Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Allegations of rape-as-torture at Abu Ghraib surface on YouTube.
February 1, 2007 6:13 AM   Subscribe

Last week a video was posted to YouTube and linked to by the Iraqslogger site. The YouTube account ("Deathlyillington") is now defunct but the video survives and purports to show a former guard from Abu Ghraib talking about torture techniques employed at the American-run prison. The man recounts the gang rape of a female teenage detainee, in which one guard "pimped" the girl to others for $50 each. As he recalls, "I think at the end of the day he'd made like 500 bucks before she hung herself." The US Army's Criminal Investigation Department has now launched an investigation, but the question remains, is the video real, or is it a hoax along the lines of Jesse Macbeth, the Daily Mirror fake torture photos or the fake beheading video. The video contains few clues to the identity of the alleged soldier, who is shown in silhouette but seems potentially recognizable. A transcript is available.
posted by unSane (67 comments total)

 
Honestly, I don't feel that I can click any of these links due to excessive prurience, unless I get some better sense that direct knowledge will be better than merely knowing that such terrible actions occur. Why do I need to watch somebody talk about their experience of this?

I'm not criticizing your post, unSane. I'm acknowledging an aspect of my own character, which I've noticed because of your post.
posted by cgc373 at 6:24 AM on February 1, 2007


There's no way this is real. His lines ("What's the big deal about making a hot chick walk around like a dog and bark?") are too ugly. At the beginning, the interviewer notes that "that place" is now "world famous", and by the time it was being published, I think anyone involved would have to feel very self-conscious about that they did and very concerned about courts martial (hey, William Safire turned out to be useful). If it's true, it's worse than anything that the Abu Ghraib photos revealed, but I don't buy it.
posted by gsteff at 6:26 AM on February 1, 2007


His lines ("What's the big deal about making a hot chick walk around like a dog and bark?") are too ugly.
While I agree, the jury should still be out for a long time on this one, sadly, I don't find his comments too unusual. Honest. You should get some young guys (especially close friends) together with enough beer...you'd be appalled at some of the pronouncements they make. There's a very mean, dismissive streak running through society these days, especially where Iraq and the middle east are concerned.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:38 AM on February 1, 2007


I've only read the transcript and don't desire to look at the video, but based on the transcript I vote that it's fake. The speaker focuses on the dehumanization of the prisoners, yet the guards as depicted in the transcript apparently believe that sexual intercourse with one of them nonetheless has significant financial value. I don't believe that would be the case in those circumstances.
posted by Prospero at 6:40 AM on February 1, 2007


cgc373: this is one of those occasions where looking at it is the point. Did it happen or not? That's a judgement which seeing the video helps you make (or not make). Moreover, the blogosphere has played a big role in debunking previous frauds (eg the Bush letters/Rathergate).

My view is that it's probably fake but not obviously fake. The guy himself is reasonably convincing and his body language says he's conflicted, but the guys who are doing the interviewing sound fake to me.
posted by unSane at 6:42 AM on February 1, 2007


It is also significant to me that we seriously entertain the possibility that the video is real. That seems to say quite a lot about the context we've ended up in.
posted by unSane at 6:46 AM on February 1, 2007 [6 favorites]


PepsiBlue from IraqSlogger.
posted by DragonBoy at 6:49 AM on February 1, 2007


Also--a fifteen-year-old girl hanging herself in prison? She has access to the materials necessary? She knows how to construct a noose and can find somewhere to hang it? She's heavy enough to strangle herself and can create a long enough drop?

Possible, I suppose, but highly improbable.
posted by Prospero at 6:51 AM on February 1, 2007


Thorzdad: he's not saying "hot chick" but "hadji" (US Military slang for an arab).
posted by unSane at 6:51 AM on February 1, 2007


DragonBoy: no. I never heard of the site before today. It was linked from Jesus General, which I scan on RSS.
posted by unSane at 6:52 AM on February 1, 2007


It takes about five seconds to see this is fake.
posted by washburn at 6:53 AM on February 1, 2007


Also--a fifteen-year-old girl hanging herself in prison? She has access to the materials necessary? She knows how to construct a noose and can find somewhere to hang it? She's heavy enough to strangle herself and can create a long enough drop?

Possible, I suppose, but highly improbable.


How many times would a person have to be raped before they got pretty creative about options out?

I remember seeing on TV years ago an interview with an elementary school student who had hung herself from her bathroom doorknob because of teasing at school, and was rescued just in time.

Then again, I'm pretty sure that was on Sally Jessie, so YMMV.

Regardless, you don't need a long drop to hang yourself, just a firm point, a short length of fabric, and a little patience.

Not that I think this video is real.
posted by hermitosis at 7:06 AM on February 1, 2007


"hadji" (US Military slang for an arab).

Thus continuing the US military's proud tradition of using a word derived from a completely unrelated culture/language to dehumanize the current enemy.
posted by psmealey at 7:09 AM on February 1, 2007


Hanging, if done right, is supposed to break the neck, not strangle you. If you were being strangled by a noose you would probably instinctively free yourself from it--although if it was made well enough, you probably couldn't.

Also, teenagers often have a strong sense of morbid curiosity, seemingly moreso in girls. It wouldn't be that surprising if a 15 year old girl knew how to tie a noose.

I'm not saying this is real, though. I don't know how to find that out, and I'm not in the mood to watch it anyways.
posted by Citizen Premier at 7:14 AM on February 1, 2007


psmealey--if you can't dehumanize the enemy, you can't have war.
posted by Citizen Premier at 7:16 AM on February 1, 2007


I assumed "haji" was derived from "hajj", the pilgrimage to Mecca.
posted by Mister_A at 7:32 AM on February 1, 2007


If "dehumanizing" the enemy makes the women undesirable for paid intercourse, why is rape so common in war? Do you think that all johns humanize prostitutes? Or are they more likely to see them a sack of meat that they pay for for a good time?
posted by wierdo at 7:34 AM on February 1, 2007


Please... I could tie a noose when I was 10. Just looked cool and wooooooo a little scary. Something to mock-threaten the siblings with.

I really hope this is fake; I just really don't want to have to wrap my head around this.

Happy thoughts, happy thoughts.
posted by LordSludge at 7:34 AM on February 1, 2007


painfully real (nsfw)
posted by phaedon at 7:40 AM on February 1, 2007


Seems like a lot of bravado and chest-thumping in there to impress his buddy. I am sure terrible things took place there, but this guy seems to be recounting rumors of events he heard about as though he personally witnessed or participated in all of the acts described.
posted by Mister_A at 7:41 AM on February 1, 2007


Hanging oneself is a fairly widespread form of suicide among incarcerated folks, and it involves asphyxiation more than fractured cervical vertebrae. Bedsheets or clothing torn in strips can serve as ersatz rope.

It's not at all difficult to believe a repeatedly raped teenager would be sufficiently desperate straits to resort to it, either -- ever talk to a rape victim, or read about their experiences? If so, imagine what sort of extreme psych and emo stress the victim would experience if it happened over and over again, on purpose, with no reason to believe the nightmare was going to stop. And remember, too, we're talking about an adolescent girl -- arguably less in the way of ability to cope with this sort of casual calculated brutality than, say, a woman twice that age.
posted by pax digita at 7:42 AM on February 1, 2007


I assumed "haji" was derived from "hajj", the pilgrimage to Mecca.

I mostly thought it was derived from Johnny Quest's Indian friend (servant?), but no matter. If it does derive from the Hajj, then that would necessarily apply to all Muslims (Caucasian, African, Semitic, South Asian, Far East Asian, Eskimo, etc.), rather than just Arabs, and is therefore just as wrong as using a bastardized Korean term to slag the people of Vietnam.

Which isn't to say that even using a more accurate term to dehumanizing one's enemy (kraut, hun, etc.) is a good thing, it just reinforces the idea that we're ignoramuses who can't distinguish one foreign culture from another.
posted by psmealey at 7:45 AM on February 1, 2007


Who needs a noose?

You tie one end of a piece of fabric to something. You wrap the middle of the piece of fabric around your neck. You tie the second end of the fabric to the same thing you tied the other end to. Then you lie down. It's strangling, not breaking your neck, but you die all the same.

And people who don't think that young men can be brutal and dehumanizing in the way the transcript reveals must have not ever listening to guys talk about women without any women around.

