The abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail came about with the introduction of methods used at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba that treated detainees “like dogs,” Brigadier General Janis Karpinski said.
The 51-year-old commander was in charge of the military police that ran the Baghdad prison when the abuse scandal erupted in April with the publication of photographs showing Iraqi detainees stripped naked being humiliated and maltreated.
Karpinski claims she knew nothing of the abuse because military intelligence took charge of part of the Iraqi prison to make the interrogations more like “Gitmo,” the nickname for Guantanamo. She cited some comments about how to treat prisoners that she said the current Iraqi prison chief Major General Geoffrey Miller, formerly in charge of Guantanamo, told her.
“He said they are like dogs and if you allow them to believe at any point that they are more than a dog, then you’ve lost control of them,” Karpinski said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp.
Karpinski has been suspended from duty but not charged in the prison abuse scandal. She has been giving media interviews claiming she is being made a scapegoat.
So far, one soldier has been sentenced and six others are awaiting courts martial.
A U.S. general investigating the abuse has put the blame on the soldiers and so far has found no evidence of a policy or a direct order given to the soldiers to treat the Iraqi prisoners as they did, the BBC reported on its Web site.
The U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been used as a detention camp for suspected terrorists seized after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington and the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan.