Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal

Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal

Background

The Taguba Report (May 2004) is the common name of an official Army Regulation 15-6 military inquiry conducted in 2004 into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse by United States military forces in Iraq.

In his Findings of Fact, Major General Taguba wrote:

“That between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees. This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military police guard force (372nd Military Police Company, 320th Military Police Battalion, 800th MP Brigade), in Tier (section) 1-A of the Abu Ghraib Prison (BCCF). The allegations of abuse were substantiated by detailed witness statements (ANNEX 26) and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence…In addition to the aforementioned crimes, there were also abuses committed by members of the 325th MI Battalion, 205th MI Brigade, and Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center (JIDC). Specifically, on 24 November 2003, [name redacted] , 205th MI Brigade, sought to degrade a detainee by having him strip and returned to cell naked. (ANNEXES 26 and 53)”.

In addition he found:

“…that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:
a. (S) Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet;
b. (S) Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees;
c. (S) Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;
d. (S) Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;
e. (S) Forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear;
f. (S) Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;
g. (S) Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;
h. (S) Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture;
i. (S) Writing “I am a Rapest” (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked;
j. (S) Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee’s neck and having a female Soldier pose for a picture;
k. (S) A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee;
l. (S) Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee;
m. (S) Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees. (ANNEXES 25 and 26)”

The Taguba Report

The Taguba Report [3,367 Pages] – PDF 1 | PDF 2 | PDF 3 | PDF 4 | PDF 5 | PDF 6

The Taguba Report – Annexes (Partial release)

Donald Rumsfeld Visit to Abu Ghraib

On May 13, 2004, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Abu Ghraib prison.  He stated that whomever was responsible for the atrocities that occurred there, they would be brought to justice.

Intrigued by the event, I was interested in documents relating to his visit. So, on May 18, 2004, I requested all documents from the Department of Defense, related to his visit.

I did not know it then, but I would wait more than 11 YEARS for the documents to be reviewed and released.  But, what I also did not realize, was that it would be ANOTHER FIFTEEN MONTHS before I would find out — the DOD sent my response to the wrong address.

I did check in from time to time, asking for updates relating to my request. However, I never got any updates. When I finally stopped asking, and requested the FOIA Case Processing notes on September 14, 2016, I was contacted by the DOD with the following note:

Good morning Mr. Greenewald,

We have received your request for the case processing notes for 04-F-1563. I was concerned by your statement that you never received a response, particularly because I recall signing this case. It was one of our ten oldest last year so I remember it fairly well.

We did close you request in June of 2015, however, it appears your final response was mailed to the incorrect address. The AO for the case will send you a copy of the response letter and the responsive documents electronically.

Please accept our apologies and let me know if we can do anything else for you on this matter.

Thankfully, the office at the DOD sent me the responsive documents electronically (now available below). And by looking at their letter — they sent these records to the Associated Press (AP) in June of 2015.  I am glad I kept pushing for answers – or I would’ve been a REALLY old man before I figured out what happened.

Although not the longest I have waited for documents to come, it’s up there. But what is strange, is why would it take so long? There were only 12 pages that required review. That is almost 1 year PER PAGE by the time I got the documents in my hands. In addition, the redactions are all (b)(6) exemptions, which means they are names or it’s information redacted that is an invasion of personal privacy, if released. Those are pretty easy to determine, and should take a year per page.

I have requested the case processing note – and am eager to see what happened with this. But alas, the documents are finally here, and ready to download:

Declassified DOD Documents

Donald Rumsfeld Visit to Abu Ghraib Documents [15 Pages, 2.7MB]

FOIA Case 04-F-1563 Processing Notes [45 Pages, 12.1MB] – Since the case took 11+ years to process, it’s always interesting to see the progression of how the documents were handled and ultimately declassified.

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