2006.10.14: October 14, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Fiji: Politics: Congress: Iraq: Torture: Pornography: Yahoo News: Chris Shays says Abu Ghraib prison abuses were more about pornography than torture

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Fiji: Special Report: Former Congressman Chris Shays: RPCV Congressman Chris Shays: Archived Stories: May 6, 2004: Headlines: COS - Fiji: Congress: Iraq: Middletown Press: Rep. Christopher Shays said the photographed abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war "They’re so horrible, they’re so degrading, and they fly in the face of everything that makes us American" : 2006.10.14: October 14, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Fiji: Politics: Congress: Iraq: Torture: Pornography: Yahoo News: Chris Shays says Abu Ghraib prison abuses were more about pornography than torture

By Admin1 (admin) (ppp-70-250-247-216.dsl.okcyok.swbell.net - on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 2:39 pm: Edit Post

Chris Shays says Abu Ghraib prison abuses were more about pornography than torture

Chris Shays says Abu Ghraib prison abuses were more about pornography than torture

Shays sought to defuse controversy over his previous comments suggesting the Abu Ghraib abuses weren't torture but instead involved a sex ring of troops. "It was a National Guard unit run amok," Shays said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It was torture because sex abuse is torture. It was gross and despicable ... This is more about pornography than torture." Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji in the 1960's.

Chris Shays says Abu Ghraib prison abuses were more about pornography than torture

Shays: Abu Ghraib abuses were sex ring

By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press Writer Sat Oct 14, 1:36 AM ET

HARTFORD, Conn. - Republican Rep. Christopher Shays (news, bio, voting record), who is in a tough re-election fight, said Friday the
Abu Ghraib prison abuses were more about pornography than torture.

The veteran Connecticut congressman said a National Guard unit was primarily responsible for the abuses although it was actually the 372nd Military Police Company from Cresaptown, Md., an Army Reserve unit.

"It was a National Guard unit run amok," Shays said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It was torture because sex abuse is torture. It was gross and despicable ... This is more about pornography than torture."

Shays sought to defuse controversy over his previous comments suggesting the Abu Ghraib abuses weren't torture but instead involved a sex ring of troops.

"Now I've seen what happened in Abu Ghraib, and Abu Ghraib was not torture," Shays said at a debate Wednesday.

"It was outrageous, outrageous involvement of National Guard troops from (Maryland) who were involved in a sex ring and they took pictures of soldiers who were naked," added Shays. "And they did other things that were just outrageous. But it wasn't torture."

The lawmaker's comments were in a transcript of the debate provided by his opponent, Diane Farrell. Shays' campaign, contacted Friday, did not dispute the comments.

Abu Ghraib is the Baghdad prison where abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers led to an international scandal. Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib were brutalized and sexually humiliated by military police and intelligence agents in the fall of 2003. At least 11 U.S. soldiers have been convicted in the scandal.

Elected in 1987, Shays has distinguished himself as a moderate Republican who often breaks with his party, especially on his signature issue of campaign finance reform. But in the last week, his comments have echoed conservative talk radio.

Shays defended House Speaker
Dennis Hastert's handling of a congressional page scandal, saying no one died like at Chappaquiddick in 1969 when Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record) was involved.

"I know the speaker didn't go over a bridge and leave a young person in the water, and then have a press conference the next day," the embattled Connecticut congressman told The Hartford Courant in remarks published Wednesday.

"Dennis Hastert didn't kill anybody," he added.

In the debate, the congressman had been asked what the government should do to restore the nation's moral image in the wake of torture accusations at
Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay.

Shays said Friday he wished he had more fully explained his views at the debate.

"I was maybe not as expansive as I needed to be," he said. "Of course, the degrading of anyone is torture. We need to deal with it."

Shays said his debate comments reflected the disturbing photos he has seen of Abu Ghraib abuses: "Naked Iraqis, naked Americans, Americans having sex ... gross and despicable pictures."

Shays is waging a bruising re-election fight against Farrell.

"Once again, Chris is trying to back away from an earlier statement because it's politically expedient," Farrell said Friday. "It's typical Chris."

Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd (news, bio, voting record), who appeared at a news conference with Farrell on Friday, said people are going to jail because of torture at Abu Ghraib.

"It's not because it was some pornography ring. I'm surprised anyone would make that suggestion," Dodd said. "The suggestion that somehow this was something less than that is, again, almost bordering on the bizarre."

During the campaign stop, Dodd criticized a direct-mail flier from the National Republican Congressional Committee titled, "Diane Farrell: Coffee Talk with the Taliban," that had been sent to voters in the southwestern Connecticut district.

"This is absolutely the worst kind of politics in America," Dodd said. "The people who associate themselves with that party and these things must be held accountable."

