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Inside the Grand Jury: CIA for War Crimes

By jimstaro - Posted on 13 June 2011

Haunted by Homicide: Federal Grand Jury Investigates War Crimes and Torture in Death of 'the Iceman' at Abu Ghraib, Plus Other Alleged CIA Abuses


Former colleague and TIME contributor Adam Zagorin breaks news here on Battleland with exclusive reporting on the latest federal action over the infamous death of "the Iceman" at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison in 2003:

June 13, 2011 - It has been nearly a decade since Manadel al-Jamadi, an Iraqi prisoner known as "the Iceman" — for the bungled attempt to cool his body and make him look less dead — perished in CIA custody at Abu Ghraib. But now there are rumbles in Washington that the notorious case, as well as other alleged CIA abuses, could be returning to haunt the agency. TIME has learned that a prosecutor tasked with probing the CIA — John Durham, a respected, Republican-appointed U.S. Attorney from Connecticut — has begun calling witnesses before a secret federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., looking into, among other things, the lurid Nov. 4, 2003, homicide, which was documented by TIME in 2005.

TIME has obtained a copy of a subpoena signed by Durham that points to his grand jury's broader mandate, which could involve charging additional CIA officers and contract employees in other cases. The subpoena says "the grand jury is conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving War Crimes (18 USC/2441), Torture (18 USC 243OA) and related federal offenses."

In 2009 — after President Barack Obama replaced President George W. Bush — new U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder tapped Durham to review roughly a dozen cases of alleged abuse against “war on terror” suspects that had gone dormant. Holder's decision to expand the probe occurred shortly before the CIA released a five-year-old IG report detailing a litany of detainee abuse by the agency.

Al-Jamadi's death may be the best-known unresolved case that Durham was tasked with investigating. Despite worldwide publicity, including the publication of photographs of grinning U.S. military personnel posed over the victim's body, only a single officer faced court-martial. But he was found innocent in connection with the death of al-Jamadi, a suspected terrorist. Navy SEALs injured al-Jamadi during his violent arrest and initial questioning, but an autopsy concluded that those events could not have killed him. In fact, al-Jamadi was observed being turned over by the SEALs at Abu Ghraib, kicking and screaming in English and Arabic, only to be placed in a cell with a CIA interrogator and contract linguist. {continued}

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