The Washington Blade is reporting that two gay Iraqis claim to have photos of U.S. soldiers preparing to execute gay men in Iraq. The men displayed some of their photos at a Washington fundraising event last week.
One of the Iraqis, who goes by the name “Hussam,” showed the audience of about 80 people gruesome images, including shots allegedly of a beheaded man who was gay and another of the victim’s twin brother grieving over the severed head. While asserting that anti-gay violence in Iraq is often committed by Iraqis, Hussam also said U.S. service members were involved in anti-gay hostility. For example, he said service members displayed signs in front of their barracks with the words “Fuck Off Fags.”
But the reaction from the audience turned from anger to shock when Hussam said U.S. service members had detained Iraqi civilians perceived to be gay and executed them. He then showed an image of what appeared to be an American soldier standing in front of a small group of four or five kneeling naked men who were chained together. Hussam claimed the men were gay Iraqis and that he possessed images of their execution, which he did not show the audience.
Dana Beyer, a transgender activist and Chevy Chase, Md., resident who attended the event, said she was “appalled” by the images of the atrocities, but especially by the allegation that U.S. service members were murdering gay Iraqis. “When it comes down to our armed services … who potentially have contributed to atrocities like that, I’m just appalled,” she said. “And I hope that we will pursue this through the government, through the State Department and through the Department of Defense because this just can’t be left standing.”
The men refused to turn over their photos to the Blade, saying their release might incite further attacks in Iraq. Several LGBT and human rights groups are investigating the claim.
Read the entire Blade story by Chris Johnson and Lou Chibarro.