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Old 05-14-2004, 01:08 PM   #1
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I think we all agree that the below photos are appalling and inhumane:

So let's set aside all debate about the abuse for the moment because I want to focus on something else - like why anyone in their right state of mind would agree to be photographed this way. And I'm not talking about the prisoners.

I'm really struggling to understand this. I don't even like sending questionable email through our email system anymore for fear of dismissal. Why on earth would you take these kinds of pics (and not just a few of them, apparently there are THOUSANDS of them. Was there no fear of getting caught or of getting punished? Or are these guys just thick in the head? Because it seems to me that having incriminating photos taken of yourself is a pretty dumb thing to do. Or were they "following orders"?

Why? Can anyone come up with some legitimate (or legitimate-sounding) reasons? I want to see if there are any. Let's try and stick to this topic rather than get up on our soapboxes again (there are other threads here for that ).

[ 05-14-2004, 01:12 PM: Message edited by: Memnoch ]

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Old 05-14-2004, 01:21 PM   #2

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Souvenirs. And sadly, no, I'm not kidding.
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Old 05-14-2004, 01:25 PM   #3
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Well it was quite possible that they did not know what they were doing was wrong. If that is the case there are some serious issues that need to be addressed from the top down. Charging and punishing a few privates or sergeants will not ensure that it does not happen again. I recently heard that it used to be required for JAG officers to be present during any interrogation. The administration decided that JAG officers were no longer required. So by removing these officers the people doing the interrogation no longer have anyone making sure they are not breaking the rules and following procedures. There were other issues as well that the administration removed that allowed this type of environment to occur. To change the environment many things will have to be changed back to what they were and even improved upon. The people higher up in the chain of command not knowing what is going on does not mean they are not responsible or that they should not be held accountable because there should be processes in place that would allow them to know what is going on. Having a JAG officer present during interrogation is one such tool.

[ 05-14-2004, 01:30 PM: Message edited by: pritchke ]
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Old 05-14-2004, 01:40 PM   #4
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Hmm I really don't know. It's as if they're asking for it, isn't it? I believe that there were suspicions that the pictures were fake, which would explain why the soldiers 'apparently' the pictures.
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Old 05-14-2004, 01:50 PM   #5

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I don't know. I don't know how someone in their right mind could take those photos as souvenirs.

However, I invite you to take a look to the middle part of D J Goldhagen book, "Hitler's willing Executioners". There are photos in there, where you see german soldiers and officers who took pictures of themselves in the act of KILLING Jews in Poland. Whatever the reason for this insane souvenir-taking, sadly it seems it is not that uncommon.
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Old 05-14-2004, 02:07 PM   #6
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It's messed up. Really abominable.
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Old 05-14-2004, 03:22 PM   #7
Timber Loftis
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Sorry, but these people are not at all ashamed of what they are doing. Take a look for yourself. I know trailer park trash when I see it.
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Old 05-14-2004, 03:35 PM   #8

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A repost from the other thread:

My theory:

The idea is too use the photos as a threat to gain information. Classic Psy-ops- shit no reservist MP is going to dream up. Understanding the psycological make up of the Arab male, with the shame and humilation they would suffer in front of family and peers if the photo's got out of them in the such a weak postion and using that understanding get gather info.

The very incriminating pictures were themselves part of the torure.
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Old 05-14-2004, 03:52 PM   #9
Timber Loftis
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May 14, 2004
Accused Soldier Paints Scene of Eager Mayhem at Iraqi Prison

When a fresh crop of detainees arrived at Abu Ghraib prison one night in late October, their jailers set upon them.

The soldiers pulled seven Iraqi detainees from their cells, "tossed them in the middle of the floor" and then one soldier ran across the room and lunged into the pile of detainees, according to sworn statements given to investigators by one of the soldiers now charged with abuse. He did it again, jumping into the group like it was a pile of autumn leaves, and another soldier called for others to join in. The detainees were ordered to strip and masturbate, their heads covered with plastic sandbags. One soldier stomped on their fingers and toes.

"Graner put the detainee's head into a cradle position with Graner's arm, and Graner punched the detainee with a lot of force, in the temple," Specialist Jeremy C. Sivits said in his statements to investigators, referring to another soldier charged, Specialist Charles A. Graner Jr. "Graner punched the detainee with a closed fist so hard in the temple that it knocked the detainee unconscious."

"He was joking, laughing," Specialist Sivits said. "Like he was enjoying it."

"He went over to the pile of detainees that were still clothed and he put his knees on them and had his picture taken," Specialist Sivits said. "I took this photo."

Specialist Sivits's two statements, given to investigators in January and released by a lawyer for another soldier on Thursday, recount the evening's activities in graphic but unemotional language, portraying a night of gratuitous and random violence. Lawyers for the soldiers have explained the abuse captured in hundreds of photographs now at the center of the Abu Ghraib scandal by saying the soldiers were operating on the orders of military intelligence in an effort to get detainees to talk.

Last night, lawyers for the other charged soldiers repeated that. They said that in a bid for leniency, Specialist Sivits, 24, the first to be court-martialed, is expected to plead guilty on Wednesday and testify against the others.

But Specialist Sivits described a scene of twisted joviality not authorized by anyone in the chain of command and with no connection to any interrogations.

"She was laughing at the different stuff they were having the detainees do," Specialist Sivits said, describing Pfc. Lynndie R. England, another soldier charged.

The soldiers knew that what they had done was wrong, Specialist Sivits told investigators, at least enough to instruct him not to tell anyone what he had seen. Specialist Sivits was asked if the abuse would have happened if someone in the chain of command was present. "Hell no," he replied, adding: "Because our command would have slammed us. They believe in doing the right thing. If they saw what was going on, there would be hell to pay."

