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U.S. military abuse panel slams government

Aug. 25, 2004 at 8:16 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- An independent U.S. panel investigating prisoner abuses at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison has criticized every level of command up to the defense secretary.

"We believe that there is institutional and personal responsibility right up the chain of command as far as Washington is concerned," said James Schlesinger, chairman of the four-member advisory panel appointed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in early May to investigate abuse allegations.

"There was sadism on the night shift at Abu Ghraib, sadism that was certainly not authorized," Schlesinger said, although he said "no policy of abuse" had been discovered.

Another member of the panel, former Rep. Tillie Fowler, R-Fla., said the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the head of the U.S. Central Command failed to plan properly for the treatment of prisoners, CNN reported.

"These failures of leadership helped to set the conditions which allowed for the abusive practices to take place," Fowler said.