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Iraqi Government Condemns Abu Ghraib Abuse
ABC News
February 16, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq Feb 16, 2006 (AP)— The Iraqi government Thursday condemned the past abuse of Iraqi prisoners shown in new pictures from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, and a Web site said it had obtained more than 1,000 photos, videos and supporting documents from the Army investigation of the case.

In a carefully worded statement, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's office said the government "strongly denounces such acts" but welcomed the "firm denunciation" issued by the Bush administration of past abuses at Abu Ghraib.

The statement also noted that the pictures and videos, first published Wednesday by an Australian television broadcaster, were from 2003 and that "the issue was dealt with at that time and the people involved were prosecuted."

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch told reporters that the pictures and videos showed the actions of "rogue soldiers" and "those rogue soldiers have been punished."

Although both Iraqi and U.S. authorities sought to play down the latest pictures, the Web site Salon.com said it had obtained what it believed was the complete report by the Army Criminal Investigation Command of its 2004 investigation of the case.

The Web site posted 18 new images, including a picture of an Iraqi strapped face down on a bunk bed with women's underwear over his head, blood smears indicating a body had been dragged along the floor and a prisoner apparently sodomizing himself with an object.

Salon.com said the material was provided from an unnamed person "who spent time at Abu Ghraib as a uniformed member of the military and is familiar with the CID investigation." Salon.com said the material was believed to include all photographs published after the scandal broke in April 2004, as well as the photographs and videos published Wednesday by Special Broadcasting Service in Australia.

Salon.com said the material includes a June 6, 2004, CID report that refers to 1,325 images of detainee abuse, 94 video files of abuse as well as images of adult pornography, suspected dead Iraqi detainees, soldiers in simulated sexual acts, "a soldier with a swastika drawn between his eyes," dogs used in abuse of detainees and "125 images of questionable acts."

The Web site also said, "It is noteworthy that some of the CID documents refer to CIA personnel as interrogators of prisoners at Abu Ghraib."

No CIA officers have been prosecuted in the abuse case.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said the case cited by Salon.com "has been written about publicly, repeatedly and extensively."

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, testifying Thursday on Capitol Hill, said the soldiers responsible for the Abu Ghraib abuses have been "punished for the behavior that was unacceptable."

In the Middle East, where there have been widespread anti-Western protests recently over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, reaction has been muted.

Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya TV aired some of the Australian station's footage but refrained from using the most shocking and sexually explicit images. CNN also broadcast excerpts.

The newspapers Al-Hayat and Al-Sharq Al-Awsat ran some images on their front pages Thursday, as did newspapers in Lebanon.

The Egyptian opposition newspaper Al-Wafd ran the images on its front page with the headline, "New scandals from the angels of punishment of the American occupation in Iraq."

But government papers kept the photos on inside pages, with a brief mention on the front page at most.

Iraq's acting human rights minister, Nermine Othman, said she was "horrified" by the pictures and would study whether any action could be taken against those responsible, even though some offenders already are imprisoned.

The new Abu Ghraib pictures emerged as the United States is trying to reach out to the disaffected Sunni Arab community, the backbone of the insurgency, in hopes of encouraging Sunni insurgents to lay down their arms and join the political process.

Most of those who suffered abuse at Abu Ghraib were believed to have been Sunni Arabs. Sunni leaders have also alleged mistreatment by Shiite-led Iraqi government security forces, a development that has sharpened sectarian tensions.

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