US grapples with worse abuse images

In a fresh blow to the image of the US, photographs, videos and testimony obtained by The Washington Post show American soldiers taking delight in abusing Iraqi detainees.

Abu Ghraib prison has been notorious since Saddam's rule
Abu Ghraib prison has been notorious since Saddam's rule

The new pictures and videos go beyond the photos previously shown in the media, displaying a variety of abusive techniques at the US-run prison near Baghdad, the newspaper said on Friday. 

The latest photographs and videos, and 13 previously secret sworn statements by detainees, obtained by The Washington Post, further undermine American efforts to influence the Arab world and added a darker dimension to the abuse decried worldwide.

The statements showed an overt anti-Islamic dimension to the abuses, with prisoners forced to renounce their religion, eat pork and drink liquor in contravention of Islamic religious

The Post said one video clip showed five hooded and naked detainees standing against the wall in the darkness, each masturbating, with two other hooded detainees crouched at their feet. 

Another segment of video showed a prisoner handcuffed to the outside of a cell door, slamming his head into the green
metal, the newspaper said. 

The newspaper published extracts of testimony from ex-detainees who claimed they were forced to insult and denounce Islam and masturabate. One ex-detainee said he was sodomised by a baton.

Hooded and cloaked

An image on the newspaper’s Web site showed a soldier wielding a baton as a naked detainee covered in a brown substance stood in a hallway with his arms outstretched and ankles cuffed together. 

The images  damaged the US
reputation in the Arab world 

Another photo showed a prisoner in an orange jumpsuit recoiling from a snarling dog, it said.  

In a description of some photos the article said: “Hooded and cloaked men are handcuffed to hallway rails. A prisoner in flexible handcuffs is made to use a banana to simulate anal sex.

Two naked male detainees are handcuffed to each other. A naked detainee hangs upside down from a top bunk.” 

In one photo, a soldier is seen cocking his fist as he holds a hooded detainee in a headlock amid a pile of several detainees. Later, he is seen kneeling atop the pile, flexing his muscles, a broad smile on his face, the newspaper said. 

US soldiers also turned the cameras on themselves, filming scenes of consensual sex, the Post said. 

Secret statements

Defence Department spokesman Lawrence DiRita told The Post that the images sounded like those the Pentagon showed to
members of the US Congress and that Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had warned might become public. 

A total of 472 prisoners were released on Friday 

A total of 472 prisoners were 
released on Friday

Lawmakers saw more than 1600 images from the investigation of mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib. 

The Post also said it had obtained 13 previously secret sworn statements by detainees at the prison that further detailed abuse. 

Many of the detainees described how they were sexually humiliated and assaulted, threatened with rape and forced to masturbate in front of female soldiers, according to the newspaper. 

The statements added allegations of prisoners being ridden like animals and forced to retrieve their food from toilets, the newspaper said.  

Photos and videos from Abu Ghraib were presented to army investigators in January. The images began surfacing publicly last month, severely damaging the US reputation in the Arab

Detainees released

Meanwhile, six buses filled with Iraqis drove away from the gates of Abu Ghraib early on Friday as part of a scheduled release of 472 prisoners. 

“I’ve been waiting here for eight hours. I hope 16 of my relatives will be released today”

Hamid Idham Jasim,
Iraqi citizen

The buses left the jail, west of Baghdad, at 9:30 am (05:30 GMT), to the cries of female relatives of prisoners, among hundreds of people who flock to the prison every day for news of their loved ones. 

“I’ve been waiting here for eight hours. I hope 16 of my relatives will be released today,” said Hamid Idham Jasim, a 24-year-old man who says his brothers and cousins – arrested last September – are jailed at Abu Ghraib. 

Former inmates among the group told journalists that they had been abused and humiliated at the hands of American guards. 

Some 293 prisoners were freed the previous Friday from the jail. 


Source : News Agencies

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