[font=franklin gothic medium]four corners is one of our most respected programs when it comes to investigative journalism. their unrelenting probing and high ethics have caused more than one government to fall. multi award winning, it is the program that politicians here watch.
[font=franklin gothic medium]they just broadcast this program on abu grahib prison and the questions the program asked is "how far up the chain of command does the responsibility go" and "how much did our (australian) goverement know about this?".
[font=franklin gothic medium]make no mistake the abu grahib scandal might just take down the howard goverment here - there are angry mutterings from many many people over this.
[font=franklin gothic medium]because this is a full program transcript i have highlighted the reporter's name so that it is easier to follow.
australian broadcasting corporation
chain of command
four corners follows the chain of command up from the cell-block floor at abu ghraib and assesses the evidence that may implicate the highest levels of the us military.
liz jackson, reporter
: on january 17 this year, iraqi prisoner number 7,787 made the following statements to us army investigators about what had been happening at abu ghraib prison in baghdad.
man: the first night they stripped us naked, they made us get on our hands and knees and they started to pile us up, one on top of each other. they kept beating us and calling us bad names. then they ordered us to hold our penises and stroke it, acting like we were masturbating.
: expecting, maybe, that he would not be believed, the prisoner added...
man: take the photo negative from the night guard and you will find everything i said is true.
the army high command had already seen the photos four days before, and called an inquiry. for months there had been reports of prisoners being abused and tortured and dying under interrogation, but the pictures were evidence they could not afford to ignore or deny.
bob baer, former cia, iraq: they knew about this from the red cross in november and they decided to ignore it until january - till they produced the pictures.
do you think without the pictures...?
bob baer: i think without the pictures, we wouldn't be sitting here. i think people would just say, "i don't believe it. it's just iraqis complaining."
the army's inquiry was confidential, the report produced was secret, but the report and the photos and then the video leaked to the media. seven low-level military guards will be court-martialled as a result, but their families feel that they are the scapegoats.
bill lawson, ivan 'chip' frederick's uncle: the us government's desperately trying to convince you - "oh, they just got crazy. these were perverts. they were out here having a sex party at night-time." but in fact that's not what the latest reports are saying. they're saying that the us government specifically wanted these people humiliated, they wanted the photographs taken and so these guys were following orders.
joann frederick, ivan 'chip' frederick's mother: so we feel he's been made a scapegoat.
joann frederick: for the chain of command.
tonight, four corners reviews the case that the responsibility for these shaming images goes right to the top of the chain of command.
oakland, maryland, on the border with west virginia - a three-hour drive west from washington, dc. this is the home state of the 372nd company of the us army - the reserve unit at the heart of the prisoner abuse scandal. all seven soldiers facing court martials come from the 372nd. their regular jobs before heading for iraq included bagging groceries, selling pizzas and working as prison guards.
folks round here are mostly proud to be southern and christian. many still bear a deep resentment and suspicion of big government in washington, dc.
bill lawson, ivan 'chip' frederick's uncle: they've ran over us here in west virginia for a long time and, of course, all of appalachia they have this stigmatism that, you know, we run around with bare feet and we're all illiterate hillbillies and dirt people and stump-jumpers or whatever you want to call them.
bill lawson is the driving force in his family's campaign to free chip frederick and bring him back home. ivan 'chip' frederick is charged with being a ringleader in the sexual humiliation and physical abuse of iraqi prisoners. he's also bill lawson's nephew.
bill lawson: we're not going to let them steamroll us even though they've got the big machine up there in washington. they're going to have to be responsible for what they did, and they're not gonna take these seven soldiers down if i've got anything to say about it, or our family has anything to say about it, until my last breath.
most days, the frederick family meet up here at the old family home. his dad, red, his mother, joann, his sister, mimi, and bill's wife, vanessa. they talk strategy and tell each other stories about the chip frederick they know.
mimi: say what chip told me today.
bill: what did he tell you?
mimi: he remembers when we shared our room in here, so he was describing the headboard, and he said, "do you remember it had a little hole in it?" he said, "i used to hide my oreo cookies in there!" (chuckles)
bill: yeah, i know. i can remember when he was little and did things, you know, around here. and, you know, you think about those things now, you kind of forget about some of that stuff.
the world knows chip frederick in a different setting - posing in this trophy shot sitting on top of a naked iraqi prisoner. this is the photo the family prefer to post on their 'free chip frederick' website which they set up six weeks ago.
