GIs Told To Ignore Iraqi Abuse

An Oregon National Guardsman, on patrol in Baghdad, took pictures through his rifle telescopic lens of Iraqi police apparently abusing prisoners who had been picked up in a crime sweep, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

The photos were taken June 29, just one day after the U.S. handed over political sovereignty to the Iraqi government.

"There was abuse of prisoners, some very recent - everybody was displaying welts, bruises and burns," says Mike Francis, an embedded reporter from The Oregonian newspaper. "They also found implements like rubber hoses, exposed electrical wires, chemicals, and it appeared as if they been interrogating them."

Francis uncovered the photos while he was embedded with the Oregon guard last month. At first, no one would speak on the record.

But after Abu Ghraib, where American soldiers were the alleged abusers, these soldiers wanted the world to know that they were trying to do the right thing.

"They began to give aid immediate give aid to the prisoners," says Francis." In one case they set up an IV feed, because the guy was pretty badly dehydrated, and they were starting to take away the weapons from guards."

The Americans radioed back to their superiors for guidance. The biggest shock came when the American troops got their reply.

"One of the generals they were speaking to told them directly, 'You have to leave, stand down and leave,'" says Francis.

CBS News was at the interior ministry that day, and witnessed the Oregon guard pulling out.

Francis says the U.S. soldiers were "baffled, and confused and angry, frankly."

Before the prisoners were returned to their jailers, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad told CBS News that they had a serious heart to heart talk with Iraqi officials. The message: you can do what you want in your own country, but you'd better not do it like this.
  • Lloyd Vries

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