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ARONOFF The Media Myth of Abu Ghraib
by Roger Aronoff
[filmmaker, writer] 5/25/06

The pro-terrorist "news" operation Al Jazeera and other media have run with the story that Seymour Hersh "first broke the story that shocked the world." He wrote his story about Abu Ghraib in the May, 2004, edition of the New Yorker magazine. His story actually followed CBS's 60 Minutes II program, showing the photos of abuses of prisoners from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. But all of this followed the Defense Department, which "broke" the story with a press release announcing it was investigating allegations of prisoner abuse.

If our media had credited the Pentagon for investigating the matter, that would have taken some of the sting out of it. The media wanted the public to believe they broke something wide open that had been covered up.

Roger Aronoff

Roger Aronoff directed and co-wrote the documentary, “Confronting Iraq: Conflict and Hope.” He is a media analyst with Accuracy in Media. [go to Arnoff index]

Consider that on May 3, the Associated Press published a story about an Army document that summarized "62 allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan," and that it "was circulated two weeks before the public release of pictures of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison…" It was released, along with many other government documents, by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which "said it proves that military leaders were aware of widespread abuse before a public outcry over the release of the photos in spring 2004."

But that is not a revelation. Of course the military leaders were aware of it. As I wrote in a column back at that time, it was in fact the Pentagon that "broke" the story, and there had been numerous reports on what was then viewed as a developing story. Heads were already rolling, and criminal prosecutions and demotions were occurring months before the 60 Minutes and Hersh reports. And it was being reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN. What was new were the photos, providing graphic images, and in the case of Hersh, the Pentagon's internal Taguba Report, the first of many to detail abuses occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the Washington Post, there have now been about 600 investigations into "detainee-related incidents." And since October 2001, "85 military members have been court-martialed, 93 have received nonjudicial punishments, and there have been 81 other administrative actions taken due to prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of those, 12 courts-martial and 11 criminal convictions involve detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib. One court-martial is pending."

Most of the abuse that has been detailed occurred between October and December of 2003. Since that time, the treatment of detainees, by most accounts, has been exemplary.

So why do the media constantly revisit the story? Number one, they want to undermine the war effort. Two, they aren't satisfied with going after just the people who committed the abuses. They want to pin the blame on higher-ups. They not only want to bring down Rumsfeld they want President Bush held accountable. And that means impeachment if the liberals win control of Congress in November. CRO

copyright 2006 Accuracy in Media www.aim.org




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