(displays photograph of chip frederick in army uniform with american flag)
when did you get a sense of just how bad it was?
joann frederick, ivan 'chip' frederick's mother: it was after that. it..it.. little bits at a time. then we start hearing on the news that there was prisoners abused and maybe even female detainees raped and that type thing we were hearing, and it just utterly scared us to death. we knew he wouldn't be involved in anything like that.
every friday and saturday night the family get to see chip frederick for an hour or so via a satellite link to iraq, and they can chat via email. he's not been given a date for his court martial yet but the charges have been laid. frederick is charged with wilfully failing to protect detainees from abuse, cruelty and maltreatment, maltreatment of detainees, assaulting detainees, and committing indecent acts. but in the eyes of his family, chip frederick remains a decent man.
but you knew that he was involved in the sexual humiliation of iraqi prisoners?
joann frederick: did i know he was involved? i don't believe he was involved in that. uh...the, um... well, i really don't know how to answer that question. as far as touching them, you mean, actually being involved?
i mean, putting them in positions that people would find humiliating.
joann frederick: oh, i see, i see. well, um, the, uh, one girl - i forget what her name is, the one that poses in the pictures - had said the reason was that if they took pictures like that they could show them to the detainees that were coming in so that...and say, "this is what will happen to you if you don't talk."
what do you think about doing that to people?
joann frederick: i think that probably was legal humiliation.
it was legal?
joann frederick: i think, uh, i think that the geneva convention allows for some of that.
it seems a long time since mother's day last year when chip frederick was called upon as an army reservist to serve his country in iraq, a war the family supports.
bill lawson: you know, we're very conservative. we believe - chip believed - in what he was doing. when his mother said, "can't you get out of going to iraq?", he said, "no, this is part of my responsibility as an american."
joann frederick: i think his idea of the whole thing was "if we can keep it over there it won't be over here."
keep what over there?
joann frederick: the war.
chip frederick arrived in iraq two weeks after george bush announced that major hostilities were over. it's not what he found on the ground. he wrote to his sister on 16 july.
extract from letter written by chip frederick: "dear mimi, they say back home that the war is over. it's not even close to being over. coalition forces are still getting attacked almost daily. one of my patrols got shot at last week with a rocket-propelled grenade. just missed them."
brigadier general mark kimmitt is the spokesman for the coalition forces in iraq.
brigadier general mark kimmitt, deputy director coalition operations, iraq: it was apparent that many of the units that had not been defeated in the war were starting to act up. we started seeing some problems out around the town of falluja and we were getting a number of security internees into the detention facilities. large numbers. there was not an expectation during the war that we would have this large number of internees and when it became apparent that this was a process that we would have to start up, and there were some challenges at that time, we called in the expert. the expert was major general geoff miller.
major general geoffrey miller gained his expertise as the commander of the detention camp at guantanamo bay. he's well known as the man who implemented the new tough rules for interrogation approved by the white house in april 2003 for the so-called 'illegal combatants', deemed by president bush to fall outside the protection of the geneva convention. human rights organisations took exception to general miller's regime.
ken roth, president, human rights watch: my concern with general miller in particular is that he seems to represent a roving regime of lawless interrogation. when he was at guantanamo, he was the one who initiated a 72-point matrix of stress interrogation techniques that were permitted - ranging from prolonged sleep deprivation, to stripping detainees naked under interrogation, hooding them, subjecting them to extremes of heat, cold, light, noise - a range of abuses like painful positioning that are clearly illegal. they violate the convention against torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
(footage of us senate, 7 may 2004 plays)
senator daniel akaka, democrat, hawaii: the principal focus of major general miller's team was on the strategic interrogation of detainees in iraq.
so whose idea was it to send general miller to iraq?
senator daniel akaka: is that secretary cambone's view too? he's behind you. can he respond?
donald rumsfeld, us secretary of defense: certainly. respond.
