Memo: US Detained Iraqi Wives to Get Husbands

WASHINGTON, January 28, 2006 – A declassified military memo shows that US occupation forces in Iraq had detained wives of men believed to be resistance fighters to pressure the suspects into giving themselves up.

The document, written on June 10, 2004, by a civilian Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officer, said Task Force 6-26 personnel, cited in other documents in connection with prisoner abuse, detained the wife of “a suspected terrorist” in the Tarmiya district, reported Reuters.

“The 28-year-old woman had three young children at the house, one being as young as six months and still nursing,” read the memo, part of documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) under court order through the Freedom of Information Act.

“Her husband was the primary target of the raid, with other suspect personnel subject to detainment as well,” it added.

“During the pre-operational brief, it was recommended by TF (task force) personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target’s surrender.”

The memo’s author documented his objection to the detainment of the young mother to the raid team leader and officially reported the incident within the chain of command.

“During my initial screening of the occupants at the target house, I determined that the wife could provide no actionable intelligence leading to the arrest of her husband,” he said.

“Despite my protest, the raid team leader detained her anyway,” wrote the intelligence officer. “I believed it was a dead issue.”

The woman was released two days later with her brother.

In a separate case, an officer from the Stryker Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division in northern Iraq emailed another officer on June 19, 2004 about the detention of some Kurdish women, and said the commanding general “wants the husband.”

The other officer replied: “These ladies fought back extremely hard during the original detention. They have shown indications of deceipt (sic) and misinformation.”

An email from the first officer to an unidentified recipient on June 17, 2004 asked: “What are you guys doing to try to get the husband — have you tacked a note on the door and challenged him to come get his wife?”

Five women were among 419 Iraqi detainees released by the US occupation forces on Thursday, January 26.

On May 12, 2004, the Guardian reported that US occupation forces had released most of Iraqi female detainees as the bombshell of abuse scandal was still unfolding.

It pointed out then that Iraqi female prisoners were kept in solitary confinement up to 23 hours a day, adding it saw pictures of US soldiers raping Iraqi women or photographing them naked in prison.

A freed detainee told the Arabic-language Al-Wasat, a weekly supplement of the mass-circulation London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, about her ordeal inside a US prison and how she had been gang-raped by US forces. [source]

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