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US military in prisoner torture Photographs

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by MomentOfTriumph, Apr 30, 2004.

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  1. MomentOfTriumph

    MomentOfTriumph Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 12, 2000
    Graphic photographs showing the torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners in a US-run prison outside Baghdad emerged yesterday from a military inquiry which has left six soldiers facing a possible court martial and a general under investigation.
    The scandal has also brought to light the growing and largely unregulated role of private contractors in the interrogation of detainees.

    According to lawyers for some of the soldiers, they claimed to be acting in part under the instruction of mercenary interrogators hired by the Pentagon.

    US military investigators discovered the photographs, which include images of a hooded prisoner with wires fixed to his body, and nude inmates piled in a human pyramid.

    The pictures, which were obtained by an American TV network, also show a dog attacking a prisoner and other inmates being forced to simulate sex with each other. It is thought the abuses took place in November and December last year.

    The pictures from Abu Ghraib prison have shocked the US army.

    Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for the US military in Iraq, expressed his embarrassment and regret for what had happened.

    He told the CBS current affairs programme 60 Minutes II: "If we can't hold ourselves up as an example of how to treat people with dignity and respect, we can't ask that other nations do that to our soldiers."

    Gen Kimmitt said the investigation began in January when an American soldier reported the abuse and turned over evidence that included photographs.

    "That soldier said: 'There are some things going on here that I can't live with'."

    The inquiry had centred on the 800th Brigade which is based in Uniondale, New York.

    The US army confirmed that the general in charge of Abu Ghraib jail is facing disciplinary measures and that six low-ranking soldiers have been charged with abusing and sexually humiliating detainees.

    Lawyers for the soldiers argue they are being made scapegoats for a rogue military prison system in which mercenaries give orders without legal accountability.

    A military report into the Abu Ghraib case - parts of which were made available to the Guardian - makes it clear that private contractors were supervising interrogations in the prison, which was notorious for torture and executions under Saddam Hussein.

    One civilian contractor was accused of raping a young, male prisoner but has not been charged because military law has no jurisdiction over him.

    Hired guns from a wide array of private security firms are playing a central role in the US-led occupation of Iraq.

    The killing of four private contractors in Falluja on March 31 led to the current siege of the city.

    But this is the first time the privatisation of interrogation and intelligence-gathering has come to light.

    The military investigation names two US contractors, CACI International Inc and the Titan Corporation, for their involvement in Abu Ghraib.

    Titan, based in San Diego, describes itself as a "a leading provider of comprehensive information and communications products, solutions and services for national security".

    CACI, which has headquarters in Virginia, claims on its website to "help America's intelligence community collect, analyse and share global in formation in the war on terrorism".

    Neither responded to calls for comment yesterday.

    According to the military report on Abu Ghraib, both played an important role at the prison.

    At one point, the investigators say: "A CACI instructor was terminated because he allowed and/or instructed MPs who were not trained in interrogation techniques to facilitate interrogations by setting conditions which were neither authorised [nor] in accordance with applicable regulations/policy."

    Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, speaking for central command, told the Guardian: "One contractor was originally included with six soldiers, accused for his treatment of the prisoners, but we had no jurisdiction over him. It was left up to the contractor on how to deal with him."

    She did not specify the
     
  2. liberalmaverick

    liberalmaverick Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Feb 17, 2004
    But isn't the USA the "land of the free" and the "home of the brave"?

    Might as well add "home of a few sadistic interrogators" to the stanza.

    God Bless America!
     
  3. Obi-Wan McCartney

    Obi-Wan McCartney Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 17, 1999
    I think this is an interesting topic, the torture of Prisoners of War.

    Aren't these guys violating some serious International Doctrines?

    I heard they said they had no knowledge on what was and wasn't proper, but the picture of them in the pyramid, or the picture of the female soldier making fun of their genitals, that just seems to strike me as obviously wrong.

    It's good that Bush condemned the act, which is a friggin obvious good move, but I'm glad that at least Bush came right out and said it quick rather than let it fester around first.

     
  4. Mr44

    Mr44 VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    May 21, 2002
    Well, this is precisely why we should not let the actions of a few, determine how we characterize everyone.

    UK troops in Iraqi torture probe

    The paper claims British soldiers handed over the photos

    The Ministry of Defence has launched an investigation into allegations that British soldiers have been pictured torturing an Iraqi prisoner.


    [link=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3675215.stm]BBC STORY[/link]

    I'd be willing to bet that abuses flare up in any conflict, since the stress of combat affect people in different ways.

    And it is unfortunate when individuals dehumanize who they view as the opposition.

    However, the breakdown of specific individuals should not characterize the character of the larger services, no matter what country they originate from.
     
  5. Davin Felth

    Davin Felth Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Mar 22, 1999
    Looks like it's Saddam all over again for an unlucky few...
     
