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Torture of Iraq Prisoners Prompts Wave of Revulsion
The Allied occupation of Iraq was under fresh scrutiny tonight as shocking pictures of United States troops torturing prisoners prompted a wave of revulsion across the world.

Prime Minister Tony Blair was among those to condemn the TV pictures as the Iraqi Governing Council said they would increase anti-American sentiment.

President George Bush said he was disgusted by what he saw, adding "that's not the way we do things in America."

The pictures sparked outrage as they were broadcast across an already hostile Arab world by Middle East TV stations including Al Jazeera.

The chilling pictures show hooded and naked prisoners cowering and being sexually abused by their smiling captors, who include women.

The prisoners were being held at the Abu Ghraib prison which Saddam Hussein used to torture his own people.

Mr Blair's official spokesman said: "The US army spokesman has said this morning that he is appalled, that those responsible have let their fellow soldiers down, and those are views that we would associate the UK Government with."

Asked if the Prime Minister was appalled, the spokesman replied: "The Government view is the same as that of the US army."

President Bush said: "I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated.

"Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people. That's not the way we do things in America. I didn't like it one bit," Mr Bush said.

One Iraqi prisoner is shown standing on a box, hooded, dressed in black robes with wires attached to his hands.

He was reportedly told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted.

Other pictures show US soldiers, men and women in military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners.

In some, the male prisoners are positioned to simulate sex with each other.

One photo is of a female US soldier standing by a naked prisoner, also hooded. The soldier is pointing at his genitals and grinning at the camera.

Mr Blair's spokesman said: "The previous regime under Saddam carried out actions like this as a matter of policy.

"These actions are carried out in direct contravention of all policy under which the coalition operates.

"Nobody underestimates how wrong this is and how wrong this is seen to be.

"But equally, what should be recognised is that it has been condemned by the US military and they have taken action.

"That does not excuse what's happened but it does set it in perspective."

Arab television stations led their news broadcasts today with the photographs.

One network said the pictures were evidence of the "immoral practices" of American forces.

Many Arabs are already angry about the US-led occupation of Iraq and violence has being worsening in the country in recent months.

"This will increase the sense of dissatisfaction among Iraqis toward the Americans," said a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, Mahmoud Othman.

"The resistance people will try to make use of such painful incidents."

Mr Othman, whose council is the interim governing authority of Iraq appointed by the US, added: "This is a shame on the Americans. We used to criticise Saddam (Hussein) regime regarding the beating of detained people."

CBS Network, the US TV station which published the pictures – taken late last year – said they surfaced after being passed around among troops, one of whom went to his commanding officer.

Mr Blair's human rights envoy to Iraq, Ann Clwyd MP, said of the published photos: "I think they are absolutely terrible. I am shocked."

The MP told BBC Radio 4 that she had previously discussed the treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib with officials in President Bush's administration.

"I was told by a very senior person there 'We don't do this kind of thing.

"Clearly the people in charge did not know this was going on.

"A small number of cases, horrible though they are – you cannot compare that with the tens of thousands of people Saddam Hussein was responsible for executing and torturing," she said. "You can't make that comparison."

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: "Amnesty International has taken numerous testimonies from Iraqis who allege torture at Abu Ghraib and other prisons, where they are held incommunicado and without charge."

Brigadier General Janice Karpinsky, who ran Abu Ghraib prison for the US Army, has been suspended.

In March, the US Army announced that six members of the 800th Military Police Brigade faced court martial for allegedly abusing about 20 prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

An incident involving British soldiers photographing the alleged torture of Iraqi prisoners of war hanging in netting from a fork-lift truck came to light in May last year.

Allegations surrounding the torture and death of Iraqi civilians in the custody of British troops were reported in February this year.

A number of investigations are being carried out by the Royal Military Police Special Investigations Branch (SIB) but no British soldiers have yet face a court-martial.

A spokesman confirmed eight cases of alleged mistreatment of Iraqis by British personnel were being investigated by the Army's Special Investigations Branch.

The above article is from PA News.

Photo Gallery of Abuses of Iraqi Prisoners of War

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    American Soldiers Brutalized Iraqis
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  Related Articles     
    "Degeneration of War Right Before Our Eyes"
    New Picture, Military Critics Increase Pressure ...
    American Soldiers Brutalized Iraqis
    Iraq: US Military in Torture Scandal
    CBS Airs Photographs of Iraqi Prisoners ...
    Pressure Rises on Bush Team
    Shame of Abuse by British Troops in Iraq
    Bush's Power vs. Rights of Detained Citizens

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