Exclusive photos show US-led occupation forces frisking schoolgirls – a move condemned by the girls’ parents and international human rights organisations alike.

One father, Abu Muhammad, told Aljazeera.net on Sunday that if he ever hears his daughter has been touched by American soldiers again, he would “not be responsible for the consequences”.

“This humiliation has got to end now. I refuse to live like this. I’d rather die and I’ll take a few soldiers with me – and that’s a promise, not a threat.”

US reaction 

A student's shoes provoke a US
soldier's curiosity

CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is already conducting an investigation and seeking legal advice after previous Aljazeera.net pictures showed troops tying up little girls in their own home.

Washington CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said such treatment of young children can only increase resentment of American troops in Iraq, a development that will “ultimately demoralise troops further”.

But senior US officers continue to justify their actions, stressing children could be carrying explosives.
 
No comment

Bagging detainees is a source of
major Iraqi resentment

Central Military Command in Florida says the security of US soldiers comes before any “hearts and minds operation or the rights of Iraqi children”.

Central Command refused to comment on the latest series of pictures, but two weeks ago Major David Farlow warned Aljazeera.net not to publish similar photos on this site.
 
"It would be irresponsible. I can't second guess what has happened here without knowing all the facts but US forces operating in Iraq have to use the appropriate level of restraint to the mission,” he said at the time.
 
Covering up

In another heavily-criticised development, US-led occupation forces now regularly put bags over the heads of Iraqi detainees.

Forced to lie in the dust, even
simple searches humiliate 

The blanket policy has become a regular occurrence at the time of arrest with no regard for whether the people detained are guilty of any crime or not.

US human rights advocates and lawyers believe Washington is quietly embracing this psychological torture as an acceptable means in its desperate search for information that may crush Iraq’s resistance movement.

The US director of Physicians for Human Rights, Holly Burkhalter, condemns the policy as unacceptable.

But she said her government does not “have a policy on torture" and is pressing the Pentagon for assurances that detainees will not continue to be treated in such a manner.
 
But there is no specific policy that defines the practice as torture.