Iraq scandal: Red Cross rebuffs Bush comments, says U.S. prisoner abuse was broad, ''not individual acts''
The international Red Cross saw U.S. military intelligence officers routinely mistreating prisoners under interrogation during a visit to Abu Ghraib prison last October, according to a report by the agency published on Monday.
President Bush has said the mistreatment "was the wrongdoing of a few," but the report by the International Committee of the Red Cross indicates that U.S. prisoner abuse was broad and part of a system, "not individual acts."
"ICRC delegates directly witnessed and documented a variety of methods used to secure the cooperation of the persons deprived of their liberty with their interrogators," said the internal report, confirmed by the ICRC as authentic after it was published by the Wall Street Journal on Monday.
The delegates saw how detainees were kept "completely naked in totally empty concrete cells and in total darkness," the report said. It said it found evidence backing prisoners' claims of other forms of abuse during arrest, initial detention and interrogation.
Among the evidence were burns, bruises and other wounds consistent with the abuse prisoners described, the report said.
The report said the abuses included brutality, hooding, humiliation and threats of "imminent execution."
"These methods of physical and psychological coercion were used by the military intelligence in a systematic way to gain confessions and extract information and other forms of cooperation from persons who had been arrested in connection with suspected security offenses or deemed to have an 'intelligence value.'"
The report described how male prisoners were forced to parade around in women's underwear. It said the information obtained "suggested the use of ill-treatment against persons deprived of their liberty went beyond exceptional cases and might be considered a practice tolerated by" occupation forces. (Albawaba.com)
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