I agree that true or not, the fact that we can accept it might be true is a pretty terrible commentary.
posted by winna at 7:45 AM on February 1, 2007


psmealey: I'm sure you're familiar with this, but here's Trent Lott on war and peace.
posted by Mister_A at 7:47 AM on February 1, 2007


Seems a little ridiculous that someone claiming people got in shit just because "the photos got out" would do so on video.
posted by dobbs at 7:53 AM on February 1, 2007


"....girl, she was probably like 15 years old. Yeah, she was hot dude. The body on that girl, yeah, really tight. You know, hadn't been touched yet. She was fucking prime. So...."

Yeah, what winna said.
posted by pax digita at 7:53 AM on February 1, 2007


Hanging oneself is a fairly widespread form of suicide among incarcerated folks, and it involves asphyxiation more than fractured cervical vertebrae. Bedsheets or clothing torn in strips can serve as ersatz rope.

Presumably, optimal methods of suicide are orally transmitted in American prison culture and refined over time. The situation that the victim was in, bad as it is, strikes me as likely to be different.

It's not at all difficult to believe a repeatedly raped teenager would be sufficiently desperate straits to resort to it, either -- ever talk to a rape victim, or read about their experiences?

In neither of my posts previous to this one do I claim that a rape victim would not be sufficiently motivated to consider suicide, nor do I claim that here. I question whether she had the means, not the motivation. I believe that it's possible she had the means, though improbable.

That said, considering that there are a number of other sufficiently compelling reasons to consider this video a fake, debating whether this victim had the means and motivation for suicide seems unproductive.
posted by Prospero at 8:08 AM on February 1, 2007


I find the transcript believable. I don't think I'm going to watch the video, though.
posted by jokeefe at 8:09 AM on February 1, 2007


jokeefe
Why do you find it believable? The supposed "guard" even ends the interview by saying that his CO won't be pissed unless it gets out on tape....so he allows himself to be taped talking about this? The dead give away, I think, is when he says that the CIA taught them some fun stuff.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:25 AM on February 1, 2007


i think it's fake. the lighting hiding his face is too perfect. the way it's edited to highlight that he's drinking, as if to account for why he's making the more sensational statements as the interview progresses. it's too slick. and that screams fake.
posted by ruthsarian at 8:40 AM on February 1, 2007


I felt like the CIA mention was the giveaway, too. Too perfect.

And on the fake-vs-real issue, I'm with unSane. It's that we can believe it that makes it scary.

A few months after the Abu Ghraib story broke, I had the opportunity to see Sy Hersch speak. On Abu Ghraib, he said, basically: you haven't seen the half of it. Unspeakable stuff took place. When those other photos — and videos — finally are leaked, all hell will break loose.

That never happened. And sadly — and I say this not out of morbid fascination but out of desire for consequences (both political and criminal) — I don't think we're going to get that kind of smoking gun until the Iraq debacle is well into the history books, if ever.
posted by rafter at 8:53 AM on February 1, 2007


Yeah, Prospero, and what people are trying to say is that when it comes to suicide, motivation = means.

You want to do it badly enough, and suddenly your shoelaces never looked stronger.
posted by hermitosis at 9:03 AM on February 1, 2007


If you want to tear your clothes into strips badly enough, you, your hands, and your teeth will find a way.

Actually, if this girl were getting it assembly-line fashion, I'd be less than surprised if her clothes weren't already getting kinda ripped to start with -- assuming somebody didn't just take them away entirely. (Gotta have something to use to towel off with, though.)

Y'know, I don't think I care to debate whether this stuff is genuine. I have more imagination than I'm entirely comfortable with just now.

-- On preview: rafter, I wouldn't be a bit suprised if somebody took "trophy" pix of this girl in extremis and they turn up on a Web site somewhere -- maybe one of the bondage ones.
posted by pax digita at 9:40 AM on February 1, 2007


Wow, it's good to see that there are optimists left in the world, but my vote says this is 100% real.
posted by mullingitover at 9:44 AM on February 1, 2007


Rafter,

I remember seeing Sy Herschn make those statements (on C-SPAN, perhaps), and if memory serves me correctly, he specifically mentioned video of Iraqi teenage boys being sodomized in front of their mothers, by Iraqi male guards, under the supervision of American contractors/military. It makes my stomach turn, and the thought of what we would do, were the shoe on the other foot, is worthy of consideration. So while this video might indeed be a hoax, the fact that such things likely happened is enough to cause serious anger and outrage. The U.S. can never, ever take the stance of the moral high ground in the arena of world politics - whatever credibility we had has been irrevocably damaged by the Iraq fiasco.
posted by dbiedny at 9:45 AM on February 1, 2007


Why do you find it believable?

