For those who still defend the American President’s decision to invade Iraq, for those who still defend his policies that have resulted in one scandal after the other, the unexpected release more scandalous and horrific photos depicting the true extent of abuse and crimes committed against Iraqi detainees at Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib prison comes like a shower of gasoline on a bonfire, fanning flames of anger and resentment of the Arab-Muslim world already angry and hurt by the publication of cartoons ridiculing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Today, nearly two years after the first abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib broke out in April 2004 showing detainees being tortured by American soldiers, sparking worldwide outcry, Australia's Special Broadcasting Service has shown more shocking pictures depicting more crimes the U.S. troops committed at the jail.
But yesterday, the full extent of the inhuman acts of the American troops at Abu Ghraib became known after the U.S. army’s international investigation into the scandal released a report detailing what exactly happened inside the jail.
The report, obtained by the online American magazine Salon, could not have arrived at a worse time for Washington, already facing mounting pressure and criticism from the world, including the UN, over its treatment of detainees it hold at its detention facility in Guantanamo Bay Cuba.
Salon said on its website that it had obtained the fullest photographic record to date of the abuse.
The U.S. army investigation report coincided with the United Nations report denouncing the U.S. abuse of detainees at Guantánamo, as well as the release of a shocking video showing troops of Britain, U.S.'s key ally in Iraq War, beating up Iraqi teens.
A recently released UN Human Rights Commission report said that the U.S. treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay violates international law and amounts to torture, calling for the immediate closure of the U.S. detention facility and the prosecution of officials “up to the highest levels” who are involved in prisoner abuses.
Also the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged the United States to close its detention centre at Guantanamo Bay as soon as possible.
But on the other hand, the Bush administration keeps fending off the new wave of anger sparked by the new scandal of more violations at Abu Ghraib depicted in the pictures recently aired on the Australian television.
The new abuse report, compiled by the army's criminal investigation division, includes 1,325 photographs and 93 video clips of suspected abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib, 546 photographs of suspected dead Iraqi detainees, as well as 660 images of adult pornography, and 29 pictures of U.S. troops engaged in simulated sex acts, all recorded between October 18 and December 30 2003, according to the stamps, Salon wrote on its website.
The 18 pictures posted on Salon site and depicting the abuse at Abu Ghraib, showed “Iraqi men kneeling or lying on the ground alone or in a heap or wearing women's underwear on their heads” according to an article published by UK’s The Guardian, commenting on the new report obtained by Salon.
The new pictures show the normality of those bizarre scenes inside Iraq's notorious jail.
In one picture appears an army sergeant standing to fill out paperwork on a wall, while a hooded naked Iraqi stands behind. Another shows Staff Sergeant Ivan Chip Frederick – who faced trial over his involvement in abusing Iraqis inside Abu Ghraib - trimming his fingernails while an Iraqi stands on a box wearing a hood and electrical wires.
Other images showed the inhuman physical violence used against the detainees inside the jail.
"The DVD also includes photographs of guards threatening Iraqi prisoners with dogs, homemade videotapes depicting hooded prisoners being forced to masturbate, and a video showing a mentally disturbed prisoner smashing his head against a door. Oddly, the material also includes numerous photographs of slaughtered animals and mundane images of soldiers traveling around Iraq," Salon said.
But the Bush administration’s response only focused on the impact releasing those new pictures would have in the already angry Middle East nations, refusing to admit its responsibility or the chaos it created and crimes committed as a result of its illegal war in the country.
Commenting on the release of the new photos, a Pentagon spokesman said they "could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world".
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that the newly release images of abuse of Iraqi prisoners exposes the U.S.’s violations of international humanitarian law.
However, the Swiss-based agency, whose previous reports condemned the U.S. treatment of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, accusing the U.S. army of using tactics "tantamount to torture" on inmates at the Baghdad jail, didn’t say whether it would raise the issue again with Washington.
"We are shocked and dismayed at the mistreatment and abuse displayed in these images," ICRC spokeswoman Dorothea Krimitsas told Reuters in Geneva.
"The type of treatment in these images -- video or photos -- very clearly violates the rules of international humanitarian law which are designed to protect people detained in the context of armed conflict," she added.