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U.S. Army report details abuse of Afghans-NY Times

Reuters | May 20 2005

Poorly trained? What a whitewash. Rumsfeld's Copper Green torture program instructed the training to be shaped around these disgusting practices. Making people lick boots and then torturing them to death, the new definition of 'spreading freedom'.

WASHINGTON - A confidential U.S. Army report contains graphic details of widespread abuse of detainees in Afghanistan in 2002 carried out by "young and poorly trained soldiers," The New York Times reported on Friday.

The abuse, described along with the details of the deaths of two inmates at the Bagram detention center, emerged from a nearly 2,000-page file of the Army's criminal investigation into the case, the newspaper said.

The Times said it had obtained a copy of the file from a person involved in the investigation who was critical of the methods used at Bagram and the military's response to the deaths.

The report centers on the death of a 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar and that of another detainee, Habibullah, who died at Bagram six days earlier in December 2002.

According to the report, Dilawar was chained by his wrists to the top of his cell for several days before he died and his legs had been pummeled by guards.

"The file depicts young, poorly trained soldiers in repeated incidents of abuse. The harsh treatment, which has resulted in criminal charges against seven soldiers, went well beyond the two deaths," the newspaper said.

In sworn statements to Army investigators, soldiers described mistreatment ranging from a female interrogator stepping on a detainee's neck and kicking another in the genitals to a shackled prisoner being made to kiss the boots of interrogators as he rolled back and forth on the floor of a cell, according to the newspaper.

Another prisoner was made to pick plastic bottle caps out of a drum filled with a mixture of excrement and water to soften him up for interrogation, the report said.

U.S. officials have characterized incidents of prisoner abuse at Bagram in 2002 as isolated problems that were thoroughly investigated, the newspaper said.

"What we have learned through the course of all these investigations is that there were people who clearly violated anyone's standard for humane treatment," Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita told the paper. "We're finding some cases that were not close calls."

The Army's Criminal Investigation Command concluded last October that there was probable cause to charge 27 officers and enlisted personnel with criminal offenses in the Dilawar case and 15 of them were cited in the Habibullah case, the Times said.

Two Army interrogators have been reprimanded and seven soldiers have been charged, the newspaper said. It also said most of those who could still face legal action have denied wrongdoing, either in statements to investigators or in comments to a reporter.

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