'Real cartoons' of Abu Ghraib tortures infuriate US administration

Australian television network SBS program "Dateline" aired previously unpublished video showing the abuse of Iraqis in U.S. military custody at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003. Those were images of naked prisoners. Some of the prisoners were spotted with blood lying on the floor. The pictures show almost the same abuses as the photos that caused previous Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004 - Iraqis subjected to sexual humiliation and shackled in positions tantamount to torture.

Olivia Rousset, the SBS reporter on the story, said she came across the photographs while researching a story on guards at Abu Ghraib.

Pentagon spokesperson Bryan Whitman said the Defence Department believed the release of additional images of prisoner abuse was harmful and "could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world." Whitman said he did not know whether the photos and video clips were among images the Pentagon has withheld from public release since 2004. But another defence official said army officials had reviewed the photographs on the Sydney Morning Herald's website and matched them to images that were among those turned over to military authorities in 2004 by a U.S. soldier, according to the AP.

Among the images broadcast were pictures of naked men who appeared to have suffered physical trauma, one of whom the report said had 11 non-lethal bullet wounds in his buttocks. Other pictures show corpses, one of which the program said a U.S. Army report identified as one of three men killed during a riot over living conditions at the prison. One image depicts two women described by a guard to "Dateline" as prostitutes held at the prison for two days. In one picture, the breasts of one of the women are exposed. Another grisly image shows a corpse that appears to have had a section torn from its head, while another one features a man whose arms are covered in purple bruises.

CBS News says that with Muslims still demonstrating and rioting over the publication of a cartoon making fun of the prophet Mohammed and with new revelations of a video showing British troops abusing Iraqi teenagers, these photos, in the words of a senior American official in Iraq, "could not have come at a worse time."

Perhaps the most disturbing shows a deranged prisoner slamming his head into a cell door while someone takes pictures but no one tries to stop him, CBS News correspondent David Martin reports.

The U.S. prosecuted 25 people after the images of abuse of prisoners were first shown in 2004. A videotape of U.K. soldiers allegedly beating Iraqi captives in 2004 was made public at the weekend, sparking anti-British protests in Iraq . The U.S. Congress undertook 31 hearings into the conduct of U.S. soldiers overseeing prisoners. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a Senate hearing last May that more photographs and videos exist of abuses on prisoners, Bloomberg reports.

The impact of the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, the video of British soldiers beating up Iraqi youths and now pictures of further abuse at Abu Ghraib are likely to have a serious cumulative impact on Iraqis, accustomed though they are to acts of violence by the state. The photos were being broadcast by Arab television stations yesterday evening. Opinion polls have shown since the middle of 2003 that all Arab Iraqis, both Sunni and Shia, want the US-led occupation to end and foreign troops to leave the country, says Independent.

But critics of the Pentagon's handling of the episode said the latest disclosures only confirm the need for a truly independent investigation into abuse of prisoners not only at Abu Ghraib but in Afghanistan and at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba. The critics say only an outside investigation could adequately look into possible wrongdoing up the entire chain of command, to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, The New York Times reports.

British military police were today continuing to interview three British soldiers over a videotape obtained by the News of the World showing young Iraqis apparently being attacked in Amara, a town north of Basra, in January 2004.

The Royal Military Police arrested one person on Sunday night, and it detained two others yesterday as the investigation made "significant progress."

Source: agencies

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov