Army Interview with Chief Warrant Officer 2 re: Military Police Operations and Detainee Handling at Camp Bucca

An Army CW2 in charge of prisoner of war screenings and the conduct of the war crimes investigations discusses the challenges with Military Police operations at Camp Bucca. He describes sorting out Iraqi military, civilian and common criminals during the screening process. He also describes his unit's adherence to the Geneva Conventions and the law of war. He also describes the interviews (voluntary) conducted with high value detainees concerning their activities in the Iraqi military. Finally he describes his units investigation in to the US soldiers who are accused of detainee abuse.

Friday, July 29, 2005

IFIT-35-115 Chief

I'm with CW2 He's the CID agent of the 44th
Military Police detachment CID 4 from Fort Lewis, Washington.
Chief could you please state your name, give the spelling of
your last name for me and where you're located from.

My name is
from Washington.

Q: And when were you deployed here to Camp Buka?
I arrived here at Camp Buka on 3 May of this year.

Chief could you please give me a rundown of exactly what

your duties here are with the CID at Camp Buka.

111.11111111 My primary duties at the CID at Camp Buka myself
personally are the EPW screens, prisoner of war screenings
and the conduct of the war crimes investigations.



And chief, could you give me a little more of an
explanation of each of the different'areas. We can start
with the screening of the prisoners first.

MOO All the EPWs go through a screening process conducted
by the US. What we're trying to determine is there status
as civilian or military. If they're civilian, we're trying
to determine if they were missing civilian, unlawful
combatant or criminal that was arrested for looting or a
prior offense. If they're military, we're trying to

determine what their role in the war was and any

information we can get. Our main focus, the CID, is trying

to determine (break in tape) and put to the right place,

and if they're military if they have any information on war

crimes committed by the Iraqi army.

Q: How long of a process does the screen take?

111111114 The screen Ing itself ed441,am anywhere flora 15 minutes
to an hour depending on if the individual is being honest
with us, what type of information we feel the individual
might have. If they are identified as a criminal, they're
merely put into a hold and we'll go back to actually
investigating the criminal offense at a later date.

Q: Is there a definition for what is considered to be a

110111111 The definition's kind of broad. There are a lot of
people that are arrested for numerous offenses like looting
as the war was going on. We're mainly trying to focus on
their release prior to the start of the war. When Saddam
optned his prisons and let everybody out. (break in tape)

Q: OK Chief, you were explaining going through the screening
process and what is the definition of a criminal.

WWII Well mainly our focus is the violent major crimes.
The rapes, crimes like that. All the people who are
sentences to life in jail, sentenced to death, long term

sentences were all released, given rifles and told to go

fight. Of course, they dropped the rifles and just went
back to their homes. We're trying to identify them to keep
them from (break in tape). We're also trying to identify
war criminals. This would be senior officers or senior non
commission officers participating in violations of the
Geneva Convention, be it this war, '91 war or all the way
back to when they use chemical weapons. (break in tape)
The shooting of POWs, execution of POWs, the pillaging of
Kuwait, the raping of the Kuwait women, mistreatment of the
American POWs during the war. Any violations of the Hague
and Geneva Convention is what we're trying to concentrate
on. Mainly focusing on (break in tape) And using the lower
ranks, trying to get the information on who (break in

Q: Okay and when you're going through the screening process,
what are the ages groups of some of these--the prisoners
that are coming through?

guills The majority, I mean we started--there was on

to -
this camp at one point and you know we're down to ell The

majority are probably males from the age of 18 to 30, the

f.1:ghting age. The majority of the individuals picked up

are denying being (break in tape) are claiming to be

farmers. And that's where the interview process, the


screen process, although rapid, needs to be thorough and

you know in depth. (break in tape) Obviously some do get
by. (break in tape)

Q: Okay Chief, when you do find a person that has been a
soldier, what are some of the signs that you're looking

If they admit they're a soldier, we're mainly asking
them pretty standard screening questions. What their job
was in the army, where they were assigned, what actions
they took during the war, did they receive any orders that
they would take to be unlawful. Such as, killing
retreating soldiers, killing any prisoners of war, using
any type of chemical weapons. Quickly going through--just
because they were identified as a soldier, all we're trying
to do is just kind of get a focus on what happened on the
battlefield and possibly identify anybodAl who might have
been in the area of something that we might be interested
in later.

