Saturday, May 22, 2004



A military lawyer for a soldier charged in the Abu Ghraib abuse case testified that a captain at the Baghdad prison said the highest-ranking U.S. military officer in Iraq was present during some "interrogations and/or allegations of the prisoner abuse," according to a recording of a military hearing obtained by The Washington Post.

The lawyer said he was told that Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez and other senior military officers were aware of what was taking place on Tier 1A of Abu Ghraib. The lawyer, Capt. Robert Shuck, also said a sergeant at the prison was prepared to testify that intelligence officers told him the abuse of detainees on the cellblock was "the right thing to do."


A Defense Department spokesman today referred questions about Sanchez to U.S. military officials in the Middle East, cautioning that statements by defense lawyers or their clients should be treated with "appropriate caution." Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the senior military spokesman in Iraq, said Sanchez was unavailable for comment last night but would "enjoy the opportunity" to respond later.

At the April hearing, Shuck also said Reese would testify that Capt. Carolyn A. Wood, who supervised the military intelligence operation at Abu Ghraib, was "involved in intensive interrogations of detainees, condoned some of the activities and stressed that that was standard procedure, what the accused was doing," Shuck said in the hearing, which was held at Camp Victory in Baghdad. The Post obtained a transcript of the hearing today.

In the transcript, Shuck said Reese was disturbed by the military intelligence techniques.

"They said that there were some strange (inaudible) by the MI [military intelligence]," Shuck said. "They said, 'What's all this nudity about, this posturing, positioning, withholding food and water? Where's the Geneva Conventions being followed


"We intend to seek immunity for a myriad of officers who are unwilling to participate in the search for the truth without protecting themselves," Myers said today.