Air Force Colonel Describes New Claims of Iraqi Torture
In September 2003, Air Force Col. Steven M. Kleinman watched as two colleagues stripped an Iraqi prisoner naked, shackled him and forced him to stand, without moving, in a six-foot cement cell for 12 hours.
Kleinman told the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning that the episode was a result of inexperienced contractors and civilians being allowed to act as interrogators.
"Until their time in Iraq, they had never seen a real-world interrogation," he said, according to The Associated Press.
Kleinman's prepared testimony can be found after the jump:
Kleinman was working with the federal government's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, which sent a team of government officials to Iraq in September 2003 to aid an interrogation task force.
Kleinman said he ordered the interrogators to stop and told his now-retired commander, Col. Randy Moulton, about similar incidents, which he thought violated the Geneva Conventions.
Kleinman said Moulton told him the interrogation techniques had been approved by the Pentagon's general counsel, William J. "Jim" Haynes II, or higher and that he had been told the prisoners were not protected by the Geneva Conventions.
Haynes was the Bush administration official who pledged in June 2003 that the United States would not torture terrorism suspects or treat them cruelly in an attempt to extract information. "All interrogations, wherever they may occur," must be conducted without the use of cruel and inhumane tactics, Haynes wrote to Congress.
Haynes, who resigned in February, later acknowledged pushing for more aggressive interrogation techniques, including the stripping of prisoners, the use of dogs and light deprivation. But he said those decisions were driven by the "administration's fear of more terrorist strikes."
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