News / Middle East

US Probing 'Disturbing' Iraq Photos

Fallujah, Iraq
Fallujah, Iraq
VOA News
The U.S. Defense Department says photos that purportedly show Marines burning bodies of what appear to be dead Iraqi insurgents are "disturbing."

A Pentagon spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, said Thursday that officials must let a Marine-led probe into the photos take its course before determining their authenticity.

"I can’t sit here today and tell you with great certainty, or confirm the veracity of the images, in other words the authenticity of them.  But certainly they’re disturbing images.  They’re not indicative regardless of the kind of conduct and professionalism that the men and women of this department espouse and live every day.  And if they're proven to be accurate and authentic, we’ll then march down the road of what needs to be done from an accountability perspective," said Kirby.

The U.S. Marine Corps launched its investigation on Wednesday, several days after the photos were turned over to the Pentagon by the entertainment website TMZ.com.

TMZ, which posted eight of the photos, says it was told they were taken in the western Iraqi city of Fallujah, the scene of fierce fighting between U.S. forces and insurgents 10 years ago.

In the photos, a person in what looks like a Marine uniform appears to be pouring a flammable liquid on dead insurgents.  Other photos show the bodies on fire.  Another image shows a Marine kneeling near a corpse and looking into the camera.

U.S. defense officials say the images do not appear to constitute war crimes.  But they say the Marines possibly violated military rules that prohibit the mishandling of remains and inappropriate photos on the battlefield.

Kirby said U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants the investigation into the images taken seriously, but that he is unaware if TMZ is cooperating with the probe.

"But he’s been very clear with the [U.S.] Navy department.  He wants this taken seriously, he believes they are taking it seriously, and he expects them to keep him updated.”

TMZ says it has another 33 photos from the 2004 battle in Fallujah that are too graphic to show.

Fallujah was the target of two major assaults in which U.S. forces saw some of their heaviest fighting since the Vietnam War.  The city, which lies in western Sunni-dominated Anbar province, was overrun recently by al-Qaida-linked militants.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs