Abu Ghraib Guard : Told to Fake an Execution

Abu Ghraib prison guard and Staff Sergeant Ivan "Chip" Frederick pleaded guilty in a court-martial Wednesday. He is cooperating with authorities for a lesser sentence, and told the court that at the request of military and civilian intelligence officials, he staged a mock electrocution.

A US soldier on trial for abusing Iraqi prisoners told a Baghdad court martial yesterday that he hooked up wires around a hooded detainee in a mock electrocution at the behest of military and civilian intelligence officials.

If Frederick is to be believed, these officials set the policy for the treatment of prisoners.

In his testimony yesterday, he described a prison regime where policy was set by military and civilian officials involved in the interrogation of prisoners. However, Sgt Frederick played a pivotal role in the events at Abu Ghraib. His experience as a prison guard in civilian life led his superiors to put him in charge of the night shift in the main prison block at Abu Ghraib, including the tier where the abuse was photographed.

Yesterday, he told the presiding military judge, Colonel James Pohl, that he had played a role in constructing one of the most harrowing images of the abuse that surfaced last April: the photo of a hooded detainee, standing on a box, with wires emerging from his hands. He said military and civilian interrogators regularly asked prison guards to set conditions for detainees, and he believed that officials wanted him to scare the prisoner to help with interrogation. However, he had misgivings: "I knew it was wrong at the time because I knew it was a form of abuse."

That wasn't Fredericks only bad act.

He went on to describe his role in other episodes, including the occasion when he hit a detainee in the chest with such force that the prisoner needed medical attention, and forcing Iraqi prisoners to masturbate in front of US soldiers.

He said his command gave him little guidance on the law governing the treatment of prisoners. "I had no support when I brought things up to my command. They told me to do what [military intelligence] told me to do."

This AP account has even more of the lurid details --like how Frederick stomped on prisoners' hands and feet. TC Chris wrote about details written in Fredericks' prison journals here. . Frederick gets sentenced Thursday.

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