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Court Martial in Iraq (CBS to broadcast images of US troops mistreating Iraqis...)

Posted on 04/28/2004 8:28:36 PM PDT by sonsofliberty2000

(CBS) Last month, the U.S. Army announced 17 soldiers in Iraq, including a brigadier general, had been removed from duty after charges of mistreating Iraqi prisoners.

But the details of what happened have been kept secret, until now.

It turns out photographs surfaced showing American soldiers abusing and humiliating Iraqis being held at a prison near Baghdad. The Army investigated, and issued a scathing report.

Now, an Army general and her command staff may face the end of long military careers. And six soldiers are facing court martial in Iraq -- and possible prison time. Correspondent Dan Rather talks to one of those soldiers. And, for the first time, 60 Minutes II will show some of the pictures that led to the Army investigation. According to the U.S. Army, one Iraqi prisoner was told to stand on a box with his head covered, wires attached to his hands. He was told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted.

It was this picture, and dozens of others, that prompted an investigation by the U.S. Army. On Tuesday, 60 Minutes II asked Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of coalition operations in Iraq, what went wrong.

“Frankly, I think all of us are disappointed by the actions of the few,” says Kimmitt. “Every day, we love our soldiers, but frankly, some days we're not always proud of our soldiers."

For decades under Saddam Hussein, many prisoners who were taken to the Abu Ghraib prison never came out. It was the centerpiece of Saddam’s empire of fear, and those prisoners who did make it out told nightmarish tales of torture beyond imagining – and executions without reason.

60 Minutes II talked about the prison and shared pictures of what Americans did there with two men who have extensive interrogation experience: Former Marine Lt. Col. Bill Cowan and former CIA Bureau Chief Bob Baer.

"I visited Abu Ghraib a couple of days after it was liberated. It was the most awful sight I've ever seen. I said, ‘If there's ever a reason to get rid of Saddam Hussein, it's because of Abu Ghraib,'” says Baer. “There were bodies that were eaten by dogs, torture. You know, electrodes coming out of the walls. It was an awful place."

"We went into Iraq to stop things like this from happening, and indeed, here they are happening under our tutelage,” says Cowan. It was American soldiers serving as military police at Abu Ghraib who took these pictures. The investigation started when one soldier got them from a friend, and gave them to his commanders. 60 Minutes II has a dozen of these pictures, and there are many more – pictures that show Americans, men and women in military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners.

There are shots of the prisoners stacked in a pyramid, one with a slur written on his skin in English.

In some, the male prisoners are positioned to simulate sex with each other. And in most of the pictures, the Americans are laughing, posing, pointing, or giving the camera a thumbs-up.

60 Minutes II was only able to contact one of the soldiers facing charges. But the Army says they are all in Iraq, awaiting court martial.

"What can the Army say specifically to Iraqis and others who are going to see this and take it personally," Rather asked Kimmitt, in an interview conducted by satellite from Baghdad.

"The first thing I’d say is we’re appalled as well. These are our fellow soldiers. These are the people we work with every day, and they represent us. They wear the same uniform as us, and they let their fellow soldiers down,” says Kimmitt.

“Our soldiers could be taken prisoner as well. And we expect our soldiers to be treated well by the adversary, by the enemy. And if we can't hold ourselves up as an example of how to treat people with dignity and respect … We can't ask that other nations to that to our soldiers as well."

“So what would I tell the people of Iraq? This is wrong. This is reprehensible. But this is not representative of the 150,000 soldiers that are over here,” adds Kimmitt. “I'd say the same thing to the American people... Don't judge your army based on the actions of a few." One of the soldiers facing court martial is Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Chip Frederick.

Frederick is charged with maltreatment for allegedly participating in and setting up a photo, and for posing in a photograph by sitting on top of a detainee. He is charged with an indecent act for observing one scene. He is also charged with assault for allegedly striking detainees – and ordering detainees to strike each other.

60 Minutes II talked with him by phone from Baghdad, where he is awaiting court martial.

Frederick told us he will plead not guilty, claiming the way the Army was running the prison led to the abuse of prisoners.

“We had no support, no training whatsoever. And I kept asking my chain of command for certain rules and regulations,” says Frederick. “And it just wasn't happening."

Six months before he faced a court martial, Frederick sent home a video diary of his trip across the country. Frederick, a reservist, said he was proud to serve in Iraq. He seemed particularly well-suited for the job at Abu Ghraib. He’s a corrections officer at a Virginia prison, whose warden described Frederick to us as “one of the best.”

Frederick says Americans came into the prison: “We had military intelligence, we had all kinds of other government agencies, FBI, CIA ... All those that I didn't even know or recognize."

