US puts known abusers in charge of Iraqi prisons posted by Rick at 5:42 PM
According to a story in the New York Times, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has written a letter to Attorney General John Asshcroft asking the Justice Department to look into the part played by US civilians in the prison system in Iraq.
At least two high-ranking civilians in the US-run Iraqi prison system have spotted records at best when it comes to prisoner abuse.
John J. Armstrong resigned last year as Commissioner of Corrections in Connecticut after he sent two inmates to their deaths in a "supermaximum security" facility in Virginia, where one of them was apparently treated for diabetic shock by being zapped with a stun gun and restrained, and another hanged himself by jumping from his bunk while a guard stood by and did nothing.
Armstrong had also been criticized repeatedly over his eight years in charge of Connecticut's prisons for failing to deal with complaints of sexual harassment of female guards by their male coworkers.
Armstrong is Assistant Director of Operations of the US prisons in Iraq. He is said to be working under contract for the State Department, although State declined to confirm or deny it.
Lane McCotter was forced out as Director of the Utah Department of Corrections in 1997 after guards killed a mentally ill inmate by leaving him "shackled naked to a restraining chair for 16 hours."
McCotter's next stop was as an executive with a private corrections company. That company was roundly criticized by a Justice Department report that said an inmate in one of their jails hanged himself in part because the jail "lacked adequate medical and mental health care and had no suicide prevention plan," according to the story.
Just a month later, Asshcroft sent McCotter to Iraq and put him in charge of reopening Iraq's prisons.
Schumer reportedly asked, "Of all the people who have experience running prisons in this country and haven't run into trouble, how did they pick these guys?"
When the attorney general is a right-wing religious fundamentalist who thinks pain and suffering is what non-Christians deserve, the answer is pretty easy to guess.