BAGHDAD, May 1: As US and British leaders sought to control the damage over the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by their troops, one of the six US policemen accused of humiliating the prisoners was quoted in his personal letters and private journal as detailing the abuse and saying military intelligence had ordered it.
Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick wrote home in January that he had "questioned some of the things" he saw inside the prison, but that "the answer I got was, 'This is how military intelligence wants it done'", according to Seymour Hersh, investigative reporter for The New Yorker.
According to his letter quoted by Hersh, military intelligence officers had congratulated Frederick and other soldiers on the "great job" done with prisoners because "they were now getting positive results and information".
The Guardian newspaper in Britain also reported Saturday it had reviewed a journal Frederick began keeping in January after an investigation was launched into the abuse of prisoners.
"The journals... detail the conditions of the prisoners, apparent torture and the death of one inmate after interrogation," the newspaper said.
According to Frederick's journal quoted in the Guardian, "prisoners were forced to live in damp cool cells" and those placed in isolation cells were left there with "little or no clothes, no toilet or running water, no ventilation or window for as much as three days."
Frederick writes in his journal that he tried to raise the issue with his superior who told him: "Don't worry about it".
The prison scandal broke out Wednesday, after CBS's "60 Minutes II" program broadcast a picture showing a hooded prisoner standing on a box with wires attached to his hands.
He had been told he would be electrocuted if he fell off, the report said.
Other pictures showed prisoners lying on each other and being mercilessly beaten up by soldiers, with others pointing and laughing.
Six US military police including Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, in charge of US-run prisons in Iraq, were charged in March with conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty, maltreatment, assault and indecent acts against up to 20 prisoners at the jail last November and December. They could face court martial.
President George W. Bush said Friday that he shared "a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated." British Prime Minister Tony Blair was forced to voice contempt late Friday for what appeared to be mistreatment by his own troops, one of whom was pictured urinating on an Iraqi detainee and beating him with rifle butts.
According to the Saturday edition of the Daily Mirror which ran the images, the prisoner was allegedly threatened with execution during an eight-hour ordeal which left him bleeding and vomiting, with a broken jaw and smashed teeth.
The newspaper, the strongest voice of opposition to the US-led Iraq war, said it was given the pictures by serving soldiers from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, who were horrified by the acts depicted.
"I am aware of the allegations which have been made today of the abuse of prisoners by British soldiers in Iraq," said Britain's most senior army officer, General Sir Michael Jackson.-AFP