Frederick's letters and email messages home also offer clues to problems at the prison. He wrote that he was helping the interrogators:

"Military intelligence has encouraged and told us 'Great job.' "

"They usually don't allow others to watch them interrogate. But since they like the way I run the prison, they have made an exception."

"We help getting them to talk with the way we handle them. ... We've had a very high rate with our style of getting them to break. They usually end up breaking within hours." According to the Army’s own investigation, that’s what was happening. The Army found that interrogators asked reservists working in the prison to prepare the Iraqi detainees, physically and mentally, for questioning.

“What, if any actions, are being taken against the interrogators?

"I hope the investigation is including not only the people who committed the crimes, but some of the people that might have encouraged these crimes as well,” says Kimmitt. “Because they certainly share some level of responsibility as well."

But so far, none of the interrogators at Abu Ghraib are facing criminal charges. In fact, a number of them are civilians, and military law doesn’t apply to them.

One of the civilian interrogators at Abu Ghraib was questioned by the Army, and he told investigators he had "broken several tables during interrogations, unintentionally," while trying to "fear up" prisoners. He denied hurting anyone.

In our phone conversation, 60 Minutes II asked Frederick whether he had seen any prisoners beaten.

“I saw things. We had to use force sometimes to get the inmates to cooperate, just like our rules of engagement said,” says Frederick. “We learned a little bit of Arabic, basic commands. And they didn't want to listen, so sometimes, you would just give them a little nudge or something like that just to get them to cooperate so we could get the mission accomplished."

Attorney Gary Myers and a judge advocate in Iraq are defending Frederick. They say he should never have been charged, because of the failure of his commanders to provide proper training and standards.

"The elixir of power, the elixir of believing that you're helping the CIA, for God's sake, when you're from a small town in Virginia, that's intoxicating,” says Myers. “And so, good guys sometimes do things believing that they are being of assistance and helping a just cause. ... And helping people they view as important."

Frederick says he didn't see a copy of the Geneva Convention rules for handling prisoners of war until after he was charged.

The Army investigation confirms that soldiers at Abu Ghraib were not trained at all in Geneva Convention rules. And most were reservists, part-time soldiers who didn't get the kind of specialized prisoner of war training given to regular Army members.

Frederick also says there were far too few soldiers there for the number of prisoners: “There was, when I left, there was over 900. And there was only five soldiers, plus two non-commissioned officers, in charge for those 900 -- over 900 inmates."

Rather asked Kimmitt about understaffing. "That doesn't condone individual acts of criminal behavior no matter how tired we are. No matter how stretched we are, that doesn't give us license and it doesn't give us the authority to break the law,” says Kimmitt.

“That may have been a contributing factor, but at the end of the day, this is probably more about leadership, supervision, setting standards, abiding by the Army values and understanding what's right, and having the guts to say what's right.” Brig. Gen. Janice Karpinsky ran Abu Ghraib for the Army. She was also in charge of three other Army prison facilities that housed thousands of Iraqi inmates.

The Army investigation determined that her lack of leadership and clear standards led to problems system wide. Karpinski talked with 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft last October at Abu Ghraib, before any of this came out.

"This is international standards,” said Karpinski. “It's the best care available in a prison facility."

But the Army investigation found serious problems behind the scenes. The Army has photographs that show a detainee with wires attached to his genitals. Another shows a dog attacking an Iraqi prisoner. Frederick said that dogs were “used for intimidation factors.”

Part of the Army's own investigation is a statement from an Iraqi detainee who charges a translator - hired to work at the prison - with raping a male juvenile prisoner: "They covered all the doors with sheets. I heard the screaming. ...and the female soldier was taking pictures."

There is also a picture of an Iraqi man who appears to be dead -- and badly beaten.

"It's reprehensible that anybody would be taking a picture of that situation,” says Kimmitt.

But what about the situation itself?

“I don't know the facts surrounding what caused the bruising and the bleeding,” says Kimmitt. “If that is also one of the charges being brought against the soldiers, that too is absolutely unacceptable and completely outside of what we expect of our soldiers and our guards at the prisons."

Is there any indication that similar actions may have happened at other prisons? “I'd like to sit here and say that these are the only prisoner abuse cases that we're aware of, but we know that there have been some other ones since we've been here in Iraq,” says Kimmitt. When Saddam ran Abu Ghraib prison, Iraqis were too afraid to come ask for information on their family members.

When 60 Minutes II was there last month, hundreds had gathered outside the gates, worried about what is going on inside.

"We will be paid back for this. These people at some point will be let out,” says Cowan. “Their families are gonna know. Their friends are gonna know."

This is a hard story to have to tell when Americans are fighting and dying in Iraq. And for Cowan, it’s a personal issue. His son is an infantry soldier serving in Iraq for the last four months.

Rather asked Cowan what he would say to "that person who is sitting in their living room and saying, ‘I wish they wouldn't do this. It's undermining our troops and they shouldn't do it.’"

