New photos showing US soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners were found on a website earlier this week. Taken just after the fall of Baghdad and in the early days of the US occupation, in May 2003, the photos predate the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib this past April.
"These photographs raise a number of important questions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs) and detainees, I can assure you that the matter will be thoroughly investigated," said Navy Cmdr. Jeff Bender, a spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado.
A woman, whose spouse brought the photos back from Iraq, posted the photos on an Internet site. In the snapshots, US soldiers that operate in special units, are sitting on Iraqi prisoners, whose heads are covered with sacks and whose hands are bound behind their back. Other photos show images of an Iraqi prisoner with a gun pointed at his head, and a US soldier, who is pressing his foot on another prisoner's neck as he is lying on the floor.
Bender said that photos of prisoners and detainees are forbidden except for registration purposes and added that soldiers who were involved in the incident will be detected. Whether or not the photos are genuine has not been clarified yet. John Hutson, a retired rear admiral who served as Navy Judge Advocate General from 1997 to 2000, said the photos suggested possible Geneva Convention violations, as international law prohibits souvenir photos of prisoners of war. Hutson said, "It's pretty obvious that these pictures were taken largely as war trophies. Once you start allowing that kind of behavior, the next step is to start posing the POWs in order to get even better pictures.''
The US administration began an investigation into accusations of torture after the scandal of Abu Ghraib erupted. Seven US soldiers have been tried and convicted so far in their involvement with Abu Ghraib. They argued that they were following orders, which raised the possibility that the torture of Iraqi's has been systematic.
The US army denies a policy of torture and describes the incidents as the business of "a few rotten apples". Despite announcements that "thousands of torture photos were found", many have not been released to the media.
Musul Blood Pool, 'Chemical' Claims in Felluce
A suicide attack using a lorry loaded with peshmerga gas created a blood bath in Musul (Mosul). At least seventeen people are dead and forty more are wounded.
A separate attack in Bagdat (Baghdad) resulted in seven deaths, and fifty-nine wounded.
The US Defense Department claimed that insurgents had a research laboratory for chemical weapons in Felluce (Fallujah). Pentagon officials report that the US army detected chemicals that could be used to make hydrogen cyanide inside a laboratory. US Army Brigadier General David Rodriquez claimed that soldiers found what he called "a mujahedeen chemical and biological book" that included formulas and instructions for anthrax, chemical blood agents and explosive materials. Rodriquez told reporters Friday that the lab's chemicals included sodium cyanide and hydrochloric acid, which when combined makes hydrogen cyanide. This is a polethal chemical agent.