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British soldiers in Iraq torture photos
May 1, 2004 5:18 AM   Subscribe

British soldiers in new Iraq torture photos. Brutal photos and story in today's Daily Mirror.
posted by iffley (145 comments total)

 
Fuck America and its lickspittles.

Fuck Al Qaeda and its jihadis.

What do you do when you have nothing left but contempt for both sides? What the fuck option is left for people that are actually sane in this massive global clusterfuck that these assholes have created for us all?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:32 AM on May 1, 2004


I don't want to sound like an apologist. More of a skeptic, really. But those pictures and the story strike me as faked.

(If it turns out they're not, I would be tempted to agree with stavros.)

(Although he did forget to fuck the Brits somehow...)
posted by Cyrano at 5:38 AM on May 1, 2004


Jeezus, if this is real, it makes me wish I were the RSM in that outfit so I could knock some fuckin' heads together. There is absolutely no justification for this. It's not like they need to get answers about where a time bomb is, or something; it's abuse for the "fun" of it.
posted by alumshubby at 5:41 AM on May 1, 2004


(I feel I should say, for the record, that I don't believe that the previously posted pictures of abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Americans are fake.)
posted by Cyrano at 5:42 AM on May 1, 2004


Well, 'lickspittles' was meant to refer to the Brits, as far as Iraq goes. (Apologies to my friends in the UK.)

And, yeah, Cyrano, I actually got the same slightly-questionable-veracity impression from those images, but I vented nonetheless.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:42 AM on May 1, 2004


Um ... given that the British Government haven't come out and declared them fake (and if they're that obvious, surely they would? I'd imagine somebody somewhere has looked at these VERY closely to make sure they're not photoshopped ;) ) what makes you think - on first sight - they're faked?
posted by kaemaril at 5:43 AM on May 1, 2004


Is anyone really surprised by this? War dehumanises. You can't expect people who are trained as professional killers to treat the "enemy" as anything but animals. To hear people still trying to justify the ill-fated invasion makes me want to laugh, and then puke. Will we never learn?

Yeah let's bash these morons' heads together. Make them suffer for what they did!

Oh, wait.
posted by cbrody at 5:45 AM on May 1, 2004


Well that's just poor manners.
posted by ColdChef at 5:48 AM on May 1, 2004


*dances, sings, quips, shoots Americans on sight*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:51 AM on May 1, 2004


cbrody: You can't expect people who are trained as professional killers to treat the "enemy" as anything but animals.

On the contrary, you can and you do. Treaties on the fair and humane treatment of captured soldiers have been in existence for a considerable amount of time, and rules codifying the treatment of captured enemy troops (and civilians, etc) are in the codes and regulations of most armed forces. Most, if not all, civilised countries agree upon this as being a good thing.

Furthermore, these days, even animals are expected to be treated humanely :)
posted by kaemaril at 5:56 AM on May 1, 2004


I don't want to sound like an apologist. More of a skeptic, really. But those pictures and the story strike me as faked.

Which would be easy enough to do. Is "the Mirror" a reputable source? Like the Enquirer or the Star? its hard to believe that anyone would do such a thing, let alone be fool enough to take pictures of it, but stranger things have happened. The interview also sounded ridiculously fake, and scripted out of some cowardly fantasy dreamt up by some patchouli-reeking, che-guevara-T-shirt-wearing, upper-middle-class bolshevik phony, not unlike someone suggesting shooting Americans. Again.

Let's hope they're fake.
posted by hama7 at 5:57 AM on May 1, 2004


Unfortunately, I suspect that even if they ARE revealed to be fake, the damage is already done. When told they're fake will an enraged Iraqi put down his rifle and say "Oh, fake? Boy, do I feel dumb!" or is he simply going to feel that the announcement that they're fake is simply a US/UK cover-up?
posted by kaemaril at 6:02 AM on May 1, 2004


*lies about sharing hama7's handgun fetish*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:02 AM on May 1, 2004



Fake.

Nothing to see here.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:08 AM on May 1, 2004


what makes you think - on first sight - they're faked?

