Meagre justice in Abu Ghraib scandal

The former U.S. military intelligence chief at Abu Ghraib prison has been removed from his command as part of a punishment that also included a fine and reprimand, the Army has announced. Col. Thomas Pappas became the second senior officer relieved of command over the physical abuse and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. After an administrative disciplinary hearing May 9, Gen. B.B. Bell, the commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, relieved Pappas of his command of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade. He was also fined $8,000 and given a letter of reprimand for two instances of dereliction of duty at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 and early 2004.

The first instance of dereliction of duty involved his failure to ensure subordinates were adequately informed of, trained in and supervised in using interrogation procedures, the Army said. The second was his decision to authorize interrogators to have dogs present during questioning without the approval of superior commanders.

The Army previously relieved Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski of her command of the 800th Military Police Brigade. (Reuters, May 12)

(See also our last blog post on the still-unfolding torture scandal at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. military facilities.)