New Abuse Report Shields Identities

By Leon Worden
Signal City Editor

Thursday, August 26, 2004

*MEDIA—MANDATORY CREDIT: The Signal newspaper of Santa Clarita, Calif.

hree civilian translators were named in a new report on military intelligence breaches at Abu Ghraib prison — although "named" isn't quite the right word.
    All names were excised from the 177-page executive summary to the report on prisoner abuse, released Wednesday.
    Was John B. Israel, a civilian translator from Canyon Country who was implicated in an earlier Army report, one of the three?
    Army officials wouldn't say. Nor would they say if he was exonerated.
    "We cannot — we don't have any names," said Anita Hodges, spokeswoman for Gen. Paul J. Kern, the top Army official overseeing the inquiry conducted by Lt. Gen. Anthony R. Jones and Maj. Gen. George R. Fay.
    Hodges said civilian contractors' names weren't being released because some are subject to further investigation by the Justice Department. They could still face charges, she said.
    A previous Army inquiry into military police activities at the prison, conducted by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, found that two military intelligence officers and two civilian contractors — including Israel — were "either directly or indirectly responsible" for the abuses.
    Taguba recommended further inquiry to determine the extent of their culpability. Thus, the Fay-Jones investigation.
    In all, Fay and Jones determined that 27 military intelligence members — 23 military personnel and four civilians — participated in the abuse, while another eight, including two civilians, knew about it and failed to report it.
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    Israel, 48, was one of several translators supplied to the Iraqi prison by Titan Corp. of San Diego.
    The Fay-Jones report names three Titan translators and assigns them varying degrees of responsibility, ranging from none to severe.
    The three Titan translators are identified only as "Civilian-10," "Civilian-16" and "Civilian-17."
    Civilian-10, a man, was exonerated.
    "Civilian-10 is cleared of any wrongdoing and should retain his security clearance," the report said.
    Civilian-16 is a woman. She is accused of failing to report abuses and threats she witnessed. The report recommends that the Army general counsel consider turning over her case to the Justice Department for prosecution.
    The third Titan translator, Civilian-17, "actively participated in detainee abuse," the report states, and is also recommended for possible criminal charges.
    In addition to being "present during the abuse of detainees depicted in photographs," Civilian-17 was accused of hitting one prisoner and cutting his ear, while another prisoner said someone fitting Civilian-17's description "raped a young detainee."
    The report describes Civilian-17 as "a large man, believed by several witnesses to be homosexual, and of Egyptian extraction."
    A 50-year-old Egyptian-American translator from Maryland was fired by Titan around the time the Taguba report was released.
    Israel is an Iraqi-American, born in Baghdad.
    The Army hasn't revealed to Titan Corp., a $2 billion intelligence firm with an estimated 4,400 employees in Iraq, the identities of the three translators, company spokesman Ralph "Wil" Williams said Wednesday.
    Nor is it known whether they are current or former employees, he said.
    "It goes beyond our imagination and violates our policies for any employee to participate or remain silent while the alleged abuses such as those at Abu Ghraib went on," Williams said. "If any of our employees have done anything wrong, we will take appropriate action, and we will cooperate fully with the government."
    "We are pleased that one employee has been exonerated completely," he said. "With thousands of employees in Iraq, we would hope that the great record they have compiled for that country would be measured against the allegations against these two alleged bad apples."