More Abu Ghraib Images Could Harm Troops, Official Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2006 Publicizing more images depicting alleged abuse of detainees at Iraqi's Abu Ghraib prison could bring harm to U.S. servicemembers, a senior Defense Department official said here today.
The release of more Abu Ghraib images "could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world and would endanger our military men and women that are serving in places around the world," DoD spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters.
"The abuses at Abu Ghraib have been fully investigated," Whitman said. "As you know, it's been the policy of this department - it has been and continues to be - that all detainees in our custody will be treated humanely."
Previously unpublished still and video images of alleged abuse of Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib prison were broadcast today on Australian television, according to media reports.
Whitman said he was aware of the reports, but noted he hasn't seen or evaluated the images in question.
"If we have something else to put out on this, we will," he told reporters.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has apologized to Iraqis who were abused by U.S. military members at Abu Ghraib. The secretary also has commented about the existence of additional, unpublished, still and video images that depict alleged abuse at Abu Ghraib.
There "are many more photographs and indeed, some videos," Rumsfeld told legislators during a May 2004 Senate hearing. Some members of Congress have viewed those images, which are said to be especially graphic.
Whitman said more than 25 people of both enlisted and commissioned rank were held accountable for criminal acts and other misconduct associated with prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.
Army Spc. Joseph Darby brought the issue to the attention of U.S. authorities when he delivered digital images depicting the alleged crimes to a military detective at the prison in January 2004. The scandal erupted publicly in May that year.
"The images that were brought to the attention of the chain of command at Abu Ghraib were images that were part of the investigations and the prosecutions that occurred," Whitman said. He added he didn't have any specific information whether the images broadcast on Australian television were part of the group of Darby-provided images.
Whitman said some U.S. citizens have filed litigation under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain access to some 70 previously unpublished Abu Ghraib-related images.
The Abu Ghraib scandal prompted DoD to launch a comprehensive review of its worldwide detention operations, Whitman said. That review, he said, produced 600 separate criminal investigations and 200 prosecutions.
"When there have been abuses, this department has acted upon them promptly, investigated them thoroughly and, where appropriate, prosecuted individuals," Whitman said.