Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Western Civilisation at its finest . . .

AUSTRALIAN television tonight broadcast previously unpublished graphic images of the alleged physical abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. SBS television's Dateline program tonight screened video and still images of the wounds allegedly inflicted on the Iraqis by their American captors.

They included photographs of blood-soaked Iraqi prisoners who had been tortured or shot dead, footage of a prisoner repeatedly slamming his head into a metal door, and a film of naked male prisoners being forced to masturbate in front of the camera.

The Bush administration is reportedly attempting to prevent release of the images in the US, arguing that their publication could provoke antagonism towards the US.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been granted access to the images under Freedom of Information, but the US government is appealing the decision.

George Negus, host of tonight's Dateline program, told SBS viewers it was important to televise the images to make the public aware of what taken place at Abu Ghraib prison.

"Despite the currently overheated international climate, we're showing them because they show the extent of the horror that occurred at Abu Ghraib," Negus said.

The program reported that some prisoners at Abu Ghraib were killed when US soldiers ran out of rubber bullets trying to quell a riot at the jail and resorted to using live rounds.

ACLU lawyer Amrit Singh told Dateline the images were evidence of "systemic and widespread abuse" of prisoners by US soldiers. (

DOCTOR (Translation): You were at Abu Ghraib, right? Did anything specific happen to you there?

HAJ ALI (Translation): Anyone who had an injury or handicap, it was used in interrogations to pressure them. He told me to put my hand on the floor and he stood on it and twisted his boot. I fainted.

DOCTOR (Translation): So you put your hand down and they crushed it? (SBS Dateline, November 9, 2005)

ABU MAAN (Translation): If they came and found me asleep they'd piss in a bottle and either pour it on me or tie me up and make me drink it. What has information got to do with making you drink urine?
(SBS Dateline, November 9, 2005)

HAJ ALI (Translation): We've seen none of the Titan Corp or CACI interrogators who'd rape a man in front of his wife, and a woman in front of her husband and a girl in front of her family. We haven't seen any of them being charged. This company hides behind its billions. A month after Abu Ghraib, its contract was renewed. (SBS Dateline, November 9, 2005)

Images courtesy of Daily Kos.
UPDATE (17/2/06):
Salon has obtained files and other electronic documents from an internal Army investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal. The material, which includes more than 1,000 photographs, videos and supporting documents from the Army's probe, may represent all of the photographic and video evidence that pertains to that investigation.

The files, from the Army's Criminal Investigation Command (CID), include hundreds of images that have never been publicly released. Along with the unpublished material, the material obtained by Salon also appears to include all of the famous photographs published after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke in April 2004, as well as the photographs and videos published Wednesday by the Australian television news show "Dateline."

The source who gave the CID material to Salon is someone who spent time at Abu Ghraib as a uniformed member of the military and is familiar with the CID investigation. . . .