Punches and Kicks
'Knocked the Detainee Unconscious'
Saturday, May 22, 2004; Page A16
It was late October or early November, and the alleged abuses were escalating. According to soldiers, detainees and dozens of photographs, the physical violence included shoves into walls, slaps, punches and karate-style kicks to the head.
Some prisoners needed stitches; one was hit so hard in the chest that he stopped breathing; another was knocked unconscious by a single punch to the temple.
In a series of photographs, one soldier is seen with a pile of detainees. In one picture, he is cocking his fist while holding the detainee in a headlock; in another, he is posing on top of them, flexing his muscles for the camera.
The scene was one that several soldiers recounted in statements, and one that appeared to echo other, and similar, attacks on detainees.
"At one point after a couple of the detainees were stripped, and I do not know what provoked Graner, but Graner knelt down to one of the detainees . . . put the detainee's head in a cradle position with Graner's arm, and Graner punched the detainee with a lot of force, in the temple," Sivits told investigators. "Graner punched the detainee with a closed fist so hard in the temple that it knocked the detainee unconscious. . . . I do remember Graner saying 'Damn, that hurt' . . . after Graner had done this he went over to the pile of detainees that were still clothed and he put his knees on them and had his picture taken."
Shalan Said Alsharoni, a detainee at Abu Ghraib, told investigators that the beatings were commonplace, intertwined with "torture" that included soldiers hitting prisoners' genitals with gloved hands. Alsharoni recalled an incident that appeared very similar to the image depicted in the photo, when he said a group of detainees resisted being placed naked next to each other.
"And when they refused, Graner beat them up until they put them on top of each other and they took pictures of them," Alsharoni said, according to the documents. "After they brought six people, and they beat them up until they dropped on the floor and one of them his nose was cut and the blood was running from his nose and he was screaming but no one responded."
Davis said he became emotional when dealing with some of the detainees.
"I did step on the inmates' hands and feet on purpose and not on purpose," Davis said. "I was very upset at the inmates for wanting to kill some of my fellow soldiers from my company. I wanted to scare them."
England told investigators that not all of the photos are what they appear to be. She said the photo of a soldier cocking his fist was a ruse.
"Graner and Frederick told me to grab the camera and get some pictures of them pretending to hit the prisoners," England said in her statement. "While I was taking the pictures at no time did they actually hit the prisoners."
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