Skip to comments.Horror at POW Sex Abuse Pics
Posted on 05/30/2003 7:15:28 PM PDT by MattAMiller
THE young mum who uncovered the Iraqi PoW sex snaps scandal said last night: I felt sick to the stomach at those pictures.
Kelly Tilford, 22, called police after developing a film in her photo shop.
The shocking pictures revealed by The Sun yesterday showed male Iraqis apparently forced into sexual positions by their British captors. In another a prisoner was suspended by rope from a fork-lift truck driven by a laughing Brit.
Fusilier Gary Bartlam, 18, of Tamworth, Staffs, is being grilled by the Armys top criminal investigator amid fears the scandal is the tip of an iceberg.
Disgusted Kelly said she knew she had to call police after seeing the horrific scenes in Gulf War II snaps she had just developed.
Kelly said: I immediately realised something terribly wrong had happened and something had to be done about it.
I started shaking and was panicking in case the guy came back before I could raise the alarm.
She spoke out last night as Bartlam, of the 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was in custody.
Four snaps on Bartlams roll of 25 exposures shocked the mum-of-two.
ONE was apparently taken in a warehouse. It showed a man stripped at least to the waist and suspended high in the air by a rope attached to one of the forks on a fork-lift truck.
More rope bound him throughout the length of his body.
He was hanging horizontally and his frightened face was in close-up. A soldier driving the fork-lift truck could be seen in the background, staring at his victim and apparently laughing.
ANOTHER picture showed a pair of white legs and the head of a male Iraqi.
The hand of a man behind the Iraqis head appeared to be forcing him to perform oral sex.
The Iraqi was squatting and again appeared to be at least naked to the waist. The soldiers face was not visible.
A THIRD picture showed a pair of bare backsides. One Iraqi man was on his knees on the floor with his body bent.
Another was pressed behind him, tightly moulding his body like a spoon in what seemed to be a sexual position.
THE FOURTH snap showed two naked Iraqis cowering on the ground as if thrown there.
Kelly, who has children aged two and eight months, said Fusilier Bartlam called at the Max Spielmann photo shop where she works in Tamworth, Staffs, on Wednesday.
The young soldier, who was home on leave after the war, left a roll of film to be developed into 7in x 5in prints within an hour.
She went on: I went to the mini-lab. As you put the film through, you are meant to check the pictures on a screen to ensure they are printed properly.
You have never got time to watch all of them, because you are inevitably doing something else. We had been very busy.
I had already processed the films of one or two soldiers back from Iraq and had told them, Congratulations, well done, when they came to collect their photos.
"But when I started cutting the negatives on this batch, I looked at one and noticed immediately that it seemed a bit strange. I took a closer look.
At first appearance, it had seemed like soldiers having a laugh.
Then I realised it was a half-naked Iraqi being hauled high into the air by a forklift truck while bound hand and foot.
I saw the look on his face. He was petrified.
I will never forget that terrible stare. I immediately thought, Thats not right.
Then I saw some sexual pictures. One looked like an Iraqi PoW being forced to give a soldier oral sex. I think the Iraqi was naked you could just see the top half of him and the bottom half of the soldier.
There was also a close-up of the naked backsides of two Iraqis, as if they were simulating anal sex.
Another shot showed two Iraqis lying naked on the ground as if they had just been thrown there. There didnt seem anything wrong with the other photos. They were just pictures of Iraqi soldiers surrendering the sort of thing you saw on the TV during the war.
Kelly, who has only worked at the shop for eight weeks, said: It should have cost the guy £5.99 but he never paid for those pictures in the end.
I was worried and waited for my colleague to come back from lunch. She just took one look and said, Oh my gosh we have got to call the police.
We phoned our area manager to tell him what we were doing.
The lad was due back any minute to collect his photos, so we agreed to tell him they were not ready because there was a problem with the machine.
He came back before the police arrived. We told him the machine was not working and it would be another half an hour. As I said that he blushed as if he knew something was wrong. He stayed in the shop 15 to 20 minutes and I could not bring myself to look at him.
