[R-G] UK: Army claims there is more evidence photos were fake
info at cinox.demon.co.uk
Tue May 4 00:22:22 MDT 2004
Lie machine gears up...
Tuesday May 4, 2004
The Guardian (UK)
Army claims there is more evidence photos were fake
Sandra Laville, Sarah Hall and Richard Norton Taylor
Senior army figures claimed yesterday they had more evidence to suggest that
pictures showing troops "torturing" an Iraqi prisoner were a hoax.
The row over the veracity or otherwise of the images showed no sign of
diminishing as MPs called on Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, to make a
statement today in the Commons.
In Cyprus, where the Queen's Lancashire Regiment is based, members were said
to be furious at the apparent besmirching of their reputation.
The Royal Military Police is carrying out a three-pronged inquiry into the
pictures published by the Daily Mirror. It is investigating in Iraq, the UK
and Cyprus, a spokesman said.
There have been claims that the photographs were taken by MoD investigators
reconstructing allegations of abuse.
The spokesman said: "The authenticity of the pictures will form part of the
RMP investigation and until such a time as the investigation concludes it
would be inappropriate for us to pass comment on their authenticity."
A source close to the regiment said there was already evidence to dispute
the Daily Mirror's claim that the images were authentic and had been passed
to it by two serving soldiers.
The Guardian was told that a soldier pictured in the Mirror yesterday with
his face obscured and identified as one of the informants had come forward
to deny speaking to the newspaper.
"There is growing anger," the source said. "They are the greatest
recruitment photos that al-Qaida could possibly have wished. The CO is
rooting through the regiment high and low to find who has any knowledge."
But the Mirror remained adamant that the pictures were genuine and that the
mistreatment had been carried out by a rogue element in the regiment.
It said the soldiers stood by their claim that the prisoner had been given
an eight-hour beating and urinated on before being thrown out of a lorry. A
statement said: "Although we appreciate the Queen's Lancashire Regiment has
concerns, as they put it, about the Daily Mirror, we also have very serious
concerns about the behaviour of some of their troops in Iraq."
Even if the photos turn out to be fake, defence sources said it did not mean
the allegations were untrue, pointing out that the unit was already being
investigated. "We welcome the inquiry; we want to get to the bottom of
this," a source said.
A total of 18 photos are being examined by the special investigation branch
in London, and in Iraq officials are trawling through prisoner records from
last August to check if any complaints match the allegations made in the
Mirror, according to a British spokesman in Cyprus. Soldiers from the
regiment were soon to be interviewed by military police.
Paul Keetch, the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, will table an urgent
question this morning calling on Mr Hoon to report progress made in the
military police's inquiry.
Colonel David Black, a former commander of the regiment, said yesterday the
pictures had probably not even been taken in Iraq.
One inconsistency was that the lorry pictured was a Bedford MK. "The MK ...
was not deployed by the army to Iraq at all. That vehicle can't operate with
the fuel that was available in Iraq."
The Lib Dem leader, Charles Kennedy, warned that, true or false, the images
would have a massive impact within Iraq and across the Arab world.
More information about the Rad-Green