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Archive for Thursday, September 29, 2005

Army won’t pursue charges on grisly Web postings

September 29, 2005

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— After an initial look at complaints about U.S. soldiers posting photos of Iraq war dead on an Internet site, Army investigators concluded they had too little evidence to pursue criminal charges.

An Islamic civil rights group called on the Defense Department to take action, while the Florida man who runs the Web site said Wednesday he has no intention of taking the photos down or stopping future postings.

The controversy centers on grisly photographs of what appear to be war dead. The Web site says they were posted by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who, in exchange, received free access to online pornography.

Army officials expressed concern that the matter could trigger an anti-American backlash in the Middle East. One official said the Army was considering the possibility of banning the use of personal cameras and personal computers by soldiers while they are in war zones.

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, called the corpse postings despicable and unacceptable.

Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman, said the Army's Criminal Investigation Division in recent days concluded from a preliminary inquiry that there was insufficient evidence to pursue felony charges against anyone.

However, he said, "While this may not rise to the level of a felony crime, it's still serious."

An Islamic civil rights group expressed disappointment in the Army's decision not to pursue criminal charges.

"Their conclusion would be entirely premature," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "For this to be treated in a manner that suggests the Army does not take this seriously is only going to further harm our nation's image and interests around the world, particularly the Muslim world."

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