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Westlaw. 5/22/05 NYT 11

The Arto Hort Einset

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Instead, statements showed, they pointed to indications that both detainees had some existing medical problems when they arrived at Bagram, and emphasized that it would be difficult to determine the responsibility of individual guards for the injuries they sustained in custody.

"No one blow could be determined to have caused the death," the former senior staff lawyer at Bagram, Col. David L. Hayden, said he had been told by the Army's lead investigator.. "It was reasonable to conclude at the time that repetitive administration of legitimate force resulted in all the injuries we saw." Both Major Bovarnick and Colonel Hayden declined requests for comment.

As late as Feb. 7 -- nearly two months after the first autopsy reports had classified both deaths as homicides -- the American commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Daniel K. McNeill, said in an interview that he had "no indication" that either man had been injured in custody.

General McNeill, who has since been promoted, declined repeated requests to clarify his remarks.

In retrospect, the investigators' initial interviews with guards, interrogators and interpreters at the detention center appear cursory and sometimes contradictory. As transcribed, many of the statements are little more than a page or two long.

Most of the guards who admitted punching the detainees or kneeing them in the thighs said they did so in order to subdue prisoners who were extraordinarily combative. But both detainees were shackled at the hands and feet throughout their time at Bagram. One of them, Mr. Dilawar, weighed only 122 pounds and was described by interpreters as neither violent nor aggressive. Both detainees also complained of being beaten and seemed to have trouble walking, some witnesses said.

The early interviews also included statements by two of the interpreters that they had been so troubled by the abusive behavior of some interrogators that they had gone to the noncommissioned officer in charge of the military intelligence group, Staff Sergeant Loring, to complain. One of the interrogators, Specialist Damien M. Corsetti, refused to speak to the agents at all, and another told of the guards' beating one of the detainees who died.

Even so, investigators failed to interview some crucial witnesses, including the officer in charge of the interrogators, Captain wood, and the commander of the military police company, Captain Beiring. They also neglected an interrogator who had been present for most of Mr. Dilawar's questioning. When he finally went to investigators at his own initiative, he described one of the worst episodes of abuse.

Many of the guards who later provided important testimony were also initially overlooked. Computer records and written logs that were supposed to record treatment of the detainees were not secured and later disappeared. Blood taken from Mr. Habibullah was stored in a

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butter dish in the agents' office refrigerator, from which it was only recovered 'seized" as a report explains it when the office was later moved.

The record of the investigation indicated that Army investigators almost entirely stopped interviewing witnesses within three weeks after Mr. Dilawar's death. And although Major Bovarnick, the detention center's legal adviser, said he told Captain Beiring after the first death "that there would be no shackling to the ceiling ever again," the issue was largely ignored in the initial investigation.

While the Army's criminal inquiry continued, General McNeill ordered a senior officer, Col. Joseph G. Nesbitt, to conduct a separate, classified examination of procedures at the detention center. That led to changes including prohibitions against the shackling of prisoners for sleep deprivation and interrogators' making physical contact with detainees.

Documents from the criminal investigation suggested that colonel Nesbitt was also dismissive of the notion that the two deaths pointed to wider wrongdoing. He concluded that military police guards at the detention center "knew, were following and strictly applying proper rules on the use of force, documents showed, and he cited a "conflict between obtaining accurate, timely information and treating detainees humanely."

Senior officials at the Criminal Investigation Command's headquarters took a different view. On April 15. 2003, they rejected the field agents' proposal to close the case, sending it back "for numerous investigative, operational, administrative and security classification-related issues, which required additional work, pursuit, clarification or scrutiny." Pour months later, the headquarters officials reassigned the case to the task force that eventually implicated the 27 soldiers.

