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Accused Md. soldier says Iraq prison lacked rules

April 30, 2004|by DAVID DISHNEAU

A soldier accused of abusing Iraqi war prisoners wrote that his commanders ignored his requests for operating rules and silenced his questions about harsh, humiliating treatment of inmates.

In a journal he started after military investigators looking into the abuse approached him in January, Army Reserves Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick wrote that Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad was nothing like the Virginia state prison where he worked in civilian life. The Iraqi prisoners were sometimes confined naked for three consecutive days without toilets in damp, unventilated cells with floors 3 feet by 3 feet, Frederick wrote in materials obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

"When I brought this up with the acting BN (battalion) commander, he stated, 'I don't care if he has to sleep standing up.' That's when he told my company commander that he was the BN commander and for me to do as he says," Frederick wrote.

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The writings were supplied by Frederick's uncle, William Lawson, who said the Army has treated his nephew unfairly. Lawson and Frederick's wife, Martha, said Frederick was being made a scapegoat for commanders who gave him no guidance on managing hundreds of Iraqis with just a handful of poorly equipped troops.

Lt. Cmdr. Nicholas Balice, spokesman for the Central Command, which is in charge of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, said he couldn't comment on Frederick's statements but he said allegations against Frederick were appropriately investigated.

Frederick is one of six members of the 800th Military Police Brigade facing courts-martial for allegedly humiliating the prisoners at Abu Ghraib. CBS's "60 Minutes II" broadcast pictures of the alleged abuse and an interview with Frederick on Wednesday; the other soldiers' names have not been released.

"They're trying to portray him as a monster," said Lawson, of Newburg, W.Va. "He's just the guy they put in charge of the prison."

Martha Frederick of Buckingham, Va., said her husband, in Iraq since April 2003, told her his unit wasn't provided proper training and equipment.

"I feel like things are being covered up," she said.

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