Who is John Israel? Why was he Running the Show?

An Ian Fisher article in The New York Times and The Guardian yesterday reveals a great deal about the abuse that was filmed at Abu Graib prison.

What is clear from reading the article is that the incident was set up to be filmed and that the interpreter, a civilian contractor working for the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, was calling the shots.

Is this the mysterious “John Israel” who speaks fluent Arabic? How many native speaker Arabs have a name like John Israel?

Here are some of the interesting bits from the article:

“The curiosity, through much of the ordeal, was the camera. It was a detail he mentioned repeatedly as he recalled being forced against a wall and ordered by the Arabic translator to masturbate as he looked at one of the female guards.”
from: Iraqi Recounts Hours of Abuse by U.S. Troops, by Ian Fisher, New York Times, May 5th, 2004

http://www.occupationwatch.org/article.php?id=4597

Hayder Sabbar Abd, one of the Iraqi prisoners who was in the photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison revealed some very interesting things in an article by Ian Fisher in the New York Times of May 5, 2004.

He claimed that he was never interrogated, and never charged with a crime.

“The truth is we were not terrorists,” he said. “We were not insurgents. We were just ordinary people. And American intelligence knew this.”

Mr. Abd spoke with no particular anger at the American occupation, though he has seen it closer than most Iraqis. In six months in prisons run by American soldiers, in fact, he said most of them had treated him well and with respect.

“Most of the time, they wouldn’t even say, `Shut up,’ ” he said.

That changed in November — he does not know the exact date — when punishment for a prisoner fight at Abu Ghraib degenerated into torture. That night, he said, he and six other inmates were beaten, stripped naked (a particularly deep humiliation in the Arab world), forced to pile on top of one another, to straddle one another’s backs naked, to simulate oral sex. American guards wrote words like “rapist” on their skin with Magic Marker, he said.

The curiosity, through much of the ordeal, was the camera. It was a detail he mentioned repeatedly as he recalled being forced against a wall and ordered by the Arabic translator to masturbate as he looked at one of the female guards.

“She was laughing, and she put her hands on her breasts,” Mr. Abd said. “Of course, I couldn’t do it. I told them that I couldn’t, so they beat me in the stomach, and I fell to the ground. The translator said, `Do it! Do it! It’s better than being beaten.’ I said, `How can I do it?’ So I put my hand on my penis, just pretending.”

All the while, he said, the flash of the camera kept illuminating the dim room that once held prisoners of Mr. Hussein, recording images that have infuriated the Arab world and badly sullied America’s image in a country more willing these days to think the worst of its occupiers.

Abd’s account differed in one crucial way from the substance of a report, written by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba and first reported last week by The New Yorker magazine and the CBS News program “60 Minutes II.” While the report says the military police in the prison often mistreated prisoners to help military intelligence officers gain information during interrogations, Mr. Abd said his case appeared to be punishment for bad behavior, in this case a jail-yard fight.
http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=48433

Also see:
Who is Behind the Abuse at Abu Ghraib?

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?id=1784

Courtesy News Watcher

An independent American investigative journalist