A report into allegations of abuse of prisoners by US forces in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison has uncovered "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses".
After pictures apparently showing the abuse and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners were published in the US media, it emerged the report was commissioned back in January.
The investigation by Maj Gen Antonio Taguba was completed on 3 March, the Pentagon said, but as of 4 May Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had still not read it fully.
Gen Taguba's report says detainees were forced to commit sexual acts, were threatened with torture, rape or attack by dogs, and were hidden from Red Cross visits, "in violation of international law".
Readers should be aware that his report, detailed below, includes graphic and disturbing descriptions of abuse.
Gen Taguba stated:
"Between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib
Confinement Facility, numerous incidents of sadistic,
blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several
"This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was
intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military
police guard force (372nd Military Police Company, 320th
Military Police Battalion, 800th MP Brigade), in Tier 1-A of the Abu Ghraib Prison."
He described specific abuses, which he said were "amply supported" by statements by suspects, detainees and witnesses.
According to reports, Gen Taguba identified two
military intelligence officers - a colonel and lieutenant colonel - and two civilian contractors as key figures in the abuses.
- Detainees were threatened with a loaded pistol
- Cold water was poured on naked prisoners
- Inmates were beaten with a broom handle and chair
- Male detainees were threatened with rape
- A prisoner was sodomised with a chemical light
- Detainees were forced into various sexual positions to be
- Naked inmates were arranged in a pile and then jumped on
- Male detainees were forced to wear women's underwear
- Male detainees were forced to masturbate while being photographed and videotaped
- Military dogs were used to frighten and intimidate; in one case a detainee was bitten
There have been allegations that military intelligence officers encouraged soldiers to abuse prisoners to soften them up for interrogation.