A British defense minister said
in Parliament Thursday that controversial photos published earlier this month
by the Daily Mirror newspaper could not have been taken in Iraq. The photographs
allegedly showed a British soldier urinating on a hooded Iraqi detainee.
The photographs that sparked a firestorm of debate in Britain and a broad
military investigation have now largely been discounted by a military police
Britain's Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram made the disclosure in the House
"These pictures were categorically not taken in Iraq," he stated. "Moreover,
I can also tell the House that this is not only the opinion of the SIB [Special
Investigations Branch] investigators, it has been independently corroborated.
The truck in which the photographs were taken was never in Iraq."
Mr. Ingram said that criminal offenses may have been committed by those involved
in the taking of the photos, but he underlined that the investigation was still
under way and no conclusions could be drawn until that process had been completed.
He also urged the Daily Mirror, a popular tabloid that published the photos,
to cooperate in the special military investigation.
"I call again on the editor of the Daily Mirror to assist fully in this inquiry," he
said. "From the start of this episode, the Daily Mirror has demanded that the
MOD [Ministry of Defense] and the army operate under the highest standards
both in honesty, openness and professionalism. I now challenge the Daily Mirror
to do the same."
Earlier this week, the newspaper appeared to backpedal on its earlier statements
about the authenticity of the photographs. In a statement issued on Monday,
the Daily Mirror said the pictures "accurately illustrate" the abuse of a detainee
by British soldiers.
Regardless of the genuineness of the photos, many military observers here
say the damage in the Arab world has already been done.
Mr. Ingram told his parliamentary colleagues that the pictures have endangered
the safety of the nearly 8000 British forces currently stationed in southern
He told The House that all prisoner abuse claims are being taken very seriously.
He added that two investigations are nearly complete and prosecutions could