US general reveals details of Abu Ghraib torture — RT World News

A contractor working for the Ministry of Defense in Iraq faces civil lawsuits from three former prisoners alleging mistreatment

An employee of CACI, a contractor with strong ties to the Pentagon, was pushing soldiers serving in Iraq for the treatment of detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, retired U.S. Army Gen. Antonio Taguba testified in a trial in which CACI denies torture.

The Virginia-based consulting company is being sued by three former detainees of this notorious prison, who claim they were tortured 20 years ago. The hearing began on Monday, after nearly 16 years of procedural delay.

Taguba, who retired in 2007 after 35 years of service, identified Steven Stefanovic, also known as “Big Steve,” as the CACI employee who instructed Army guards at Abu Ghraib to handle the matter. “softening” Prisoners – and even tried to intimidate the general himself at one point.

“He was leaning on the table and staring at me. He did not answer the questions directly.” Taguba told the court. “He was trying to scare me.”

When asked if he had actually been intimidated, the retired general replied: “Not in your life.”

A report by Taguba in 2004 stated that Stefanović “He clearly knew that his instructions amounted to physical assault.” It recommended that he be fired, reprimanded, and lose his security clearance. According to the Associated Press, his testimony on Tuesday was the strongest evidence that CACI contractors played a role in the Abu Ghraib abuses.

The retired general testified that his investigation focused on the military police. Several MPs told investigators they had not received clear instructions from the military, so Stefanovic and CACI contractors filled the void. The court also heard that investigators were initially confused because they thought the forces were saying that “Khaki” Instead of the company name.

One of the three plaintiffs also testified Tuesday. Speaking from Iraq and through a translator, Asaad Hamza Zoubaie said he was kept naked, threatened with dogs, and forced to masturbate in front of prison guards.

CACI's lawyers have challenged that testimony, pointing to government reports showing the dogs had not yet been sent to Iraq at the time.

The contractor has filed more than 20 motions to dismiss the case over the past 16 years. Its lawyers have argued that CACI, as a Department of Defense contractor, should be protected by the same sovereign immunity as the U.S. government.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents the plaintiffs, described the trial as… “The first lawsuit where post-9/11 torture victims in the United States will have their day in court.”

The Abu Ghraib scandal first came to public attention in April 2004, when photos of abused prisoners and their smiling American guards were published. Abuses included stacking naked prisoners in pyramids or dragging them with shackles around their necks. Others were threatened with dogs or had their heads covered and tied with electric wires.

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