1,800 new pictures add to U.S. disgust
Images of guard dogs snarling at cowering prisoners
and Iraqi women being forced to expose their breasts were among the 1,800
new pictures and video stills depicting abuse at the Abu Ghraib jail shown
to members of the US Congress yesterday.
The pictures, which have not been released to the public by the US
military, were described by one member of Congress as worse than had been
"I expected that these pictures would be very hard on the stomach lining
and it was significantly worse than anything that I had anticipated,"
Senator Ron Wyden told reporters. "Take the worst case and multiply it
several times over."
The pictures are thought to depict scenes of torture and humiliation
similar to those seen in the photographs that have emerged over the last
week. Photographs of dogs snarling at prisoners, of women being forced at
gunpoint to expose their breasts, of hooded prisoners being forced to
masturbate, and of forced homosexual acts were among those shown to members
of Congress yesterday.
"The whole thing is disgusting and it's hard to believe that this
actually is taking place in a military facility," said Senator Dianne
The lawmakers were shown the photographs by Defence Department officials
in a secret room in the Capitol building in Washington DC.
Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, a member of the House of Representatives
armed services committee who viewed some of the pictures, told the Guardian
they were "not dramatically different" from those already published but said
some of the pictures showed the aftermath of a dog attack on a prisoner.
While several Republican senators argued that the photographs were no
more shocking than those already seen, Democrats such as Senator Joseph
Lieberman argued that "it just deepens the conclusion that this was a
cellblock that had gone wild, had no standards".
The sense of disgust was compounded yesterday by the airing of an
American soldier's video diary on CBS's 60 Minutes. The video showed her
talking about two Iraqi prisoners who died in custody at Abu Ghraib prison:
"Who cares? That's two less for me to worry about."
In evidence to a Senate committee yesterday, Mr Rumsfeld defined
prisoners in Iraq as "unlawful combatants" rather than prisoners of war but
insisted they were treated in a manner "consistent with" the Geneva
Further down the chain of command, it was announced that two US army
sergeants would face court martial for their part in the abuses at Abu
Ghraib. Staff Sergeant Ivan "Chip" Frederick and Sergeant Javal Davies join
four other military police personnel who have already been charged.
One of those charged, Private Lynndie England, who featured prominently
in the first batch of photographs, yesterday insisted she was acting on
orders from "persons in my chain of command".
"I was instructed by persons in higher rank to 'stand there, hold this
leash, look at the camera', and they took pictures for PsyOps [psychological
operations]," Pte England told a Denver television station. "I didn't really
... want to be in any pictures."
The controversy over the treatment of prisoners by the US army spread to
Afghanistan when an Afghan police colonel, Sayed Nabi Siddiqui told
reporters from the New York Times and Associated Press he had been
repeatedly beaten, stripped naked and threatened with dogs for nearly 40
days last year at several US-run bases in Afghanistan.
A spokesman for US forces said an investigation into the allegations was
source: The Guardian - May 13, 2004