Photos: TWO Afghan detainees died from their injuries in December 2002 after being shackled and beaten at the American military base in Bagram, Afghanistan, above. (Photo by Wally Santana/Associated Press) (pg. 18)

Chart /Photos: "Time Lag: Detainee Deaths and Military Investigations"


The 519th M.I. Battalion arrives at the Bagram detention center in

July 2002

Jan 2003 Interrogators from the battalion return home to Fort Bragg, N.C. The operations officer, Capt. Carolyn A. Wood (left), is awarded a Bronze Star for meritorious service.

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July Personnel from the battalion take over interrogations at Abu Ghraib prison under the direct leadership of Captain Wood.

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Nov. 30 - Dec. 4, 2002 -- Mullah Habibullah arrives at the Bagram detention center. He dies after days of beatings by guards.

Dec. 5-10 A second Afghan man, Dilawar (left), is taken into custody. He dies after being shackled to the ceiling of his cell for much of five days.

Dec. 8, 13

Initial autopsy reports show both men were victims of homicide.


Dec. 2002

Military spokesmen at Bagram say the men died from natural causes.

Dec. 12 -- Lt. Gen. Daniel K. McNeill, commander of allied forces in Afghanistan, orders an investigation that finds serious problems at the detention center.

Dec. 31 -- The Army's Criminal Investigation Command conducts the last full interview of their initial inquiry into the deaths of the two men. Weeks later, they recommend that the case be closed without seeking charges against any of the soldiers.

April 15, 2003 -- Bagram report is sent back by Criminal Investigation Command headquarters for many issues that "required additional work, pursuit, clarification or scrutiny."

Aug. 6 -- After "a review of investigative shortfalls" by senior officials at the Criminal Investigation Command, the Bagram inquiry is assigned to the agency's headquarters.

Oct, 8 -- The Army's criminal investigation ends, finding probable cause to charge 27 officers and soldiers with crimes related to the death of Mr. Dilawar, and 15 of the personnel were charged in the case of Mr. Habibullah.

Aug. 2004 Report into abuses at Abu Ghraib by Lt. Gen. Anthony R. Jones finds that Captain Wood instituted methods at the Iraqi prison that were "remarkably similar" to those she applied at Bagram.

(pg. 18)


NEWS SUBJECT: (Violent Crime (11127); Legal (1LE33); Social Issues (18005); Judicial (1JU36); Crime (1CR87); Criminal Law (1CR79); Prisons (1PR87))

INDUSTRY: (Commercial Construction (10015); Aerospace & Defense (1AE96); Defense (1DE43); Construction (12011); Correctional Facilities (10072); Ground Forces (1GR94); Defense Intelligence (1DE90); Military Forces (IMI3?))


(North America (1N039); Latin America (1LA15); Cuba (1C343); Iraq (11R87); Arab

The dean Hork Einacs

5/22/05 NYT 11

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States (IAR46); Western Asia (1wE54); Afghanistan (1AF45); Americas (1AM92); Asia (1AS61); Middle East (1MI23); USA (1US73); Caribbean (1CA06))

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OTHER INDEXING: (ABU GHRAIB; ARMY; BRONZE STAR; DEFENSE DEPARTMENT, INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEB; PENTAGON; RED CROSS) (Activity: Advocate," Sergeant; Anthony R. Jones; Army: Army Faltered, Beiring; Blood; Carolyn A. Wood; Case; Christopher Grey; Christopher M. Beiring; Damien M. Corsetti; Daniel K. McNeill; David L. Hayden; Di Rita; Dilawar; Grey; Habibullah; Hayden; Jeff A. Bovarnick; Joseph G. Nesbitt; Larry Di Rita, Loring, Major Bovarnick; McNeill; Mr.; Mullah Habibullah; Nesbitt; Nonetheless; Photo: Photos; Sergeant Loring: Steven W. Loring; Wally Santana; Wood) (Series)

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JULY 3, 2003

Independence Day 2003

Main Street America Fights the Federal Government's Insatiable Appetite for New Powers

in the Post 9/11 Era

A Special Report


The American Civil Liberties Union

Thursday, July 3, 2003



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