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New Abu Ghraib Pictures, Videotape Made Public


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Michele Norris. Previously unpublished photographs and videotapes showing U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison in 2003 are being made public. Many of the images are similar to those that first appeared nearly two years ago. But others are even more graphic and brutal.

NPR's Jackie Northam reports.

JACKIE NORTHAM: This latest set of photos appeared on the Special Broadcasting Service, an Australian television network. The images show naked and handcuffed detainees, some bleeding and hooded. Another appears to be a corpse. One naked and bound inmate is hanging upside down from the top of an iron bunk bed. Another photo simply shows the floor of one of the jail cells. It appears covered in blood. Brian Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, says all of these images have been analyzed and reviewed as part of the investigation that stemmed from the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal.

BRIAN WHITMAN: These are not new images. These are images, perhaps new to some news organizations, but they were all part of the evidence that was used in prosecuting many of these individuals and in making adjustments to our detention operations.

NORTHAM: The images were quickly rebroadcast on Arab satellite networks and on various internet websites. There's already anger across much of the Arab and Muslim world following the publication in European papers of cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad and video on Sunday of British soldiers beating Iraqi youth.

Fawaz Gerges, a professor of Middle East studies and international affairs at Sarah Lawrence College, says the latest Abu Ghraib photos may further inflame that anger.

FAWAZ GERGES: The new revelations are likely to reinforce existing Muslim perceptions or misperceptions that the West is waging an onslaught against Islam and Muslims. And I believe, in the short term, the horrible images are likely to deepen the culture divide. And I think they're likely also to play into the hands of militants.

NORTHAM: The Australian TV network did not say where it obtained the images but said they're from a large batch that the American Civil Liberties Union has tried unsuccessfully to get from the government using the Freedom of Information Act.

DOD spokesman Whitman says releasing all the photos could spark more violence. Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, says his group wants all the photos released in order to force more accountability for the Abu Ghraib scandal. Romero says until then, the controversy is not going to go away.

ANTHONY ROMERO: We have not held the highest levels of our government accountable. And try as they might, this is a story that is going to continue to bedevil the Bush Administration until we take very seriously the accountability question at the highest levels of our military.

NORTHAM: The Pentagon says the Abu Ghraib scandal has been fully investigated and that more than 25 people, mainly low-ranking soldiers, have been held accountable for misconduct.

Jackie Northam, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jackie Northam is NPR's International Affairs Correspondent. She is a veteran journalist who has spent three decades reporting on conflict, geopolitics, and life across the globe - from the mountains of Afghanistan and the desert sands of Saudi Arabia, to the gritty prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the pristine beauty of the Arctic.