Well, for starters, the fact that the prisoner is wearing a t-shirt with an old Iraqi flag on it seems a bit over the top.

And I've seen any number of news stories over the years where the criminals video taped themselves in the act. They never seemed to be the slightest bit concerned with hiding their faces. In fact, quite the opposite. Most of the time they seem to be flaunting and posing (as in the pictures of the Americans abusing the prisoners.) Maybe we just got to see the "best" in this series of pictures, but no faces at all seems unlikely. If the Mirror did have access to pictures of the soldiers that showed their faces, wouldn't those make a stronger impression?

And while this may sound weird, not seeing the penis of the guy supposedly urinating of the prisoner makes me wonder.

But the thing that really did it for me was the Action Shot of the guy getting a gun butt in the groin. Unless they had on of those Take-A-Picture-Every-Second things working (forgive me camera-philes, for I know not what it is called) that picture just didn't seem real. It's too clear for the action of a man swinging a rifle as claimed and I don't see the effort of the swing on the soldier's part, and I've taken grazing shots to the balls that curled me up more than the man on the receiving end.

And, I'm sure I will fry in a special part of Hell for this, but I grew up in the Middle East and one of the first things I thought was "those are the most hairless Arab legs I've ever seen..."

Again, though, if it's real, three cheers for journalism. Shit like this cannot stand.

I suspect that even if they ARE revealed to be fake, the damage is already done. When told they're fake will an enraged Iraqi put down his rifle and say "Oh, fake? Boy, do I feel dumb!"

If, and again, I say if they are fake, that's what will upset me. Does Al Jezeera issue retractions?
posted by Cyrano at 6:11 AM on May 1, 2004


"Hey kids! It's American Killing Time! Want to build your pre-haji street cred? Want to be a big man down in the rubble? The Americans aren't just occupiers, they're the sexually-deviant devils that the clerics have been telling you about all along! And not only that, they're killing children by the dozen in Fallujah with their bombs! You want democracy, sure, but wouldn't you rather put a bullet through the head of one of these infidel scum? Sure you would! The Americans gave you those pimples, the bastards!"

Don't fool yourselves, that little detour into imagination is way less inciteful than what's really happening right this moment, not only in Fallujah, not only in Iraq, but all over the fucking planet where Allah is the Big Imaginary Father.

My American friends, you are nose-deep in a lake of liquid shit, and George and Dick and Don and Condi are racing motorboats around your heads, making waves.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:14 AM on May 1, 2004


My American friends, you are nose-deep in a lake of liquid shit, and George and Dick and Don and Condi are racing motorboats around your heads, making waves.

Alas, I can only vote once...
posted by Cyrano at 6:16 AM on May 1, 2004



Plus, the lighting seems uncannily similar in all the shots.

My bullshit alarms were ringing within .5 of a second after opening that site.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:20 AM on May 1, 2004


"fuck america" aside, stav is right, this war has gone beyond disastrous mistake into complete and utter clusterfuck.
posted by jonmc at 6:22 AM on May 1, 2004


"Alas, I can only vote once..."

not if Diebold machines are used in your district
posted by matteo at 6:31 AM on May 1, 2004



Reminds me of something out of a cheap black-and-white gay porno ‘zine!


nb: I only read them for the articles.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:31 AM on May 1, 2004


"...On the contrary, you can and you do. Treaties on the fair and humane treatment of captured soldiers have been in existence for a considerable amount of time..." (kaemeril) - Yes, they have. And they have been routinely ignored by armies around the world for just as long.

I agree with cbrody's point : soldiers are trained as killing machines. That is their job on the battlefield. So that conditioning makes them inherently unsuitable for prolonged occupations and nation building - and regardless of whether these photos in question are real or not, hama7's assertion that "....its hard to believe that anyone would do such a thing, let alone be fool enough to take pictures of it" is, frankly, not worthy of the usual caliber of his remarks. Such abuses, carried out by occupying armies, are simply a statistical reality for the reason cbrody suggests.