stephen cambone is donald rumsfeld's under secretary of defense for intelligence. steve cambone recently told the senate that he asked general miller to go to improve the flow of intelligence from prisoners in iraq.
stephen cambone, under secretary of defense for intelligence: and he was asked to go over, in my encouragement, to take a look at the situation as it existed there. and he made his recommendations.
was there a feeling that you were not getting information that was needed from the people who were being held at abu ghraib?
brigadier general mark kimmitt: i think there was an understanding that what we were trying to do was optimise the process of detention in interrogation well within the rules of engagement, well within the rules of the geneva convention, well within the practices of international law.
general miller arrived at abu ghraib at the beginning of september 2003. after just 10 days on the ground, he and his team produced a controversial set of recommendations, explicitly using as baselines procedures established at guantanamo bay. his first step was to recommend that a small group of military police should be dedicated to guarding just those prisoners regarded as 'high value' or 'security detainees' - those housed in the cells here, in the now notorious tier 1a.
in early october, ivan 'chip' frederick was transferred to abu ghraib to become one of these dedicated guards at tier 1a.
he was put in a leadership position.
joann frederick: yes.
why do you think that was?
joann frederick: um, i'm not sure. uh, i know that...
: because he'd been a prison officer, or...?
joann frederick: pardon me?
because he'd been a prison officer?
joann frederick: because he was a corrections officer. that's what...that was their theory. and he should know how to run a prison because that was his civilian job.
general miller reported to the coalition high command that it was essential the guards at tier 1a should be "actively engaged in setting the conditions for the successful interrogation and exploitation of internees/detainees". this included the guards taking directions from military intelligence officers, who actually conducted the interrogations at the jail.
(footage from us senate, 19 may 2004 plays)
senator john mccain, republican, arizona: general miller's report, as i understand it, had observations and recommendations.
in recent senate hearings, senator john mccain quoted from guards at tier 1a who'd been asked on oath how this panned out on the ground.
senator john mccain: soldier number one. question - "have you ever been directed by the mi, military intelligence personnel, or any government agency to soften up a prisoner prior to interrogation?"
answer - "yes. sometimes they'd ask me to show a prisoner 'special attention'."
soldier number two - "have you ever been told by mi personnel to work over a prisoner?"
"yes, mi told us to rough them up to get answers from the prisoners."
soldier number three - "have you heard mi insinuate to guards to abuse inmates of any type of manner?"
"what was said?"
answer - "they said, 'loosen this guy up for us. make sure he has a bad night, make sure he gets the treatment.'"
you see my point, major general miller?
major general miller told the senate this was not what he'd meant when he said that military police guards should be "actively engaged in setting the conditions for interrogation".
major general geoffrey miller: the recommendation was that they conduct passive intelligence-gathering during this process. and by that, that meant to observe the detainees, to see how their behaviour was, to see who they would speak with and then to report that to the interrogators so the interrogators could better understand the attitude, with human dynamic of the detainee as he would come into the interrogation booth.
this has now become the official us army line.
brigadier general mark kimmitt, deputy director coalition operations, iraq: there were some accepted passive techniques that the military police could use to assist in, uh, the interrogation process.
so you're saying that he was... the phrase that they should be 'actively engaged' actually meant that they should indulge in passive techniques?
brigadier general mark kimmitt: uh, that has been misinterpreted by some people, yes. you're exactly right. uh, their techniques should be passive but their roles should be active.
when chip frederick emailed his sister, he described his new role as a military police guard, and told her about his new friends in military intelligence, who let him watch them at work.
extract from email written by chip frederick: "hey mimi, how is everything going? things here are about the same. it is very interesting to watch them interrogate these people. i have made some really close friends. they usually don't allow others to watch them interrogate but since they like the way i run the prison, they make an exception. we have a special housing unit where they house the inmates they interrogate. we have had a close bond with them since we help getting them to talk with the way we handle them. we've had a very high rate with our style of getting them to break. they usually end up breaking within hours."
they always told him, "you're doing a fine job. just go back and do what you've been doing. it's fine, it's fine."
bill lawson: the chain of command and mi wanted results, and these six gis gave them results with the photographs. of course, it got a little bit out of hand.