Q: And, to date, for your time that you've been here, have you
been able to identify any of these type of prisoners?

IIIIIIIIII Oh, absolutely. Obviously a big focus of CID right
now is the actions of the Iraqi soldiers with our American
POWs and the 507 Maintenance Company. We've identified
several individuals that were in the area, that were

witnesses to it and that participated in it and maybe more
come through, but the ones we have identified have provided
very good information.
Q: And could you give us an accounting, a short accounting of
what exactly happened with the 507?
Unfortunately I can't. That would have to be
something that came out of my Commander 11111 because that
is a secret investigation right now.
Q: OK. With those individuals that you may have found that
were connected with the 507, what will happen with those

IMO The primary individuals we're looking for are the ones
that were in charge of, that were in command, that took the
American soldiers after the ambush. Took them through the
streets of Nasriye and put them on display, put them on the
television. We've identified so far more of the side
players, the people who were involved in the attack itself
but not the after effect. Now, obviously the ambush on the
American convoy wasn't a war crime, but it was the actions
after the ambush that people are investigating.

Q: And have these prisoners, these former soldiers, have they
given you additional information where to find the other



IOW (break in tape) Every soldier we talk to can either

help us better our timeline or better our locations. So
there hasn't been one soldier that's just been able to lay
it all out for us but there's been numerous that have
either helped with the times or locations or what units
were in that area, who was responsible. There's been a lot
of information gathered from the EPWs that we've spoken
with. (break in tape)

Q: If the soldier is cooperative and is willing to give you
more intelligence and more information, is there a special
treatment that may be given to that individual?
Not really special treatment. What we try to do is
that we get as much--we make every attempt to get all the
information that we can from this individual and then get
him released. (break in tape) we're trying to push the

(break in tape) as absolutely as quickly as possible. So
if we identify somebody with that information on that type
of subject, we don't have to hold them here because they
want to be cooperative. So we take the time, we do full
interviews of them at that time, get as much information as
we possibly can, and continue with their outprocessing.

Q: With the EPW soldiers that you've identified, are there
certain standards that you have to follow under the Geneva


IIIIIIIIIP Oh absolutely, I mean they have to be treated like any

other POWs which is outlined in the Geneva Convention. We
NA\ don't do any (break in tape) interrogations, everything is
voluntary. We make sure they understand that the
information they do give us is voluntary. We don't force
them to provide the information. They're just interviews,
they're not interrogations.
Q: During the interviews, is there an interpreter present?

101111.11 Yes. We work with several interpreters.

Q: And while we're getting toward the end of the actual war
right now, are you finding more soldiers that are coming in
or are you finding more criminals that are coming in?

1111111.11 More criminals now. About 50 percent of the soldiers
denying they're soldiers. Because when they're initially
brought into the camp, the rumor across the camp was that
the soldiers were going to be kept and the civilians were
going to be let go. When actually it was quite reverse.
The soldiers, when they admitted to being soldiers, were
released. The civilians were the ones that had to be
screened, identified as either criminal or an unlawful
combatant. So, we're sorting through that but the
soldiers, as they're coming in, when they identify
themselves as soldiers, get released rather quickly.


Q: Okay and with the civilian detainees that have been brought

in. Can you give me an example, perhaps, a couple
circumstances of how they were truly a citizen as to
someone that may have been lying to you?

Best example would probably be when the British came
up here to the Basrah area, they pretty much swept up any
male that was probably within the fighting age of, I'm
going to say 17 to 30 and just processed them in as EPWs,
just because they didn't know. There were so many soldiers
that were putting on civilian clothes. So to avoid this
basically, killing, they grabbed up everybody that appeared
to be a soldier and brought them in. That made it
extremely difficult because you had a lot of civilians non­combatants mixed in with combatants who were wearing
civilian clothes. That's why the screening was so
important. A lot of them were completely innocent
civilians. We've identified roughly, you know, thousands
of completely innocent civilians that were captured. The
British and the Americans also arrested a lot of--or
detained a lot of civilians for looting and various other
crimes. Murders, rapists in the camp. (break in tape)by
the US or the British, either the soldiers observed them
doing or based on the information they got from the public.
Which is important, when they come to the camp, we have to

know why they were brought to the camp, then we have to do

a quick screening to determine are we going to keep them or

are we going to release them. A lot of the looters were

released because it was such a minor offense and we had a

lot of the major criminals that we're dealing with. (break

in tape) because there's no court system in Iraq right now,

a simple charge of looting isn't something that we're going

to have a POW camp for.

Q: With the people that you've identified to be criminals and
they--you have proof that they are criminals. What will
happen to them after that point then?

They are going to be held, I believe until the interim

VAJ., --government gets a little bit more control over what's going
on. And they're looking for a permanent jail (break in
tape) to house these people until we can turn them over to
a firm government it will be up to them to either release
them, retry them, reinvestigate the case. You know,
whatever they decide to do with them. We're just not going
to take responsibility for releasing them back out into the
public where they can rape, murder and do harm again. Once
the government's established, they'll decide what they want
to do with the criminals that we've identified.

Q: With the EPWs that were identified as soldiers, are you
looking for other identifying things about them that will


identify them as a soldier. For instance, tattoos or are

there other distinguishing marks?

IIIIIIII Oh, absolutely. Like in the states, there are
(inaudible) soldiers (break in tape) the units they're

p0A with. Especially the Saddam (break in tape) or the militia
group here have very distinctive tattoos. The prisoners,
we can usually identify someone who's been in jail in Iraq
based on what tattoos they have. So we do check their
upper body and lower body to see if there are any tattoos
and we've started to kind of identify what tattoos go with
what units. So if someone comes in claiming they're a
ton?ato farmer and they have a tattoo of the (inaudible), we
know they're not telling the truth. (break in tape)

Q: OK Chief, could you give me a little bit of a description
of what would be considered war crimes and how you
investigate those.

1111111111111 We have a--well CID's main function here in the
theater is investing war crimes. Not only committed by the
Iraqi forces but any allegations of war crimes committed by
coalition forces. Down in (break in tape) their entire job
is gathering information on any crimes, such as the use of
chemical weapons, the execution of EPWs, the '91 Gulf and
the execution of the Kurds, using the gas back in (break in
tape). Other crimes include just the pillaging, the raping,

fl'410 -0 9
executing of your own soldiers. The way we work that is
that we start off with information gathered through either
the, screenings or soldiers on the ground or information
that we know of the history. We start collating the
information and as we identify soldiers and units that are
in a particular area, take for example the 507 ambush that
happened in Nasriye. We know it happened on the 23rd of
March, we know in the area at the time was the 11th
division Iraqi, 11th Iraqi division. So using that, we can
start narrowing down our scope on the EPWs that were
arrested in Nasriye between say the 22nd and the 25th.
We'll describe any soldiers that identify themselves as
with the 11th division and we start working from there.
Looking back as far as the '87 gassing, we know that your
18 and 19-year-olds aren't going to have anything to do
with it, so we spend most of our time, we find all of the
g4neral officers, colonels or above that have been in the
army 20-30 years. Find out what units were involved in the
area at the time, where these general officers were
assigned, and start working that direction. (break in
tape)working hundreds of individual war crimes cases at
sometime are all going to be presented to the Hague to try
Saddam, probably an abstention obviously if he doesn't
appear. But every information, every interview that we do


here, is focused on trying to get more information on all

these allegations. 30 years of mistreatment of these

people. Crimes against humanity, crimes against his

neighboring countries.

Q: And when you identified someone that falls under these
conditions that you've mentioned, what happens to the
prisoners at that point?

We do interviews with them. At that time, we go from


a screening interview to a more detailed, obviously a

voluntary interview. We can't force them to tell us

anything. So we sit down with them, explain to them what

we're trying to do. We ask for their cooperation. About

eight times out of ten, we are getting cooperation. These

guys are willingly coming forward after 30 years of being

oppressed and having nothing. They know they were

mistreated and they're actually talking and we're gathering

some really good information. Detailed information from

senior offices across the Iraqi army.

Q: Are you at liberty to discuss any of these details on some
of the details on some of the areas that you may have

111111111g Some of the details, stuff such as today, I was
talking to some general officers who had information. One
of the big focuses is the Kuwaiti EPWs from the '91 Gulf

014611 12
war. (break in tape) information that they had been alive
up until the very recent, I'd say within three or four
months of the war starting. Talked with a general officer
today who, although couldn't confirm with any hard facts
and dates, led us to believe that he knew the EPWs, the
prison in Baghdad, that Saddam gave the order to execute
them prior to him leaving the country. Little bits of
infdrmation like that, knowing this guy's position that he
was a communications officer, so he would be privy to
information, we tend to take it not as fact but as pretty
solid information. That maybe they were alive, maybe they
were in Baghdad at the time. And that's how we've got to
piece it together. With that, he gives us information on
who was running the jail and then we go start tracking down
him or he gives us information on some guards at the jail
who we could potentially talk to. It's a long process
looking at so many incidents, like I said the ambush on the
507, just hundreds and hundreds of crimes against humanity,
crimes against other countries. So you have to kind of
pick and choose and any information that you get, you send
it back to the war crime cell at Arifjan and they pop it
into the proper case file and send a request back here for
further information. Because there's other camps across
Iraq that might also be getting the same information and so

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my general might say, you know he was here on this date and

another camp might get information that we have to go back
and question him about. So it's a cooperation across the
entire country right now.

Q: What does a CID agent have to do to bring the cells up to
the level of each of these scenarios or circumstances as
they may appear in world events?

11111111. You have to know what we're looking for, otherwise
you're just going into an interview blind. You get brief

\O ((6
PN"\\, time, when events happen, what kind of events, what constitutes--what crimes we're looking into, the general knowledge, you know anything this general officer might have or the soldier might have. So, it's just a lot of readings, a lot of briefings and knowing what's going on and knowing what's (break in tape)
Q: So obviously you're getting a lot of intel reports, a lot
of op reports to give you a more in depth detail of what
the circumstances might have been with each of these
events, wherever they may occur.

Correct. As information becomes available, they try
to distribute it out as quickly as possible. I did three
interviews with general officers today (break in tape)to
Arifjan tonight and by tomorrow it should be kicked out to
all the other agents so that everybody across the theater

D1L3I 3

is reading what I'm doing, CID wise. So, if it corresponds

to their investigation, they know you know, hey, before we

let this guy go, ask him this question.

Q: OK, you had given me some information on one general

officer you'd interviewed. But what about the other two?
OM The other two actually, ironically, were naval

19((6 officers. They were acu ((sp?)) Navy. It isn't real
110\ productive, isn't real active. They really didn't have too
much information. They'd been in the navy for (break in
tape) but they really didn't have too much information.
We're going to hold on to them, I'm going to shoot their
names down to Arifjan and if their names (break in tape)
interviews, we'll probably go ahead and recommend release
on both of them.

Q: Would these two individuals, since they're in the navy,
have anything to do with manning any of the ports or

No and that was one thing we questioned them about and
that's another thing we talked about their activity during
this war. And both of these individuals were (break in
tape) within a day or two of the war starting (break in
tape), so they really had no information on this war. One
of them was in Italy during the first Gulf war, he wasn't

01 2:614415

even in the country. So there wasn't too much we could get

from either one of them.

