Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on May 28, 2009 in Politics, War | 28 comments

Unreleased Abu Graib Photos Show Sexual Abuse, Including Rape

Gen. Antonio Taguba, author of the investigative report about violations of human rights at Abu Ghraib, has now given an interview to the British paper, the Telegraph, in which he acknowledges that, among the approximately 2,000 photographs of detainee abuse that Pres. Barack Obama refused to release, is photographic evidence of U.S. soldiers raping and sexually abusing detainees:

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.

Maj Gen Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.

“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.”

But not horrendous enough, apparently, to put our troops at heightened risk of attack in “theaters of war” — they are safe from the anger of the locals in Afghanistan and Iraq as long as no one sees those pictures.

Larisa Alexandrovna thinks some of the photos may be among those already shown at Salon and at CBS back in 2006. She posts two, and links to the others:

I am only going to post two of the ones I believe are being discussed. When Dick Cheney defends his policy of torture, remember, he is defending this. When you tell people they can cross the line into cruelty, you have given them permission to engage in what you are about to see. That is what happens when legal controls are taken off and that is why Dick Cheney and George W. Bush are directly responsible for these rapes.

The images are incredibly graphic. I am only posting two because I cannot stand to look through more of them to find the others. I had actually seen some of these several years back when I was contacted to do a story. I flew to the meeting. I sat through the meeting. I looked at the photos. I excused myself and went out the front door and vomited all over myself. I knew I did not have the strength to write this story. So I hope no one thinks, not even for a moment, that I am in any way taking the posting of these photos lightly. They are horrific. But they are the truth and they must be seen.

Nick Baumann asks why the mere existence of these photos is not sufficient to trigger prosecution:

Gen. Taguba says he supports President Obama’s decision to withold the photos, arguing that “The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.” Fine—the debate over whether to release the photos is legitimate. I have a more immediate question. If the government is in possession of photographic evidence of an American soldier raping someone, has that soldier been prosecuted? The relevant section of the Uniform Code of Military Justice is here:

(a) Any person subject to this chapter who commits an act of sexual intercourse with a female not his wife, by force and without consent, is guilty of rape and shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.

It would take a pretty incompetent prosecution to fail to convict someone of a rape for which there is clear photographic evidence.  …

TBogg notices the “radio silence on the story from the war cheerleaders and torture aficionados.”

Obviously this [is] a delicate matter that will require real finesse when the time comes to explain it away but I’m confident that a crack team of Republican Euphemism Wordsmiths (cough*MichaelGerson*cough) are working overtime to create the proper, um, nomenclature for the Special Ed, the Powerline Stooges, and the Jammie Wearing Gateway Confederate Yankee RS McCain RedState Strike Force blog ninjas.

I don’t know what the excuse is for all of the above advocates of liberation, freedom, and democracy, but Erick Erickson may be too busy right now exhorting movement conservatives not to deny and betray “their own” (as in Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney) — as the apostle Peter denied Christ.