Here’s another example of new data confirming something that we in the reality-based community already knew: the hijinks at Abu Ghraib were not the brainchild of a few bored guards with too much time and not enough training. The techniques arrived at Abu Ghraib along with Maj. General Geoffrey Miller, who had helped develop them at Gitmo specifically as a tool for extracting information from high-value prisoners. Kevin Drum talks about Andrew Sullivan’s take on the issue in The Schmidt report, while Washington Post staff writer Josh White weighs in with Abu Ghraib tactics were first used at Guantanamo. Quoting from the latter:
The report’s findings are the strongest indication yet that the abusive practices seen in photographs at Abu Ghraib were not the invention of a small group of thrill-seeking military police officers. The report shows that they were used on [alleged “20th hijacker” Mohamed] Qahtani several months before the United States invaded Iraq.
The investigation also supports the idea that soldiers believed that placing hoods on detainees, forcing them to appear nude in front of women and sexually humiliating them were approved interrogation techniques for use on detainees.
A central figure in the investigation, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who commanded the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and later helped set up U.S. operations at Abu Ghraib, was accused of failing to properly supervise Qahtani’s interrogation plan and was recommended for reprimand by investigators. Miller would have been the highest-ranking officer to face discipline for detainee abuses so far, but Gen. Bantz Craddock, head of the U.S. Southern Command, declined to follow the recommendation.