Q: And were they still held or were they released?
MINIM They'll probably be released within the next day or

\OU).\kcA two.
(break in tape)

Q: OK, Chief, could you tell me a little bit more of and get a
little bit more detail of the--when you have to investigate
our own forces, our own military police for any of these

(break in tape) our own forces for more than abuse.
Obviously CID's main function is felony criminal
investigations for the US Army. So we handle both
peacetime and wartime, all serious accusations against
soldiers. Some of the main areas we concentrate on over
here is obviously the EPWs. In the three weeks (break in
tape) approximately five complaints from EPWs or groups of
EPWA of mistreatment or abuse. We're working a very
serious one right now. About 44 EPWs were assaulted by
several MPs. They were unprovoked attacks. The case is
still in progress right now but it seems like just for one
reason or another, a group of 10 military police officers

(break in tape) a group of EPWs and they roughed them up
during an escort mission. Extremely serious allegation.


The Army takes it very seriously. And unfortunately it

looks like it's going to be a felony that did occur.

Q: I'm sorry could you please repeat that.

WWII. Unfortunately it looks like it's going to be a founded
case. It looks like the allegations as initially reported


are true. These MPs acted unprofessional, did assault some

Enemy Prisoners of War. Obviously the CID has a charter to

investigate, we investigate (break in tape) very openly.

The Red Cross was made aware of it. Our reports will be

floated through the chains of command. (break in tape) and

vevy much, on the up and up everything's all (break in


Q: And what would happen with any of these personnel that are
found guilty? What would their possible punishment be and
\i9 what kind of proceeds would take place for them?

1111111111/ Most likely they're going to be charged in the UCMJ
versus the charges of standard Army offense instead of a
war crime offense, which will be your assault, your
maltreatment of the EPWs. (break in tape) could carry a
sentence of up to ten years. I believe that most of the
MPs involved are charged with three to four offenses each
and numerous accounts of each of those offenses. (break in
tape) jail time, jail terms, if convicted.

Q: These MPs, were they Reserve or National Guard units?

0 1 4 1 6 17
MIMI. Reserve.

Q: Reservists. So, since they were in active duty for this
deployment, they would still fall on under any active duty
court then.

WEIN Absolutely, absolutely. I believe that (break in
tape) is the convening authority at this time for the
entire theater. (break in tape)it would absolutely fall to
a (inaudible) duty court martial.

Q: Were there any other instances that you can discuss that
involve any military police, whether it be founded or
unfounded charages?

111111111 Some other things we've had is some shootings that
we've had to (break in tape) started a fight in a camp a
while back. A guard had to use the one two levels of
force, had to shoot and kill the EPW. That's something we
also" have to investigate, obviously, to protect the
Department of Defense interest and to report all the facts
as they occurred. Turned out to be a justifiable homicide
case. The MP did act within the rules of engagement and it
showed he used the proper levels of force and unfortunately
it just escalated (break in tape) where deadly force had to
be used. Another case was a military police officer
standing guard, observed a civilian approaching the fence,
approaching the perm. (break in tape) halt, both in Arabic



and English, the individual did not halt. He fired a

warning shot. Unfortunately he didn't follow the rules of
engagement (break in tape) warning shots, and fired it in a
safe direction therefore (break in tape) strike the
civilian, hit him in the face with a projectile.
Fortunately the civilian did live, he was severely wounded.

And that soldier is being charged with reckless (break in

tape) and failure to follow the lawful order and rules of

engagement so. All incidents that happen on the camp have

to be documented and reported properly so that there can be

no allegations from the international community (break in

tafle). Everything that happens we try to report all the

facts, (break in tape) as possible.

