The U.S. Military tried to keep it under wraps; and CBS News complied for a few weeks until others got the story. Does anyone really believe the little that has leaked out is anything other than the tip of the iceberg here?
TORTURED, ABUSED AND HUMILIATED - SHOCKING PICTURES SHOW HOW SOLDIERS TREATED IRAQI PRISONERS IN SADDAM'S JAIL
Fri Apr 30, 2004
UK DAILY MAIL
FOR decades, Saddam Hussein's infamous Abu Ghraib dungeon was the scene of unspeakable cruelty against Iraqi prisoners.
Now the Americans are in charge - but the torture has continued.
Photographs have emerged showing Iraqis being sexually abused and bullied by their U.S. captors.
One, shown on Page One, depicts a hooded prisoner standing on a box with wires attached to his hands. He was wrongly given to believe that if he fell off the box he would be electrocuted.
The sickening pictures, shown across the U. S. on the CBS network, have outraged Americans and are expected to redouble the fury of Iraqis already pursuing a relentless campaign of death and destruction against the occupying forces, ten more of whom died yesterday. In the words of one leading Marine: 'We'll be paid back for this.'
Screened on the authoritative 60 Minutes news programme, the photograpsh showed male and female soldiers laughing, pointing and giving the thumbs-up sign as they humiliated the PoWs.
The sickening snaps, including shots where jeering soldiers pose next to their helpless and, in many cases, naked prisoners, were taken as trophies - souvenirs to show their friends and family back home.
They came to light only when one of the men involved gave a photo to a soldier from another unit, who was so shocked he took it to his commanders.
Television chiefs said they obtained 12 pictures, but said the army had confiscated 'many, many more'. One shows naked Iraqi prisoners stacked in a human pyramid, with a slur written in English on the skin of one.
Others handed to military investigators show naked Iraqis forced to simulate sex acts, a detainee with wires attached to his genitals and a prisoner attacked by a dog.
The photographs were all taken late last year at Abu Ghraib, where U.S. troops were guarding hundreds of prisoners captured during the Iraqi invasion.
They led to criminal charges against six military policemen who are being court martialled for allegedly abusing about 20 Iraqis.
In addition the military has recommended disciplinary action against seven U.S. officers who helped run the prison, including Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the commander of the 800 Military Police Brigade, who has been suspended from duty.
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said last night in Baghdad that the investigation began in January when an American soldier reported the abuse and turned over evidence that included photographs.
'That soldier said, "There are some things going on here that I can't live with".'
Kimmitt said he was 'appalled' at the photographs. 'These are our fellow soldiers, these are the people we work with every day, they represent us, they wear the same uniform as us, and they let their fellow soldiers down.
'If we can't hold ourselves up as an example of how to treat people with dignity and respect, we can't ask that other nations do that to our soldiers,' he told CBS.
One of those facing court martial is Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Chip Frederick. He is charged with maltreatment, assault and indecent acts, striking detainees and ordering detainees to strike each other.
Interviewed by telephone on the 60 Minutes programme, he said he would plead not guilty and added: 'We had no support, no training whatsoever, and I kept asking my chain of command for certain things, rules and regulations, and it just wasn't happening.'
60 Minutes also quoted, however, from an e-mail which Frederick reportedly sent to his family, in which he said of Iraqi prisoners: 'We've had a very high rate with our styles of getting them to break; they usually end up breaking within hours.' Kimmitt insisted only a small minority of soldiers were responsible for the abuse.
'Frankly, I think all of us are disappointed by the actions of the few,' he said. 'Every day we love our soldiers but frankly, some days we're not always proud of our soldiers. It's a small, small minority of people we're talking about here, less than a dozen out of the 150,000 who are serving honourably and proudly over here.
'We live by our values. Some of our soldiers every day die by our values and these acts that you see in these pictures may reflect the actions of individuals but by God it doesn't reflect my army.'
The Baghdad prison scandal is disturbingly reminiscent of how the Americans' cruel treatment of prisoners was revealed at Camp X-Ray in Cuba following the Afghanistan conflict by photos showing the hooded captives chained like animals in open-air cages. They were also paraded in orange jump-suits. With the reasons for invading Iraq under increasing scrutiny, this will cause further damage to America's attempts to persuade the rest of the world it was in the right.
Former Marine Lieutenant Colonel Bill Cowan said: "We went into Iraq to stop things like this from happening and here they are happening under our tutelage.
'We will be paid back for this. These people at some point will be let out. Their families, their friends are going to know.
'If we don't tell this story, these kinds of things will continue, and we'll end up getting paid back 100 or 1,000 times over.'
CBS executives received an appeal from the chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, two weeks ago to hold the story because of the dangers of a backlash against soldiers in Iraq from outraged insurgents.
But it was agreed for the photos to be shown this week because other news outlets had obtained similar pictures.