brigadier general janis karpinski was the commander of all prisons in iraq at the time the photographs were taken. here, she's showing reporters around abu ghraib late last year when hidden inside tier 1a, the abuse was rife. she's the most senior officer suspended as a result of the scandal, faulted for failing to pay sufficient attention to what was happening at abu ghraib. she feels she is being scapegoated for the mistakes of others, that general miller's recommendations bred a culture of abuse. her lawyer is neal puckett.
neal puckett, lawyer for brigadier general janis karpinski: we don't believe that general miller suggested any illegal activities or any illegal techniques be used. more likely is the fact that after his visit, after he encouraged that among the military intelligence personnel to use the mps, we think they did that. and we think that over a period of time we went from working inside the box to working outside the box and expanding and using a little bit of creativity in terms of what they'd asked the military police to do.
that period of time is a short period of time. i mean, his visit happens in september and by october and november the kinds of abuses we see in the photographs are already happening.
neal puckett: that's correct. and understand that at the same time, the military intelligence community in general was under extreme pressure to find the people who were setting off improvised explosive devices, to find the people on the decks of cards, to find saddam hussein and so the only way to do that is through human intelligence. so the pressure on the military intelligence folks to get more and better intelligence from the detainees was tremendous.
where was that pressure coming from?
neal puckett: i think it was coming from the top.
when you say the top, are you talking about...?
neal puckett: i'm talking about at least as high as coalition joint task force seven, at least as high as lieutenant general sanchez, perhaps even pressure above his level.
lieutenant general ricardo sanchez is the most senior military commander in iraq. in november last year, sanchez gave control of the whole of abu ghraib to the military intelligence folks. it reflected the new priorities at abu ghraib, the shift in focus from detention to interrogation, and general karpinski was now clearly out of the loop. she was formally in command but no longer in control of the jail. she raised the matter at a meeting with general geoffrey miller.
neal puckett: i mean, that's when general miller said we need to take control of the prison in order to 'gitmo-ise' it if you will, to make it more productive, as he believed that guantanamo bay was.
the man who was given control of abu ghraib prison was the commander of the 205th military intelligence brigade, colonel thomas pappas. the order was signed in november, but here in tier 1 cell block, colonel pappas had effectively been in control since the beginning of september, within days of general miller's visit. it was here, from october to december, that the worst of the abuses occurred. colonel pappas has now admitted that under his command military intelligence officers did order military police to strip detainees and shackle them naked for days to the bars of their cells - somewhat more than a passive intelligence-gathering role.
neal puckett: the fact that you even have the beginning of questionable interrogation tactics being authorised by colonel pappas - it's not a very far leap to believe that he may have authorized a few more that he's not willing to admit or tacitly agreed to, or at least didn't object to, or remained intentionally ignorant and just let the process work, so long as... again, if intelligence were being produced, why would the intelligence chain of command complain?
"don't ask questions, just let the intelligence come in"?
neal puckett: "give us the information, we don't care how you get it." unspoken.
neal puckett: right. and definitely unwritten.
do you believe that colonel pappas knew precisely what was going on?
guy womack, lawyer for specialist charles graner: he had to know much of what was going on. did he know precisely what was going on? i don't know.
guy womack is the lawyer for specialist charles graner. his client stands accused, along with chip frederick, of leading and directing the worst of the abuse. he's the guard with the moustache and black cap cuffing and dragging the prisoners along the ground. chip frederick has his back to us. 8 of the 15 iraqis who've given evidence of abuse name charles graner as being the guard they feared the most, as taking a sadistic pleasure inflicting physical pain, sexual humiliation, and sexual assault. his lawyer argues that all his client did was follow orders given to him by military intelligence officers, civilian contract interrogators and so-called 'other government agencies', a euphemism for the cia.
is your client saying that he was actually ordered to physically assault people?
guy womack: oh, yes. of course.
and that he was actually ordered to sexually humiliate people?