  6. DarthArsenal6

    DarthArsenal6 Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 16, 2001


    thats was happening anyway
     
  7. Obi-Wan McCartney

    Obi-Wan McCartney Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 17, 1999
    Unfair as it may be Mr. 44, the actions of these few DO reflect badly on our nation as a whole.
     
  8. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 6, 2001
    It's really not a surprise.

    Studies like Milgram's experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment, along with real life situations like the Holocaust (among other genocidal efforts in history) show that otherwise ordinary and good people can become almost inhuman in their cruelty and terror toward others.
     
  9. JediStryker

    JediStryker Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 5, 2000
    But isn't the USA the "land of the free" and the "home of the brave"?

    Might as well add "home of a few sadistic interrogators" to the stanza.

    God Bless America!


    Let's be fair; you could add that sentiment to every single country in the world's coda.

    It's a sick and terrible thing that happened, but let's not let it be taken out of proportion. The fact that this is a shock to most of the military just goes to show that this is way left of the norm.

    BTW, any soldier who says that they were unaware of the Geneva Convention is either a moron or a liar. The treatment of POWs, among the other provisions of the Geneva Convention, are taught in basic military training. These people were just put in a position of power when they were obviously not able enough for it. They thought they could torture these prisoners without getting caught, and now that they have been they're trying to get out of it.

    To quote an old saying: "Ignorance of the law is no excuse."
     
  10. Mr44

    Mr44 VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    May 21, 2002
    OWM,

    Did you read the link I provided?

    The latest allegations of abuse involves British troops, not US ones..

    So, I think it would be fair to say that the actions of a few reflect badly on ALL of us, independent of a specific nationality...
     
  11. Darth Mischievous

    Darth Mischievous Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 1999
    For those of you trying to associate this crime with the rest of our soldiers there, get off of your high horse.

    These soldiers will be punished quite extensively by the military, count on it.

    Out of the few hundred thousand troops that are there, you're bound to get a few nutcases that screw up.

    The vast majority of our soldiers are doing their jobs with respect for the local population and doing their best to avoid harming innocents while keeping prisoners in accord with the Geneva convention. I'm quite sure the terrorists on the other side aren't doing the same.

    Yet, surely we'll get the anti-American European press and friends climbing all over this story and playing it to its fullest extent like it's the general rule and not an exception.
     
  12. Scruff

    Scruff Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    May 25, 1999
    I just read a similar article on iwon.com a few minutes before finding this thread. I am ashamed of those MPs involved in this scandal. I served under the 800th MP BDE during Desert Shield/Storm in 1991. We NEVER had anything remotely like this happen in our camp. My unit was the first EPW camp to be operational since the Korean conflict and we took our job and responsibility seriously. As our unit crest proclaimed: CUSTODY WITH DIGNITY.
     
  13. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Out of the few hundred thousand troops that are there, you're bound to get a few nutcases that screw up.

    Yeah, right now, the executive level of the Pentagon is filled with dull thuds, in a syncopated rythym.

    It's not unlike hammering, except the sound is a little duller than the precise tone emitted by a hammer striking a nail.

    It's the sound of the JCS and the SecDef and his deputy banging their heads on their desks. Occasionally the percussion is interrupted with a "WHY YOU STUPID BASTARDS WHY?!?!?!?!?!?", from anyone who feels like a change in tone.

    The vast majority of our soldiers are doing their jobs with respect for the local population and doing their best to avoid harming innocents while keeping prisoners in accord with the Geneva convention. I'm quite sure the terrorists on the other side aren't doing the same.

    I don't think that's disputed.

    Yet, surely we'll get the anti-American European press and friends climbing all over this story and playing it to its fullest extent like it's the general rule and not an exception.

    Not really. Not at all, or rather, not that I've seen. They're careful to include Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt's comments denouncing those involved and their actions. I think that people aren't going to blame the US as a whole for this, just the actions of a few.

    I've actually seen the pictures, as I was emailed a link to a website with screengrabs. It isn't pleasant but it helps you want to see justice done, and I'm going to echo my good mate Bob Baer, who was the CIA's man in Northern Iraq during the ill-fated uprising in 1995 when Clinton's National Security Advisor Tony "Duh" Lake pulled the plug:

    "It's insanity," said Robert Baer, a former CIA agent, who has examined the case, and is concerned about the private contractors' free-ranging role. "These are rank amateurs and there is no legally binding law on these guys as far as I could tell. Why did they let them in the prison?"

    E_S
     
  14. MaceWinducannotdie

    MaceWinducannotdie Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2001
    Yet, surely we'll get the anti-American European press and friends climbing all over this story and playing it to its fullest extent like it's the general rule and not an exception.

    I'm sure you know that from following the European press quite extensively, excluding EuroFOX if such a thing exists.

    BTW, any soldier who says that they were unaware of the Geneva Convention is either a moron or a liar. The treatment of POWs, among the other provisions of the Geneva Convention, are taught in basic military training. These people were just put in a position of power when they were obviously not able enough for it. They thought they could torture these prisoners without getting caught, and now that they have been they're trying to get out of it.

    Quite right.
     
  15. windue_likes_yoda

    windue_likes_yoda Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Get off the soldiers backs! They were just having a little fun! didn't you hear all those Iraqis in the picture were gay? they loved that stuff!!! They want more of it! I say give it to them!



     
  16. Jedi_Cyana

    Jedi_Cyana Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 1, 2002
    That's awful.

    Excuse me for stating the obvious.

    It's terrible that the United States, who supposedly 'liberated' Iraq, was caught in this kind of conduct. And of course, once this gets out to the press, we wonder what people have against us.

    Brilliant, we Americans are.
     
  17. Obi-Wan McCartney

    Obi-Wan McCartney Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 17, 1999
    Didn't see that part Mr. 44, but I caught the article nonetheless, and yeah, their actions reflect badly on Britain.

    I mean, it doesn't mean that the Brits or the Americans are all evil or nothing like that, but it's just one of those human things.

    When a person is a part of a group, and someone acting under the color of authority of that group does something heinous, it reflects badly on the whole group, fair or not.
     
  18. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 6, 2001
    Given the "right" (more like wrong) circumstances, anyone in just about any culture, nation or race can do what these soldiers did.

    It's not about evil. It's about just how powerful people become when they're allowed a great deal of authority without being bound by normal standards of decency.
     
  19. YadaYada

    YadaYada Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Nov 29, 2003
    The dehumanizing aspects of war, and of human conflict in general, are always a shock, because we think of ourselves as civilized, endowed with God-given, or genetically built-in, or culturally passed on universal morality.

    However, psychology, the way we are and the way we act, is complex, dynamic, and unstable, and is especially vulnerable to social influence.

    Which is why the system, as well as the guilty individuals, need to bear the blame for not controlling these historically well known (Vietnam for instance) possibilities for war crimes though adequate training and guidelines.
     
  20. Gonk

    Gonk Jedi Knight star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1998
    Those pictures are truly disgusting, but REAL stomach churning stuff comes from pictures of the Iraqi civilian victims, which you can find availible on the net. I'm not sure if the victims I saw were from American or insurgent activites, but the stuff seen on the news today is tame compared to that material. I nearly vomited over my machine.
     
  21. GrandAdmiralPelleaon

    GrandAdmiralPelleaon Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 28, 2000
    While this obviously shouldn't be taken as being reflective of the US conduct as a whole in Iraq, I think it's safe to say, that at least in the Arab world, people are not going to make a difference.

    Mr.44, I can assure you that the European press around here (Belgium, you know, Axis of the Weasle? Hmm?) is not blowing this out of proportion. Everybody includes the quotes from the general saying that it's not reflective of the US forces as a whole, and we know that it isn't. It's not like my country hasn't had the same things happen (our Para's in Africa in the 90's?) but for the US, it's a PR disaster.

    Face it, when you're trying to win hearts and minds, this is not going to be productive.
     
  22. Darth Mischievous

    Darth Mischievous Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 1999
    I would also like to add that there was no outrage in Iraq or in the Arab world when those thugs killed our civilians, burned their bodies, and hung them on a bridge for all to see. It was actually encouraged by the Imams (although the burning was not, the killing was).

    This isn't to negate what those moronic soldiers did - as that was awful and certainly not representative of America's tradition in treating prisoners humanely.

    In my opinion, those soldiers should suffer the maximum penalty allowed by the UCMJ.

    Just bringing things in perspective...
     
  23. Cyprusg

    Cyprusg Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 16, 2002
    The dead baby pictures are hard to look at. If in 20 years everything works out, Iraq is a good stable democracy, their economy does well, the standard of living is good, maybe it'll all be worth it. It's hard to see that picture through the dark clouds right now though.

    As far as those images go, not only did those soldiers do a disservice to Iraqi prisoners, but also every american soldier and every american. This could potentially lead to costing peoples lives, our public image in the world was waning anyway and this kind of junk is the last thing we need.

    At best those soldiers were complete IDIOTS, at worst they're visciously evil people. How stupid do you have to be to torture prisoners, THEN take pictures? There should seriously be an IQ test for getting into the army.
     
  24. Darth Mischievous

    Darth Mischievous Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 1999
    They sure did a disservice to every American soldier there, Cyprusg, and probably more will unfortunately die from retaliation out of their idiocy.

    There are requirements for getting into the Army, you must have a high school diploma or a GED to be enlisted and you must have a Bachelor's Degree to be a Commissioned Officer (at least that's the way it works in the US Navy).
     
  25. Branthoris

    Branthoris Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2002
    The outcry over these pictures is fully warranted, but it's interesting that the Guantanamo Bay issue has faded completely from the spotlight, even though we have equally compelling evidence of equally horrific abuse occurring there. Abuse of Iraqi POWs is appalling, but why should abuse of alleged 'international terrorists' (who have in no event been tried or convicted) be any less so?
     
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