Additional Guards Face Courts-Martial for Abu Ghraib Abuse
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 12, 2004 Two more U.S. soldiers will face military courts- martial in the abuse of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison, coalition officials in Baghdad said today.
Military spokesman Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said that Sgt. Jarval S. Davis and Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick II face five charges each.
The five charges against Davis are: conspiracy to maltreat subordinates, dereliction of duty for negligently failing to protect detainees from abuse, maltreatment of detainees, rendering false official statements and assault.
Charges referred against Frederick are conspiracy to maltreat subordinates and detainees, dereliction of duty for negligently failing to protect detainees from abuse, maltreatment of detainees, assault, and wrongfully committing an indecent act by watching detainees commit a sexual act.
Also, Kimmitt reported that 315 detainees are scheduled to be released from the Abu Ghraib prison May 14 at 9 a.m. He said a second prisoner release at Abu Ghraib is scheduled for May 21. Coalition officials say between 2,500 and 3,000 individuals in the Iraqi criminal detention system have been designated as "criminal detainees."
Meanwhile, senior Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor said multiple agencies will be involved in investigating the murder of Nicholas Berg, an American businessman who was beheaded by hooded assailants last week. A videotape of the murder was posted on a Web site with al Qaeda ties May 11.
The Army's Criminal Investigative Division and the FBI will have a role in the investigation, Kimmitt said, adding that the lead agency will be announced shortly. "The U.S. government is committed to a very thorough and robust investigation to get to the bottom of this," Senor said.
Berg's body was discovered May 8 alongside a road near Baghdad, and his family was notified of his death May 10, Senor said. He had registered with U.S. diplomatic officials in Iraq, was in Iraq of his own accord, and did not work for the CPA or any CPA contractor, the coalition spokesman explained. Berg reported that he entered Iraq through Jordan, he added, and that he was in Iraq for business purposes.
Iraqi police arrested Berg in the Mosul area on March 24, Senor said. The FBI visited with Berg on three occasions while he was in Iraqi police detention, and was determined by FBI investigators not to be involved with any criminal or terrorist activities, Senor said. Berg was released April 6, he added.
Senor said U.S. authorities advised Berg to leave the country, noting that the State Department had issued a travel advisory warning American citizens about travel through Iraq and the risks involved.
Kimmitt said reports that terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi committed Berg's murder cannot be confirmed. The claim on the Web site where the murder videotape was posted is the only indication thus far that Zarqawi was involved, the general said. "We don't have, at this point, any other intelligence corroborating that either he was or was not involved in the murder," he added.
Zarqawi, the author of an intercepted letter to al Qaeda leaders detailing plans to derail democracy in Iraq by committing terrorist acts and instigating civil war, has a $10 million bounty on his head.
Senor said that the "thoughts and prayers" of the coalition are with the Berg family and their community. "Sometimes the banality of terrorist acts speaks for itself," he said.
At the same Baghdad news conference, Kimmitt provided details of recent incidents and military operations in Iraq.
Insurgents attacked a neighborhood market in Kirkuk May 10, killing four Iraqi civilians and wounding 25 others. Kimmitt said the attacker used an improvised explosive device consisting of a rocket, C-4 explosives and propane tanks. No group claimed responsibility for the attack and the Iraqi police are investigating, he said.
In Samara, a police station was attacked with rockets that also hit a mosque located a few blocks from the station. The attack wounded three Iraqi police officers and caused structural damage to the police station.
In the western zone of operations, insurgents attacked a convoy with small-arms fire, destroying seven vehicles and hijacking eight more. Kimmitt said the convoy was stopped twice along its route and forced to download seven containers. Kimmitt said the convoy, which was delivering "living containers," belonged to a Turkish company that was subcontracted by the CPA. He said the convoy had entered Iraq through Syria. Five trucks made it to their final destination in Baghdad, he said, and all 20 drivers are accounted for, though four were wounded.
In the central-south zone of operations, offensive operations continue against members of rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia.
In Karbala, Kimmitt said, coalition forces came under fire repeatedly from several buildings in the al-Mukaim mosque and shrine complex. Sadr's militia had used the complex as an operations base and as an ammunition and weapons holding area, he said.
Kimmitt said on May 11 coalition forces conducted a cordon-and-search of the complex and were attacked by two rocket-propelled grenades which struck a Bradley fighting vehicle and wounded one coalition soldier. He said coalition forces requested close air support, resulting in five enemies killed.
Hours after the initial engagement, however, coalition forces reported Sadr militia members had reorganized and established a fighting position in the nearby Mukaym shrine, he said. Kimmitt reported that Iraqi security forces cleared the shrine while coalition forces maintained the outer cordon.
Iraqi police secured the area and rescued five Iraqi police officers who were discovered bound and gagged inside one of the Mukaym complex buildings. "Inside the mosque, coalition forces found extensive weapons caches, and three other weapons caches were discovered in the nearby area," the general said.
Despite violence elsewhere in Iraq, in Fallujah the security situation remains calm, Kimmitt said. No cease-fire violations have been reported in the past week, he said, a possible indication that religious leaders who are calling for peace are getting their message across.
In addition, Kimmitt said that the coalition is "quite pleased" with the command structure that's operating within Fallujah under the leadership of Iraqi Army Gen. Mohammed Latif.
"Obviously we're starting to see some results," he pointed out. "We still have objectives to attain, but at this point, I would say that the Marines are quite pleased with the efforts and the command of General Latif."
In the southeastern zone of operations, Kimmitt said coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 259 patrols and captured four anti-coalition suspects.