By Calvin Palmer
Maj Gen Antonio Taguba, the former U.S. Army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq, supports President Obama’s decision to block publication of photographs that show graphic images of rape and sexual abuse.
“These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency” Taguba said.
“I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan.
“The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”
At least one photograph among an estimated 2,000 taken at prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner. Another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.
Further photographs are said to portray sexual assaults on prisoners with a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.
Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.
The Obama Administration said in April the photographs would be released and it would be “pointless to appeal” against a court judgment in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
But after lobbying by senior Pentagon officials, President Obama changed his mind saying their publication could put the safety of troops at risk.
“The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger,” Obama said earlier this month.
It was thought the images were similar to those leaked five years ago, which showed naked and bloody prisoners being intimidated by dogs, dragged around on a leash, piled into a human pyramid and hooded and attached to wires.
The latest photographs relate to 400 cases of alleged abuse between 2001 and 2005 in Abu Ghraib and six other prisons.
Obama said the individuals involved had been “identified and appropriate actions” taken.
Maj Gen Taguba’s internal inquiry into the abuse at Abu Ghraib, included sworn statements by 13 detainees, which, he said in the report, he found “credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses.”
A graphic statement by Kasim Mehaddi Hilas is among those released under U.S. freedom of information laws.
Hilas states: “I saw [name of a translator] ******* a kid, his age would be about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [name] who was wearing the military uniform, putting his **** in the little kid’s ***…. and the female soldier was taking pictures.”
The translator was an American Egyptian who is now the subject of a civil court case in the US.
Three detainees, including the alleged victim, refer to the use of a phosphorescent tube in the sexual abuse and another to the use of wire, while the victim also refers to part of a policeman’s “stick”.
[Based on a report by The Daily Telegraph.]