Janis Karpinski: Wikis

  
  

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Col. Janis Karpinski

United States Army

Born May 25, 1953 (1953-05-25) (age 56)
Karpenski.jpg
US Army Photo
Place of birth Rahway, New Jersey
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1977-2005
Rank Colonel,
formerly Brigadier General
Commands held Abu Ghraib Prison
160th Military Police Battalion
Battles/wars Iraq War
Gulf War
Awards Bronze Star
Meritorious Service Medal(3)
Army Commendation Medal(3)
Other work Author One Woman's Army

Janis Leigh Karpinski (born May 25, 1953, Rahway, New Jersey[1]) is a central figure in the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal.

Karpinski retired as a United States Army Colonel in the 800th Military Police Brigade. She was demoted from Brigadier General in the aftermath of the scandal, for dereliction of duty, making a material misrepresentation to investigators, and failure to obey a lawful order.[2] She was the commander of three large US- and British-led prisons in Iraq in 2003, eight battalions, and 3,400 soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve. Karpinski claims that she was made a scapegoat in order to protect higher ranking military personnel from the scandal.[3]

In June 2003, during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, Karpinski was given command of the 800 Military Police Brigade, putting her in charge of the 15 detention facilities in southern and central Iraq run by Coalition forces. Karpinski was also given command of the National Guard and Army reserve units in the Iraqi city of Mosul. In January 2004, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez formally suspended Karpinski and 16 other soldiers with undisclosed reprimands. An investigation was started into the abuse, and Karpinski left Iraq for reasons that were explained at the time as part of "routine troop rotations."

On April 8, 2005 Karpinski was formally relieved of command of the 800th Military Police Brigade, and on May 5, 2005, President George W. Bush approved Karpinski's demotion to colonel from the rank of brigadier general. Her demotion was not officially related to the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.

In October 2005 she published an account of her experiences, One Woman's Army, in which she claims that the abuses were perpetrated by contract employees trained in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay and sent under orders from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and that her demotion was political retribution.

Contents

Early career

Karpinski was commissioned into the Army as a second lieutenant in 1977 and has served primarily in intelligence and military police assignments, including tours supporting the Special Forces and in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War. She moved from the regular Army to the Reserves in 1987. She also became a consultant who ran military-styled training programs for executives. She is married to George Karpinski, a lieutenant colonel at the Oman US embassy. She was awarded a Bronze Star.

Iraq service

In June 2003, during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, Karpinski was given command of the 800 Military Police Brigade. This put her in charge of the fifteen detention facilities in southern and central Iraq run by Coalition forces. She had no experience running correctional facilities. Karpinski was also given command of the National Guard and Army reserve units in the Iraqi city of Mosul, most of whom, like her, had no training in handling prisoners. But at least two of the guardsmen who were convicted of prisoner abuse had lengthy civilian experience as prison guards.

In September 2003, Karpinski led US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on a tour of the Abu Ghraib prison to demonstrate the way it had been used by Saddam Hussein to torture his enemies.

Allegations, suspension and investigation

In October 2003, allegations of torture in the new Iraqi prisons began to surface. Karpinski insisted that prisoners under her watch were treated "humanely and fairly". In an interview with the St. Petersburg Times in December 2003, Karpinski said conditions in the prison were even better than many Iraqi homes, and joked that the prisoners were treated so well that she was "concerned they wouldn't want to leave."[4] In January 2004, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez formally suspended Karpinski and 16 other soldiers with undisclosed reprimands. An investigation was started into the abuse, and Karpinski left Iraq for reasons that were explained at the time as part of "routine troop rotations."[citation needed] In July 2007 Karpinski stated she had evidence Israelis were involved in interrogations.[5]

On April 8, 2005 Karpinski was formally relieved of command of the 800th Military Police Brigade. On May 5, 2005, President Bush approved Karpinski's demotion to colonel from the rank of brigadier general. Her demotion was not officially related to the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. The allegations against her were for dereliction of duty, making a material misrepresentation to investigators, failure to obey a lawful order and shoplifting. Military sources alleged that Karpinski had been arrested in 2002 on MacDill Air Force Base for stealing cosmetics, but Karpinski has denied the arrest took place.[6][7]

Taguba Report

In his final report, Major General Antonio Taguba blamed Karpinski for the abuse, indicating she had not paid attention to the daily operations of the prison. According to Taguba, Karpinski rarely visited the prisons during her tenure, and she reviewed and signed reports about claims of abuse without following up to make sure her orders were carried out. As a consequence, the abuse was allowed to continue and her subordinates developed a lax attitude towards protocol. Karpinski was cited throughout the Taguba Report for repeated violations of Army procedure, good management and exercising her command as directed by Army regulations. During interviews it was reported within the Taguba report that Karpinski was disconnected from the reality of the situation in her area of command.

