UK troops ‘filmed abusing Iraqis’
The home-made video footage of soldiers apparently head-butting detainees and kicking a blood-covered body lying on the ground is being studied by investigators.
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Exclusive Brutal & British
02/12/06 “News of the World” — — TODAY we expose a rogue squad of British soldiers who savagely attacked a defenceless bunch of Iraqi teenagers —and with 42 brutal blows brought shame on our nation and its proud army.
The horrifying scenes on these pages will shock the world and ignite a huge military scandal.
They were captured on a secret home video — apparently filmed for “fun” by a corporal—and show at least eight of his hulking comrades cruelly:
DRAGGING four weedy rioters—all apparently in their early teens—off the street and behind the high walls of a secluded army compound,
BEATING them senseless with vicious blows from batons, boots and fists,
IGNORING their pitiful pleas for mercy, until the incident climaxes with what appears to be an NCO delivering a sickening full-force kick in the genitals of a cringeing lad pinned to the ground.
All the while the callous cameraman delivers a stomach-churning commentary urging his mates on, cackling with laughter and screaming: “Oh yes! Oh yes! You’re gonna get it. Yes, naughty little boys! You little f***ers, you little f***ers. DIE! Ha, ha!”
The video—later shown to the corporal’s pals at their home base in Europe—was exposed to the News of the World by a disgusted whistleblower.
He told us the unit and regiment involved but for security reasons we are not publishing the details.
Our informant said: “These Iraqis were just kids. Most haven’t even got shoes on.
“Those eight soldiers were pumped up and out of control. They’re an insult to the thousands of soldiers who have worked so hard in Iraq with courage and dignity for so long.
“They’re nothing but a gang of thugs, a disgrace to themselves, their regiment and country.”
The cowardly beating is believed to have taken place in early 2004 amid a series of street riots in southern Iraq. Troops were involved in running battles with hundreds of screaming demonstrators armed with stones, sticks, shovels and home-made grenades.
The atmosphere and tension comes across vividly in the video, believed to have been shot from a rooftop within the troops’ HQ compound. The muzzle of an Army SA80 rifle laid on its side is visible in the foreground.
A DIY grenade lands and explodes inside the compound—blasting out shrapnel and a cloud of grey-white smoke. A fire blazes just outside the perimeter wall sending up a pall of black fumes as crowds of rioters chant abuse at the soldiers. Dozens of youths run towards the compound hurling stones, but suddenly turn on their heels—chased by a unit of squaddies in combat helmets with riot visors and desert camouflage. Some of the soldiers are wearing flak vests and are armed with batons and rifles.
A crackling radio message to the troops pinpoints a target: “Black top, blue bottoms! Black top, blue bottoms! GO!”
The camera then cuts to eight soldiers returning with four prisoners, gripped in headlocks. The squad march their captives to the compound gate and drag them inside—out of sight from the rioters outside. Then the horror begins.
PRISONER 1 is hauled in wearing a dark blue T-shirt, blue jeans and white trainers—the only victim not in bare feet.
His captor releases the headlock, stands him up and—with combat helmet on and visor down—lands a crushing head butt. He rips the youngster’s T-shirt over his head and smashes his right fist twice into his kidneys and once into his head.
In panic the terrified captive desperately clings to the lanyard of the soldier’s baton in an attempt to stop it being used on him.
His pitiful cries of “No! Please!” are clearly heard. But the mocking commentator merely puts on a childlike voice and mimics his Iraqi accent: “No, pleeese—don’t hurt me.”
Another soldier grabs the lad by the neck and hurls him to the floor to be kicked and beaten again. The head-butt soldier then raises his baton and brings it crashing down on him.
PRISONER 2, in blue T-shirt and grey trousers, is marched in, gripped by the shoulder. His captor forces him to the ground and hits him about the body and legs with his baton.
As he unleashes ten blows the boy twists and squirms around the soldier’s ankles trying to save himself. A soldier in a floppy hat—not part of the snatch squad—looks on. He is clearly unsure of what to do but does not look alarmed or make any attempt to stop the beating.
Instead he helps fix plastic restraining ties on the lad’s wrists. Another burly soldier, in desert camouflage and webbing belt with water bottle attached, strides up and whacks the Iraqi’s backside with a baton. The prisoner’s feet jerk in agony before he appears to pass out, a dark patch that looks like blood around his head. Meanwhile PRISONER 3, in white T-shirt and jeans, is booted in the back and body six times by two soldiers.
As he struggles on the floor one squaddie grabs him by the shoulder, kicks him twice and cracks him about the legs and bare feet with his baton.
PRISONER 4, barefoot in light blue T-shirt with beige trousers, is beaten before being picked bodily off the ground like a sack of potatoes, dumped on his chest and held with his arms up his back by two of the squad.
One soldier, identified by our source as a sergeant, walks up behind him and kicks him hard between the legs from behind.
The boy’s body arches in pain and the soldier behind the camera is heard poking fun and groaning: “Oorrgghh!”
As another squad troop past and take no notice a soldier’s voice is heard to scream: “In the f***ing head!”
The beating sequence on the video, which appears to be a series of excerpts from the incident, takes up 60 seconds of the 3minute 12second tape. Our investigators counted 42 separate blows but there were probably many more not caught on camera.
The video also has two other shocking sequences. In one, the camera approaches an Iraqi corpse while a soldier draws back a blanket to display it as a sickening trophy.
The cameraman then commits an act considered the ultimate insult to an Iraqi—and kicks the dead man twice in the face, humiliating him in death. As the head of the man, aged in his 20s, is lifted to face the lens a soldier sniggers: “He’s been a bad mother****er.”
Another scene shows an Iraqi man grabbed by three soldiers and forced to kneel behind a wall where he is kicked hard in the chest.
The video came to light following the unit’s return home. Our source was horrified when he saw it and vowed the tape MUST be made public to force the army to clamp down on the abuse of prisoners—and protect the reputations of more than 80,000 dedicated British troops—including 101 killed and 230 injured—who have served in Iraq since the start of the second Gulf war.
He told us: “I’m sure those Iraqis weren’t innocent little boys—I bet they’d all been slinging rocks and maybe even explosives. But that’s no excuse for a beating like that.
“The ringleader was supposed to be a senior sergeant. Instead of reeling the lads in and calming them down, he was in the thick of it, urging them on. He even kicked that boy straight in the b***s with two other soldiers twice the lad’s size holding him face down.
“That’s sick. You could understand some terrified 19-year-old private losing it. But that’s what NCOs are for—to lead and set an example.”
Last night we handed our dossier of evidence to the Ministry of Defence. A Military Police investigation is now under way.
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