Australian TV shows alleged new photos of Abu Ghraib abuse

Associated Press Feb. 15, 2006 07:55 AM

SYDNEY, Australia - An Australian television network broadcast photographs and video clips Wednesday that it said were previously unpublished images of the alleged abuse of Iraqis held in U.S. military custody at Abu Ghraib prison.

The images were taken at Abu Ghraib at about the same time as previously published photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse, the Special Broadcasting Service's "Dateline" program reported.

SBS refused to give details on the source of the photographs, and the authenticity of the images could not be verified independently.

The images shown by SBS were consistent with the earlier photographs of abuse by American soldiers, which triggered outrage in the Middle East and prompted a U.S. congressional investigation and military trials for some soldiers involved.

No one in the images broadcast Wednesday could clearly be identified as U.S. military personnel. Men wearing combat-style uniforms and holding dogs on leashes appear in at least one image.

Many of the images broadcast Wednesday were more graphic than those previously published, showing what appear to be dead bodies, as well as wounded people and prisoners performing sex acts. SBS said the photographs of the dead bodies were of people who had died at the prison.

The SBS showed photographs of a bloodied cell block and a corpse, and said the man had been killed during a CIA interrogation.

One clip broadcast by SBS showed a group of naked men with bags over their heads standing together, masturbating. The network said the masturbation had been forced.

Another video showed a man repeatedly beating his head against a wall.

A photograph showed a man with a deep cut on his neck, and another of the same man surrounded by men dressed in khaki shirts and pants, with one man pointing at the wound.

The Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera broadcast brief excerpts of the Australian footage, including the face of an Iraqi prisoner in agony, a hooded Iraqi male in his underwear, a naked figure lying on the floor next to what appeared to be a pool of blood and another with former Cpl. Charles Graner Jr., convicted in the case, smiling as he held one male prisoner.

Graner is serving a 10-year prison term at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He was described as the ringleader of the group of Abu Ghraib guards who mistreated Iraqis.

SBS said the images were among photographs the American Civil Liberties Union was trying to obtain from the U.S. government under a Freedom of Information request.

A U.S. district court in September upheld the request in a ruling covering scores of photographs and several videotapes. Government lawyers said it was considering an appeal, and the images were not immediately released.

In a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press, SBS said the ACLU had not seen the images sought under the Freedom of Information request, so it had not been able to confirm whether they were the same as those broadcast Wednesday.

But the general description of the photographs the ACLU is seeking "is consistent with the photographs we are releasing," the SBS statement said.

"'Dateline' is confident in the credibility of the source of these new photographs and videos," the SBS statement said. "They are entirely consistent with descriptions of the unreleased photographs and videos from various U.S. army reports into the abuses."

At a Senate Armed Services Committee inquiry in May 2004, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld testified that not all known photographs of the abuses at Abu Ghraib had been released publicly.

"Beyond abuse of prisoners, there are other photos that depict incidents of physical violence toward prisoners, acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman," Rumsfeld said at the time.

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