July 3, 2004The US officer at the heart of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal says she has evidence that Israelis helped to interrogate Iraqis at another facility.
Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski told the BBC she met an Israeli working as an interrogator at a secret intelligence center in Baghdad.
A BBC reporter says it is the first time a senior US officer has suggested Israelis worked with the coalition.
The Israeli foreign ministry said the reports were completely untrue.
Gen. Karpinski was in charge of the military police unit that ran Abu Ghraib and other prisons when the abuses were committed. She has been suspended but not charged.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today program she met a man claiming to be Israeli during a visit to an intelligence center with a senior coalition general.
“I saw an individual there that I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet before, and I asked him what did he do there, was he an interpreter — he was clearly from the Middle East,” she said in the interview.
“He said, ‘Well, I do some of the interrogation here. I speak Arabic but I’m not an Arab; I’m from Israel.'”
Until a 1999 ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court, Israeli secret service interrogators were allowed to use “moderate force”.
The US journalist who broke the Abu Ghraib scandal told the program his sources confirm the presence of Israeli intelligence agents in Iraq.
Seymour Hersh said that one of the Israeli aims was to gain access to detained members of the Iraqi secret intelligence unit, who reportedly specialize in Israeli affairs.
The BBC reporter, Matthew Grant, says that whatever the truth, these allegations could cause anger in the Arab world.
Photographs of naked Iraqi detainees being humiliated and maltreated first started to surface in April, sparking shock and anger across the world.
One soldier has been sentenced and six others are awaiting courts martial for abuses committed at Abu Ghraib jail.
Gen Karpinski has said she was being made a “convenient scapegoat” for abuse ordered by others.
This article can be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3863235.stm
BBC: Israeli interrogators “in Iraq” (2004)