Hersh: children raped at Abu Ghraib, Pentagon has videos

From Daily Kos' partial transcript of a video (link to REAL stream) of Seymour Hersh speaking at an ACLU event. He says the US government has videotapes of children being raped at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."

Link (via Warren). There's also a piece worth reading in this week's Newsweek about new allegations of rape and sexual torture at Abu Ghraib. Feature includes details on the identities of the Iraqi prisoners shown in those widely-circulated photographs — including Satar Jabar (charged with carjacking, not terrorism), whose iconic hooded figure with wires attached is derisively described by many Iraqis as the "Statue of Liberty." Link

Update: Geraldine Sealey at Salon on Hersh's remarks:

After Donald Rumsfeld testified on the Hill about Abu Ghraib in May, there was talk of more photos and video in the Pentagon's custody more horrific than anything made public so far. "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse," Rumsfeld said. Since then, the Washington Post has disclosed some new details and images of abuse at the prison. But if Seymour Hersh is right, it all gets much worse. (…)

Notes from a similar speech Hersh gave in Chicago in June were posted on Brad DeLong's blog. Rick Pearlstein, who watched the speech, wrote: "[Hersh] said that after he broke Abu Ghraib people are coming out of the woodwork to tell him this stuff. He said he had seen all the Abu Ghraib pictures. He said, 'You haven't begun to see evil…' then trailed off. He said, 'horrible things done to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run.' He looked frightened."

There are several questions here: Has Hersh actually seen the video he described to the ACLU, and why hasn't he written about it yet? Will he be forced to elaborate in more public venues now that these two speeches are getting so much attention, at least in the blogosphere? And who else has seen the video, if it exists — will journalists see and report on it? did senators see these images when they had their closed-door sessions with the Abu Ghraib evidence? — and what is being done about it?

Link to Salon item.

Update 2: BB guestbar alum Russ Kick of Memory Hole reminds us of a post he made in May about the type of as-yet-unreleased evidence Hersh is presumably discussing. Here, Russ quotes Republican Senator Lindsay Graham: "The American public needs to understand, we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience. We're talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges."

Update 3: BoingBoing reader Lars has an update from Germany — some European media perspective on the allegations:

"Report Mainz" is a German TV show/magazine of the SWR (Sudwest-Rundfunk = South-West broadcasting). "Report Mainz" reported already on 5th July 2004 about the potential abuse of children in Abu Ghraib. (Link). A video (in German) of the feature is available at the page (Link to streaming Real file). You can see interviews with persons who testify that they have seen children arrested in Abu Ghraib and who have seen and have heard of a boy and a 12 year old girl terrified (cold water and mud were spilled over them) by guards or military personal. The boy and the girl were then used to terrify their also arrested parents who were willing to cooperate after seeing their children terrified by the guards/military personnel.

Another TV show/magazine covered the issue too: "Kulturzeit", of the German-Austrian-Swiss broadcaster "3Sat" (Link). The main theme in these features is the concern about the fact that children are arrested and that they are used to apply pressure on their parents."

UPDATE: Evidence to support Hersh's claims in the Taguba Report? Link