14. (U) During the course of this investigation I conducted a lengthy interview with BG Karpinski that lasted over four hours, and is included verbatim in the investigation Annexes. BG Karpinski was extremely emotional during much of her testimony. What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony was her complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce basic standards and principles among its soldiers. (ANNEX 45 and the Personal Observations of the Interview Team).

Karpinski was issued a Memorandum of Admonishment by LTG Sanchez, Commander, CJTF-7, on 17 January 2004.

In April 2004, CBS' 60 Minutes II broadcast photographs of Iraqi prisoners being tortured and humiliated at Abu Ghraib. Following the broadcast, Karpinski was suspended of her duties and replaced by Major General Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of the detention camp known as Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay.

Karpinski's defense

Karpinski insisted she had no knowledge of the abuse and claims the particular wing of the prison was under the control of military intelligence "twenty-four hours a day." She claims Army intelligence officers encouraged guards to torture prisoners as an aid to interrogation, and that she was a scapegoat.

A June 2004 BBC article said, "Gen Karpinski believes the soldiers had not taken the pictures of their own accord." It quotes her as saying:

I know that the MP unit that these soldiers belonged to hadn't been in Abu Ghraib long enough to be so confident that one night or early morning they were going to take detainees out of their cells, pile them up and photograph themselves in various positions with these detainees.[8]

Since her suspension, Karpinski has made controversial accusations against her superiors in a series of interviews. In an interview with BBC Radio, Karpinski claimed that Major General Geoffrey Miller, who was sent from Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay to improve interrogations at the Iraqi prison, told her to treat prisoners "like dogs" in the sense that "if you allow them to believe at any point that they are more than a dog then you've lost control of them".[8] Miller denies that he ever made the remarks.

In November 2006, Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld that allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation. She stated, "The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably ... Rumsfeld authorised these specific techniques." According to Karpinski, Rumsfeld's handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished."

There have been no comments from either the Pentagon or US army spokespeople in Iraq on Karpinski's accusations.[9][10][11]

On March 8, 2006, Karpinski gave an interview to Dateline,[12] on the Australian SBS network. When asked who was ultimately responsible for the actions of torture and humiliation depicted in the photographs, Karpinski stated:

You have to go back to the memorandum that was authored by our now-Attorney-General, Alberto Gonzalez, and John Yoo, from out in California, who was with the current administration at the time, and they did a memorandum, authorising departures from the Geneva Convention.

The memorandum, which was certainly discussed at length with the Secretary of Defense and the Vice-President, according to sworn statements by people who were there when those conversations took place, that authorised the initial departure [from the Geneva Convention]. And yes, there was a memorandum that was posted at Abu Ghraib prison, that I only became aware of, after I heard of this ongoing investigation out at Abu Ghraib, and it was signed by the Secretary of Defense.

...the signature on the memorandum was over the signature block of the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and the ink that was used to sign appeared to be the same ink used for this handwritten note in the margin, "make sure this happens", and it was a list of interrogation techniques that were approved, so he obviously had knowledge of those [interrogation] techniques.

When the Secretary of Defense, when General Miller, when General Sanchez, when General Taguba, when they testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, they were very careful to say, in response to a question about the photographs, that they knew nothing about the photographs. However, nobody on the Senate Armed Services Committee asked them "Did you know anything about the actions depicted in those photographs?" Because they would have had to give a truthful answer and the answer would have been yes, in fact they authorised the actions depicted in those photographs. The Secretary of Defense authorised it, in conversations with General Miller, his Under-Secretary for Intelligence not only authorised those actions but was staying on top of the progress of those actions and those activities.