This doesn't mean that international standards of conduct for invading and occupying armies should be ignored, but they will tend to be observed far more closely by military units trained specifically for the job of occupation and for the management of prisoners - military police, for example.

It's unfair and counterproductive to require soldiers to do a job for which they were not trained.
posted by troutfishing at 6:36 AM on May 1, 2004


Wow. I guess the UK government just aren't as observant as some of us internet-types when it comes to spotting fake photos created by evil media types ...

I'm just waiting for General Sir Michael Jackson (ain't the world just too weird?) to hold up a big poster of one of the photos with "Something Awful : Photoshop Friday" printed underneath it :)
posted by kaemaril at 6:40 AM on May 1, 2004


troutfishing: So, you believe that the average soldier shouldn't be blamed for not knowing that torturing, beating, humiliating and otherwise degrading prisoners is a bad thing unless they've received special training?

Just so you know - and believe me, every government who signed them ALREADY know this - the Geneva Conventions apply to ALL military forces, not just those who have "trained specifically". If EVERY soldier hasn't received at least basic knowledge of how they are expected to perform : that is a fault in their training, it is NOT an excuse which somehow lets them off the hook. "Ignorance of the law" very rarely, if ever, is a valid excuse.
posted by kaemaril at 6:48 AM on May 1, 2004



Helloooooo...?

The photos are fake.

stavrosthewonderchicken, kaemaril, johnmc, troutfishing. Maybe save your debating talents to have a rant against a less obviously-fake backdrop?

Nothing to see here.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:51 AM on May 1, 2004


Such abuses, carried out by occupying armies, are simply a statistical reality for the reason cbrody suggests.

But here, we're not talking about "such abuses", we're talking about accusing, accurately or not, British soldiers of abusing prisoners, or worse, which is against the Geneva Convention, prosecutable by law.

You're suggesting that soldiers are not human, not subject to the rules. My argument is that they are all that much more conscious of the rules, precisely for reasons such as these. They are serving not only as examples and ambassadors for entire nations, they are fighting for all of us, they are defending us, day and night. To expect this kind of behavior from soldiers simply "because they are soldiers" is to horribly underestimate the honor and duty that a soldier upholds. It is also unbelievably insulting to the men and women in uniform who serve honorably, who devote their lives, and sometime give their lives for the sole cause of defending the rest of us.

Our armed forces, our soldiers, will always have my utmost respect.
posted by hama7 at 6:55 AM on May 1, 2004


hengeman: Really? OK, fair enough .... can you provide a link to a news story on a reputable news site confirming this? 'cos as of RIGHT NOW I'd expect to see a story confirming their fakeness splashed right across the BBC News website. So far, no joy. The main story is the US Armed Forces minister saying they're "appalling" IF they're genuine. So it would appear the UK government aren't quite as up to date as you are.
posted by kaemaril at 6:57 AM on May 1, 2004


hama7 : Your link points to the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. An earlier news story that first brought up allegations of a prisoner being beaten and urinated upon suggested this was a civilian (allegedly a thief) rather than a military prisoner. As such, if true, the correct link would be to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

But I agree with you completely on your other point. We shouldn't simply dismiss this as "Oh, well. Soldiers will be soldiers". I'm sure that the (vast) majority of the soldiers in Iraq are behaving professionally, and with honour. It's just that (if these photos are genuine, and that's yet to be confirmed) a few bad apples are spoiling the barrel for the rest of them.

The question is ... are these "bad apples" acting purely alone in isolated cases, or is the occupying forces' higher command deliberately allowing this to happen (either by ordering a few to do this, or "turning a blind eye")? As yet, it's too early to tell, but for the Iraqi people, I suspect they'll believe the latter.
posted by kaemaril at 7:05 AM on May 1, 2004


Oops, correction on earlier post: UK Armed Forces minister, not US Armed Forces minister. Apologies for the typo :(
posted by kaemaril at 7:06 AM on May 1, 2004


matteo, I live in Texas. I could vote ten-thousand times and it wouldn't change things.

