Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, head of coalition forces in Iraq, issued an order last October giving military intelligence control over almost every aspect of prison conditions at Abu Ghraib with the explicit aim of manipulating the detainees’ “emotions and weaknesses”, it was reported yesterday.
The October 12 memorandum, reported in the Washington Post, is a potential “smoking gun” linking prisoner abuse to the US high command. It represents hard evidence that the maltreatment was not simply the fault of “rogue military police guards.”
He specifically rejected the findings of the official report into the Abu Ghraib abuse by Major General Antonio Taguba, who concluded that military intelligence officers had told the guards “to set the conditions” for interrogations.
However, according to the leaked memorandum, General Sanchez had explicitly given military intelligence interrogators control over the “lighting, heating … food, clothing and shelter” of the detainees being questioned.