When questioned on the findings of the Taguba Report, which stated she had shown a lack of leadership throughout the period of events, and therefore was partly responsible for what happened, Karpinski stated

...When they do an investigation with that kind of potential, the rules are very clear, you have to identify an impartial person to do the investigation and General Taguba did not serve one day in Iraq, he spent his deployment time in the safety of Kuwait. And he was, as it came out afterwards, a good friend of General Sanchez. So if General Sanchez gave the investigating officer specific instructions on what he wanted to see in the conclusions, General Taguba was able and determined to provide and conclude what General Sanchez wanted to see. And he did exactly that. The findings in the report have been largely discredited because he was not an impartial party and because so much more information has come out.

...[General Taguba] was not charged with discovering what caused the photographs, General Taguba's instructions were to investigate the 800th Military Police Brigade and discover what was wrong with General Karpinski.

In an interview for the Santa Clarita, California newspaper, The Signal, Karpinski claimed to have seen unreleased documents from Rumsfeld that authorized the use of dogs, food and sleep deprivation, and isolation for Iraqi prisoners that were also signed by General Sanchez. Both have denied authorizing such tactics.[13] In a May 2004 military investigation of the Abu Ghraib abuses made public by an ACLU Freedom of Information Act request, Karpinski said she witnessed children as young as twelve years of age incarcerated at Abu Ghraib.[14]

Plans to testify in German war crimes lawsuit

On November 10, 2006 Time magazine reported that civil rights activists were intending to file legal documents with a German prosecutor with the hope that charges would be brought against senior U.S. political and military officials. The legal documents will detail the alleged roles of the officials in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. Among those including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, and former CIA Director George Tenet. According to the article lawyers claim that Karpinski will be testifying on behalf of the plaintiffs. With the legal filings a written statement will be included from Karpinski saying, "It was clear the knowledge and responsibility for what happened at Abu Ghraib goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld." The U.S. Department of Defense has not replied, because the documents have not been filed yet. On November 14, 2006 the Attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights had officially filed a war crimes lawsuit in Germany against Rumsfeld and other high-ranking U.S. officials for their role in the torture of prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo. Karpinski confirmed that she will be testifying.[15][16]

Watch

Newsmaker of the Week: Janis Karpinski (30-min. interview, free)

Bibliography

  • One Woman's Army : The Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story, 2005, (ISBN 1-4013-5247-2)

Films

See also

References

  1. ^ Copeland, Libby. "Prison Revolt: Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski Says the Abu Ghraib Investigation Is About Scapegoating, but She's Having None of It", The Washington Post, May 10, 2004. Accessed December 20, 2007. "As a child growing up in Rahway, N.J., Janis Beam once tried to jump from her second-story window because it didn't seem that far down."
  2. ^ Colonel Karpinski had failed to inform the Army as required when filling out an official document about an earlier arrest on an Air Force base in the US on a misdemeanour charge.
  3. ^ Karpinski Raises Doubts About Military Sex Assault
  4. ^ http://www.sptimes.com/2003/12/14/Worldandnation/Her_job__Lock_up_Iraq.shtml
  5. ^ Israeli interrogators 'in Iraq', BBC, July 20, 2003.
  6. ^ FOXNews.com - Ex-Abu Ghraib General Denies Shoplifting
  7. ^ Shoplifting Charge Dogs Iraq Gen., Military Sources: Gen. Karpinski Caught Stealing Perfume In 2002 - CBS News
  8. ^ a b BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Iraq abuse 'ordered from the top'
  9. ^ "Rumsfeld okayed Abu Ghraib abuses according to former US general" - CBS News
  10. ^ "Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former U.S. general" - ABC News
  11. ^ "Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former US army general" Reuters News
  12. ^ Special Broadcasting Service :: Dateline - presented by George Negus
  13. ^ Leon Worden. "SCV NEWSMAKER OF THE WEEK: Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski". http://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/signal/iraq/sg070404.htm. Retrieved 2004-07-04. 
  14. ^ BBC NEWS | Americas | US held youngsters at Abu Ghraib
  15. ^ Democracy Now! | War Crimes Suit Filed in Germany Against Rumsfeld, Other Top U.S. Officials Over Prisoner Torture
  16. ^ "Exclusive: Charges Sought Against Rumsfeld Over Prison Abuse" by Adam Zagorin, Time.com, November 10, 2006. Accessed 2006-11-10.

External links

Preceded by
New Position
Deputy Commanding General (Detainee Operations) / Commanding General Task Force 134
2003-2004
Succeeded by
MG Geoffrey Miller







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