In other news: Abu Ghraib and Katrina

New photos of abuse -- and some admissions from Michael Chertoff.


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Tim Grieve
February 16, 2006 12:14AM (UTC)

Dick Cheney's interview with Fox News today will guarantee at least another day of above-the-fold play for shooting news, but two scandals from the past will be haunting the Bush administration in the meantime.

An Australian TV network is airing what appear to be previously undisclosed photographs and videotapes of abuse at Abu Ghraib. The images are arguably more graphic and more disturbing than those released previously: As Reuters reports, they show prisoners "bleeding or hooded, bound to beds and doors, sometimes with a smiling guard beside them," as well as images of "two naked men handcuffed together, a pile of five naked detainees photographed from the rear, and a dog straining at a leash close to the face of a crouching man wearing a bright orange jumpsuit." One clip broadcast by SBS showed a group of naked men with bags over their heads standing together, masturbating. The network said the masturbation had been forced. The Associated Press says that one videotape shows "a group of naked men with bags over their heads standing together" in an instance of "forced masturbation."

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A Pentagon spokesman was unable to say whether the new images are the same ones that it has been withholding from public view but insisted that the Abu Ghraib story is old news anyway. "The abuses at Abu Ghraib have been fully investigated," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman tells the AP. "When there have been abuses, this department has acted upon them promptly, investigated them thoroughly and where appropriate prosecuted individuals."

Closer to home, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is responding to a harsh post-Katrina assessment from House Republicans by acknowledging "many lapses" in his department's response to the hurricane. "It is completely correct to say that our logistics capability in Katrina was woefully inadequate," Chertoff told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs this afternoon.


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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