Skip to comments.TIMELINE (Prison Abuse Iraq Story)
Posted on 05/05/2004 8:54:16 PM PDT by cd jones
Much information on the Iraq prison torture story is making it's way into the major media. Most of it is confusing, if not deliberately misleading. Given the amount of information available to the average news reader, a better understanding of the situation could likely result from reviewing the events of the story in chronological order.
(Excerpt) Read more at mudvillegazette.com ...
"..(AG) February 2003: The 372nd Military Police Company, an Army Reserve unit based near Cumberland, Md., was activated for duty in Iraq. The company commander is Capt. Donald J. Reese. The First Sergeant is 1st Sgt. Brian G. Lipinski. (2)
(AG) April 2003: In the looting that followed the regimes collapse the huge Abu Ghraib prison complex, by then deserted, was stripped of everything that could be removed, including doors, windows, and bricks. The coalition authorities (over time, we assume) had the floors tiled, cells cleaned and repaired, and toilets, showers, and a new medical center added. (1)
(CB) April 13 2003 Camp Bucca, Iraq: A riot occurs and is suppressed by guards. (4)
(CB) May 12 2003, Camp Bucca, Iraq: According to witness reports Master Sgt. Lisa Girman, Sgt. 1st Class Scott McKenzie, Spc. Timothy Canjar and Sgt. Shawna Edmondson, members of the 320th Military Police Battalion, commanded by LTC Jerry Phillabaum, are seen abusing prisoners during a transport. They were subsequently charged with dereliction of duty, assault and other offenses. The four say they acted in self-defense. (3)
(AG/CB) June 2003: Janis Karpinski, an Army reserve brigadier general, was named commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade and put in charge of military prisons in Iraq. Directly under the 800th is the 320th MP Battalion; directly under the 320th is the 372nd MP Company. (1)
(CB) August (4) through September (3) 2003: An article 32 hearing is held for the four guards accused of abuse at Camp Bucca. At such hearings evidence is presented, witnesses are questioned and based on the proceedings the investigating officer may recommend dismissal of the charges, administrative discipline or Courts Martial (3). General courts martial (highest level) are scheduled for Master Sgt. Girman, Sgt. 1st Class McKenzie, and Spc. Canjar on Jan. 20, 25 and 30, respectively. Edmonson accepts a demotion and other-than-honorable discharge in lieu of court martial.
(AG) In October of 2003, the 372nd was ordered to prison-guard duty at Abu Ghraib.(1)
(AG) "Fall": Several thousand prisoners were housed at Abu Ghraib, They fell into three loosely defined categories: common criminals; security detainees suspected of crimes against the coalition; and a small number of suspected high-value leaders of the insurgency against the coalition forces. At last two high "inspections" with possibly conflicting recommendations are conducted. (1)
(AG) November 2003: Coincident with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan the US suffers one of the bloodiest months in the occupation of Iraq. Between October and December of 2003 there were numerous instances of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses at Abu Ghraib. (1)
(AG) Dec/Jan timeframe (implied various sources): A soldier, recognizing the behavior at Abu Ghraib as criminal, reports it. Army CID investigates the allegations of abuse at Al Ghraib and apparently establishes the case against most of the currently accused, including Army Staff Sergeant Ivan L. Frederick II.
(CB) Late Dec/Early Jan: The three members of the 320th MP Battalion awaiting courts martial (scheduled for late Jan) elect non-judicial punishment in lieu of court martial. They are discharged from military service, two have their ranks lowered, and all three are ordered to forfeit pay for two months. (5 - see also here)
Added Note 6 May 04 17:12 UTC: The above paragraph has resulted in some unintended confusion. The soldiers referenced were waiting courts martial on the Camp Bucca case, not the Abu Ghraib case.
(AG) Jan: General Karpinski was formally admonished and quietly suspended, and a major investigation into the Armys prison system, authorized by Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez, the senior commander in Iraq, was under way.(1)
(AG) Jan 14: SSG Frederick began writing his journal on Jan. 14, only a few hours after Army authorities fetched him for questioning and searched his quarters at 2:30 a.m. that day. He mailed copies to his mother, father, uncle and sister, and decided not to send it by e-mail for fear that the Army would see it first. (2)
(AG) In January Army SSG Frederick began letters and e-mails to family members, and repeatedly noted that the military-intelligence teams, which included C.I.A. officers and linguists and interrogation specialists from private defense contractors, were the dominant force inside Abu Ghraib. (1)
(AG) Late Feb: A fifty-three-page report, the result of the January investigation (later obtained by The New Yorker), written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba was completed in late February. (1)
(AG) Mar: SSg Frederick's uncle William sent an e-mail message to retired colonel David Hackworth's Web. The NY Times describes Hackworth as "a retired colonel and a muckraker who was always willing to take on the military establishment." That e-mail message would put Mr. Lawson in touch with the CBS News program "60 Minutes II" and help set in motion events that led to the public disclosure of the graphic photographs and an international crisis for the Bush administration. The Times reports on 8 May: (7)
The irony, Mr. Lawson said, is that the public spectacle might have been avoided if the military and the federal government had been responsive to his claims that his nephew was simply following orders. Mr. Lawson said he sent letters to 17 members of Congress about the case earlier this year, with virtually no response, and that he ultimately contacted Mr. Hackworth's Web site out of frustration, leading him to cooperate with a consultant for "60 Minutes II."
"The Army had the opportunity for this not to come out, not to be on 60 Minutes," he said. "But the Army decided to prosecute those six G.I.'s because they thought me and my family were a bunch of poor, dirt people who could not do anything about it. But unfortunately, that was not the case." (7)
(AG) On April 9th, an Article 32 hearing (the military equivalent of a grand jury, in which evidence is presented, witnesses are called, and the decision to pursue court martial is made) in the case against Sergeant Frederick. In addition to a military lawyer, SSgt Frederick retains the services of Gary Myers, one of the military defense attorneys in the Vietnam-era My Lai case. After the hearing, the presiding investigative officer ruled that there was sufficient evidence to convene a court-martial against Frederick. (1)
(AG) Unknown date (14 Apr? (6)): CBS obtains photos of prisoner abuse along with the Taguba report. Seymour Hersh, a writer, also obtains a copy of the Taguba report.
The Washington Post reports:
CBS News delayed for two weeks airing a report about U.S. soldiers' alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners, following a personal request from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Gen. Richard B. Myers called CBS anchor Dan Rather eight days before the report was to air, asking for extra time, said Jeff Fager, executive producer of "60 Minutes II."
Myers cited the safety of Americans held hostage and tension surrounding the Iraqi city of Fallujah, Fager said, adding that he held off as long as he believed possible given it was a competitive story.
With the New Yorker magazine preparing to run a detailed report on the alleged abuses, CBS broadcast its report Wednesday, 28 April, including images taken last year allegedly showing Iraqis stripped naked, hooded and being tormented by U.S. captors at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. (6)
(This air date suggests CBS obtained the information around 14 April or shortly before. Note on 12 Apr Andy Rooney publishes a previously inexplicable piece called "Our Soldiers in Iraq Aren't Heroes")
(AG) 30 April: The New Yorker posts Hersh's account of the Taguba report online (1).
(AG) Current: Six (and likely a seventh) soldier directly responsible for events at Abu Ghraib await courts martial. Numerous other individuals are facing reprimands and have had their careers effectively terminated. Many news sources imply the reprimands are the only result and ignore the pending courts martial.
Finally, a note from a Wall Street Journal Editorial: The irony of this latest episode is that American soldiers may be held accountable for abusing Iraqis before Saddam's worst henchmen are..."
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