I'm still gonna, though.

can you provide a link to a news story on a reputable news site confirming this? 'cos as of RIGHT NOW I'd expect to see a story confirming their fakeness splashed right across the BBC News website.

My initial reactions were a gut feeling. Are those still allowed without supporting links? ;) (and, kaemaril, I know you weren't commenting to me directly, but I just felt [another gut feeling!!!] I needed to say it.) I didn't say flat out that I was 100% sure these pictures were faked, just that something inside of me made me think that that were. I have no interest in spinning the truth should the picutes turn out to be real.

But if we saw some pictures of coaltion soldiers feeding Iraqis ice cream and telling them bedtime stories on comfy pillows, I wouldn't take those at face value either.
posted by Cyrano at 7:08 AM on May 1, 2004


Nothing to see here.

What are you, 12? "Here" is a fuck of a lot bigger than a shitty-ass Mirror.co.uk link.

Wait! Can I call 'newsfilter' and erase the whole thing, no matter if it's right or wrong, or fabricated, or not? If those pics are fake, does that somehow make the real ones of American forces (and mercs) doing evil invalid?

No, hengemen, you colossal dipshit, you, it doesn't.

hama7 : "Our armed forces, our soldiers, will always have my utmost respect."

Haven't actually spent much time around them, have you? I have. And they're as collectively fucked as anyone else, if not more so, at least when they're sober.

Respect the Iraq-prison rapists and naked man-pyramid thumbs-uppers utmostishly, too, then, yeah? Kudos for the patriotism!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:09 AM on May 1, 2004


Cyrano: Fair enough. I mistook you, and thought you were stating as fact. Apologies.
posted by kaemaril at 7:12 AM on May 1, 2004



Wait! Can I call 'newsfilter' and erase the whole thing, no matter if it's right or wrong, or fabricated, or not? If those pics are fake, does that somehow make the real ones of American forces (and mercs) doing evil invalid?

No, hengemen, you colossal dipshit, you, it doesn't.


Never said it did, big fella.

I just find I'm less inclined to be "swayed" by someone who gets into a lather over an obviously fake set of photos.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:19 AM on May 1, 2004


uncanny: Well, you might find them to be "obviously" fake, but other people may find it less obvious. And so far, the UK government hasn't come out and said they were "obviously" fake, so either they're really slow when it comes to putting out good news (and the UK government haven't really been accused of that in the past, believe me), or maybe they don't regard them as being quite so obvious, either.

Fake or not, they're not good news.
posted by kaemaril at 7:26 AM on May 1, 2004


kaemaril, no harm no foul.

The question is ... are these "bad apples" acting purely alone in isolated cases, or is the occupying forces' higher command deliberately allowing this to happen (either by ordering a few to do this, or "turning a blind eye")?

And that's a question that should never stop being asked. I have a brother in the army (which makes me quite aware of their all to common human failings noted by stavros...especially the ones that made the Discover card people call my parent's house last weekend because they thought my bro still lived there when they wanted to verify the huge strip club charges...) but that doesn't mean I'm willing to give anyone in the military of any country a free pass. They're supposed to serve and protect us. Most of them don't forget that, but you can't excuse those who do.
posted by Cyrano at 7:26 AM on May 1, 2004


As such, if true, the correct link would be to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

Good point. Many thanks, kaemaril.
posted by hama7 at 7:27 AM on May 1, 2004



Fake or not, they're not good news.

Good grief.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:29 AM on May 1, 2004


Gee, I've never been trained specifically not to piss on people - do you think the people around me could be in danger? Is it really so tough for the average soldier to understand that one shouldn't do such things? I dare say the vast majority of soldiers wouldn't do it; so "lack of training" just sounds like someone trying to evade their moral responsibility for their own actions.
posted by pyramid termite at 7:29 AM on May 1, 2004


hengeman : Good grief.

What's up, Charlie Brown? You object to a little understatement? :)
posted by kaemaril at 7:31 AM on May 1, 2004


I just find I'm less inclined to be "swayed" by someone who gets into a lather over an obviously fake set of photos.

My lather has been building steadily. These pics... well, like I said upthread, they give off a dodgy smell.