I eventually said, Look, we have got to get a technician out. If you want to call back. I told him to leave his telephone number so we could call when the film was ready.
He agreed and just as he was leaving, a police sergeant arrived. Fortunately it was a detective in plain clothes, so the soldier was none the wiser.
There was nothing we could do at that stage because he had not seen the pictures.
After the detective saw them, he contacted his office and we rang the soldier to say the film was ready for collection.
When he came into the shop, the sergeant was waiting for him and called out his name. The lad said Yeah and confessed to the copper that the pictures were his.
The officer showed him his badge and took him through to the back of the shop. He went straight away. He didnt struggle or anything.
About half an hour later an unmarked blue car pulled up outside and they took him away. The police then came back later to take a statement from me about what I saw.
The lad was in some of the pictures, but not all of them.
I dont know which photos he had taken and which had been taken of him, because some were such close-ups you could not see the faces of those involved.
Kelly added: I dont feel guilty about calling in the police. I know people who have been fighting in Iraq.
I am as proud as anybody of what our forces did out there but there are rules. I would not want any of my friends to be treated like those Iraqis on the photographs. We are a great nation.
But we would lose our self-respect and much more besides if we allowed ourselves and our troops to stoop this low.
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers served in Iraq with the 7th Armoured Brigade, the legendary Desert Rats of World War II fame. The regiment is based in Celle, Germany.
Major General Ken Perkins, The Suns military adviser, said last night: This involves a breakdown in discipline going far beyond one or two soldiers.
Individuals might occasionally get away with it unknown to their officers or NCOs.
But there is something very wrong if a number can do it without their superiors knowing or discovering it.
The Army has no place for NCOs and officers who condone such behaviour, or are too weak to prevent it.
The controversy is the latest to hit British troops over their alleged behaviour in the Gulf.
Lt Col Tim Collins, former CO of the 1st Royal Irish Regiment, is being investigated over accusations he mistreated Iraqi civilians and PoWs.
The Bartlam and Collins inquiries are not connected.
The artist rendering of the forklift incident is amusing though.
Was the penetrator named "Slick"?
And was the penetratee named "al Monica"?
Interesting to note that this is the same British LtCol referenced as a hero who ordered a US Army Major to stand at attention while junior personnel walked by mutering insults and ignoring protocol.
These reports are highly irregular. Both might be completely false. They might also point to an arrogant command lacking wherewithal.
IMHO, both warrant an investigation within the British command structure to get to the bottom of the issue and issue appropriate orders/action.
Sounds like you don't think that this is that bad of a thing. I have respect for the girl and none for the perverts and punks that did this. MCD
A total dunce would know better.
Exactly. I can't tell you how many articles I've read in UK papers over the last few weeks going on and on about how wonderful the UK troops are at relating to the people, giving candy to children, etc. while the Americans are a bunch of trigger-happy cowboys.
This is a horrible story, if true (which I suspect it is), but the one saving grace is it may get some of these Brit journalists off their high horse about their troops in relation to ours. Can you just imagine the outcry in the Guardian, etc if this was US troops?
The Sun?? Who lambasted Chiraq, if I remember? The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch - same owner as Fox News?
The Sun has been extremely pro-war. It's the Mirror that is avidly anti-war.
Not the same person. The last paragraph reads, "The Bartlam and Collins incidents are not connected."
Not the same guy. The end of the article tries to make this point but it can be a bit misleading reading it for the first time.
Our soldiers, as soon as circumstances allowed, regarded the local population with rough sympathy, helping them and generally treating them as fellow members of the human race. They stripped off their body armour and helmets as quickly as they could to make themselves less threatening.
The Americans still bristle with weapons and look like martial Teletubbies, swaddled in layers of kit. They seem frightened of everything and everyone and their overwhelming concern is staying alive. To them, every Iraqi is a potential enemy, an attitude that is reinforced by the endlessly instilled doctrine of the primacy of Force Protection.
