When gay Iraqi refugee Hussam (a pseudonym) told attendees of a fundraiser that he has photos of American soldiers torturing and executing LBGTs there, it set off a growing shitstorm of disbelief and inquiry. Especially since Hussam wouldn’t turn over the photos. But that doesn’t mean the U.S. military isn’t looking into things.
Hussam’s unseen photos caught the attention of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command, relays the Washington Blade. Congressional gay Barney Frank is reportedly looking into the allegations as well.
Determining whether the photos exist appears to be Step One. Determining what they actually depict (read: How does one ascertain the people featured in the photos were, in fact, gay?) is also a top priority.
And without making the evidence public, or even providing the photos to military investigators, Hussam is generating his share of skeptics (including London-based advocacy organization Iraqi LGBT), especially since the claims were made during a fundraiser; what better way to generate cash to help Middle Eastern refugees than with tales of gross atrocities? But given the U.S. military’s wanton ways with Iraqis before, the notion that servicemen mistreated civilians isn’t outside the realm of possibilities. Executing them because they’re gay, however, is a stretch.
The U.S. State Department only recently began singling out violence against Iraq’s gays as something it “condemns.” But while the U.S. military stands to be shamed if Hussam’s allegations are true, organizations that co-sponsored the fundraiser he appeared at — including Human Rights Watch, the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the National LGBT Bar Association, and the Human Rights Campaign, whose headquarters hosted the event — will get slapped with a red mark for welcoming Hussam and his “over-exaggerated” allegations, and giving his version of crazy a platform, if he’s been lying.