Saddam’s torture chambers now Uncle Sam’s

Another expendable piece of cannon fodder is scapegoated…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Army dog handler was found guilty on Tuesday of abusing detainees at Baghdad’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison and faces up to eight years and nine months in prison, an Army spokeswoman said.

The sentencing hearing for Army Sgt. Michael Smith, 24, was set to begin later today, Lt. Col. Shawn Jirik said.

Smith was charged with using his dog to harass and threaten inmates at Abu Ghraib in order to make them urinate and defecate on themselves in 2003 and 2004.

His lawyers said he was unfairly lumped in with others on the night shift who physically abused detainees or allowed their dogs to bite them, and was acting at the request of interrogators and prison authorities.

Disturbing photos of dogs barking and growling at inmates were seen around the world in the abuse scandal, which cut into Washington’s efforts to win support for its war in Iraq.

…as revelations mount that Abu Ghraib was the proverbial tip of the iceberg:

WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) — Details are emerging of a second facility in Baghdad where U.S. Special Forces allegedly beat and abused prisoners, The International Herald Tribune reports.

The site was called Camp Nama, and was at one of Saddam Hussein’s former military bases near Baghdad, not far from the Abu Ghraib prison, where well-documented abuses occurred.

St Camp Nama, U.S. soldiers allegedly made one of the former Iraqi government’s torture chambers into their own interrogation cell they called “the Black Room.”

Pentagon specialists who worked with the unit told the newspaper prisoners there often disappeared into a detention black hole, barred from access to lawyers or relatives, and confined for weeks without charges.

“The reality is, there were no rules there,” another Pentagon official told the International Herald Tribune.

Since 2003, 34 task force members have been disciplined in some way for mistreating prisoners, and at least 11 have been removed from the 1,000-person strong unit.

In the summer of 2004, Camp Nama closed and the unit moved to a new headquarters in Balad, north of Baghdad, and the unit’s operations are shrouded in even tighter secrecy, the newspaper said.

See our last post on the torture scandal.