This mindset has produced a catalogue of deadly blunders. American troops have shot and killed civilians who failed to understand the confusing signals operated by soldiers at checkpoints, fired recklessly into crowds of demonstrators and used batons to beat back crowds of old people trying to claim their pensions.
If military investigators are keen to comb over the conduct of the Allied forces during the Iraqi war there is no shortage of incidents involving American soldiers that demand examination. The alleged activities of Col Collins come a very long way down the list, and seem a peculiar place to start.
By Nick Britten and Michael Smith
The Telegraph (UK) A conservative newspaper
A British soldier was being questioned last night over photographs apparently showing an Iraqi prisoner being "tortured" during the Gulf war.
Gary Bartlam, 18, who serves with the 1st Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon after a roll of film was dropped off for developing at a high street shop.
He is being held in military custody at Colchester and being questioned by the Army's Special Investigation Branch about the pictures, which are alleged to contain, among other images, a PoW bound and gagged and suspended from a forklift truck.
The photographs will cause severe embarrassment to the Army and the Government, which compared the professionalism of British troops with the brutality shown by the Iraqi regime towards prisoners to gain public support for military action.
Yesterday Bartlam's mother, Margaret, said she had not had any contact with her son since his arrest, and had no plans to try to see him.
She added: "He can sort it out. He joined the Forces, it's his problem. You'll have to talk to the military. We don't know anything about it."
Bartlam, who was on leave, was arrested a few hours after leaving a roll of film at Max Spielmann developers in Tamworth, Staffs.
Staff at the shop became concerned at the film's content and called the police, before phoning Bartlam at his home asking him to come in.
When he arrived he was arrested by three Ministry of Defence officials who took him, and the developed pictures, away.
The photograph of the alleged PoW, which appears to have been taken in southern Iraq, shows him bound and gagged and hung from a net on a forklift truck being driven by another British soldier.
Others pictures from the film are alleged to show soldiers committing sex acts near captured Iraqis. If they are found to be genuine, the incident could breach the Geneva Convention.
A senior defence source said: "We had hoped at first it was a hoax, but that is looking less and less likely.
"If it is true we are absolutely appalled and the likelihood is that those responsible will be jailed and then thrown out." The fusilier lives with his parents in the village of Polesworth, Staffs. Their house is part-converted into a general store called Maggies.
Bartlam attended the local secondary school and joined the Army after working as a lifeguard at the Peaks leisure centre in Tamworth.
His regiment is based in Celle, Germany, and he was stationed in Iraq as part of the peace-keeping force, although he saw action in Basra.
Shortly before he flew home from Iraq, his father said: "We were concerned when he was involved in some of the front-line action in Basra but we are very proud of him and his achievements."
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We confirm an investigation is under way into allegations of photos depicting maltreatment of Iraqi PoWs.
"We cannot comment further. But if there is any truth in these allegations the MoD is appalled."
He added: "We take responsibility to PoWs very seriously."
A spokesman for Max Spielmann said: "Staff processed the film on site. They became concerned about its content and contacted the police. It is now a police matter."
Exactly. That and many others. There were articles like that one in every one of the UK papers I read online (Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Independent etc. ). In fact, that article by Patrick Bishop is the second one of it's kind in the Telegraph. There was also this one by Olga Craig, Unlike the American troops, we look the Iraqis in the eye.
It's become a recurring theme in the UK papers, who conveniently ignore the fact that the US troops were the advancing force, while the Brits pretty much sat outside Basra for 2 weeks until it fell from within. The US troops are also patrolling the most hostile, Sunni areas to which all the Baath members, Republican Guard and Fedayeen fled while the Brits patrol Basra (a friendly, Shiite city that hated Saddam). How nice for them that they can wear berets and hand out candy. The US troops are dealing with tougher stuff, and doing it admirably.
I agree that what is being discussed in these photos is against the Geneva convention. I just wish that the world knew what happened to the good guys.