Abu Ghraib is a large prison compound, built in the days of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, about 15 km North-West to the capital Baghdad. The prison could host over 1,300 detainees at the time in conventional standard conditions and far more in humiliating harsh conditions. The prison was used by the Americans to detain and interrogated Iraqi insurgents after the American invasion to Iraq in 03/2003.
The USA Army staff of Abu Ghraib was formed from the 320th Military Police Battalion, military intelligence interrogators, CIA officers and even some private contractors.
An investigation about inappropriate treatment of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison had already been underway since late 2003, when many soldiers of the 320th Military Police Battalion had been charged of prisoners’ abuse.
On 04/28/2004 the CBS 60 Minutes prestigious TV program aired an articles describing Abu Ghraib, including pictures showing military personnel abusing prisoners. The reportage and the follow-ups provoked a huge emotional reaction of anger and disbelief all over the world.
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the American commander of Abu Ghraib, demoted for her lack of oversight regarding the abuse, estimated later that 90% of detainees in the prison were, eventually, innocent.
Later many specific details of torture techniques, committed by USA army and CIA officials were published. The techniques included sexual abuse, physical violence and sorts of hangings.
Many Islamic militants in the Western Democracies later explained their motivation as aroused from the Abu Ghraib scandal. Showing those pictures in order to recruit young Muslims to terror and fighting America, became a common phenomena (see – Shahawar Siraj ).
The Abu Ghraib Scandal was a severe blow to the image and reputation of USA in the Muslim society for few years and posted USA as no better then Saddam Hussein’s regime.
About 25 USA officers and soldiers were charged in Military courts for abusing Iraqi prisoners. Specialist Charles Graner received 10 years in federal jail. Specialist Sabrina Harman received 5 years .All the others including a Colonel, a Lt. Col., a Major and others were dismissed from the army or dishonorably discharged, or stripped from their ranks, or received short terms in jail.
Lt. Gen Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of USA forces in Iraq, who was supposed to be promoted to a full 4 stars general, was not promoted and left the army (see also – US-Nightmare ).
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