From Human Rights Watch
Abusive Techniques Were Authorized, Soldiers' Complaints Ignored
(New York, July 23, 2006) – Torture and other abuses against detainees in
U.S. custody in Iraq were authorized and routine, even after the 2004 Abu
Ghraib scandal, according to new accounts from soldiers in a Human
Rights Watch report released today. The new report, containing first-hand
accounts by U.S. military personnel interviewed by Human Rights Watch,
details detainee abuses at an off-limits facility at Baghdad airport and at
other detention centers throughout Iraq.
In the 53-page report, "No Blood, No Foul: Soldiers' Accounts of
Detainee Abuse in Iraq," soldiers describe how detainees were routinely
subjected to severe beatings, painful stress positions, severe sleep
deprivation, and exposure to extreme cold and hot temperatures. The
accounts come from interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch,
supplemented by memoranda and sworn statements contained in
"Soldiers were told that the Geneva Conventions did not apply, and that
interrogators could use abusive techniques to get detainees to talk," said
John Sifton, the author of the report and the senior researcher on terrorism
and counterterrorism at Human Rights Watch. "These accounts rebut U.S.
government claims that torture and abuse in Iraq was unauthorized and
exceptional – on the contrary, it was condoned and commonly used."
The accounts reveal that detainee abuse was an established and apparently
authorized part of the detention and interrogation processes in Iraq for
much of 2003-2005. They also suggest that soldiers who sought to report
abuse were rebuffed or ignored.
The Human Rights Watch report comes at a time when Bush
administration officials and congressional leaders are hotly debating the
applicability of the Geneva Conventions to detainee treatment. The report
provides vivid demonstration of the abuses that result when these basic
international standards are ignored.
U.S.: Soldiers Tell of Detainee Abuse in Iraq