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New Documents: Guards Abused Prisoners for Amusement and Punishment

The Washington Post is reporting that previously secret documents now being released show that the Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison were not being abused to soften them up for interrogation, but were being done as punishment and amusement .

The information comes in part from the guards themselves. One guard said:

He said that he asked Graner, a Pennsylvania prison guard in civilian life, about the photographs. Graner replied: "The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the corrections officer in me says, 'I love to make a grown man piss himself.' "

....All the MPs who provided statements also described abuses that appeared to have little to do with intelligence gathering. Instead, they said detainees were beaten and sexually humiliated as punishment or for fun.

Here's a few of the stories behind the photos:

Some examples of the abuse:

On Oct. 24, the MPs decided to punish three detainees suspected of raping a teenage boy at the prison. To make the men confess, the MPs stripped them and handcuffed them together. "They started to handcuff the two rapist together in odd positions/ways," England told investigators. "Once the two were handcuffed together, the third guy was brought over and handcuffed between the other two. Then they were laying on the floor handcuffed together, so all the other prisoners could see them. CPL Graner and SSG Frederick then asked me to start taking pictures with the camera."

In one of the most striking images to surface, a detainee jokingly referred to as "Gilligan" by the MPs was forced to stand on a box of food, with wires connected to his figures, toes and penis. Harman said she attached the wires to "Gilligan" and told him he would be electrocuted if he fell off the box. "Why did you do this to the detainee 'Gilligan'?" a military investigator asked. "Just playing with him," Harman said. (our emphasis)

In other parts of the article, there is talk about intelligence officers coming to take the detainees out for questioning late at night to a wood hut. So it would seem to still be a mix: Some of the abuse was during or in preparation for interrogation, some was sadistic punishment and some was for sadistic amusement and gratification of the guards.

The whole thing is still just sickening.

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