Remembering the revelations of US torture at Abu Ghraib | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Remembering the revelations of US torture at Abu Ghraib

Following the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, America set about implementing its administration across the defeated nation, which included the running of a vast network of prison complexes housing civilians and those suspected of participating in the Iraqi insurgency. One of those prisons was in Abu Ghraib, twenty miles west of the capital Baghdad, which had been notorious for torture and poor living conditions in the Saddam Hussein era. It was demolished during the invasion and then renovated by the US coalition forces in 2003.

Janis Karpinski, a US Army Reserve Brigadier General, was put in charge of military prisons across Iraq including Abu Ghraib, in her position as commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade. Despite being a seasoned operations and intelligence officer who had served in the 1991 Gulf War and in the Special Forces, Karpinski had no experience in running a prison system or in handling prisoners; importantly, nor did most of the soldiers under her command.

Over the course of the following year, the US administration of Abu Ghraib used a number of brutal torture and interrogation techniques, particularly in October and November 2003. The situation began to change, however, on 31 January 2004, when Major General Antonio M Taguba was appointed to conduct a formal investigation into the mishandling of the prison and the atrocities committed against the detainees. On 3 March, the Taguba Report was completed, and charges were subsequently filed against six soldiers found to be complicit in the crimes.