Magazine: U.S. Soldier Says Torture Encouraged
BERLIN (Reuters) – A U.S. soldier expected to plead guilty to charges of abusing Iraqi prisoners told a German magazine he deeply regretted his actions but said the abuses were encouraged by military intelligence services.

Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick told the weekly Der Spiegel conditions in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib jail were a “nightmare” with no clear line of command and conflicting demands placed on junior soldiers with insufficient training.

“I didn’t know at all who was actually in charge,” he said, according to a German translation of his remarks.

“The battalion wanted one thing from you, the company wanted something else and the secret service had their own ideas. It was just chaos,” he said.

The abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib caused worldwide outrage when photographs of the incidents emerged earlier this year.

A special army investigation acknowledged last week that torture had occurred and more soldiers may face trial, although so far only Frederick and six other military police reservists serving at Abu Ghraib have been charged.

Frederick said after a pretrial hearing in Germany last week he would plead guilty to some charges including assault, cruelty and indecent acts at a court martial on October 20.

“I want to apologize to the victims and their families. And in the trial, I will accept responsibility for my actions. But I hope others will follow my example,” he said.

He said a notorious incident in which he was involved where naked Iraqi prisoners were photographed piled up into a pyramid occurred after a female U.S. soldier was struck in the face with a stone by a prisoner.

“First we searched them, got them stripped naked and then pushed them into this pyramid — and then everything got out of control,” he said. “One of the methods was to humiliate them so that they would break down and talk.” full article

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