New Torture Memo Implicates Top US General
A newly released memo shows that US General Ricardo Sanchez authorized illegal interrogation techniques in Iraq just months before the Abu Ghraib abuses. Colin Powell, meanwhile, regrets misinforming the UN about Iraq WMDs.
Spiegel" - - A newly released memo shows that US General Ricardo Sanchez authorized illegal interrogation techniques in Iraq just months before the Abu Ghraib abuses. Colin Powell, meanwhile, regrets misinforming the UN about Iraq WMDs.
General Ricardo Sanchez, commander of US forces in Iraq during the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, authorized interrogation techniques that included putting prisoners in stressful physical positions and changing sleep patterns, according to a internal US memo made public by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Tuesday. The memo, dating from September 2003, provided a detailed list of 29 techniques used to interrogate Iraqi detainees. And each, disturbingly, came with a creepy title. "We Know All," for example, referred to the practice of convincing prisoners that the interviewer already knows all the answers. "Presence of Military Working Dogs" indicated the use of muzzled military dogs to "exploit Arab fear of dogs while maintaining security during interrogations." The ACLU claims that at least 12 of the techniques, including the use of dogs, "far exceeded limits established by the Army's own Field Manual" and also violated international standards for handling prisoners.
The memo didn't remain in force for long and was rescinded after a month because of objections raised by military lawyers over its legality. Nevertheless, ACLU lawyer Amrit Singh said in a statement, "General Sanchez authorized interrogation techniques that were in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and the army's own standards." Sanchez has defended himself by saying that the memo required advance permission for the use of any of the outlined techniques and that he never granted that permission.
The memo, which the ACLU was able to make public only after filing legal papers against the Department of Defense, is the latest piece of information to come forward in the long-running torture scandal that has severely bruised the image of the US abroad. The ACLU is currently involved in a lawsuit against Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accusing him of partial responsibility for Abu Ghraib and other prison torture incidents.
At the same time, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell has made some surprisingly revealing remarks in an interview with Germany's Stern magazine published on Wednesday. "We were sometimes too loud, too direct, perhaps we made too much noise," Powell told the magazine. "That certainly shocked the Europeans sometimes." In the interview, he also expressed regret over the speech he gave at the UN in February 2003 that made the US case for war based on information on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction -- information that later turned out to be almost entirely false. Powell said he was "furious and angry" that the information turned out to be wrong. "Hundreds of millions followed it on television. I will always stand there as the one who presented it. I have to live with that." (2:30 p.m. CET)
Copyright: Der Spiegel
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