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Gibbs Slams British Press and Denies Telegraph Story

By Garance Franke-Ruta
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs this afternoon denied a report in British newspaper the Daily Telegraph that photos showing detainees in Iraq being sexually abused were among those President Obama recently decided not to release.

"I think the Pentagon has been very clear in a statement saying that the story's not true," said Gibbs. Earlier a Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the Daily Telegraph had shown "an inability to get the facts right," according to a Reuters report.

"That news organization has completely mischaracterized the images," Whitman had said. "None of the photos in question depict the images that are described in that article."

Gibbs also cautioned reporters against the reliability of the British press. "I want to speak generally about some of reports I've witnessed over the past few years in the British media and in some ways I'm surprised it filtered down," Gibbs said.

"Let's just say that if I wanted to look up, if I wanted to read a writeup today of how Manchester United fared last night in the Champions League Cup, I might open up a British newspaper," he continued.

"If I was looking for something that bordered on truthful news, I'm not sure that would be the first stack of clips I picked up."

In the Telegraph story, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who conducted an investigation of the treatment of detainees at Iraq's American-run Abu Ghraib prison, is quoted as saying, "These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency" and supporting the president's decision not to release them.

"I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan," Teguba is quoted as having said. "The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it."

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 28, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  National Security  
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Gibb's attacking the messanger was wrong.

Taguba says the ALCU pictures are not the same pictures. Who cares!! He stands by what he said about pictures he saw of rape.

This leads to many questions that need to be asked to Gibbs.

-How many rapes? Children?
-were rapists ever tried?
-where are the picures Taguba refered to?
-Was Rape part of the Bush/Cheney torture program or did the torture program lead lead to an environment where this was viewed as ok to rape detainies in US care?
-deaths have also been reported of detainies. What happened to these cases?
-In light of the rape allagations what does Obama intend to do.

I want to know if the Americans that defend water boarding are willing to defend the raping of a detainies with a glow stick. Taguba didn't make it sound like an isolated incedent.

Posted by: joejoe2000 | May 31, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that the information in Taguba's remarks was published in Spiegel online on May 19 and was generally ignored by the press until the Taguba interview.

Posted by: barkal | May 31, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately Scott Horton has verified with several sources including high ranking military sources with direct knowledge that the Telegraph report is true. He also got more very disturbing details. There are many, many photos of sexual abuse and assault and claims that the perps have been prosecuted is not true. The WH does not want these photos released to protect the chain of command who should be prosecuted also. Attacking the UK press simply makes the US press look worse since they will do no real reporting but only cover WH "statements".

Posted by: Mormaer | May 31, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

how are we letting those rapists (caught on camera) get away with their atrocities?
where is our legal system?
why is the Obama administration trying to cover up the crimes of a different administration?..that make them partners in crime

Posted by: cuteboy | May 29, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

It is also very foolish of Gibbs to call the credibility of a paper like The Telegraph into question. It's not some downmarket tabloid, but a quality broadsheet with a conservative editorial policy. It's also the paper that this month broke the huge scandal over expenses claimed by members of Parliament. Surely Gibbs knows this.

Posted by: jhpurdy | May 29, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

WH Press Secretary Goes After British Press; Can Clintonian Conspiracy Theories Be Far Behind?

Posted by: StewartIII | May 29, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

This has nothing to do with the credibility of English news organizations.

Taguba was appointed to investigate Abu Ghraib and he specifically accused the Bush administration of committing war crimes.

He has never been discredited.

Why do we not believe him? Tell me anyone, is Taguba lying? So I agree with Cheney, lets get everything they did out there for everyone to see.

We have seen all the photos, from the Antietam slaughter, to Me Lai, the Nazis, Nanking...lets do it.

Open eyes to the truth.

Or do you wish you never knew how horrible the crimes of others were? Would that help keep you feeling safe?

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

This is very sad and disturbing, if this is true. Will we be thought of as torturers AND rapists by the rest of the world? (as if torturers wasn't bad enough)

People across the world must know that that is not what Americans are like.

Posted by: JRM2 | May 28, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

This smells real to me,

Gen. Antonio Taguba is a real person.
I can not figure out why the White House would avoid attacking him and concentrate on British news organizations in general.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

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