guy womack: yes. in fact in the photograph that appeared on may 7 in the 'washington post', it shows military intelligence officers - four of them - standing in the area adjacent to where a scene was being created, and a civilian contractor wearing a us army uniform was bent over, gripping one of the prisoners by the neck as they were adjusting them for these photographs. in that photograph, what is depicted is three iraqi males who have been stripped of all clothing. they are lying on the floor embracing each other. specialist graner, who's in the photograph with his hands on his hips watching this, had been ordered to undress them - actually, to give them the command to undress. keep in mind the mps - military policemen - would not know the significance of those poses, but intelligence officers trained in the psyche of islamic males would know the significance of those positions.
bill lawson: you know, if you look at some of the photographs, there are up to 14 pairs of footprints. i understand they even brought out lawn chairs. it's sort of like a roman circus. everything but the lions were there - people standing there, watching all of these photographs being taken, watching this brutality.
it seems to me your defence depends critically on showing that those military intelligence officers present in that photograph were acting on orders and were not, like everyone presumes in relation to your client, just enjoying themselves at the expense of iraqi prisoners.
guy womack: absolutely. that's absolutely true and we will do that.
ken roth, president, human rights watch: well, one of the basic lessons to come out of nuremberg is that following blatantly illegal orders is not a defence. any low-level soldier should have known that it's never appropriate to sexually abuse prisoners. so i don't care whether they were ordered or not in terms of their guilt. they are guilty if that's what they did. what the 'following orders' defence matters for is in seeing who actually authorised this.
what these same photos also reveal is the presence of civilian contractors at the scenes of abuse. their role until this scandal broke has been, as they like it, low-profile.
what does your client say, what can he tell us about the role of private contract interrogators in abu ghraib?
guy womack: from what he gathers, it appears the civilian contractors were the most powerful of the interrogators at the facility. keep in mind that the military intelligence officers, the other government agents and the civilian contractors all wore partial us army uniforms. none of them wore name tapes on the uniform, none wore rank insignia. the overweight gentleman that we know is a civilian contractor in the 'washington post' photo had on an army uniform, but we know that he's a civilian. there were at least 27 civilian interrogators at abu ghraib and over a hundred interpreters. some of the interpreters we believe now were not really just interpreters. they were interrogators.
bob baer worked for 20 years for the cia, most recently in iraq.
bob baer, former cia, iraq: using contract interrogators is utter stupidity because you've completely lost control of the process. you are taking national security and handing it to a private company whose objective is to make money, not national security. so, i mean, a company, you know, and these belt-weight bandits, is going to be more interested in covering up and producing what the government wants in order to have contracts renewed. there's no accountability inside private contracting companies.
one of the main companies that supplied interrogators is caci international, which has a $20-million contract with the us army. the army's own internal report by general taguba names two contract employees as, quote, "either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses at abu ghraib". it says of steven stephanowicz, employed by caci as an interrogator, that he lied to the inquiry and "clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse."
it's the kind of publicity caci is doing their best to avoid. they don't want or need this kind of attention, as they showed when we were filming outside their office.
well, we're taking a picture of the caci logo, because it's in the news at the moment...
man: well, it's private property. if you look round, you'll see that it's marked 'no trespassers'.
we're standing in a public space now.
man: we don't like it. take good care, ok?
can i ask what you do there?
man: no, i'm not...
you don't work for caci or you do?
man: i work for caci.
but you won't say what job you do?
you're not in any sense involved with any people who were contracted to do interrogations?
man: i won't say anything.
so that's not a yes or not a no? are you embarrassed? is the company embarrassed by their reputation?
man: (points to camera) have you got that thing on? if he has that thing on, it should be off.
can i ask you independently, are you embarrassed by what's happened to the company - its reputation?
man: we haven't done anything.
some of the employees have been named adversely as being involved in prisoner abuse.
man: i can't talk to you. i'm just asking you to leave here because it's private property.
we're actually standing on a public space at the moment.
man: ok. we ask you to leave.
caci supplies interrogators not just to the us military, but also to the cia. the intelligence agency's role in the abuse scandal is yet to be properly explained. what exactly is their connection to this set of shocking photos that show the body of an iraqi man, manadel al-jamadi, who died at abu ghraib on november 4? the cia is investigating his death, officially recorded as resulting from "blunt force trauma". charles graner is gloating over his body. chip frederick is said to have taken these photos, and this account is from his diary notes. he refers to the cia by the common euphemism 'oga', which stands for 'other government agency'.
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