Whether these linked ones are dodgy or not (was my point) is immaterial. That the kind of shit that is pictured in them (either real of faked) is actually happening is inarguable, thanks to the the other images revealed recently.

So it's to the good if you can prove that these ones are fake, but it is still the case that the pics of the American mercenary scum have been out there recently are not fabricated.

I just find I'm less inclined to be "swayed"

I never give a shit about 'swaying' anyone. I merely say what I think, based on what I know and see and believe. I expect you to do the same.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:31 AM on May 1, 2004



I merely say what I think, based on what I know and see and believe.

Indeed.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:34 AM on May 1, 2004


My lather has been building steadily.

I feel ya. I'm an Irish Spring commercial right about now.
posted by Cyrano at 7:35 AM on May 1, 2004


Fake? Fact. From the New Yorker's Seymour Hirsch:

"In one, Private England, a cigarette dangling from her mouth, is giving a jaunty thumbs-up sign and pointing at the genitals of a young Iraqi, who is naked except for a sandbag over his head, as he masturbates. Three other hooded and naked Iraqi prisoners are shown, hands reflexively crossed over their genitals. A fifth prisoner has his hands at his sides. In another, England stands arm in arm with Specialist Graner; both are grinning and giving the thumbs-up behind a cluster of perhaps seven naked Iraqis, knees bent, piled clumsily on top of each other in a pyramid. There is another photograph of a cluster of naked prisoners, again piled in a pyramid. Near them stands Graner, smiling, his arms crossed; a woman soldier stands in front of him, bending over, and she, too, is smiling. Then, there is another cluster of hooded bodies, with a female soldier standing in front, taking photographs. Yet another photograph shows a kneeling, naked, unhooded male prisoner, head momentarily turned away from the camera, posed to make it appear that he is performing oral sex on another male prisoner, who is naked and hooded."
posted by digaman at 7:36 AM on May 1, 2004


Fake? Fact. From the New Yorker's Seymour Hirsch:

Totally unrelated, digaman.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:40 AM on May 1, 2004


Private England? Can the world get any weirder? :)

Thanks for the link, digaman. It's unrelated to the issue of UK troops, but it makes for fascinating reading regarding treatment of prisoners by troops in general, especially this bit:

"Specifically, Taguba found that between October and December of 2003 there were numerous instances of “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at Abu Ghraib. This systematic and illegal abuse of detainees, Taguba reported, was perpetrated by soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company, and also by members of the American intelligence community."

I'm guessing those guys had received special training, troutfishing?
posted by kaemaril at 7:45 AM on May 1, 2004


stavrosthewonderchicken, kaemaril, johnmc, troutfishing. Maybe save your debating talents to have a rant against a less obviously-fake backdrop?

Yeah, but the American ones are real. As someone who in spite of everything still loves his country and wants to end terrorism (the right* way) it's something of a turning point for me.

*there's an old joke: A daddy bull and a baby bull are on a hill looking down on a pasture full of grazing cows.

The baby bull says "Daddy, let's run down there and fuck some of those cows."

The daddy bull says "No, let's walk down there and fuck 'em all."

We had a chance to walk down there, but we ran. And now we've fucked ourselves. I hope it's not too late to do it right.
posted by jonmc at 8:02 AM on May 1, 2004


I can vouch that even on boot camp, the Geneva Conventions are given a brief once over. Emphasis on brief, but ABSOLUTELY enough to string these fucktards up on.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:08 AM on May 1, 2004


"My American friends, you are nose-deep in a lake of liquid shit, and George and Dick and Don and Condi are racing motorboats around your heads, making waves."

The only consolation in this mess is watching certain Mefites and other web denizens splashing around in said shit, saying "Come on in, the water's fine!"
posted by 2sheets at 8:18 AM on May 1, 2004


"You're suggesting that soldiers are not human, not subject to the rules. ......Our armed forces, our soldiers, will always have my utmost respect." (Hama7) - Hama, it is you who are suggesting that US and British troops are not human. Here are some basic points about humans :

1) Humans can be conditioned. - Anyone care to debate this simple point?