Farrell has received money and an endorsement from the Council for a Livable World, a 44-year-old Washington, D.C., organization that works to reduce nuclear weapons. In the mailer, Republicans said the Council has a "leader who wanted someone to sit down and talk with the Taliban instead of just forcibly removing them from power."

In a statement Friday, Shays said the NRCC had crossed the line with the mailing and called on the Republican organization to "put an end to sending this type of garbage."

On its Web site, the council calls the NRCC claim bogus and says board member Roger Fisher, an expert on conflict resolution who teaches at Harvard University, "recommended combining carrots and sticks to persuade the government of
Afghanistan to turn over
Osama bin Laden."

Recently, Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist said during a trip to Afghanistan that the Afghan war against Taliban guerrillas can never be won militarily and he favored bringing "people who call themselves Taliban" into the government.


Associated Press Writers Stephen Singer in Westport, Conn., and Susan Haigh in Hartford, Conn., contributed to this report.

When this story was posted in October 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Chris Dodd's Vision for the Peace Corps Date: September 23 2006 No: 996 Chris Dodd's Vision for the Peace Corps
Senator Chris Dodd (RPCV Dominican Republic) spoke at the ceremony for this year's Shriver Award and elaborated on issues he raised at Ron Tschetter's hearings. Dodd plans to introduce legislation that may include: setting aside a portion of Peace Corps' budget as seed money for demonstration projects and third goal activities (after adjusting the annual budget upward to accommodate the added expense), more volunteer input into Peace Corps operations, removing medical, healthcare and tax impediments that discourage older volunteers, providing more transparency in the medical screening and appeals process, a more comprehensive health safety net for recently-returned volunteers, and authorizing volunteers to accept, under certain circumstances, private donations to support their development projects. He plans to circulate draft legislation for review to members of the Peace Corps community and welcomes RPCV comments.

Top Stories and Breaking News PCOL Magazine Peace Corps Library RPCV Directory Sign Up

The Peace Corps Library Date: July 11 2006 No: 923 The Peace Corps Library
The Peace Corps Library is now available online with over 40,000 index entries in 500 categories. Looking for a Returned Volunteer? Check our RPCV Directory or leave a message on our Bulletin Board. New: Sign up to receive our free Monthly Magazine by email, research the History of the Peace Corps, or sign up for a daily news summary of Peace Corps stories. FAQ: Visit our FAQ for more information about PCOL.

He served with honor Date: September 12 2006 No: 983 He served with honor
One year ago, Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul (RPCV Kenya) carried on an ongoing dialog on this website on the military and the peace corps and his role as a member of a Civil Affairs Team in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have just received a report that Sargeant Paul has been killed by a car bomb in Kabul. Words cannot express our feeling of loss for this tremendous injury to the entire RPCV community. Most of us didn't know him personally but we knew him from his words. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. He was one of ours and he served with honor.

September 12, 2006: This Month's Top Stories Date: September 12 2006 No: 984 September 12, 2006: This Month's Top Stories
John Coyne writes: The Lion in the Garden 12 Sep
John McCain says: We passed up an opportunity after 911 12 Sep
Jody Olsen speaks at Headquarters about 911 11 Sep
Bill Moyers Returns to Investigative Reporting 8 Sep
Boating Accident kills two PCVs in Mali 7 Sep
Director Vasquez bids Farewell to Washington 7 Sep
James Rupert writes: Pact reached with pro-Taliban forces 6 Sep
Carol Bellamy to speak at Global Risk Conference 5 Sep
New trial ordered for Jerry Mark in murder case 2 Sep
Ken Hill to step down as NPCA Chairman 1 Sep
Clintons, Gearans dine at resort 1 Sep
'Chris Matthews' Turns 5 31 Aug
Taylor Hackford thinks Chuck Berry is a pain in the ass 31 Aug
John Kefalas alleges dirty tactics in house race 30 Aug
DRI receives Charity Navigator's highest ratings 29 Aug
Kris Holloway writes "Monique and the Mango Rains'' 28 Aug
Richard Celeste writes: Watch Out For Voting Day Bugs 28 Aug
Donna Shalala boosted UM's image 27 Aug
Leonard Robinson devoted his life to the underserved 24 Aug
Phil Hardberger will run for re-election in 2007 24 Aug
Snakes on the Plain - the black mamba 23 Aug
Eunice Kennedy Shriver still going strong 20 Aug

Meet Ron Tschetter - Our Next Director Date: September 6 2006 No: 978 Meet Ron Tschetter - Our Next Director
Read our story about Ron Tschetter's confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that was carried on C-Span. It was very different from the Vasquez hearings in 2001, very cut and dried with low attendance by the public. Among the highlights, Tschetter intends to make recruitment of baby boomers a priority, there are 20 countries under consideration for future programs, Senator Dodd intends to re-introduce his third goal Peace Corps legislation this session, Tschetter is a great admirer of Senator Coleman's quest for accountability, Dodd thinks management at PC may not put volunteers first, Dodd wants Tschetter to look into problems in medical selection, and Tschetter is not a blogger and knows little about the internet or guidelines for volunteer blogs. Read our recap of the hearings as well as Senator Coleman's statement and Tschetter's statement.

