Published on Tuesday, March 8, 2005 by Agence France Presse
Video Documents Iraqi Prisoner Abuse by US Soldiers
MIAMI - US soldiers abused at least one wounded prisoner in Iraq and showed disrespect to dead Iraqis as well as Iraqi civilians, according to a video made public.
The nearly 27-minute video, dubbed "Ramadi Madness," was made early last year by members of the Florida National Guard who served in Iraq as part of the 124th Infantry Regiment and was investigated by the US military as part of its probe of alleged abuses committed by American troops in Iraq.
Results of the army's investigation of events contained in the video were unveiled by the Pentagon on Friday, with documents showing the military had decided not to bring any charges against the soldiers because they had displayed "inappropriate rather than criminal behavior."
The video itself was not released at the time. But it was obtained by The Palm Beach Post and displayed on its Web site on Monday.
One of the scenes displays a wounded Iraqi detainees held at gunpoint by a US soldier. The Iraqi man is moaning from obvious pain while the soldier looks at the camera and says: "This (expletive) shot at me." He then proceeds to kick the wounded man.
Another detainee is shown shirtless, with "b2-2" scrawled on his back in black marker.
The video shows another captured Iraqi being treated for a head wound while a voice off-screen tells him to "smile for the camera."
In another scene, the camera focused on a line of detainees, their hands tied with plastic handcuffs behind their backs, as an off-screen voice says: "Bad guy, bad guy, bad guy."
The film also shows soldiers of the same unit trying to examine an idled truck during the night. They discover that its Iraqi driver has been shot and killed. One of the soldier moves the driver's hand and says: "Hold on, I'm going to make him say 'Hi.'"
The video contains grisly footage of burned and dismembered bodies on the pavement following a massive explosion. A soldier points to some remains and pokes them with his foot. Some voices, apparently belonging to soldiers who cannot be seen, exclaim, "Oh, that's part of his skull."
US troops are also shown riding through an Iraqi village honking their horn and shouting at Iraqis, "Get out of the way, we're trying to drive here!"
Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the new documents underscore the need for an independent special counsel and congressional hearings to investigate the abuses.
"Pieces of the puzzle are still missing," Romero said in a statement. "An outside special counsel is the only way to ensure that all civilians who violated, or conspired to violate the laws are held responsible for their crimes."
Copyright © 2005 AFP