Abu Ghraib Time Line  | American Journalism Review
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From AJR,   June/July 2004

Abu Ghraib Time Line   

By Melissa Cirillo & Sherry Ricchiardi
Melissa Cirillo is a former AJR editorial assistant.      Sherry Ricchiardi (sricchia@iupui.edu) is an AJR senior contributing writer.     


October 7, 2001
The war in Afghanistan begins.

December 26, 2002
The Washington Post runs a page-one story about prisoner abuse at secret CIA detention centers, including in the "forbidden zone" of the U.S.-occupied Bagram air base in Afghanistan.

March 20, 2003 The war in Iraq begins.

March 31, 2003
The Nation's cover story, "In Torture We Trust?" asserts that torture is gaining mainstream acceptance in the age of 9/11.

May 17, 2003
The New York Times publishes a story out of Basra, Iraq, in which detainees claim they were abused by U.S. and British soldiers. Amnesty International investigators say the patterns of mistreatment may constitute torture.

August 18, 2003
The Los Angeles Times spotlights four Army reservists from Pennsylvania, part of the 320th Reserve Military Police Battalion, charged with mistreating and beating Iraqi POWs.

October-December 2003
Many of the alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib take place.

October 5, 2003
The Associated Press reports on the closure of Camp Cropper, a notorious detention center at the Baghdad airport. Journalists had been barred from the camp, but reporter Charles J. Hanley interviews released detainees about abuses.

November 1, 2003
The AP distributes a major story by Hanley about alleged abuse at three Iraqi POW camps, including Abu Ghraib, based on interviews with former POWs.

January 13, 2004 Army Spc. Joseph M. Darby, an MP at Abu Ghraib, reports cases of abuse at the
prison to military investigators.

January 16, 2004
The U.S. Command in Baghdad issues a one-paragraph press release about an investigation into prisoner abuse. A Lexis-Nexis search shows that most media outlets either ignored the announcement or ran brief stories.

January 19, 2004
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez orders a criminal investigation into the 800th Military Police Brigade.

January 21, 2004
CNN reports that U.S. male and female soldiers reportedly posed for photos with partially unclothed Iraqi prisoners and that the focus of the Army's investigation is Abu Ghraib.

January 31, 2004
Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba is appointed to head an inquiry into allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib. On March 3 he presents his report, citing widespread abuse of prisoners by military police and military intelligence officers, to Gen. David McKiernan. On April 6 McKiernan approves the findings, leading to the discharge of two soldiers from the 800th MP Unit and letters of reprimand to six others.

February 23, 2004
The U.S. military announces that 17 personnel have been relieved of duty during the abuse investigation.

March 3, 2004
Jen Banbury, a correspondent for the online magazine Salon, files a story out of Baghdad about allegations of beatings, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation and neglect leading to deaths at Abu Ghraib.

March 20, 2004
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt announces to the media that six military personnel have been charged with criminal offenses. On May 7, a seventh soldier is charged.

April 28, 2004
CBS' "60 Minutes II" airs graphic photographs of abuse at Abu Ghraib. The scandal quickly becomes major national and international news.

April 30, 2004
The New Yorker posts on its Web site a detailed report on Abu Ghraib by Seymour M. Hersh, fueling the media frenzy. The article is published in the magazine's May 10 issue. Hersh follows up on the burgeoning scandal in the next two issues.


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