Chris Shays Shifts to Favor an Iraq Timetable Date: September 2 2006 No: 971 Chris Shays Shifts to Favor an Iraq Timetable
In a policy shift, RPCV Congressman Chris Shays, long a staunch advocate of the Bush administration's position in Iraq, is now proposing a timetable for a withdrawal of American troops. How Mr. Shays came to this change of heart is, he says, a matter of a newfound substantive belief that Iraqis need to be prodded into taking greater control of their own destiny under the country’s newly formed government. As Chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on national security, he plans to draft a timetable for a phased withdrawal and then push for its adoption. A conscientious objector during the Vietnam War who said that if drafted he would not serve, Chris Shays has made 14 trips to Iraq and was the first Congressman to enter the country after the war - against the wishes of the Department of Defense.

Peace Corps' Screening and Medical Clearance Date: August 19 2006 No: 964 Peace Corps' Screening and Medical Clearance
The purpose of Peace Corps' screening and medical clearance process is to ensure safe accommodation for applicants and minimize undue risk exposure for volunteers to allow PCVS to complete their service without compromising their entry health status. To further these goals, PCOL has obtained a copy of the Peace Corps Screening Guidelines Manual through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and has posted it in the "Peace Corps Library." Applicants and Medical Professionals (especially those who have already served as volunteers) are urged to review the guidelines and leave their comments and suggestions. Then read the story of one RPCV's journey through medical screening and his suggestions for changes to the process.

The Peace Corps is "fashionable" again Date: July 31 2006 No: 947 The Peace Corps is "fashionable" again
The LA Times says that "the Peace Corps is booming again and "It's hard to know exactly what's behind the resurgence." PCOL Comment: Since the founding of the Peace Corps 45 years ago, Americans have answered Kennedy's call: "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." Over 182,000 have served. Another 200,000 have applied and been unable to serve because of lack of Congressional funding. The Peace Corps has never gone out of fashion. It's Congress that hasn't been keeping pace.

Support the US-Peruvian Trade Pact Date: July 20 2006 No: 930 Support the US-Peruvian Trade Pact
Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, the Peace Corps President, has been lobbying both Democratic and Republican legislators to support the US-Peruvian trade pact before July 28, when his term ends and a US congressional recess begins. If President Bush fails to get approval before Congress goes on recess, it will be a case study proving that the United States does not reward its friends. Please call your representatives.

PCOL readership increases 100% Date: April 3 2006 No: 853 PCOL readership increases 100%
Monthly readership on "Peace Corps Online" has increased in the past twelve months to 350,000 visitors - over eleven thousand every day - a 100% increase since this time last year. Thanks again, RPCVs and Friends of the Peace Corps, for making PCOL your source of information for the Peace Corps community. And thanks for supporting the Peace Corps Library and History of the Peace Corps. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come.

History of the Peace Corps Date: March 18 2006 No: 834 History of the Peace Corps
PCOL is proud to announce that Phase One of the "History of the Peace Corps" is now available online. This installment includes over 5,000 pages of primary source documents from the archives of the Peace Corps including every issue of "Peace Corps News," "Peace Corps Times," "Peace Corps Volunteer," "Action Update," and every annual report of the Peace Corps to Congress since 1961. "Ask Not" is an ongoing project. Read how you can help.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Yahoo News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Fiji; Politics; Congress; Iraq; Torture; Pornography


By Colin G. Gallagher, RPCV ( on Monday, October 23, 2006 - 1:15 pm: Edit Post

Chris Shays is sick. First he (as an RPCV) considers a run at the CIA director seat. Now we see him as an apologist for torture, claiming that what happened at Abu Ghraib wasn't torture. Shays is not needed in Congress or in any other seat of public office. Would someone in his district please step up and take away his Congressional seat?

Anyone wanting to see photos of what happened at Abu Ghraib (photos that you won't see in the news) can go to Memory Hole where information is archived that has been either erased from official records or has been very difficult to obtain. See most recent Abu Ghraib photos at: http://www.thememoryhole.org/war/iraqis_tortured/

Chris Shays should resign now. I am calling on all RPCVs to ask him to resign from Congress. His presence there is an offense to the RPCV community and to our nation.

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.