A 53-page report not intended for public release outlines what’s being termed as the “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.
The internal report, obtained by The New Yorker magazine, was written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and includes, according to the publication, documented abuse between October and December of 2003 such as:
Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.
Taguba did not include graphic videos and photographs taken by the soldiers as the abuses were happening because of their “extremely sensitive nature,” but several of the photos have already been broadcast by CBS’ “60 Minutes II” program and al-Jazeera, and additional ones are posted on the Internet.
One photograph shows Army Private Lynndie England giving a thumbs-up sign while pointing at the genitals of a young Iraqi man, who is standing nude with a sandbag covering his head while he masturbates.
Other photos depict:
- Naked Iraqi prisoners piled in a pyramid with smiling American soldiers behind them,
- a cluster of hooded bodies with a female soldier standing in front shooting photos,
- and an unhooded male prisoner – kneeling and naked – posed to suggest he’s performing oral sex on another male prisoner, who is naked and hooded.
Private England has reportedly been reassigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., after becoming pregnant, but six other suspects now face prosecution in Iraq on charges including conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty toward prisoners, maltreatment, assault and indecent acts, according to the New Yorker.
The U.S. military says Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade in charge of the prison, has been suspended from her duties while an investigation takes place.
Newsweek magazine reports Karpinski claims she warned her superiors about the ill treatment of prisoners, claiming she didn’t have enough troops or resources to properly handle the job, but her superiors ignored her complaints.
“They just wanted it to go away,” she told Newsweek. “There’s no excuse for what these people did, they’re just bad people. But the guys involved in this were new to Abu Ghraib. It got way out of hand.”
Last week, President Bush publicly condemned the mistreatment, saying he shared “a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated,” adding it’s “not the way we do things in America.”
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