Tuesday, August 4, 2009

U.S. military begins probe of anti-gay atrocities by U.S. soldiers

From the Washington Blade

The U.S. military is investigating claims that U.S. service members were involved in committing atrocities against gays in Iraq, although at least one activist is skeptical about the veracity of the allegations.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command, the service’s primary criminal investigative organization, is looking into the allegations, which were first reported by the Blade last week. An investigator contacted the Blade seeking information on the story.

Army CID spokesperson Chris Grey said he couldn’t discuss details of the investigation at this point.

The longest-serving gay member of Congress also has pledged to investigate. Harry Gural, a spokesperson for Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), said the congressman is “concerned” about the allegations and “the charge is serious enough that he’s going to urge a full investigation.”

Gural said he didn’t immediately know what steps Frank would take in looking into the matter.

The charges surfaced when a gay Iraqi refugee, who uses the alias “Hussam,” made the claims July 24 at a fundraiser held at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters. The event was intended to raise money for Helem, a Lebanon-based center that works to address the plight of LGBT people in the Middle East.

Calling on his audience of about 80 people to donate to the organization, Hussam delivered a presentation that included gruesome photographs, including images purportedly showing a beheaded gay Iraqi lying in the street and the victim’s brother mourning over the severed head.

But Hussam’s audience became even more alarmed when he claimed that U.S. service members were involved in anti-gay attacks and had detained Iraqi civilians perceived to be gay and executed them.

He then showed an image that he claimed depicted an American soldier standing in front of a group of four or five kneeling naked men. Hussam said that the men were gay Iraqis and that he possessed an image of U.S. soldiers executing them, but didn’t show the picture to the audience...[Blade story continues here]

See related stories:

News just in(2009/11/08): Gay Iraqi Changes his tune

Gay Iraqis raise grave allegations

U.S. Accused of killing gay Iraqis

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