Q: Are you finding that our forces, the military police, are
acting in a professional manner in treatment of the EPWs?
1111111110 In a whole, yes. There are very (break in

N(2(0—‘ tape)incidents that do occur but as a whole, I think the
military police, I believe they're all reservists, are
extremely professional. They're very good at what they do,
and they run this camp very well. (break in tape) it's not
for the fault of the military police officers, it's just it
was something all new. He had 7,000 people to process
through a small camp and with what they had to work with, I
think it went very well. I think the (break in tape) could


have been a little a bit better because there was a lot of
EPWs that slipped through the system but the (break in
tape) in general handled themselves extremely professional,
other than the very limited number of complaints we have

Q: OK and would you say that perhaps the EPWs have provoked
the military police to react in certain ways where they've
had to show force or react in a positive way to a squelch
any kind of riot or any other kind of incident?

1111111111 Prior to my arrival here on May 3rd, I heard there
\ was a lot of riots in the camp. I heard they (break in
tape) so I can't really speak of that. Since I've been

here, there haven't been any riots and the only assault I

know of is an unprovoked assault and that's the one we're


(break in tape)

Q: Okay Chief, could you give me more information on
additional investigations that you may perform, for
instance, rape or soldier on soldier crimes?

1111111111 OK obviously our last mission here, which is probably
our most important, is just protecting the troops. Both
from civilians and from themselves. We've had several, be
it soldier on soldier (break in tape)soldier on civilian
crimes. Not war crimes, it's just normal your standard

0:1.46.1 9
crimes. Your high dollar thefts, your assaults, your
rapes, possibly murders if it comes to it. I believe here
in Camp (break in tape) been very limited what we call
general crime. We have recently had a American soldier

(break in tape) who alleged that she was raped by a British
which is an investigation that obviously we were joining
with the British investigators. But also agents in theater
worked hundreds of stolen military equipment cases, worked
down at the port where vehicles being stolen, high dollar

(bgeak in tape) being stolen. It's a part of our job which
we call logistic security. We basically make the army
logistics less vulnerable to pilferage and thievery (break
in tape). It's a very important role in a theater like
this. We have just millions and millions of dollars of
equipment coming in and somebody has to provide security
for it. We don't provide your traditional gun and foot on
the ground security. We try to find out where it's
systematically being (break in tape) from. So there are
huge investigations that go down to the ports to find out
whb's stealing our (break in tape). And most cases,
abundant, unfortunately our soldier (break in tape) have
been down. But that's pretty much you know (break in
tape), which is enough considering we only have about


(break in tape) the troops and war crimes, it's a lot of
work. All of the CID keeps busy.

Q: And how many agents are here at Camp Buka?
WWII/ Currently we have six and we're getting ready to

reduce down to (break in tape) just because of manning
PA requirements, we need agents elsewhere.
Q: Okay and here at Camp Buka with the soldier on soldier
crime, you mentioned that there hasn't been too many cases.
What type of cases have occurred though?

UM.Like I said, we did have a rape case. Well, an
alleged rape, it was more of a sexual assault. We've had
the--you know I can't even think of another one right now,
in the last three weeks. All we've had is the soldier that
alleged that she was sexually assaulted. So it's been
pretty quiet, I mean as far as the general crimes arena,
it's been okay. I think when there's a build up of troops,
you have to have law enforcement.

Q: OK. Chief are there any other comments you'd like to add
to this interview and, or give any opinions of your

No, in general, I've (break in tape) experience
working in an EPW camp. I mean, I don't know how many
people ever get to (break in tape) do it, to witness
military tribunals, (break in tape) to see the


professionals, the MPs as they handle the EPWs (break in

tape) worked. A limited number of the assaults on the EPWs

and I think this camp is run very well. The organization

initially was a little confusing but I think the US Army

has done a great job here. I think we've gotten the guilty

people, and I think we've let the innocent people go. And

I'm very proud to be a part of it.

Q: Thank you very much for this interview. This concludes our
interview (break in tape). This is the 20th of May 2003.

01 4 6