June 08

06BAGHDAD1960 2006-06-10 04:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad

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FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4991
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATION S CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNFB/FBI WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 001960

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/08/2016
TAGS: PGOV PHUM MARR MOPS DOJ CRIM OPDAT KJUS IZ
SUBJECT: SEVERE ABUSE AT MINISTRY OF INTERIOR SITE 4
DETENTION FACILITY

REF: A. BAGHDAD 1241
¶B. BAGHDAD 1019
¶C. BAGHDAD 4921 05
¶D. BAGHDAD 5020 05

Classified By: Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad for reasons 1.4 (a) and (d).

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: On May, a joint U.S.-Iraqi inspection of the
“Site 4” Iraqi National Police (INP) detention complex
discovered more than 1,400 detainees in squalid, cramped
conditions. Forty-one detainees interviewed had bruising and
lash-marks consistent with violent physical abuse.
Thirty-seven juveniles were illegally held at the facility,
many alleging sexual abuse. Ministry of Interior (MOI)
officials appear to have been comfortable engaging in
large-scale violence against detainees at a well-known
Baghdad facility that had been officially inspected twice
since December 2005 (and visited unofficially half-a-dozen
times by Post), indicating that MOI’s capture-and-confess
culture is Unabashedly tolerant of physical abuse. According
to latest information from the Civilian Police Assistance
Training Team (CPATT), several other MOI officers have been
“detained but not arrested” — a not-uncommon practice at
MOI. Ambassador briefed PM Maliki on the size and seriousness
of the Site 4 abuse on June 5. Malik was, in his words,
“appalled” at what happened there. END SUMMARY.

—————–
EVIDENCE OF ABUSE
—————–

¶2. (SBU) On May 30, a third joint U.S.-Iraqi inspection of
the “Site 4” INP detention complex, located in central
Baghdad, discovered more than 1,400 detainees in two separate
facilities held in squalid, cramped conditions not uncommon
in MOI Commando detention facilities. Forty-one detainees
interviewed had bruising and lash-marks consistent with
violent physical abuse. Thirty-seven juveniles were
illegally held at the facility, many alleging sexual abuse.

¶3. (SBU) On June 1, the juvenile detainees were removed from
Site 4 and transported temporarily to an MOI INP facility at
Muthanna Airfield. Post is seeking an order from the Higher
Juridical Council (HJC) authorizing their transfer to the
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) juvenile
detention facility at Tobchi. Forty-five adult detainees
showing marks of abuse were medically-screened, treated, and
transferred to the “Site 1” INP facility. An additional
ninety were transported to an INP facility at FOB Justice.

¶4. (SBU) On June 5, Post and MNF-I returned to Site 4 (which
is now visited daily by MNF-I’s Special Police Training Team
(SpiTT)) in support of three Iraqi judges tasked by the HJC
with taking possession of all detainee files on site. (These
files will be stored in HJC offices while HJC staff match
files to a Site 4 roster passed to the HJC by Post and
MNF-I). MOI personnel initially resisted surrendering the
files to the HJC, but after several hours’ argument they
complied upon presentation of a written judicial order.

¶5. (SBU) Follow-up inspections and interviews by MNF-I have
recorded allegations of physical abuse from 315 detainees,
many of whom identify the same group of five to six MOI
officials as the perpetrators of abuse at the Site 4
facility. A number of detainees have offered to testify in
court against their abusers; Post and MNF-I are in contact
with judicial officials on this matter. MOI is rumored to
have “detained but not arrested” the Site 4 Commander and a
handful of unnamed other personnel.

————————————–
CENTRALIZATION AND SEVERE OVERCROWDING
————————————–

¶6. (SBU) As noted in reftels, severe overcrowding is
characteristic of many MOI INP detention facilities.
However, the situation at Site 4 has been exacerbated by the
recent MOI decision to transfer hundreds of detainees from
other Baghdad INP facilities (including Forward Operating
Base (FOB) Justice) to two adjoining facilities inside the
Site 4 complex, near MOI Headquarters.

¶7. (SBU) As a result, both Site 4 facilities (one

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newly-renovated) are well over acceptable capacity. Detainees
in Most cells have insufficient space to lie down and must
sit entwined, knee-to-knee. Air circulation is poor, and the
cellblocks are fetid. The few toilets available are
overflowing, and sewage spills onto the floors. Many
detainees, who are allowed little or no access to fresh air,
suffer from lice, scabies, and infections. Food supply is
adequate, but running water is limited to 1-2 hours per
evening.

————————
NATURE OF PHYSICAL ABUSE
————————

¶8. (SBU) Of the forty-one detainees interviewed on May 30 who
displayed bruising, broken bones, and lash-marks, many
claimed to have been hung by handcuffs from a hook in the
ceiling and beaten on the soles of their feet and their
buttocks. A hook was discovered on the ceiling of an empty
room at the facility; attached was a chain-and-pulley system
ordinarily used for lifting vehicles. Apparent bloodspots
stained the floor underneath. (NOTE: The pulley was
confiscated and is now at Post. END NOTE.)