Because the human race has a sad history of doing even worse than this. Because even outside of war zones, there are men right this minute paying to ejaculate into women and girls who are being held in locked rooms and servicing a dozen men a day. Because of war crimes perpetrated with ever increasing scope because technology allowed for it. Because young men (and women), when drunk, or goaded, will boast with false bravado about the things that have traumatized them.

I recently spent four hours on a bus with a US reservist who had done two or three tours of Iraq and is heading back next March. He told me some stories, too, and one of them was about a bunch of Iraqi kids who had been caught trying to attack a checkpoint. He, being a helicopter gunner, was witness to their transport to Abu Ghraib. They were so terrified, being 15 and 16 years old, that they shit and pissed all over the seats in the helicopter. They knew what they were going to.

I haven't watched the video and if I had I might be saying "obvious fake" along with others here. But the content? In the context of war and occupation and for lack of a better word, oppression? Ordinary and ordinarily horrific. It, or something very like it, most certainly happened, whether this soldier was part of it or not.
posted by jokeefe at 9:47 AM on February 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


You want to do it badly enough, and suddenly your shoelaces never looked stronger.

One awful example that has stuck with me-- a prisoner here in BC, a sex offender, who killed himself by forcing an ordinary ballpoint pen into his heart as he was in the process of being transported to or from Court.

Erm, I think I'm going to go and look for pictures of puppies now.
posted by jokeefe at 9:58 AM on February 1, 2007


What jokeefe so eloquently said. I've heard drunken vets talk about what they did/saw, and I wonder if you "fake"-cryers are operating on an excessively optimistic view of the military and/or humanity.
posted by languagehat at 9:58 AM on February 1, 2007


The CIA mention does feel fake. As far as I know in the field they are never referred to as CIA but as OGA -- "Other government agency". That was the case at Abu Ghraib in my recollection.
posted by unSane at 10:01 AM on February 1, 2007


There really isn't a Fake and a Real anymore and that might be even scarier than the fact this isn't easily dismissed. Anything posted on the Internet will cause people to sports radio themselves into totally obvious fake/ totally real camps. I'm not sure what the significance of either label is anymore.
posted by yerfatma at 10:20 AM on February 1, 2007


And, you gotta consider, she was a prisoner of Abu Ghraib -- i.e., a "terrorist", i.e. "one of the bad guys". Hell, she would have blown herself up in a suicide attack anyhow; at least she's alive. Might as well have some "fun" with her, make a little cash, and show "them" who's boss.

Raping women during wartime goes back to biblical times -- endorsed by God, no less. I can even believe that the soldiers didn't think there was anything really wrong with it.

I really do hope this is a fake, but it's not farfetched at all.
posted by LordSludge at 10:24 AM on February 1, 2007


Here are those puppy pictures. Whaddaya mean you don't trust me?

To all of you saying this is a definite fake, you may turn out to be right. If, however, prior to Abu Ghraib I'd described what went on there to you, you'd probably have said the same. So let's reserve judgement, eh?

Also, the "I'll be in trouble if this gets out" line does not prove anything one way or the other. I can see fakers using it, I can see braggart soldiers using it too.
posted by imperium at 10:25 AM on February 1, 2007


So fake. Ten to one the guy isn't a real grunt let alone someone who can be tied to service at Abu Ghraib. Hell, ten to one he isn't even drunk.

Basically, read the entire Inspector General's report -- there's nothing like this incident in there. There's stuff in there far worse than the Graner/England photographs, but the far worse that Hersh alludes to is the sodomization of underage male prisoners by Iraqi guards and fraternization between adult women prisoners and Iraqi guards, which was known to Americans running the prison but ignored (and not, from any testimony, photographed).

