British forces ‘witnessed electric shocks, beatings and dog kennel torture of Iraqi prisoners in secret US prison in Baghdad’
British soldiers saw prisoners being hooded, given electric shocks and kept in cells the size of dog kennels for prolonged periods at Camp Nama.
British troops working at a secretive US detention centre in Iraq saw prisoners being given electric shocks, brutally beaten and locked in ‘kennels’, it was claimed last night.
For the first time, servicemen at the notorious Camp Nama in Baghdad have spoken of how they saw Americans abuse and torture terror suspects.
One captive had his false leg pulled off and was beaten around the head with it, they said.
But when the troops complained about the treatment, a British Army officer said: ‘You didn’t see that – do you understand?’
The claims will fuel suspicions that military chiefs and ministers turned a blind eye to the abuse.
The allegations follow the scandal over Baha Mousa, a civilian beaten to death by British troops in Iraq in 2003 and abuses at the US-run Abu Ghraib prison.
At Camp Nama, two RAF squadrons and an Army Air Corps unit had guard and transport duties while SAS and SBS troops were based nearby.
The joint US-UK special forces unit, code-named Task Force 121, worked to seize key insurgents.But few British personnel were allowed into the camp’s interrogation area.
This included a room with every surface painted black, where the worst abuses are said to have been carried out.
On the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, former UK personnel have come forward.
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Two SAS members told how they saw two Iraqi prisoners being tortured in an area run by Delta Force, the US special forces unit.
One said: ‘They were given electric shocks from cattle prods and their heads were held under the water in the swimming pool.’
Witnesses said prisoners were held in cells the size of large dog kennels made of wire mesh and corrugated iron.
One told The Guardian: ‘The prisoners were taken into a hangar to be bagged and tagged, a bag put over their heads and their hands plasticuffed behind their backs. They would be driven to the Joint Operations Centre. They were in pretty poor shape when they were taken out.’
‘Everyone’s seen the Abu Ghraib pictures. But I’ve seen it with my own eyes.’
Another former soldier said: ‘I saw one man having his prosthetic leg being pulled off him, and being beaten about the head with it before he was thrown onto the truck.’
Suspects were brought to the secret prison at Baghdad international airport, known as Camp Nama for questioning by both US military and civilian interrogators.
Their methods were so brutal that they drew condemnation not only from a US human rights body but from a special investigator reporting to the Pentagon.
The Guardian reports that Geoff Hoon, defence secretary at the time, insisted he had no knowledge of the camp or the activities carried out there.
When it was pointed out to him that the British military had provided transport services and a guard force, and had helped to detain Nama’s inmates, he reportedly replied: ‘I’ve never heard of the place.’
In the same manner the MoD has repeatedly failed to address questions about ministerial approval of British operations at Camp Nama.
Nor would the department say whether ministers had been made aware of concerns about human rights abuses there.
There is no suggestion UK personnel carried out any abuse but questions have been raised about what ministers knew.