"US probes Iraq net body pictures
Allegations that US soldiers posted photographs of dead Iraqis on a
website in exchange for access to pornography are being investigated by
The US army could find itself mired in scandal again
An army spokesman said the posting of such pictures by soldiers could be a violation of the military code.
The authenticity of the pictures - some of which are also said to come from Afghanistan - has not been determined.
The US military was hit by scandal in 2004 when photographs of US guards abusing Iraqi prisoners emerged.
'Trade in misery'
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called for an
investigation after reports of the pornographic website showing
pictures of corpses emerged last week.
"This disgusting trade in human misery is an insult to all those who
have served in our nation's military," Arsalan Iftikhar, the group's
legal director wrote in a letter to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
A spokesman for Mr Rumsfeld said on Tuesday that the
Pentagon had recently become aware of the allegations and was looking
"Obviously it is an unacceptable practice," Bryan Whitman said.
Pentagon officials have said the allegations also raise
questions about whether the postings could be viewed as violations of
the Geneva Conventions, the New York Times reports.
Protocol I of the international conventions says: "The
remains of persons who have died for reasons related to occupation or
in detention resulting from occupation or hostilities... shall be
The US, however, is not party to this protocol, which was added to the conventions in 1977.
The website on which the controversial images appear was
originally set up for users to trade pornographic pictures of their
wives and girlfriends.
Interviewed by the Online Journalism Review of the Annenberg School for
Communications last week, the owner of the site said he had offered
soldiers free access if they could prove they were members of the
Chris Wilson said some sent in pictures of Baghdad
traffic signs or of aspects of their life abroad, others sent in
pictures of corpses and dismembered bodies.
The pictures are often accompanied by commentaries
celebrating the killings but the forum also includes a space for
discussion about the war and its purpose.
"This is directly from them [the soldiers]. They can
take the digital cameras and take a picture and send it to me, and
that's the most raw you can get it. I like to see it from their point
of view, and I think it's newsworthy," Mr Wilson told the Online