One suspects that the administration officials who wanted to release everything, rather than let it all trickle slowly out as it would inevitably do, will eventually be proved right in their prediction that this slow trickle will be more damaging by far than one massive data dump. If nothing else, one massive release of information would have buried many of the details in this overwhelming mass of revolting information.
Heaven knows, though, the slow trickle is revolting and appalling enough on its own.
Previously secret sworn statements by detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq describe in raw detail abuse that goes well beyond what has been made public, adding allegations of prisoners being ridden like animals, sexually fondled by female soldiers and forced to retrieve their food from toilets. The fresh allegations of prison abuse are contained in statements taken from 13 detainees shortly after a soldier reported the incidents to military investigators in mid-January. The detainees said they were savagely beaten and repeatedly humiliated sexually by American soldiers working on the night shift at Tier 1A in Abu Ghraib during the holy month of Ramadan, according to copies of the statements obtained by The Washington Post. [...] Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, detainee No. 151108, told investigators that when he first arrived at Abu Ghraib last year, he was forced to strip, put on a hood and wear rose-colored panties with flowers on them. "Most of the days I was wearing nothing else," he said in his statement.
Hilas also said he witnessed an Army translator having sex with a boy at the prison. He said the boy was between 15 and 18 years old. Someone hung sheets to block the view, but Hilas said he heard the boy's screams and climbed a door to get a better look. Hilas said he watched the assault and told investigators that it was documented by a female soldier taking pictures.
"The kid was hurting very bad," Hilas said....
Sworn Statements by Abu Ghraib Detainees (Individual statements in PDF, Adobe Acrobat required)
Videos Amplify Picture of Violence (Real Player required.)
Soldier's Credibility May Aid Prosecution
By Jackie Spinner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 21, 2004; Page A19
BAGHDAD, May 20 -- Spc. Jeremy Sivits's tearful apology and no-excuse testimony at his court-martial on Wednesday will make him a credible witness against other soldiers charged with mistreating Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and could undermine arguments that they were simply following orders, military legal experts said Thursday. Sivits, the first of seven U.S. soldiers charged with prisoner abuse to be convicted, told an Army judge that he knew what he was doing was wrong, saying, "sir, I am truly sorry. I am sorry for what I've done."
The 24-year-old Army reservist agreed to testify against his fellow soldiers in the 372nd Military Police Company in exchange for a lighter sentence. A judge ordered him to spend a year in jail for failing to stop the abuse and for taking a photograph of prisoners being tormented.
The sentence was the maximum amount allowed in a special court-martial, the type of proceeding called in Sivits's case. Three other soldiers charged with abuse face more serious general courts-martial and much longer prison terms if they are found guilty of beating and humiliating prisoners.
Sivits "made it appear he was genuinely sorry," said Stephen A. Saltzburg, a law professor at George Washington University and a former Air Force lawyer. "It gave him a fairly substantial amount of credibility." [...] Elizabeth Lutes Hillman, a professor at Rutgers University law school in New Jersey, said that because Sivits's involvement in the abuse was so brief -- about 30 minutes one night in November out of the two months that the mistreatment is alleged to have occurred -- his case would not help defense attorneys or prosecutors finger higher-ups.
"He seemed to stumble on this, frankly," she said of Sivits. "He will be less help to get information to prosecute those up the chain of the command."
To be sure, the fact that Sivits received the maximum possible sentence at his special court-martial, despite pleading guilty, likely means that none of the others will plead guilty, and they'll do their best to take as many up and down the chain of command down with them. After all, if they're going to get the maximum sentence no matter what they do, what incentives do they have to plea bargain?Posted by iain at May 21, 2004 12:36 PM