Another Abu Ghraib?
Time Magazine | September 26, 2005
By ADAM ZAGORIN
Captain Ian Fishback, a West Point grad who served in the Army's élite 82nd Airborne Division and is currently in special- forces training, spent 17 months trying to get his superiors to look into allegations of serious prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan. But on the same day that his claims were first made public last week by TIME, the Army stepped up its official inquiry into his charges--by giving him "the third degree," says a source close to the criminal investigation. Under intense pressure, the source says, Fishback refused to identify two unnamed sergeants, who corroborate some of his allegations in a new Human Rights Watch report but fear reprisal as whistle-blowers.
The charges of abuse--which center on Camp Mercury, near Fallujah, but include incidents at Tiger Base, near the Iraq-Syria border, and in Afghanistan--allegedly occurred in 2003 and '04, before and during the Army's investigation into the Abu Ghraib scandal. In addition to the claims of sheer brutality at Camp Mercury--in one alleged incident, a cook blew off some steam by breaking a detainee's leg with a metal bat--there are several similarities to Abu Ghraib, located a few miles away, which include alleged picture taking, detainees being forced into (albeit clothed) human pyramids and low-ranking soldiers claiming they were ordered by military-intelligence personnel to beat prisoners daily.
Fishback, who reported his charges of abuse to three G.O.P. Senators, emphasized what he regards as an undeniable failure of leadership and lack of accountability in the U.S. military. The Human Rights Watch report quotes Fishback as saying, "It is infuriating to me that officers are not lined up to accept responsibility for what happened." To date, the Army says it has investigated more than 400 allegations of detainee mistreatment since Abu Ghraib--and more than 230 of its personnel have been dealt with through courts-martial and nonjudicial punishments--but has yet to find senior officers culpable. -