Reprimand of Guantanamo Chief Urged, Nixed


Associated Press

July 12, 2005

WASHINGTON — A military investigation into FBI reports of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, recommended that the base's former commander be reprimanded, but a top general rejected the recommendation, according to a congressional aide familiar with the probe's findings.

Investigators recommended that Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller be reprimanded for failing to oversee the interrogation of a high-value detainee, which was found to have been abusive, said the aide.

But Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, commander of U.S. Southern Command, instead referred the matter to the Army's inspector general, said the aide said, who described the still unreleased report on the condition of anonymity.

Craddock concluded that Miller did not violate any U.S. laws or policies, the report said, according to the aide.

The investigation also found that interrogators violated the Geneva Convention and Army regulations three times at the base, the aide said.

The aide described the report on condition of anonymity because the Pentagon has not released it.

The investigation also found that interrogators' behavior did not reach the level of torture or inhumane treatment, although it described instances of abuse or inappropriate actions by interrogators, according to the aide's description.

The investigation was conducted by Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt and Army Brig. Gen. John T. Furlow after FBI agents' allegations of abuse at Guantanamo surfaced last year.

FBI agents at Guantanamo alleged that interrogators placed lit cigarettes in prisoners' ears and shackled them into a fetal positions for hours, forcing them to soil themselves.

Craddock, Schmidt and Furlow were set to brief the Senate Armed Services Committee on their findings on Wednesday.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the congressional aide and another U.S. official, the report found:

* Female interrogators inappropriately touched detainees. Investigators documented that a woman in one case smeared what she described as menstrual blood -- it was fake -- on a prisoner, but they recommended no further action on the allegation because it happened some time ago.

* An interrogator put perfume on a detainee. The investigation recommended that interrogators no longer use such actions to pressure prisoners.

* Interrogators also threatened one high-value prisoner by saying they would go after his family. This was in violation of U.S. military law, the investigation found.

* Military interrogators impersonated FBI and State Department agents to prisoners. This practice was stopped after the FBI complained.

* Interrogators improperly used duct tape on a detainee. An FBI agent said a prisoner was bound on the head with duct tape, his mouth covered, because he was chanting verse from the Quran.

* Interrogators used cold, heat, loud music and sleep deprivation on prisoners to break their will to resist interrogation. These techniques were approved at certain times at Guantanamo.

* Chaining a detainee to the floor in a fetal position was not authorized; however, the investigation could not confirm an FBI agent's allegation that detainees were left in this positions for long periods to soil themselves.

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Associated Press writer Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.