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Navy Probes Photos of Bloodied Iraq Detainees
Reuters/ABC News
Dec 3, 2004

Dec 3, 2004 — LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy is investigating photos posted on the Internet that appear to depict abuse of Iraqi detainees during their capture in May 2003 by Navy special forces, a Navy spokesman said on Friday.

At least a dozen photos showing bloodied detainees were handed over to officials at the Naval Special Warfare Command at Coronado, California, by an Associated Press reporter who found them on a commercial photo-sharing Web site.

The photographs, posted by a woman who said her husband brought them home from Iraq, appear to show the aftermath of raids on civilian homes, the Associated Press reported.

The AP reported that Navy SEALs were seen sitting on hooded and bound detainees, holding a gun to a detainee's bloodied head, and placing a boot on the chest of a prone man. Other photos showed grinning U.S. personnel sitting or lying atop three hooded prisoners in the bed of a pickup truck, the AP reported.

Copies of the photographs, which had been posted on an online photo-sharing site, could not be immediately located on the Web site.

"They presented copies of them to us last week and once we were presented with these photos we then launched an investigation as to how the photos got on the Internet and who is responsible," Navy Commander Jeff Bender said.

"The matter is currently under investigation to determine if the personnel acted properly," Bender said.

Navy regulations "strictly prohibit photographing detainees" except to keep records of prisoners or for counterintelligence purposes," Bender said.

"Before they go on deployment they are instructed that taking photos of detainees is strictly forbidden," he said.

Rules barring special forces members, who conduct covert operations, from being photographed also appear to have been violated.

"Some of the photos clearly depict the faces and names of special warfare personnel which could put them or their families at risk," Bender said.

Seven U.S. military police reservists have been charged in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal which emerged publicly in April in photos showing abuse of naked Iraqi inmates that were passed around by U.S. Army personnel who served in the prison west of Baghdad.

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