I also don't buy that a prison where guards can do anything to prisoners they want (as portrayed in the video) is a place where sex with a prisoner becomes something of value.

Now, I share the sadness of other posters that we can't simply immediately dismiss this because of what did happen, but this appears a calculated bit of false propaganda that will (in time) play directly into the hands of the Malkin/LGF crowd.
posted by dhartung at 10:37 AM on February 1, 2007


If it is physically possible, in the sense that it can materially happen , then I think we could safely assume it COULD have happened.If it actually did or did not happen is a matter that only interests prosecutors.What is quite distressing is realizing that it COULD really happen and that is also LIKELY to happen in a warzone.

Consider a group of ordinary grunts, certainly not the best education , but not mean violent individuals either.

1. Stress them with IEDs, with likelyhood of being attacked, make them feel under attack by an invisible enemy that hits and run leaving dead and frustration, a lot of frustration unvented because there is nothing to strike back. Keep them in an alien culture for months, with no language skills.

A number of them will attack whoever they think are the enemy...and in a country in which the population isn't bent on help you and favouring you, that compounds in more stress and delusions, perceiving menaces where is none.

2. Salt that with an iniection of jingoism the american way, we are the best , we rule, we are the most advanced...clearly the grunt is likely to think he/she is such and such and it is better then thinking there is a trailer at home or unemployement waiting for them. A "nice" delusion of grandeur, arrogance to 1000%, further entrenching and isolation, consequently feeling more lonely as well.

3. Consider that many grunts are now tired and see the reality of war was contracts and oil, while they took shitload of shit, bullets, ied while others were counting money, probably envious of Blackwater and other who avoid risk as much as possible, but still get paid quite a lot ( posing macho and all that shit) protecting an easy little, fast moving target, as opposed to doing police jobs and protecting massive convoys.

I wouldn't be surprised to find a number of "insanely angry" people among grunts, so much in need to recover control they could resort to anything. What do they have to lose, sanity ?

To which court is the iraqui dad going to find some "justice" ? I wouldn't be surprised to see he'll be the next one planting an IED.

Now WHY should one exacerbate the conflict ? Who stands to gain ?
posted by elpapacito at 10:40 AM on February 1, 2007


The guy's demeanor and delivery seem very real to me. If he wasn't really there, I deem him an excellent actor with an amazing script and some really top-notch improv skills.

That CIA line does seem to stick out. If you'll watch the video, though, you'll see that it's made up of very short excerpts, and that he's being questioned and goaded directly. Which makes me imagine that the cameraman kept asking if "CIA" was there, replacing in the discourse "OGA" or whatever term the grunt would use were he just reminiscing.

On a single viewing, I think that guy was there. That doesn't mean he isn't, on the one hand, turning rumors he remembers into first-hand accounts and otherwise exaggerating things for his buddies, or on the other hand, maintaining enough awareness of the camera to keep his own bloody hands somewhat covered by not admitting he was in the rape queue / did the "pimping," etc.

Anyone in this thread who can't imagine people being dim enough to tape themselves talking like this: you do not have robust imaginations.
posted by damehex at 10:45 AM on February 1, 2007


Hundreds of thousands of civilians have died in Iraq, but one possibly-faked video alleging rape gets people all riled up.

It reminds me of the old joke --

George W. Bush and (then) Colin Powell are at a bar. A third guy sits near them. All of a sudden Bush taps the third guy on the shoulder.
GWB: Hey, I'd like to ask your opinion about something. You see, I'm going to start a war, and I'd like to know what you think.
CP: Yes. The plan is to kill 100,000 iraqis and one blonde with big tits.
3rd guy: Why would you kill a blonde with big tits?
GWB: haha Colin, I told you no one would give a shit if we killed 100,000 iraqis!
posted by clevershark at 10:49 AM on February 1, 2007


Fake.

But that doesn't mean that this, or something very vert similar, didn't happen. It did.
posted by cell divide at 10:52 AM on February 1, 2007


Wow, it's good to see that there are optimists left in the world, but my vote says this is 100% real.

Perhaps I should say that although this video is a pretty obvious fake, that I strongly suspect that female Iraqi prisoners have been raped by American captors, whether in a few isolated incidents, or in many dozens of cases (in addition to the Haditha incident).

