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5/18/2004 04:02:00 PM | Timothy

Reuters: our reporters in Iraq were arrested by U.S. soldiers, subject to sexual humiliation and sleep deprivation (er, sleep 'management')
Please say this isn't all true... make it all stop! If this is right, sexual humiliation seems like it was very widespread; I can't see how it could be anything but a systematic policy.Reuters reports:
U.S. forces beat three Iraqis working for Reuters and subjected them to sexual and religious taunts and humiliation during their detention last January in a military camp near Falluja, the three said Tuesday...

An Iraqi journalist working for U.S. network NBC, who was arrested with the Reuters staff, also said he had been beaten and mistreated, NBC said Tuesday.

Two of the three Reuters staff said they had been forced to insert a finger into their anus and then lick it, and were forced to put shoes in their mouths, particularly humiliating in Arab culture.

All three said they were forced to make demeaning gestures as soldiers laughed, taunted them and took photographs. They said they did not want to give details publicly earlier because of the degrading nature of the abuse.

The soldiers told them they would be taken to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, deprived them of sleep, placed bags over their heads, kicked and hit them and forced them to remain in stress positions for long periods.

The U.S. military, in a report issued before the Abu Ghraib abuse became public, said there was no evidence the Reuters staff had been tortured or abused...

A summary of the investigation by the 82nd Airborne Division, dated January 28 and provided to Reuters, said "no specific incidents of abuse were found." It said soldiers responsible for the detainees were interviewed under oath and "none admit or report knowledge of physical abuse or torture."

"The detainees were purposefully and carefully put under stress, to include sleep deprivation, in order to facilitate interrogation; they were not tortured," it said. The version received Monday used the phrase "sleep management" instead.

The U.S. military never interviewed the three for its investigation. On February 3 Schlesinger wrote to Lawrence Di Rita, special assistant to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying the investigation was "woefully inadequate" and should be reopened.

"The military's conclusion of its investigation without even interviewing the alleged victims, along with other inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the report, speaks volumes about the seriousness with which the U.S. government is taking this issue," he wrote.





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