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Top Pentagon Lawyer Reportedly Warned Of Detainee Abuse Before Abu Ghraib


A U.S. magazine says a former top Defense Department lawyer warned that the policy of circumventing international agreements on humane treatment of prisoners could lead to the kind of abuse that caused a scandal two years ago.

The New Yorker says the Navy's general counsel, Albert Mora, warned in 2004 that White House-sanctioned arguments for forceful prisoner interrogations were unlawful and dangerous.

The magazine says he was supported by other Pentagon legal officials, but was blocked at higher levels.

It says Mora told of his arguments against the provisions in a 22-page memo to Pentagon officials who investigated the abuse at the Abu Ghrab prison in Iraq.

The New Yorker says parts of the memo are at odds with the White House position that detainees are treated in a manner consistent with the Geneva conventions.

Mora, now retired, says he was stunned when the Abu Ghraib scandal appeared to confirm his worst fears.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
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