More for the torture file

By Geraldine Sealey

Published January 25, 2005 12:33PM (EST)

If you needed more reasons to believe that the abuse of prisoners in Iraq was not just the work of a "few bad apples" acting alone -- and that not enough has been done to hold anyone accountable -- the Army has released documents (and the ACLU posted them on its Web site) showing even more widespread abuse, at sites other than Abu Ghraib. In only a fraction of the cases did the military investigate and recommend any kind of serious penalties. "Most led to administrative fines or simply withered because investigators could not find victims or evidence," according to the Washington Post. The New York Times story on the same subject includes some of the harrowing and stomach-turning details of these abuse cases that have become distressingly familiar. But it goes way beyond Abu Ghraib.

"The documents list several sites where abuses are reported to have taken place, many of them at the detention center at Adhamiya Palace, one of Saddam Hussein's villas in Baghdad. The documents contain allegations from detainees about being abused and statements from American contractors who said they saw the effects of beatings."

"In one case, a detainee said that while at Adhamiya Palace, his nose was pinched while water was poured down his throat, a wooden stick was inserted forcefully into his anus and electric shock was applied to his genitals. Some of the allegations were directed against Iraqi policemen. One contractor who said he was assigned to screen detainees brought to Abu Ghraib said that many who had come from Adhamiya arrived with serious injuries, including one boy with a bleeding rectum. He said the boy had told him that an Iraqi policeman had sodomized him with a soda bottle and that American soldiers were present."

And in a report out today, Human Rights Watch says Iraqis are still being tortured in Iraqi jails. Says Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watchs Middle East and North Africa Division: "The people of Iraq were promised something better than this after the government of Saddam Hussein fell."

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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