“Ramadi Madness” video shows U.S. troops abusing Iraqis
Al-Jazeera | March 9, 2005
U.S. troops serving in the Iraqi city of Ramadi made a video of themselves kicking a gravely wounded Iraqi detainee in the face and trying to make the arm of a corpse wave, then called the film “Ramadi Madness”.
The 27-minute video was included in the recordings shot by some U.S. troops in the Florida National Guard who were serving in the Iraqi city of Ramadi until last year.
The video existence was revealed in the documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under court order through the Freedom of Information Act.
The Pentagon didn’t release the video, claiming that it had been destroyed. But a Florida newspaper, The Palm Beach Post, obtained it and posted some of it on its Web site on Monday.
The U.S. military decided not to charge the involved soldiers, saying that the video was "inappropriate" but not criminal.
The soldiers edited and compiled the video in a DVD in January 2004, and gave titles to each section of the film, such as "Those Crafty Little Bastards" and "Another Day, Another Mission, Another Scumbag."
One section of the video showed an injured prisoner lying on the ground, and showed his bullet entry and exit wounds. At one point, a U.S. soldier kicked the detainee in the face.
In another scene, a soldier grabbed the arm of an Iraqi truck driver, who had just been shot dead by U.S. forces, and tried to make the corpse wave to the camera.
The video also showed an Iraqi prisoner being treated for a head wound, while a voice off-screen tells him to "smile for the camera."
The soldiers served as part of the 124th Regiment in the city of Ramadi, about 70 miles west of Baghdad, before returning home a year ago.
A military investigation found that the video showed "inappropriate rather than criminal behavior".
"It didn't rise to the level of criminal abuse, according to the investigations," said army spokesman Lt Col Jeremy Martin.
"Clearly, the soldiers probably exercised poor judgment... and I'm sure that they were admonished by their command for their actions," he added.
But ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer said that it is hard to understand why nobody has been held accountable.
"There's no justification for kicking an enemy prisoner of war when he's wounded on the ground in front of you and about to die," he said.
"Clearly, there's some stuff in this video that's inappropriate but not criminal. But then there's quite a lot of other stuff in here that does seem to be criminal."
'Ramadi Madness': Scene by scene
Palm Beach Post | March 08, 2005
The 26-minute, 47-second video is a compilation of scenes in Iraq captured by members of the West Palm Beach-based Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment. The scenes range from routine to poignant to macabre.
Scene 1: Titled 'The Truck Incident'
Nighttime outdoors. Soldiers shine lights into the driver-side window of a truck. The driver is dead. Soldier moves driver's hand and says, "Hold on, I'm going to make him say 'Hi.' "
Scene 2: Untitled
Two soldiers pretend to choke a third soldier with a plastic handcuff.
Scene 3: Titled 'Super Special Skills'
Daytime outdoors. A wristwatch shows that it is Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2003. Off-screen voice makes fun of superior officers on-screen. Soldiers joke about friendly fire.
Scene 4: Untitled
Nighttime outdoors. Soldiers on patrol. Off-screen voice says, "This is me and my team."
Scene 5: Titled 'Newman and His Toy'
Nighttime indoors. Soldier shows off his firearm for the camera.
Scene 6: Titled 'Haji Cat'
Nighttime indoors. Soldiers pick up a stray kitten they've named Anthrax, cuddling it and feeding it rations.
Scene 7: Titled 'Our New Lives at the Mayor's Cell'
Daytime outdoors. Soldiers joke while riding through an Iraqi village, honking the horn as they drive. One soldier yells, "Get out of the way, we're trying to drive here!"
Scene 8: Untitled
Daytime outdoors. A line of detainees in plastic handcuffs behind their backs. Off-screen voice says, "Bad guy, bad guy, bad guy" as the camera pans across seized explosives.
Scene 9: Titled 'See Haji Run, See Haji Shot'
Daytime outdoors. Video shot from a building top. Below, an injured Iraqi man is pulled by Iraqi men from the sidewalk into a building.
Scene 10: Untitled
Daytime outdoors. A prisoner is sitting on the ground with his hands bound behind him. Off-screen voice says, "I don't know what the (expletive) this guy did, but he is a bad guy." Another detainee is being treated for a head wound. Off-screen voice tells him to "smile for the camera." A small group of soldiers interrogates a detainee. One orders the man to stand. A soldier takes something out of the man's pocket. The unknown item is wrapped in a plastic bag.
Scene 11: Untitled
Daytime outdoors. Camera pans across a homemade booby trap made with plastic explosives that soldiers found in a rusted oil can.
Scene 12: Titled 'Bloodclot'
Nighttime outdoors. Location is described by off-screen voice as a few blocks from the target house. Scene shifts to inside the target building. A detainee who appears to have been shot is moaning. Soldier holding a gun looks at the camera and says, "This (expletive) shot at me." Soldier appears to kick wounded detainee. Another detainee is shirtless, "b2-2" scrawled on his back in black marker. Voice says, "The raid went well." Camera moves back to injured man and shows a gunshot wound. Camera moves through the building to area where women are being detained. Off-screen voice says, "Bad women."
Scene 13: Untitled
Daytime, inside a building where soldiers, joking, kick in doors.
Scene 14: Titled 'Friends Don't Let Friends Play with Explosives'
Nighttime outdoors. Camera pans across burned and dismembered corpses. Off-screen voice says, "There's the crater," and "That's what you get, (expletive)." A soldier points to human remains and pokes the remains across the ground with his foot. Voices: "Oh, that's part of his skull." "That's where the guy got thrown against the wall." "They were setting the explosive, and it blew up on them." Finally, "That's your brain on idiocy" is said as the camera focuses on another pile of remains.
Scene 15: Untitled
Daytime outdoors. Soldiers find guns and ammunition.
Scene 16: Titled 'Copenhagen'
Daytime outdoors. An Iraqi man mugs for the camera, holding up a tin of chewing tobacco. He smiles and says, "Copenhagen," then stuffs a wad in his cheek