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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Human Rights Abuses in U.S.-Run Iraq and Afghan Prisons are...
15 May 2004
Modified: 07:25:29 AM
...Widespread and Systemic * Interview with Carroll Bogert, associate director, Human Rights Watch, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Human Rights Abuses in U.S.-Run Iraq and Afghan Prisons are Widespread and Systemic

Interview with Carroll Bogert, associate director, Human Rights Watch, conducted by Scott Harris

As combat between U.S. troops and insurgents continue throughout Iraq, world attention has been focused on photos of American prison guards abusing and sexually humiliating their Iraqi prisoners. The international scandal erupted after investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote a lengthy article about the torture allegationsin the New Yorker magazine, and a U.S. soldier's decision to hand over digital images capturing the mistreatment to Army investigators. These pictures were later broadcast on CBS TV's 60 Minutes II program on April 28. Since then, Congress has undertaken an investigation into who was responsible for the abuse and why information about the alleged torture was not investigated or acted upon sooner.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has issued a report which states that documentation on the abuse of prisoners was collected by inspectors who visited U.S.-run prisons in Iraq as early as May 2003. The Red Cross maintains that it had regularly informed American prison administrators of the conditions found during site visits, with complaints being directly reported to top Bush administration officials in mid-January of this year. The Red Cross report also quotes coalition intelligence officers as estimating that 70 to 90 percent of Iraqi detainees were arrested by mistake.

Thus far, the Pentagon has filed criminal charges against seven U.S. soldiers for their alleged mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. While many Democrats have called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush continues to publicly support the secretary. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Carroll Bogert, associate director with Human Rights Watch, who examines the charges against U.S. soldiers, accountability up the chain of command and American adherence to the Geneva Conventions.

Call Human Rights Watch at (212) 290-4700 or visit their website at

Related links:

"Former Iraq Minister: U.S. Forces Covered Up Abuses," by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, by Reuters, May 12, 2004

"U.S. Military Confirms Existence Of Horrific Pictures and Video," Independent/UK, May 9, 2004

"Chain Of Command: How the Defense Dept. Mishandled The Abu Ghraib Disaster," by Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, May 17, 2004

"Was Army Torture Report Classified to Protect the Guilty?" Secrecy News, From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy, Volume 2004, Issue No. 42, May 5, 2004

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit: httC://
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
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(c)2004 Squeaky Wheel Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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