¶9. (SBU) A number of juvenile detainees, mostly young
teenagers, alleged sexual abuse at the hands of MOI personnel
— specifically, that MOI interrogators had used threats and
acts of anal rape to induce confessions and had forced
juveniles to fellate them during interrogations. These
allegations were also raised independently with inspectors by
adult detainees who claimed knowledge of juvenile rapes.

————–
MOI’s REACTION
————–

¶10. (C) MOI personnel at Site 4 made some desultory attempts
to prevent Post and MNF-I from interviewing abused detainees.
Site 4 guards initially refused access to the May 30
inspection team, citing MOI orders, and on June 1 guards were
caught attempting to hide four abused detainees in a guard
tower during a follow-on SPiTT inspection. MOI facility
management threatened detainees during both inspections,
warning them not to “talk to the Americans.”

¶11. (C) MOI officials appear to have been comfortable
engaging in large-scale violence against detainees at a
well-known Baghdad facility that had been officially
inspected twice since December 2005 (and visited unofficially
six times by Post), indicating that MOI’s capture-and-confess
culture is unabashedly tolerant of physical abuse. In the
words of MOI official Colonel Adnan (1st INP Division) at
Site 4 on June 1, ostensibly investigating abuse, “detainees
guilty of some crimes deserve to be beaten.”

—————-
THE PERPETRATORS
—————-

¶12. (C) Colonel Ali (Site 4 Commander) and General Adnan
Thabit (INP Commander) informed Post and MNF-I some days ago
that the “sole” three individuals responsible for abusing
detainees at Site 4 had been detained at the MOI Site 1
detention facility. Eleven MOI personnel, including the
doctor posted to Site 4, were identified by detainees on June
1 as perpetrators; additional names were provided to MNF-I on
June 5.

¶13. (C) COMMENT: It would be difficult, if not impossible,
for senior MOI INP leadership responsible for Site 4 to be
unaware of the prevalence of detainee abuse at the facility.
This is suggested by the large number of detainees with
serious physical injuries present at Site 4, the obvious and
illegal presence of 37 juveniles, and the fact that hooks and
pulleys used to hang detainees from the ceiling were kept in
plain sight. END COMMENT.

¶14. (C) According to latest information from CPATT, Colonel
Ali and several other MOI officers (primarily from the
Special Intelligence Directorate) have been “detained but not
arrested” — a not-uncommon practice at MOI. Detainees
currently held at Site 1 are being interviewed by MNF-I.
Many of the formerly-abused detainees now at Site 1 have

BAGHDAD 00001960 003 OF 003

offered to testify in court against their abusers.

———-
NEXT STEPS
———-

¶15. (C) In the immediate future, Post and MNF-I will press
the HJC to order the transfer of all underage detainees to
the MOLSA facility at Tobchi. We will also show regular
presence at Site 4 and at facilities to which Site 4
detainees have been evacuated in order to check on medical
needs, availability of food and water, and quality of care
offered. The HJC has pledged to review files seized from
Site 4 to determine which detainees are held subject to a
valid judicial order.

¶16. (C) Ambassador briefed PM Maliki on June 5 regarding the
size and seriousness of the abuse at Site 4. Maliki was, in
his words, “appalled” at what happened there. He has already
appointed a committee headed by the Ministers of Justice and
Civil Society to deal with the situation. They will have
access to inspect detention facilities, and victims of
torture and children will be released.

¶17. (C) We will provide full briefings to the Minister of
Justice, the Chief Justice of the HJC, and the Minister of
Civil Society and then follow up with them on GOI actions.
Post is requesting that the GOI and Iraqi courts:

(i) impose immediate administrative sanctions against MOI
officials responsible for the facility, pending a judicial
investigation and criminal charges;

(ii) order the release of all detainees found at Site 4 who
are not detained on the basis of a valid judicial order; and

(iii) undertake a robust criminal investigation of abuse
allegations related to MOI personnel at the Site 4 facility.

¶18. (C) Post also will engage the Minister of Justice to plan
for the transfer of Site 4 detainees who merit further
detention to MOJ custody. This transfer will require MOJ to
take control of and staff the newly-renovated MOI detention
facility at Baladiyat, which has a capacity of 750. (NOTE:
MNF-I will, if required, set up additional temporary tent
housing within the Baladiyat complex. END NOTE.)

——-
COMMENT
——-

¶19. (C) COMMENT: While the overcrowding, lack of sanitation,
disease, and under-supply of food and water at Site 4 are
typical of many MOI detention facilities (and were observed
at Site 4 in December 2005 and February 2006), the physical
abuse documented by inspectors May 30-June 5 is the most
severe and widespread since the November 2005 discovery of
seriously-injured detainees at the MOI Jadiriyah “Bunker”
facility.

¶20. (C) COMMENT CONT’D: MOI guards and interrogators at Site
4 appear to have engaged in illegal and violent acts openly
and with impunity. The frank admissions of MOI personnel
that individual detainees merit physical abuse and the
lackadaisical efforts to conceal that abuse support the
contention — raised by multiple Iraqi interlocutors — that
today’s INP are not only incapable of conducting detention
operations to acceptable standards, but are unwilling to do
so. END COMMENT.
KHALILZAD

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