The highest-ranking US general in Iraq authorised the use of interrogation techniques that included sleep manipulation, stress positions and the use of dogs to “exploit Arab fears” of them, it emerged today.
A memo signed by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez authorised 29 interrogation techniques, including 12 that exceeded limits in the army’s own field manual and four that it admitted risked falling foul of international law, the Geneva conventions or accepted standards on the humane treatment of prisoners.
The memo, dated September 14 2003, also stated that the Iraq interrogation policy was modelled on the one used at Guantánamo Bay “but modified for applicability to a theater [sic] of war in which the Geneva conventions apply”.
On Friday, a US court ordered the papers’ release under the American Freedom of Information Act, following a request by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“The memo clearly establishes that Gen Sanchez authorised unlawful interrogation techniques for use in Iraq, and, in particular, these techniques violate the Geneva conventions and the army’s own field manual governing interrogations,” ACLU lawyer Amrit Singh said in a statement. “He and other high-ranking officials who bear responsibility for the widespread abuse of detainees must be held accountable.”