib: A naked prisoner was up against a wall, two
dogs squaring off against him.
The detainee, identified in the documents as Ballendia Sadawi
Mohammed, said he was suddenly snatched from his bed in cell No. 5
one night and sent into the hallway handcuffed.
"They sent the dogs toward me. I was scared," Mohammed
told investigators. "The first dog bit my leg and injured me
there and this was bad luck. The bite from the first dog caused me
to have 12 stitches from the doctor of my left leg as a result I
lost a lot of blood."
Spec. Sabrina D. Harman, a member of the 372nd Military Police
Company, said she saw the incident and said the detainee was
bitten after he tried to run from the dog and was cornered.
Cardona, whose dog apparently bit the detainee twice, once on each
leg, justified letting his dog go to the end of its leash because
he believed the detainee was fighting with Spec. Charles A. Graner
Military investigative records show that Frederick and Graner were
key participants in the abuse. Harman, who said she saw two other
inmates with dog bites around late December, also has been
In early January, Cardona said, he used his dog during an
interrogation at the "Wood" facility at Abu Ghraib, a
collection of wooden interrogation booths set up behind the
prison. Cardona said a non-commissioned military intelligence
officer asked him to bring his dog into a booth and make it bark
to scare the prisoner.
"I asked him if he wanted Duco to be in a muzzle and he said
no," Cardona told investigators. "We went into the booth
and there was a detainee in the booth with a bag over his head.
Duco barked at him for about two or three minutes and they were
asking the detainee questions."
On Jan. 13, Spec. John Harold Ketzer, a military intelligence
interrogator, saw a dog team corner two male prisoners against a
wall, one prisoner hiding behind the other and screaming, he later
"When I asked what was going on in the cell, the handler
stated that he was just scaring them, and that he and another of
the handlers was having a contest to see how many detainees they
could get to urinate on themselves," Ketzer said.
Research editor Margot Williams contributed to this report.
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