"If we don't tell this story, these kinds of things will continue. And we'll end up getting paid back 100 or 1,000 times over,” says Cowan. “Americans want to be proud of each and everything that our servicemen and women do in Iraq. We wanna be proud. We know they're working hard. None of us, now, later, before or during this conflict, should wanna let incidents like this just pass."

Kimmitt says the Army will not let what happened at Abu Ghraib just pass. What does he think is the most important thing for Americans to know about what has happened?

"I think two things. No. 1, this is a small minority of the military, and No. 2, they need to understand that is not the Army,” says Kimmitt. “The Army is a values-based organization. We live by our values. Some of our soldiers every day die by our values, and these acts that you see in these pictures may reflect the actions of individuals, but by God, it doesn't reflect my army."

Two weeks ago, 60 Minutes II received an appeal from the Defense Department, and eventually from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, to delay this broadcast -- given the danger and tension on the ground in Iraq.

60 Minutes II decided to honor that request, while pressing for the Defense Department to add its perspective to the incidents at Abu Ghraib prison. This week, with the photos beginning to circulate elsewhere, and with other journalists about to publish their versions of the story, the Defense Department agreed to cooperate in our report.

TOPICS: Breaking News
KEYWORDS: abughraib; cbsnews; iraq; iraqipow
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To: swheats
Our soldiers are facing evil daily and if the tables were turned I'm sure the detainee would probably put a bullet in them rather than talking.

Thus we need not pay evil back with evil. Yes they should protect themselves, but we despised Saddam for this same act. This is what seperates us from al Qaeda and legitimizes our crusade.

Patriot Paradox

21 posted on 04/28/2004 9:04:55 PM PDT by sonsofliberty2000 (In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal; America's is. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: HomersNose
While donning my tinfoil--the pictures just happened to end up on Rather's desk.

Who in their right minds would photograph this kind of stuff and for what purpose in interrogating?
22 posted on 04/28/2004 9:06:08 PM PDT by swheats
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To: swheats
This guys says eventually these prisoners are going to get out and tell their families. I have a "cure" for that.
23 posted on 04/28/2004 9:09:19 PM PDT by Terry Mross
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To: sonsofliberty2000
Yes I believe that too.

Not repaying eye for an eye, tooth for tooth thing, nor getting my own revenge. It's putting those things in practice is where the struggle is.

I can sit here in judgment of these folks and say they deserve all kinds of punishment thrown at them, but I'm not on the front line. I can't even imagine what our soldiers have to do to psych themselves up to strap on their weapon and face death daily.

These few screwed up and will be dealt with we know that for sure, but I wont condemn them for what they beleived they had to do.
24 posted on 04/28/2004 9:13:18 PM PDT by swheats
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To: Terry Mross
Just don't photograph it. It'll end up on some critic of the war doorstep.
25 posted on 04/28/2004 9:15:00 PM PDT by swheats
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To: sonsofliberty2000
With what they are going through its understandable. But our folks MUST maintain their professionalism and the vast majority do even under extreme pressure.
26 posted on 04/28/2004 9:26:07 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: sonsofliberty2000
Nip this stuff in the bud NOW. And publicize the prosecutions within the Army and to the Iraqi people.

Letting behavior like this slide led to the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam. Good for the Army for pursuing this, I just hope that this time they don't have any phony sentences that later get reduced to nothing.

Sounds like a good idea to have plenty of pictures and video of every interrogation, plus rapid promotion for whistle blowers.

27 posted on 04/28/2004 9:26:23 PM PDT by secretagent
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To: FairOpinion
Why is everyone assuming that these were some peaceful Iraqi civilians that the soldiers decided to torture?

Because Dan Rather wants them to think that way

I do recall another soldier that was accused of something similar as to this charge because he was trying to save the lives of his men

BTW .. How did Dan get this report?

28 posted on 04/28/2004 9:30:03 PM PDT by Mo1 (Make Michael Moore cry.... DONATE MONTHLY!!!)
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To: Mo1
and I also want to add that if these soldiers are guilty, they should be dealt with

I'm not trying to make excuses .. I just don't trust Rather .. he has a history
29 posted on 04/28/2004 9:36:54 PM PDT by Mo1 (Make Michael Moore cry.... DONATE MONTHLY!!!)
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CBS is reporting this? BA!

CBS has an agenda, and it is not in favor of our troops. Facts will come out across the coming days, and I'm willing to bet they will paint a different picture than what CBS is currently reporting.

Last time we heard of "torture", it was an officer forcing info out of a rebel that saved many Americans from an ambush.

30 posted on 04/28/2004 9:54:47 PM PDT by Michael Barnes
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To: FairOpinion
Why is everyone assuming that these were some peaceful Iraqi civilians that the soldiers decided to torture?

