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New report highlights Iraq, Afghanistan death -

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(generated from captions) much for talking with us. Thanks, Kerry. It's almost two years since shocking pictures detailing abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison first publicly emerged, sparking a scandal that rocked the US Army. Several soldiers are now in jail over their involvement. But according to a new report, almost 100 prisoners have died in US military custody

over the past four years - in Afghanistan and Iraq.

- past in Afghanistan and Iraq. - past 3.in Afghanistan and Iraq. - past 3.5 in Afghanistan and Iraq. - past 3.5 years.in Afghanistan and Iraq.

At least 34 of the deaths are thought to be homicides and some have been described as the result of torture.

The report was produced by an organisation of American lawyers called Human Rights First and is based on official US sources. This exclusive report from Peter Marshall of the BBC'S 'Newsnight' program. For the Americans, with thousands of prisoners suddenly on their hands, the need for dedicated interrogators was obvious - first in Kandahar and then Bagram. In charge of an interrogation team, Sergeant Chris Mackey, an army reservist. A linguistic and accountant by profession, he was in at the deep end. When we got to Afghanistan, we discovered that we were faced with a situation where the enemy was difficult to identify. He was not willing to confront us with even a statement that he was the enemy, despite all evidence, including having captured him armed, fighting against us, that he was the enemy. So what happened? Well, our interrogation methods adapted to the situation. You had to improvise? We did. Mindful of the Geneva conventions, Mackey says he imposed a rule - only subject prisoners to treatment that soldiers themselves could sustain. We practised different types of sleep deprivation which required the prisoner and the interrogator to stay up the same amount of time. You couldn't swap out interrogators. In one case, we had a prisoner up for almost 28 or 29 hours. Being interrogated? Yes. So they were tough, but some felt not tough enough. Mackey's team at the Bagram Air Base was struggling to extract good intelligence. There was a great deal of pressure, particularly when there are American soldiers' lives at risk. If you have a large casualty list coming in every day,

the pressure is exponential on the interrogator to produce information for the battlefield commander. When I turned over the interrogation operation in Bagram to my successors I felt that that was absolutely as far as we could go. I was subjected to punishment, threats of torture, actual vindictive torture and death threats. Others were to go much further with appalling consequences. ...resonant with the terrifying screams

of fellow detainees facing similar methods. Moazzam Begg was held by the Americans in both Kandahar and Bagram. This culminated in the deaths of two fellow detainees

at the hands of US military personnel. But there was a practice that they used for punishing people or for trying to break people who weren't talking in interrogations and that was basically to suspend people's arms above their heads and tie that with long arm shackles to the top of the door so that they would be in this sort of position, with a bag over their head - a black cloth bag over their head. For some, like this Afghani, Dillawar, treatment in US custody ended in death. He and another man had been battered

with a technique used regularly at Bagram. The military police guards were taught essentially by policemen in their ranks, because they did not have proper training, to use what were called common perenial strikes, to knee prisoners in the back of the leg at the common perenial nerve. Tim Golden followed the subsequent trial of US soldiers. Well, the coroner compared the injuries

to being run over by a bus. That's how many people had struck these guys in the thighs. Their leg muscles were essentially pulpified. Three junior-ranked soldiers faced relatively minor charges. None were jailed. Why weren't there more serious charges then? At the heart in terms of the deaths, you had so many soldiers who admitted to having struck these men that the prosecutors had a hard time deciding who was most responsible, who might have caused their deaths. Hina Shamsi has just completed a report which suggests nearly 100 prisoners have died in US custody in the war on terror and that's discounting battle wounds or violence between prisoners. Shamsi's report, analysing figures extracted from the Pentagon, says there have been 98 deaths in US custody. At least 34 of them are suspected or confirmed homicides. That means caused by intentional or reckless behaviour. 11 more are deemed suspicious, and between 8 and 12 prisoners were tortured to death. The report says despite this, charges are rare and sentences light. It describes what it calls an accountability gap. Lewis Welshofer was a chief warrant officer with military intelligence in Iraq. In November 2003, after repeated beatings, Iraqi Major General Abed Mowhoush died

under Welshofer's interrogation. The way that General Mowhoush died was, at the very end, he was forced into a sleeping-bag, electrical cords were used to bind him,

and then Chief Welshofer and another person straddled him, sat on him. He ended up suffocating to death. In the sleeping-bag? In the sleeping-bag. One of the soldiers who was there testified that his legs were kicking as if he were being electrocuted. Lewis Welshofer, who stuffed the detainee head first into the sleeping-bag, was found guilty of negligent homicide. He was fined and confined to base for 60 days. The new report lists numerous cases of abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq

where the punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime.

Zaidoun Hassoun was an Iraqi forced to jump to his death in the Tigris by American troops. A lieutenant colonel, a captain and a major who allegedly covered up the killing and coached their soldiers on what to say to investigators received reprimands but were not relieved of their command.

Another soldier who shot a detainee in his cell was discharged by his commander. The investigation ultimately found probable cause to charge him with murder, but too late. In one detainee death case, the medical examiner's office failed to keep even the detainee's body together. We know that his rib cage was found in Washington DC and part of his larynx in Germany,

and a bone - a piece of bone necessary to show that he had died as a result of strangulation - was lost and never found, and, as a result, the people responsible for his death could not be held fully accountable. I think you can't help but feel, after reading this report, that it is devastating. Brigadier General James Cullen, who has monitored military discipline since Vietnam, says this is a new low. To think that we could have soldiers and even commanders who are looking the other way, who are doing bad things, who are not investigating bad things, who are not perhaps prosecuting bad things when they occur, leave us with shame. He traces political responsibility to the month Dillawar was bludgeoned to death in Bagram - December 2002. At that time, the Pentagon's lawyer was writing a memo to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the use of stress positions. Rumsfeld scrawled at the bottom, "I stand for 8 to 10 hours a day. "Why is standing limited to four hours?" The Rumsfeld message is very, very significant. Our soldiers are sharp and they're hearing a message

which they're interpreting as winking and nodding and saying, "Alright. We're going to do what's necessary here."