In April of 2004, shocking pictures from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq began to surface in the American media. The pictures depicted members of the 372nd Military Police Company engaged in acts of torture against Iraqi prisoners. Although allegations of abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison began in 2003 and the US government launched a formal investigation into the matter in January of 2004, it was not until the photographs of the torture began to surface that public awareness about this situation was raised. In the aftermath of the event, high-ranking US military officials argued that they had no knowledge of what had occurred at Abu Ghraib, leaving eight low ranking army personnel to incur the wrath of an outraged public and a military court marshal.
[...] Content Analysis of the American Media Looking first at the American media's efforts to cover the Abu Ghraib story, it becomes clear that the news stories reported about the events at Abu Ghraib all contain similar data and information. For instance the news stories often begin with some speculation about what the government knew about the event. In addition, the stories provide a detail of what has been uncovered in the scandal—i.e. the specific acts that have occurred. Further, the stories examine what steps have been taken to prosecute those who have committed acts of torture. [...]
[...] For instance, Rodriguez (2004) in his examination of Fredrick's experiences notes, when Frederick asked a military intelligence investigator how to handle one of the detainees, an investigator replied, I don't give a [expletive] as long as you don't kill him.'” Foreign Media Outlets While US news stories of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal seem to suggest that much of the abuse that occurred along the lines dealt more with the humiliation of the prisoners—as Rodriguez's story provides an account of an Iraqi woman that was stripped naked and humiliated—the accounts of abuse that have been reported in the foreign press indicate that the abuse that occurred at the prison was much more brutal. [...]
[...] Islam Online, July no author In this article, the focus is the case of a female Iraqi that was falsely imprisoned at the Abu Ghraib facility. According to Nadia, US troops invaded a home she was visiting and arrested her based on their suspicion that she was a gun dealer. In the early days of her imprisonment, Nadia was stripped naked and raped by three US soldiers. In subsequent weeks, Nadia was again stripped naked and raped by four US soldiers. [...]
[...] Although the US media does extensively detail accounts of the humiliation of Abu Ghraib detainees, it does not address issues such as rape and sodomy. These accounts have only been provided in foreign media outlets. Considering that the foreign press was able to acquire first hand accounts of the torture that occurred at Abu Ghraib, it is difficult to understand why US media chose not to utilize these information sources to report the events that occurred at the prison. The second most notable difference between the US and foreign news stories that have been published is the manner in which the role of the US government is condemned for its action/inaction. [...]
[...] In addition to deflecting international criticism, it is evident that as one of the world's largest media suppliers, efforts to tone down the stories of abuse at Abu Ghraib would also reduce the number of individuals that would receive negative publicity about the US. While the US media appears to be willing to admit the event, it does not condemn the government and further demonstrates the swiftness of justice in the American military court system. This is the message that the US government wanted to send to all citizens of the international community. [...]
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