People who observe the apparent fakeness of this video aren't necessarily optimists about what's happening in Iraq. I'd be happy if this video were real, since it would stand a good chance of bringing a crime to light. As it is, it appears to be a sick attention-getting trick, or perhaps even an attempt to engender skepticism about charges of human rights violations by American troops.
posted by washburn at 10:53 AM on February 1, 2007


Also just for clarification, Hadji is an honorofic in the Arab world, it's a name of respect for someone who has actually completed the Hajj. I always thought the Iraq soldier's use of it was from Jonny Quest, but who knows.
posted by cell divide at 10:54 AM on February 1, 2007


As much as I hate to agree with jokeefe, I don't know that I fully believe this is fake. (Not meant disparagement against jokeefe, my 'hate' here is in having to agree with her depressingly accurate points.)

Humanity is pretty inhumane. We do terrible things to one another. Worse, many humans are pretty stupid and might, after having done these things, be willing to go on camera and talk about it. How many times do cops catch a criminal because he bragged about committing the crime when drunk at a bar?

But I agree with the sentiment expressed above. The tragedy here is that we have to take a moment to even consider that this could be real. That the merest possibility that this could be real enters our mind, demonstrates how far we, as a country, have fallen with regard to what we allow to be done in our name.
posted by quin at 10:54 AM on February 1, 2007


Yeah, Prospero, and what people are trying to say is that when it comes to suicide, motivation = means.

No cigar. "Motivation" == why commit suicide; "means" == how to commit sucide.

You know what sounds like BS to me? I could believe somebody who wasn't really there but wants people to think he was saying "CIA" -- but what gets me is this $50-a-pop thing. Why pay fellow guards? Do only certain guards have access to certain cells? If it's a gang-rape sitch among peers, I'd think it'd be open season. And it's a little surprising that somebody wouldn't flexcuff the poor girl's wrists for convenience, which would prevent her from being able to injure herself other than maybe by ramming her head between the bars of the cell or some such.

I'm saddened that I'm only too ready to believe that US troops could, for sport, gang-rape a teenage girl to the point of suicide, but ever since that first photo of the hooded guy with the electrical wires, I've decided My Lai was pretty frickin' humane by comparsion -- at least those folks got shot, and then it was over.

A few years back, just as the initial phase OIF was finishing up, I almost got in a barfight with a Vietnam-era ex-grunt who told me I didn't know what the hell I was talking about and was a hand-wringing pu$$y for worrying about it anyway when I said I hoped nothing as bad as My Lai happened this time. I wonder if that guy remembers the convo we had, but considering he was the sort who sort of missed being able to shoot gomers, he's probably not all that introspective, so he's undoubtedly forgotten.
posted by pax digita at 11:16 AM on February 1, 2007


Again, what you don't seem to be hearing is that the act of someone becoming legitimately suicidal is literally all that's necessary for them to succeed at it. The "how" isn't important at all once the "why" becomes concrete, just as jokeefe illustrated as well.

That's why even people on 24 hour psychiatric supervision still sometimes manage to succeed.
posted by hermitosis at 11:33 AM on February 1, 2007


Kitties!!
posted by LordSludge at 11:36 AM on February 1, 2007


This may be fake, but what about this shit?

There is more we don't know.
posted by dozo at 11:37 AM on February 1, 2007


This is all just nasty.
posted by kalessin at 11:43 AM on February 1, 2007


Again, what you don't seem to be hearing is that the act of someone becoming legitimately suicidal is literally all that's necessary for them to succeed at it.

literally

The "how" isn't important at all once the "why" becomes concrete

That makes slightly more sense than saying they're exactly the same thing.

Sorry to beat on the distinction -- it's a derail, I know, but usually y'all think less sloppily than this.

I'm going assume this happen and pray for the girl and her family. And, although it's difficult, for her rapists -- and anybody who'd trash his own soul by doing this sort of thing to another person.
posted by pax digita at 12:30 PM on February 1, 2007


There is more we don't know.

And we're never gonna know it unless something slips through the cracks.
posted by kgasmart at 12:45 PM on February 1, 2007


That the merest possibility that this could be real enters our mind, demonstrates how far we, as a country, have fallen with regard to what we allow to be done in our name.

