Friday, April 30, 2004


Apologies in advance, difficult to find something positive this week.

Disturbing events at Abu Ghraib Prison (treatment of POW's);
~ The Guardian
~ Ireland Online

(No photo's included in these links, saw pictures in a local paper today, felt ill. Not looking for photo's to link too, you've probably already seen them).


Photographs of UK forces torturing prisoners have now also been published by the Mirror. It is worrying that Amnesty International has been documenting cases of mistreatment for some time, but it is only now that photographs have surfaced that the claims are taken seriously. It is disturbing to think that if these images had never been revealed this may have become just another cover-up. How many other incidences throughout history are there that nobody knows about and probably never will, simply because a camera wasn't handy at the time.

This from the Guardian, 2 May; It was not, says the Mirror's editor Piers Morgan, an easy story to run even though he immediately knew he had a scoop when the photographs came across his desk more than a week ago... Morgan himself was worried about the effect of running such disturbing images in a paper known for its opposition to the war. He knew that no one else had the pictures. They had been given to the paper by one of the soldiers involved in the attack, which happened several months ago. His mind was made up when pictures of American atrocities against Iraqi captives were televised around the world on Thursday.

A line in the Sunday Herald 2 May mentions other recorded images of abuse, According to the British soldiers, the military police have found a video of prisoners being thrown from a bridge, echoing a similar account from Zeyad Jan 8 2004.

The same article also reports that civilian contractors were hired to conduct interrogations; No civilians, however, are facing charges as military law does not apply to them.

Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, from CentCom, said that one civilian contractor was accused along with six soldiers of mistreating prisoners. However, it was left to the contractor to “deal with himâ€‌. One civilian interrogator told army investigators that he had “unintentionallyâ€‌ broken several tables during interrogations as he was trying to “fear-upâ€‌ detainees.
Another excerpt from the same article; One of the US soldiers facing court martial is reservist Staff Sergeant Chip Frederick – ... In letters and e-mails home, he wrote: “Military intelligence has encouraged and told us "Great job". He added: “They usually don’t allow others to watch them interrogate. But since they like the way I run the prison, they have made an exception … We help getting [the PoWs] to talk with the way we handle them … We’ve had a very high rate with our style of getting them to break. They usually end up breaking within hours.â€‌

Frederick said prisoners were made to live in cramped windowless cells with no clothes, running water or toilet for up to three days. Others were held for 60 days before interrogation. He said one prisoner with a mental health condition was “shot with non-lethal roundsâ€‌. An interrogator told soldiers to “stress one prisoner out as much as possible [as] he wanted to talk to him the next dayâ€‌. Frederick also said one prisoner was “stressed so bad that the man passed awayâ€‌. Prisoners were covered in lice and some had tuberculosis. None were allowed to pray. Frederick said his commander sanctioned all this.
Quote from ex-US Marine Lieutenant Colonel Bill Cowan; “We went to Iraq to stop things like this from happening, and indeed, here they are happening under our tutelage … If we don’t tell this story, these kind of things will continue, and we’ll end up getting paid back 100 or 1000 times over.â€‌

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