Dead Men Left

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Holiday snaps: more "friends" of Iraq, pt.2

What's surprising about the photographs of British soldiers abusing Iraqis is not their existence, but the fact they've taken so long to emerge. (Presumably assorted legal obstacles placed by the army delayed court proceedings somewhat.) Around the time of the Mirror fake photographs, the Independent despatched a reporter to Accrington, home of the Queens Lancashire Regiment, and found evidence for the widespread circulation of "atrocity" photographs amongst troops back from Iraq:

In Accrington, the town where the regiment implicated is based, the reaction of old soldiers, saddened by what they had seen, was that they were genuine. Some of those who heard rogue squaddies bragging in the Accrington working men's club about the treatment they had dished out to Iraqi prisoners did not like what they were listening to.

Some of the younger ones seemed to think that tales of bullying and torture were a good laugh. Veterans of the conflict in Northern Ireland and the cold war found it stomach-turning.

"I told their ringleader it was unspeakable. Absolutely out of order," said Anthony "Sam" Quinn, 35, a former grenadier guardsman who served in Northern Ireland and Berlin. He added: "They were sitting round practising their Iraqi phrases. They showed us the pictures. It caused big trouble. One of them said: 'Don't get them out in here.'"