Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

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
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 41-6061-8081-100 ... 121-130 next last
To: Michael81Dus
Ping to a related topic in our ongoing discussion.
61 posted on 04/29/2004 7:19:50 AM PDT by An.American.Expatriate (A vote for JF'nK is a vote for Peace in our Time!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sonsofliberty2000
An article stating that "humiliating" muslim warriors was the most effective and efficient way to win this war. (It recently discussed here on FR... anyone recall the title?)
62 posted on 04/29/2004 8:05:14 AM PDT by Teacher317
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rwfromkansas
"Would you have it covered up , or ignored?"

No, but, can I remind CBS of one pertinent fact:


At this very moment, our soldiers are in harms way. All this "report" is going to do is embolden, enrage our enemies. It is TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE for See BS to broadcast a story of this type, while our soldiers are engaged in combat.

We are having enough problems over in Iraq, without having a hit piece on our military broadcast by our own media. Think of the propaganda value to the fanatics. This is not to say it should never be told, but, it should not be told right now.

During WW 2 did the media run hit pieces on the soldiers? Were there any negative stories about the military during the war? I don't think so. From what I've seen, the media at that time, were even careful to never photograph FDR in his wheelchair, because they didn't want to give an image of weakness to the enemy. Those days are sure long gone.(sigh)

It's not like the abuses are being ignored. The soldiers are facing Court Martial, who abused the Iraqi prisoners, so what purpose is the 60 minutes report going to serve, other than to make it harder on our military? Why can't 60 minutes wait , and tell this story later, not wile Iraq is still a hornet's nest that is easily stirred up?

63 posted on 04/29/2004 9:15:20 AM PDT by fly_so_free (Never under estimate the treachery of the democrat party-Save USA vote a dem out of office)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: Dolphy
"What kind of training does one need to know that it's not okay to beat or mistreat prisoners?"

Give the "Hits Nail on Head with First Swing" award to this man!

64 posted on 04/29/2004 10:56:22 AM PDT by Redbob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: sonsofliberty2000
Now that I've seen the pictures, theses perps should be severely hammered. Not only is it simply wrong, it also endangers their fellow soldier's lives and our mission in Iraq. Jail them.
65 posted on 04/29/2004 11:54:43 AM PDT by wingnutx (Are you a monthly donor? Why not? (the freeper formerly known as Britton J Wingnutx))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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."

They already did....the Italian was shot in the head!
66 posted on 04/29/2004 1:02:30 PM PDT by Arpege92 (America and Israel are two countries that were founded on the rejection of Europe. -Dr. M. Azaryahu)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: sonsofliberty2000
"He’s a corrections officer at a Virginia prison, whose warden described Frederick to us as “one of the best.”

Makes you wonder what goes on in our own prisons.

67 posted on 04/29/2004 4:30:34 PM PDT by DannyTN
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AgentEcho
"bitchslap"? what exactly does that mean?
68 posted on 04/29/2004 5:38:13 PM PDT by Eowyn-of-Rohan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: My Dog Likes Me
"Who is that cute female MP in the photos?? "

What kind of woman would have ANYTHING do do with such foulness? I wonder how her family and their friends feel towards her after seeing her standing in that room with naked iraqi men in obscene positions, with a smile and thumb up...

69 posted on 04/29/2004 5:45:25 PM PDT by Eowyn-of-Rohan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 54 | View Replies]

To: pitinkie
Just type into your browser address bar, and then right-click on the image and select "Save picture as" (to save the image) or "add to favorites" (to save the URL).
70 posted on 04/29/2004 6:14:59 PM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham (Any day you wake up is a good day.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 59 | View Replies]

To: Mad_Tom_Rackham
Thanks I needed the URL cause would not save from the Free Republic some weird error message.
71 posted on 04/29/2004 7:20:59 PM PDT by pitinkie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 70 | View Replies]

To: FairOpinion
Do you want the interrogators to do EVERYTHING to get info fast

These weren't interrogator, these were prison guards. They were acting in a manner unbecoming of US military personnel.

It's a sad commentary that our soldiers are being prosecuted.

No, it's a shame that they did not follow the training they received, and acted like a bunch of morons. These soldiers are a microcosm of our society. Thank God that the soldiers involved in this are NOT representative of the caliber of people in our military.

Do you remember just recently an officer, a colonel...

Apples and oranges. He was acting in the capacity of trying to save his own life, and the people under his command's lives. These people were acting like a$$holes, pure and simple.

72 posted on 04/29/2004 7:37:23 PM PDT by Turbo Pig ( close with and destroy the enemy...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Comment #73 Removed by Moderator

Comment #74 Removed by Moderator

To: Eowyn-of-Rohan
"What kind of woman would have ANYTHING do do with such foulness? I wonder how her family and their friends feel towards her after seeing her standing in that room with naked iraqi men in obscene positions, with a smile and thumb up..."

The kind that takes a folded American flag home instead of a Father? Son? Husband? Brother? Daughter? Friend?

75 posted on 04/30/2004 2:58:47 AM PDT by zygoat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 69 | View Replies]

To: FairOpinion
in all fairness FairOpinion.
I saw the pictures and it's NOT torture that is being shown (e.g. bamboo shoots under finger nails, etc...)

there are a quite a few pictures of naked iraqis, piled up on each other, bent over each other, on their knees in front of their comrades etc...

and all throughout, you see OUR troops with sh*t eating grins on their faces...

now, here i sit, comfortably in my chair.
no bullets whizzing past my head or IED's tearing my buddies apart.
so, can I judge (or can any of us here) the actions of these 'soldiers'?

we can and we should.
these 'soldiers' have disgraced themselves
they have disgraced their fellow soldiers who deal with the same dangers and stress in a more civilized fashion.
they have disgraced our country and our armed forces and all those who served before them honorably.

we can certainly empathize with the daily struggles that they must endure.
BUT, we can NOT excuse their behavior.

best regards.

76 posted on 04/30/2004 3:17:02 AM PDT by anka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: All
Just saw some of the pictures on FOX. I can't believe it. A sad day indeed. These people need to burn big time!!!
77 posted on 04/30/2004 7:06:28 AM PDT by Terp (Retired living in Philippines were the Mountains meet the Sea in the Land of Smiles)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 76 | View Replies]

To: sonsofliberty2000
The obvious lesson here, a lesson that our civilian and military leadership need to emphasize to Americans and foreigners alike, is that in Saddam's Army this kind of behavior (and far worse) would get you promoted. In our Army, it gets you court-martialed.
78 posted on 04/30/2004 7:17:15 AM PDT by pawdoggie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Terp
I am sick to think that some Americans would engage in this disgusting crap. These bastards need to pay.
79 posted on 04/30/2004 11:45:35 AM PDT by freebilly (I take great pleasure in the misery of Americans who take great pleasure in the misery of Americans.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 77 | View Replies]

To: zygoat
The kind that takes a folded American flag home instead of a Father? Son? Husband? Brother? Daughter? Friend?

I would prefer to take home a folded American flag than to see pictures of my son or committing psycho-sexual, sado-masochistic acts against another human being....

80 posted on 04/30/2004 11:50:02 AM PDT by freebilly (I take great pleasure in the misery of Americans who take great pleasure in the misery of Americans.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 75 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 41-6061-8081-100 ... 121-130 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson