Use of military dogs at Abu Ghraib approved by intelligence: report

Published on May 25, 2004 08:01 PM IST

The use of dogs to intimidate prisoners during interrogation at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was among the several aggressive measures approved by US military intelligence officers, though not by senior military commanders, even as officials demanded limits on Red Cross access to detainees.

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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, New York

The use of dogs to intimidate prisoners during interrogation at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was among the several aggressive measures approved by US military intelligence officers, though not by senior military commanders, even as officials demanded limits on Red Cross access to detainees, a media report said today.

Documents gathered by US Army investigators and obtained by the 'New York Times' reveal dog handlers at the prison said the use of dogs was approved by Col. Thomas M Pappas, the commander of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade.

Earlier, Pentagon and Army officials had said that only the top American commander, Lt. Gen Ricardo S. Sanchez, could have approved the use of animals.

A "memorandum for the record" issued on October 9 by the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Centre at the prison listed as permissible a number of interrogation procedures that Army officials have said were allowed only with approval from Gen. Sanchez, the paper said.

According to the report of the Times, "Among, other things, the memorandum said the use of dogs in interrogations and the confining of prisoners to isolation cells was permitted in some cases without a prior approval from General Sanchez."

An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) document also said that intelligence officers demanded strict limits on Red Cross access to prisoners as early as last October and had delayed for a day what the military had previously described as an unannounced visit to the cellblock where the worst abuses occurred.

In a November report to army commanders in Iraq that was included in the documents, Red Cross had complained that its inspectors had faced restrictions "at the behest of Military Intelligence".

A Red Cross report not yet made public claimed detainees were "found to be incoherent, anxious and even suicidal, with abnormal symptoms 'provoked by the interrogation period and methods'". 

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