An Army intelligence sergeant who accused fellow soldiers in Samarra, Iraq, of abusing detainees in 2003 was in turn accused by his commander of being delusional and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in Germany, despite a military psychiatrist’s initial judgment that the man was stable, according to internal Army records released yesterday.
The soldier had angered his commander by urging the unit’s redeployment from the military base to prevent what the soldier feared would be the death of one or more detainees under interrogation, according to the documents. He told his commander three members of the counterintelligence team had hit detainees, pulled their hair, tried to asphyxiate them and staged mock executions with pistols pointed at the detainees’ heads.
The soldier complained that he had had to resuscitate abused detainees and urged the unit’s withdrawal. He told investigators that the unit’s commander, an Army captain, responded by giving him “30 seconds to withdraw my request or he was going to send me forcibly to go see a psychiatrist.” The soldier added: “I told him I was not going to withdraw my request and at that time he confiscated my weapon and informed me he was withdrawing my security clearance and was placing me under 24-hour surveillance.”
A witness in his unit told investigators that the captain later pressured a military doctor — who had found the soldier stable — into doing another emergency evaluation, saying: “I don’t care what you saw or heard, he is imbalanced, and I want him out of here.”
The next day, after the doctor did another evaluation, the soldier was evacuated from Iraq in restraints on a stretcher to a military hospital in Germany, despite having been given no official diagnosis, according to the documents. A military doctor in Germany ruled he was in stable mental health, according to the documents, but sent him back to the United States for what the soldier recalls the doctor describing as his “safety.”
Attorney General Abu Al Gonzales sez – Hey -a little torure, a few war crimes – it’s to be expected, particularly after the president signed that executive order I prepared for him authorizing the use of torture.
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, asked about detainee abuse yesterday on CNN’s “Wolf Blitzer Reports,” said he was not surprised. Gonzales said that he presumed the military used lawful interrogation techniques but that “sometimes people do things that they shouldn’t do. People are imperfect . . . and so the fact that abuses occur, they’re unfortunate but I’m not sure that they should be viewed as surprising.”
In New York, ACLU staff attorney Jameel Jaffer said the new files “provide further evidence that abuse of detainees was widespread.” He added: “In light of the hundreds of abuses that we now know to have taken place, it is increasingly difficult to understand why no senior official, civilian or military, has been held accountable.” The ACLU has called for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel and for Congress to hold hearings on the abuse.