U.S. Army Dog Handlers Face Abuse Charges

Army dog handlers face abuse charges

CNN, Tuesday, July 26, 2005; Posted: 10:20 a.m. EDT (14:20 GMT)

HAGERSTOWN, Maryland (AP) -- Two Army dog handlers accused of using the animals in a personal contest to frighten detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison are scheduled to appear for a military equivalent of a grand jury hearing Tuesday.

Sgts. Santos A. Cardona and Michael J. Smith are charged with dereliction of duty and maltreatment of detainees.

Both were attached to the 320th Military Police Battalion, one of the units guarding the now notorious Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad in December 2003 and January 2004.

According to an investigation led by Maj. General George Fay, Cardona and Smith had a running contest in which they used their dogs to try to frighten detainees into wetting themselves.

Smith told investigators in February 2004 that he and Cardona used their unmuzzled dogs to help the military intelligence unit with interrogations.

"MI would ask me to use my dog as psychological and physical deterrent," he is quoted as saying in a report compiled by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba. "It would consist of a dog walking up to a prisoner and the dog barking at a prisoner."

Smith said he knew that dogs were supposed to be muzzled during interrogations, but "from what I was told, we weren't doing interrogations. Having the dogs bark at detainees was psychologically breaking them down for their interrogation purposes."

Cardona, who supervised the two-man dog team, told investigators he had reservations about using dogs in the "hard site," where detainees were interrogated.

"The people who are in charge try to tell you how to do your job, even though they're not trained in dog handling," he said. "I told them nothing good is going to come out of dogs being in a hard site."

Cardona's civilian attorney, Harvey J. Volzer, didn't return messages seeking comment Monday afternoon. It wasn't immediately known who represented Smith.

Fort Meade, where the Article 32 hearing is planned Tuesday, is 15 miles south of Baltimore.

Eight Army reservists have been convicted in connection with abuse at Abu Ghraib, where photos of soldiers humiliating and abusing detainees triggered an international scandal over the U.S. military's treatment of war prisoners.

Col. Thomas M. Pappas, commander of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, which conducted interrogations at the prison, was reprimanded and fined in May. Pfc. Lynndie England, a reservist who became the face of the scandal, is awaiting trial.

In Washington, lawmakers have been discussing ways to regulate U.S. treatment of terror suspects since the Abu Ghraib scandal surfaced.

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, a former prisoner of war, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Air Force lawyer, introduced amendments Monday that would set rules for the treatment and interrogation of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. One amendment would expressly prohibit cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody no matter where they are held.

The Bush administration has said advisers would recommend a veto of the defense bill if amendments were added that restricted the president's ability to conduct the war on terrorism and protect Americans.
Wonder what the premiere ARRSE dogw@nker, Auld-Sapper, would have to say about this...
Oh thank goodness. When I read the heading I thought they had been abusing their dogs. No harm done then.
Definitely a bait-and-switch headline, I agree... :D

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