"The images are among photographs included in a 2004 report into prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison conducted by U.S. Major General Antonio Taguba.
Taguba included allegations of rape and sexual abuse in his report, and on Wednesday he confirmed to the Daily Telegraph that images supporting those allegations were also in the file....
The newspaper said at least one picture showed an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.
Others are said to depict sexual assaults with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube."
“Janis Karpinski, a brigadier general and commander of the [Abu Ghraib] prison during the time the photographs were taken, was demoted to colonel. She was eventually rotated out of Iraq. The prison was shut down in September 2006.
Karpinksi, now retired, said the recent disclosures have validated her earlier claims that she and her troops were following orders and that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were not simply the work of a few ‘bad apples,’ as once described by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
‘That is what we have been saying from the very beginning, that, wait a minute, why are you inside pointing the finger at me? Why are you pointing the fingers at the soldiers here? There's a bigger story here,’ Karpinski said.”
"The big story here is that this torture was allowed to creep into the US military and undermine respect for the Geneva Conventions. It led to illegal treatment of innocent civilians in an illegal war. US Soldiers willingly and enthusiastically promoted a reign of terror and torture over the detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison. It is a fundamental failing in the US military command structure, yet only a few enlisted people actually served jail time. The whole story of Abu Ghraib has never been widely told and it was probably much worse than we were led to believe..."*
“Obama had said photos requested under the Freedom of Information Act by the American Civil Liberties Union ‘are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib.’
It was unclear whether the images Taguba spoke of were from the same batch requested by the ACLU or whether there were additional photographs.
‘If indeed, there are photos of prisoners being raped, this obviously raises the question of whether President Obama was correct in saying these photos were not sensational,’ Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, told the AP in London on Thursday. ‘They clearly point to torture and abuse of detainees.’*”
“The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources.
The techniques devised in the system, called R2I - resistance to interrogation - match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.
One former British special forces officer who returned last week from Iraq, said: ‘It was clear from discussions with US private contractors in Iraq that the prison guards were using R2I techniques, but they didn't know what they were doing.’
He said British and US military intelligence soldiers were trained in these techniques, which were taught at the joint services interrogation centre in Ashford, Kent, now transferred to the former US base at Chicksands.
‘There is a reservoir of knowledge about these interrogation techniques which is retained by former special forces soldiers who are being rehired as private contractors in Iraq. Contractors are bringing in their old friends’.
Using sexual jibes and degradation, along with stripping naked, is one of the methods taught on both sides of the Atlantic under the slogan ‘prolong the shock of capture’, he said.
Female guards were used to taunt male prisoners sexually and at British training sessions when female candidates were undergoing resistance training they would be subject to lesbian jibes.
‘Most people just laugh that off during mock training exercises, but the whole experience is horrible. Two of my colleagues couldn't cope with the training at the time. One walked out saying 'I've had enough', and the other had a breakdown. It's exceedingly disturbing,’ said the former Special Boat Squadron officer, who asked that his identity be withheld for security reasons.
Many British and US special forces soldiers learn about the degradation techniques because they are subjected to them to help them resist if captured. They include soldiers from the SAS, SBS, most air pilots, paratroopers and members of pathfinder platoons.
A number of commercial firms which have been supplying interrogators to the US army in Iraq boast of hiring former US special forces soldiers, such as Navy Seals.
‘The crucial difference from Iraq is that frontline soldiers who are made to experience R2I techniques themselves develop empathy. They realise the suffering they are causing. But people who haven't undergone this don't realise what they are doing to people. It's a shambles in Iraq’.
The British former officer said the dissemination of R2I techniques inside Iraq was all the more dangerous because of the general mood among American troops.
‘The feeling among US soldiers I've spoken to in the last week is also that 'the gloves are off'. Many of them still think they are dealing with people responsible for 9/11’.
When the interrogation techniques are used on British soldiers for training purposes, they are subject to a strict 48-hour time limit, and a supervisor and a psychologist are always present. It is recognised that in inexperienced hands, prisoners can be plunged into psychosis.
The spectrum of R2I techniques also includes keeping prisoners naked most of the time. This is what the Abu Ghraib photographs show, along with inmates being forced to crawl on a leash; forced to masturbate in front of a female soldier; mimic oral sex with other male prisoners; and form piles of naked, hooded men.
The full battery of methods includes hooding, sleep deprivation, time disorientation and depriving prisoners not only of dignity, but of fundamental human needs, such as warmth, water and food.
The US commander in charge of military jails in Iraq, Major General Geoffrey Miller, has confirmed that a battery of 50-odd special ‘coercive techniques’ can be used against enemy detainees. The general, who previously ran the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, said his main role was to extract as much intelligence as possible.
Interrogation experts at Abu Ghraib prison were there to help make the prison staff ‘more able to garner intelligence as rapidly as possible’.
Sleep deprivation and stripping naked were techniques that could now only be authorised at general officer level, he said.”
Not so fast, General -- "A bipartisan call by senators to halt the retirement of the major general at the heart of the Abu Ghraib scandal suggests the abuse inquiry finally has a pulse."
In fact, a 2008 Senate Armed Services Committee report concluded that military "interrogation policies were influenced by the Secretary of Defense's December 2, 2002 approval of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at GTMO," and that those "policies were a direct cause of detainee abuse and influenced interrogation policies at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq."
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