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World Weighs In On Prison Abuse

The controversy over the alleged abuse of Iraqi detainees began at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, but its impact has been global. Investigations have been launched in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay. Officials in Washington and in foreign capitals have reacted to the charges. And the role of press — including CBS News — in breaking and covering the affair has become part of the story.

The following are some highlights of worldwide coverage of the scandal on Tuesday, June 1, 2004:

  • The Washington Post reports that, "Over the past year and a half, the Army has opened investigations into at least 91 cases of possible misconduct by U.S. soldiers against detainees and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, a total not previously reported and one that points to a broader range of wrongful behavior than defense officials have acknowledged."
  • The Post also reports that the abuse at Abu Ghraib appears to have occurred in two phases, according to date stamps on the pictures. The earlier photos may gel with the testimony of an Army investigator who said interrogators did not order the abuse, but later photos were taken when military intelligence was in control of the prison.
  • The Wall Street Journal describes a furious but futile search for useful intelligence at Abu Ghraib when the abuses occurred. "Interrogators began working in round-the-clock shifts. Many interrogations were held in tents, makeshift wooden structures and later in shipping containers. 'There were interrogations on Christmas Day,'" said one solider. But little info of value was obtained.
  • USA Today reports that, "more than a third of the prisoners who died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan were shot, strangled or beaten by U.S. personnel before they died, according to death certificates and a high-ranking U.S. military official." Fifteen of the 37 deaths in detention involve prisoners who "have been killed or put in grave danger by U.S. troops or interrogators. In some cases, the immediate cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but that was in turn caused by a beating."
  • The Guardian says the body of Manadel al-Jamadi, the Iraqi who died under CIA questioning in November, was not released to the Red Cross until more than three months after his death. "The U.S. death certificate issued for Jamadi contains no cause of death and no explanation for his severe cheek wound. … Last night human rights organizations in Iraq, as well as sources inside the coalition, said the case was not isolated over the weekend."
  • The New York Times reports on the "searing uncertainty" facing relatives of those detained in Iraq. One woman, Huriyah Jassim Gomar, who is searching for her son Adil "has visited Abu Ghraib prison seven times … looked up his name in a computer database…even sent a messenger hundreds of miles south to the huge American prison near the border with Kuwait. Still she has not heard the first word on his fate."
  • The Australian Broadcasting Company reports the Australian government now acknowledges that reports of abuse reached high defense officials much earlier than previously acknowledged, but Prime Minister John Howard claims he was never informed. The Sydney Morning Herald editorializes that Defense officials " brought discredit upon themselves and the armed services during the saga of what Australians knew about allegations of prisoner abuse in Iraq."
  • Al Jazeera reports the Dalai Lama says he has been shocked by the abuse scandal. "America generally we consider a champion of liberty, justice, these things - so then for something such as this to happen, we regard as shocking," he said.
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