The principal reason that many of us posting in this thread entertained the possibility that the video might be real is because the wording of the original post invited us to entertain the question of whether the video was real or not. Conclusions about what that says about human nature, or the reputation of Americans abroad or domestically, are spurious at best.

However, if the majority of the people who see the video without the framing of the original post find it credible, we're in trouble.

If the question is whether humanity is capable of the evil described in the post--certainly! What seems implausible, as I said above, is the profit motive--why are the guards paying money for sex under these circumstances?
posted by Prospero at 12:57 PM on February 1, 2007


Well, if you want to debate the finer points, prospero, there are a million reasons why guards would pay money for sex under those circumstances. First, there are hardly any women around, second it's not like everyone there would be "in on it" (our military's not that depraved) and third, all guards are not equal in hierarchy.
posted by cell divide at 1:22 PM on February 1, 2007


Yeah, I think the issues here are getting clouded. It's not that I (or others calling it fake) don't think such things happen, because they do and have in war since the dawn of man. It's that in this particular case this particular video seems to be fake. Which is the mistake that some people who are saying it's real are making. You need to make a judgment based on the facts about this specific case, not because such things can and have occured elsewhere. Again, for me, the clue is the CIA line. I can completely understand how a stressful and dangerous situation like Iraq can push people in positions of authority over those deemed the enemy over the edge and they do horrible things. But the CIA coming in and training them to do it? It just seems odd.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:02 PM on February 1, 2007


The CIA training thing is not at all odd. That was essentially the testimony of some of the soldiers in the Abu Ghraib case. Their defence was, initially at least, that they thought they were supposed to be doing this to 'soften up' the detainees for OGA/CIA interrogation. Of course, they pled out, so we never got to hear their testimony.

What is odd to me is that he refers to the CIA as CIA as opposed to the OGA, but as someone else says the questions are kind of leading.

I still think it's probably fake but it can't be dismissed off hand.
posted by unSane at 2:40 PM on February 1, 2007


You know what sounds like BS to me? I could believe somebody who wasn't really there but wants people to think he was saying "CIA" -- but what gets me is this $50-a-pop thing. Why pay fellow guards? Do only certain guards have access to certain cells? If it's a gang-rape sitch among peers, I'd think it'd be open season.

If this really happened, I would say that $50 might be just enough money for me to convince myself that this isn't really rape I'm committing--I'm only hiring a prostitute via her pimp. And probably they've worked out some kind of arrangement, and I bet she's going to get a big cut of the money, and in impoverished, war-torn places like Iraq, lots of women resort to prostitution anyway, it just can't be helped, and so she might as well be with someone like me who isn't really going to hurt her. In fact, this is kind of a favor to her, rather than letting her fall into the hands of some really abusive grunt.

The $50 is for guilt-reduction, not for the girl's services.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:20 PM on February 1, 2007


I think dhartung has a point. If things were at the point where the guards could more or less do anything they wanted to to prisoners, why would they pay to do what they could presumably do for free?

Unless the interviewee meant that the girl was being pimped out to people from outside the prison, which just makes the whole thing worse.
posted by Target Practice at 6:00 PM on February 1, 2007


...that said, I wouldn't be surprised if things similar to what's described here happened.

...which is a pretty sad thing to have to say.
posted by Target Practice at 6:02 PM on February 1, 2007


The word Hadji, or Hajji (Hajjan in the case of women), is an honourific title that is given to a Muslim who completes the pilgrimage to Mecca during the time of Hajj.
posted by hadjiboy at 3:15 AM on February 2, 2007


Absolutely, our boys in Iraq refer to the locals as "Hadji" as an honorific. "Towelhead" is, similarly, a loving term of endearment. And knocking bumpers is a sign of respect, yo.

Yep. Honor, affection, and respect for a liberated people.

.
posted by LordSludge at 8:29 AM on February 2, 2007


they clearly went to some length to ensure his face wasn't seen, but they open the tape like they're just drinking and happen to bust out the camera.

i don't buy it. would be awesome if a legit tape like this surfaced though!
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 5:48 PM on February 14, 2007


« Older Nanoq...  |  Cold art.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments