According to sealed charging papers that were provided to The Washington Post, soldiers forced prisoners to lie in “a pyramid of naked detainees” and jumped on their prone bodies, while other detainees were ordered to strip and perform or simulate sex acts. In one case, a hooded man allegedly was made to stand on a box of MREs, or meals ready to eat, and told that he would be electrocuted if he fell off. In another example, the papers allege, a soldier unzipped a body bag and took snapshots of a detainee’s frozen corpse inside. Several times, soldiers were photographed and videotaped posing in front of humiliated inmates, according to the charges. One gave a thumbs-up sign in front of the human pyramid.
The pictures, which were obtained by an American TV network, also show a dog attacking a prisoner… Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, speaking for central command, told the Guardian: “One contractor was originally included with six soldiers, accused for his treatment of the prisoners, but we had no jurisdiction over him. It was left up to the contractor on how to deal with him.” She did not specify the accusation facing the contractor, but according to several sources with detailed knowledge of the case, he raped an Iraqi inmate in his mid-teens.
Before condemning U.S. abuses at the prison, Bush praised his decision to remove of Saddam. “There are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq,” he said.
“It’s war, and war is not always fair and its not always pretty,” said Adrienne Ottaviani, a Cumberland resident and former Allegany County commissioner. “It was the ugliness of war that we saw. But I don’t think any of them should go to jail for this.”… “I’m sure there is more than one side of the story, and we don’t know all the facts,” said Robert Hutcheson, a Cumberland resident and Allegany County commissioner. “In my mind, this is no blemish on their record.”… “The little bit I have read about, it seems to me that it is being completely blown out of proportion,” said Roger Krueger, who served in Vietnam and is the [Vietnam Veterans of America] chapter’s president. “When a person is in combat, they have to do whatever they have to do to stay alive.”
They were not flattering pictures, and I hope they disappear into the ether and get pushed aside by bigger news in Fallujah. If they are shown on Al Jazeera, it makes us look bad.
I am a vet. What our troops do to win this war is their business. Things are happening over there so that we can remain free. All they ask of us is our respect. They have mine.
Amnesty International has received frequent reports of torture or other ill-treatment by Coalition Forces during the past year. Detainees have reported being routinely subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment during arrest and detention. Many have told Amnesty International that they were tortured and ill-treated by US and UK troops during interrogation. Methods often reported include prolonged sleep deprivation; beatings; prolonged restraint in painful positions, sometimes combined with exposure to loud music; prolonged hooding; and exposure to bright lights. Virtually none of the allegations of torture or ill-treatment has been adequately investigated by the authorities.
I caught a bit of the BBC World Service on National Corporate Radio this morning, and was struck by the Beeb’s heavy-duty coverage of the war crimes committed at the once-again-infamous Abu Ghraib prison. They interviewed the CBS correspondent in Baghad, a former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, and a British academic expert on war crimes, and described, in great detail, the specific acts captured in the photos. The Beeb news reader also cited a wave of revulsion sweeping across what we might jokingly refer to as the civilized world.
Even Tony Blair is appalled, apparently.
This made me curious to see how my local paper was handling the story. So I retrieved the paper from the yard, sat down on my front steps and looked at page one. There was nothing. Page two and three? Nothing. The “world in brief” column? Nothing. Finally, back on page A-16 or whatever, I found a short piece (without any of the photographs, naturally) that focused on the reactions of the families of the accused torturers.