Why is it that torture in any circumstance is ok with you? We need to be better than them, not sink to a lower level.

military interrogator here. been there, done that, got the t-shirts

31 posted on 04/28/2004 9:58:21 PM PDT by Razwan
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To: sonsofliberty2000

Gotta admit, if the charges are true then these guys deserve to have the book thrown at 'em.

However, I also gotta admit 60 Minutes sure is helpin' the enemy by puttin' this on the air.

32 posted on 04/28/2004 10:00:11 PM PDT by EternalHope (Boycott everything French forever. Including their vassal nations.)
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To: unix
Americans are evenly split on whether taking military action in Iraq was the right thing to do, the CBS News-New York Times poll found.

Six in 10 say the U.S. efforts in Iraq are going badly.

The poll found Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry running close in the presidential race - with Bush at 43 percent, Kerry at 41 percent and independent Ralph Nader at 5 percent among registered voters. Polls in recent weeks have shown the race close though several in mid-April showed Bush with a slight lead.

CBS: F*CK! Run this; "Court Martial in Iraq (CBS to broadcast images of US troops mistreating Iraqis...)", That should help the "effort" (Kerry*cough*cough*, wink-wink)

33 posted on 04/28/2004 10:01:30 PM PDT by Michael Barnes
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To: Razwan
"Why is it that torture in any circumstance is ok with you? "


Have we been inundated by Al Qaeda moles or something?!

Don't you think torture is quite justified to get terrorists to tell about imminent terror plots against us, which may kill hundreds or more people?

How do you think Jordan got the terrorists to tell them all about their chemical attack plan, which may have killed close to 100,000 people, if it had succeeded?

Do you think terrorists shouldn't be tortured, we should let them kills tens of thousands of innocents instead?
34 posted on 04/28/2004 10:03:45 PM PDT by FairOpinion (If you are not voting for Bush, you are voting for the terrorists.)
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To: Razwan
Just curious, when did ya serve? How many enemy soldiers did you interogate?

(Not being snide, serious question)

35 posted on 04/28/2004 10:04:09 PM PDT by Michael Barnes
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To: Arkinsaw
What they should stop doing is giving such pictures to the US media.

Whoever did that, that's the person who should be courtmartialed.
36 posted on 04/28/2004 10:04:33 PM PDT by FairOpinion (If you are not voting for Bush, you are voting for the terrorists.)
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To: FairOpinion
Whoever did that, that's the person who should be courtmartialed.

Sure. The photos should have gone to an Inspector General rather than the media. But that doesn't excuse any lack of professionalism. It provides the left with the stereotype that they wish to promote regarding the US military and our soldiers.
37 posted on 04/28/2004 10:14:06 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: Arkinsaw
What do you want our soldiers to do with the terrorists when they catch them, bow and curtsy to them and bring them tea?

These soldiers are being attacked and ambushed daily by terrorists, they don't know from one minute to the next, whether they will still be alive, they see their friends killed brutally by the terrorists.

So when they finally catch the terrorists, they don't treat them with kid gloves.

So now we punish our soliders for that?

As I said before, it's easy for all of you to sit in your comfortable homes, in safety and criticize those who put their lives on the line every minute. So they have a reaction.

If some terrorist killed your family and you got your hand on him, would you just ask him politely to step over here, while you call the police, or would you beat him to an inch within his life and regret you couldn't kill him?
38 posted on 04/28/2004 10:19:51 PM PDT by FairOpinion (If you are not voting for Bush, you are voting for the terrorists.)
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To: unix
That poll was of "adults" -- so for all we know they are all Kerry voters. But this way the pollsters don't have to identify the mix.
39 posted on 04/28/2004 10:20:53 PM PDT by FairOpinion (If you are not voting for Bush, you are voting for the terrorists.)
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To: Arkinsaw
It wouldn't provide the left with ANYthing if the pictures weren't publicized.

If American soldiers abused prisoners, that's wrong. But if those they abused were the torturers of Iraqis themselves, I can understand that. I can understand outrage and anger so intense that someone wanted to give Saddam's henchmen a taste of their own medicine, especially after liberating one of those literal hell-holes.

So, I'm not going to be outraged. I'm going to be patient, and wait to see what the whole story is. I don't think it should be getting any publicity, after all, these men are innocent until proven guilty, aren't they?

And CBS doesn't impress me at all. This is sweeps week. Kerry's "atrocities" have been all over all the media for a long time. CBS is, in my opinion, presenting a one-sided highly biased view of the situation, and I can't get too interested in anything they say, since little of it is actual news.
40 posted on 04/28/2004 10:21:22 PM PDT by Judith Anne (HOW ARE WE EVER GOING TO CLEAN UP ALL THIS MESS?)
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