Soldier Reports More Abuses to Senator

New York Times

An Army captain who has reported new allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq met Tuesday with Senator John McCain and staff aides on the House Armed Services Committee and gave them additional accounts of abuse in Iraq that other soldiers had sent him in recent days, Congressional aides said.

The officer, Capt. Ian Fishback, in a brief interview after his half-hour meeting with Mr. McCain declined to describe the new information he gave the senator or, in a separate meeting, to the House aides. But Captain Fishback said that since he and two other former members of the 82nd Airborne Division last month accused soldiers in their battalion in Iraq of routinely beating and abusing prisoners in 2003 and 2004, several other soldiers had contacted him and asked him to relay to lawmakers their own experiences.

Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said nothing in a statement about any new reports of abuse, saying only, “I’m even more impressed by what a fine and honorable officer he is.”

But a senior House aide who met with Captain Fishback said the officer had read a letter from a sergeant describing detainee abuse in Iraq and allowed the aides to read the document before taking it back. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Captain Fishback related the information in confidence for use in a possible Congressional investigation, declined to give details of the abuse.

In separate statements to Human Rights Watch, Captain Fishback and two sergeants related their experiences as they recounted how members of the First Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry, had repeatedly beaten Iraqi prisoners, exposed them to extremes of hot and cold, and stacked them in human pyramids at Camp Mercury, a forward operating base near Falluja.

The abuses reportedly took place between September 2003 and April 2004, before and during the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

The Army has started a criminal inquiry into the allegations by Captain Fishback and the two sergeants.

Captain Fishback is scheduled to meet Wednesday with Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.

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