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Shock, outrage over prison photos

Father of soldier: 'There's two sides to the story'


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European newspapers featured pictures that purportedly show abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. jailers.
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President Bush said he was disgusted by photographs that apparently show U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees.

CNN's Ben Wedeman reports on Iraqi outrage over photos that apparently show U.S. soldiers abusing detainees at a prison.
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(CNN) -- Photographs showing the apparent abuse of Iraqi prisoners by both American and British troops have been greeted with shock and outrage worldwide.

Baghdad newspapers have not yet published the photographs, CNN's Ben Wedeman reported.

One editor told Wedeman that he had hesitated because the images were so offensive.

The photographs of alleged abuse by U.S. soldiers, which were first broadcast Wednesday on CBS' "60 Minutes II" in the United States, were shown Friday by Arab television networks.

London's Daily Mirror newspaper published in its Saturday edition photographs that purport to show British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, including one picture of a soldier urinating on a hooded detainee. (Full story)

CNN has not verified the authenticity of the images.

President Bush said Friday that he was disgusted.

"I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated," Bush said. "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," Bush added during an appearance in the White House Rose Garden with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

The U.S. military said six U.S. soldiers have been charged with abusing inmates at Abu Ghurayb prison, which was infamous under Saddam Hussein's reign.

Ivan Frederick, the father of a military policeman involved in the case, Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick, 37, told a CNN affiliate that his son is "worried, and I'm sure he's scared."

Chip Frederick, with the 800th Military Police Brigade based at Cresaptown, Maryland, was relieved of his duties in mid-January, his father said.

"When he left [the prison] he said there was some 900 prisoners," up from 400 when he arrived, the father said. "He said in an e-mail he had 70 Iraqis who he was trying to train to be security guards at the prison, and the language barrier made it hard to communicate with them.

He said his son had been detained at Camp Victory in Iraq without an attorney for 82 days.

"There's two sides to the story. The military has one and we have another," the father said. "We are a close-knit family, we always have been, and we are determined to do whatever it takes to get this situation straightened out. He's a perfect son."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan described the acts depicted in the photos as "despicable."

"We cannot tolerate it, and the military is taking strong action against those responsible," McClellan said.

He said the president had known about the images for a while but declined to offer further details.

When asked about a potential worldwide backlash over the pictures, McClellan said, "It does not represent what we stand for, and I think the military has made it very clear that they are going to pursue -- to the fullest extent of the law -- these individuals."

U.S. intelligence officials say the CIA Inspector General is cooperating with Defense Department officials in the abuse investigations, including one case in which an Iraqi detainee died in the Abu Ghurayb prison.

A U.S. intelligence official said CIA personnel had nothing to do with photos taken by U.S. soldiers of Iraqi prisoners being abused at the same prison.

"We do not support or condone abusing prisoners, and if we hear any such allegations, they are reported" to the CIA's inspector general, an official said.

In Iraq, a military official of the U.S.-led coalition also said the photos disgusted him.

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the coalition's deputy chief of operations, said that he was "appalled that fellow soldiers who wear the same uniforms as us would do this."

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One of the images broadcast on "60 Minutes II" shows a hooded prisoner standing on a box with wires attached to his hands.

"They crossed the line and violated every tenet we teach in the Army about dignity and respect," he said, adding that he was expressing his personal opinion and not speaking on the coalition's behalf.

CBS said it has dozens of pictures purportedly showing a range of abuses.

Some of the images published on one London, England-based newspaper's Web site show naked, hooded prisoners. In one, a male and a female soldier smile as they pose with prisoners.

One picture shows what is apparently an Iraqi prisoner standing on a box with his head covered and wires attached to his hands.

Kimmitt said he has met with representatives of Iraq's newspapers to discuss how to report the story. Iraq does not publish newspapers on Friday, the Muslim holy day.

But some Baghdad residents who saw the images Friday said the photographs angered them.

An investigation began in January after a soldier reported the alleged abuse to superiors, Kimmitt said this week.

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In another of the images broadcast by CBS, a female soldier makes a gesture at a hooded, naked prisoner.

Kimmitt declined to disclose the charges or other details, but he said military authorities take any such reports seriously.

"We are committed to treating all persons under coalition custody with dignity, respect and humanity," he said.

"Coalition personnel are expected to act appropriately, humanely and in a manner consistent with the Geneva Conventions."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's human rights envoy to Iraq said Friday that she was shocked by the images, while the editor of a London-based Arabic-language newspaper predicted Muslims would be furious.

Ann Clwyd, Blair's envoy and a lawmaker from the ruling Labor Party, voiced her condemnation. "I think they are absolutely terrible. I am shocked," she told British radio.

However, Clwyd said there was no comparison with how prisoners were treated under Saddam Hussein.

"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.

Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper in London, said he agreed.

"It is absolutely shocking. I think this is the end of the story, the straw that broke the camel's back, for America," he told the UK Press Association.

"People will be extremely angry. ... Sexual abuse is the worst thing in that part of the world. It is shocking to all Muslims. America has lost the battle completely. I believe there will be more attacks."


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