Word is, at least one of the pictures the Obama administration decided not to release shows an American soldier raping a female prisoner.
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.
Not that it pleases me in the least to say, but …
Like the article says, we already knew this. We knew this five years ago, in early 2004.
Iman Khamas, head of the International Occupation Watch Center, a non-governmental organisation which gathers information on human rights abuses under coalition rule, said one former detainee had recounted the alleged rape of her cellmate in Abu Ghraib.
According to Khamas, the prisoner said her cellmate had been rendered unconscious for 48 hours. “She claimed she had been raped 17 times in one day by Iraqi police in the presence of American soldiers.”
Mohammed Daham al-Mohammed said the Iraqi group he heads, the Union of Detainees and Prisoners, had been told of a mother of four, arrested in December, who killed herself after being raped by US guards in front of her husband at Abu Ghraib.
The account came from the woman’s sister who said she had helped in the suicide.
According to the sister, the woman had told of “being taken into a cell where she saw her husband attached to the bars.
“An American soldier held her by the hair to force her to look at her husband while he stripped her,” Mohammed said.
She was then raped, while her husband cried out “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest), he added, quoting the sister. After her release the woman had begged her sister to help her die so she would not have to face her husband when he was freed.
Of course, few people read the Taguba report, and though more may have read the above in news articles, words slip from the mind far more quickly than images.
Still, we knew. Our leaders knew, and what’s worse is that some have probably seen these images, and even more. But we didn’t see them.
Perhaps if we had, Bush might not have been re-elected in 2004. But, then again, Americans might have looked at these images and elected him anyway, since what we already knew by then wasn’t proof enough of the need to send the Bush administration packing.
Unless they were proof that what we wanted done was being done. And thus, we merely approved.