The evening began with Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick II casually telling Specialist Sivits to join him where the detainees were held. They escorted the detainees from their holding cells and piled them up. "Graner told Specialist Wisdom to come in and `get him some.' Meaning to come in and be part of whatever was going to happen," Specialist Sivits told investigators, referring to Specialist Matthew Wisdom.

"A couple of the detainees kind of made an ahh sound as if this hurt them or caused them some type of pain when Davis would land on them," he said. Sergeant Javal C. Davis responded by stepping on their fingers or toes, Specialist Sivits said, and the detainees screamed.

The platoon sergeant standing on a tier above the room heard the screams and yelled down at Sergeant Davis to stop, surprising the other soldiers with the anger in his command, Specialist Sivits said. But within two minutes, the platoon sergeant left, and the soldiers resumed the abuse.

"Next Graner and Frederick had the detainees strip," Specialist Sivits said. "Graner was the one who told them to strip in Arabic language." The detainees hesitated. Specialist Graner and Sergeant Frederick took them aside and instructed them again. Specialist Graner told them to sit.

"I do not know what provoked Graner," Specialist Sivits said, "but Graner knelt down to one of the detainees that was nude and had the sandbag over his head" and punched the detainee unconscious.

"I walked over to see if the detainee was still alive," Specialist Sivits said. "I could tell the detainee was unconscious, because his eyes were closed and he was not moving, but I could see his chest rise and fall, so I knew he was still alive."

Specialist Graner said little. He had wounded his hand. "Damn, that hurt," Specialist Sivits quoted him as saying. After about two minutes, Specialist Sivits said, the detainee moved, "like he was coming to." Specialist Graner walked over to pose with the pile of detainees.

Sergeant Frederick was standing in front of another detainee. "For no reason, Frederick punched the detainee in the chest," Specialist Sivits said. "The detainee took a real deep breath and kind of squatted down. The detainee said he could not breathe. They called for a medic to come down, to try and get the detainee to breathe right. Frederick said he thought he put the detainee in cardiac arrest."

Specialist Graner, meanwhile, was having the other detainees make a tower, all of them in a kneeling position like a formation of cheerleaders.

"Frederick and Graner then tried to get several of the inmates to masturbate themselves," Specialist Sivits recounted.

"Staff Sergeant Frederick would take the hand of the detainee and put it on the detainee's penis, and make the detainee's hand go back and forth, as if masturbating. He did this to about three of the detainees before one of them did it right."

After five minutes, they told him to stop. Specialist Graner then had them pose against the wall, and made one kneel in front of the other, Specialist Sivits said, "So that from behind the detainee that was kneeling, it would look like the detainee kneeling had the penis of the detainee standing in his mouth, but he did not.`

Specialist Sabrina Harman and Private England "would stand in front of the detainees and England and Harman would put their thumbs up and have the pictures taken."

Asked why the event took place, Specialist Sivits replied: "I do not know. I do not know if someone had a bad day or not. It was a normal day for me, aside from the stuff I told you about."

Asked to describe Sergeant Frederick's attitude, he replied, "Same as ever, mellow." Specialist Harman, he said, looked somewhat disgusted, but laughed, too, and so did Specialist Sivits, in his own account.

"What part did you think then was funny?" investigators asked. He replied, "The tower thing."

The evening was not an isolated case of violence, Specialist Sivits said. He described another night when a dog was set upon a detainee, and another when a detainee was handcuffed to a bed.

"Graner was in the room with him," he said. "This detainee had wounds on his legs from where he had been shot with the buckshot." Specialist Graner, he said, would "strike the detainee with a half baseball swing, and hit the wounds of the detainee. There is no doubt that this hurt the detainee because he would scream he got hit. The detainee would beg Graner to stop by saying `Mister, Mister, please stop,' or words to that effect."

"I think at one time Graner said in a baby type voice, `Ah, does that hurt?' " Specialist Sivits added.

Guy L. Womack, a lawyer for Specialist Graner, said he had not seen the statement from Specialist Sivits but doubted that his client would have hit a detainee.

"I don't think he was that kind of guy," Mr. Womack said. "He would have done it if he was ordered to do it." He said that military intelligence soldiers were in one of the graphic photographs, indicating that they were aware of what was going on.

"Sivits, as you know, has entered a plea agreement with the government, getting lenient treatment for testifying against other people," Mr. Womack said, "and by definition if he doesn't say something negative about other people he would not get this deal."

Similarly, a lawyer for Sergeant Frederick dismissed the statement. "Sivits is a rollover guilty plea, and that may provide comfort to some," said the lawyer, Gary Myers. "But it has no impact upon the defense of any other case because it has nothing whatsoever to do with the guilt or innocence of my client."

Specialist Sivits's lawyer has not responded to requests for comments.

As for Specialist Sivits, investigators asked him in his statements whether he thought any of the incidents were wrong. "All of them were," he replied.

Why did he not report the incidents? He replied: "I was asked not to, and I try to be friends with everyone. I see now where trying to be friends with everyone can cost you."

"I was in the wrong when the above incidents happened," he said. "I should have said something."

Michael Moss and James Risen contributed reporting for this article.
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Old 05-14-2004, 06:59 PM   #10
Jerr Conner
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I'd say this is a case of "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Especially after hearing that lady in the picture talk about how they ordered her to do it. She seems way too happy to do it in the photo. Also, the "I was ordered" angle doesn't jive for me, considering the outlets a person has available to them to tell an even higher-ranked officer that something bad was happening.

That, or maybe someone only took pictures as proof of what was going on. I do agree it's very very stupid to take photos of torture leaving behind proof that it was done. Though I guess some psychopaths want trophies.
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