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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Reuters is trying very hard to give a balanced report on alleged abuse of Reuters' employees in Iraq. I understand this is delicate. All the same I would have pointed out that the Army's denial is a confession.

" Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger sent a letter to Sanchez on Jan. 9 demanding an investigation into the treatment of the three Iraqis working for Reuters.


A summary of the investigation by the 82nd Airborne Division, dated Jan. 28 and provided to Reuters, said "no specific incidents of abuse were found." It said soldiers responsible for the detainees were interviewed under oath and "none admit or report knowledge of physical abuse or torture."

"The detainees were purposefully and carefully put under stress, to include sleep deprivation, in order to facilitate interrogation; they were not tortured," it said. "

Note the detainees were journalists hence non combatents who should not be detained let alone "put under stress". Sleep deprivation to facilitate interrogation is a violation of the Geneva convention and would be even if the journalists were combatents.

This is true not only because the convention bans excessive sleep deprivation but, more clearly, because is bans subjecting detainees to any consequences for refusing to answer questions. Even though detainees can be e.g. woken up each morning at 5 am they can not be woken up at 5 am until and unless they answer questions. Now it is impossible to prove that the sleep deprivation was banned sleep deprivation to make the detainees answer questions. However, the point was stipulated, and the investigation should have moved to deciding the punishment for the personel found to have violated the Geneva convention.

The US armed forces have decided that they are not bound by the Geneva convention as written, while also claiming that, in Iraq, they are following the Geneva convention as they choose to interpret it. Even so permission from General Sanchez is required for sleep deprivation to facilitate interrogation and has never been granted.

In spite of all this the very same General Sanchez who claims to be following the Geneva convention and to have never given permission for sleep deprivation to facilitate interrogation somehow manages also to claim to be satisfied by an investigation which concludes both that sleep deprivation was used to facilitate interrogation and that no specific incidents of abuse were found.

How exactly does he manage to sleep at night ?

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