2) Soldiers - everywhere around the world - are systematically desensitized to violence as a fundamental part of their basic training/conditioning. This helps them to do their job - not a pleasant job, it involves blowing people's heads clear off their bodies and so on. (AKA "war"). - Anyone care to challenge this point ?

3) Soldiers who have recently been in heavy combat are further desensitized (sometimes traumatized as well, in many cases) - as a result of doing, witnessing, and being subject to acts of violence most civilians would consider unimaginable.

4) Humans who are desensitized to violence are more likely to commit violent acts, and with less provocation - especially when they are under heavy stress.

__________________________________________

Noting that soldiers - especially under stress, and who have been through combat and who are engaged in at least low grade daily combat - have lowered thresholds of aggression is not at all the same as giving them a pass.

It's simply (at least) the observation that it is unwise to employ them to "win hearts and minds" and build democracies.

Soldiers are not trained to be social workers. They are trained to kill, and so they do. And they tend to suffer from that also - because they are human beings.

Some of them also commit abuses. Given the circumstances, if some did not do so, they would be some other species, or they would be robots.

Soldiers the world over, under similar circumstances, commit similar abuses - and although the US military tries hard to prevent human rights abuses, these will still occur.

Cases in which foreign occupying armies have NOT committed human rights abuses are fairly rare. And when occupations are met by native insurgencies, those human rights abuses tend to increase (almost inevitably) quite dramatically.

This is simply a fact of human behavior in under these conditions.

It does not mean that individuals who commit such abuses should not be held accountable, but it does raise the question :

What happens when soldiers are asked to do impossible tasks ? Is all the responsibility for such abuses merely to be heaped on ground levels soldiers, or don't politicians who created the overall environments in which such abuses occur share any culpability ?
______________________________________

kaemaril - well, that's another issue altogether ! That gets into "School of the Americas" territory ( counterinsurgency or policing tactics which involve torture and terrorism against civilians).

There's - of course - a differrence between abuses carried out by highly stressed soldiers and those carried out by units trained specifically to commit such abuses - but those units aren't usually officially acknowledged.
posted by troutfishing at 8:24 AM on May 1, 2004


Sorry, uncanny, there's so much bizarre psycho-sexo-sadisto-pr0no torture of Iraqi prisoners going on at the hands of "Coalition" soldiers these days I must have gotten confused.

My point was that whether the Mirror photos are faked or not, what they depict has been documented as happening in Abu Ghraib. It's hardly unrelated.
posted by digaman at 8:30 AM on May 1, 2004


The photos from Abu Ghraib.
posted by digaman at 8:41 AM on May 1, 2004


digaman - I haven't been following this specifically, but how much of this torture has been "outsourced" ?

kaemaril - Don't misunderstand me! - I'm not arguing a "boys will be boys" position exactly, and I'm not letting human rights abusers off the hook.

The US military is superbly well equipped to crush any opposing military force on Earth. But if it were equipped for nation building, it's basic training would include foreign language skills, cultural sensitivity, and diplomatic training. The large gap and inherent tensions between American and Iraqi culture was known (by some anyway) to be potentially explosive. But the Neocons expected parades, roses, and instaDemocracy (just add water and it grows, sort of like a Chia-Pet)

I'm noting that the entire situation (mess) was sadly predictable - given basic human nature and instinctual inclinations. US Army analysts foresaw - prior to the invasion - most of the problems which have metastasized in Iraq. But the White House didn't want to hear it.

[ Also, on the "how could they do that?" question, see James Waller's < a href="http://www.whitworth.edu/News/2001_2002/Spring/BecomingEvilByWaller.htm">"Becoming evil" ]
posted by troutfishing at 8:54 AM on May 1, 2004


What the fuck option is left for people that are actually sane in this massive global clusterfuck that these assholes have created for us all?

insanity. let's lick some toads, stav.

Our armed forces, our soldiers, will always have my utmost respect."

respect. honor. duty.
ever notice how those words fly about most whenever we are engaged in something filthy, murderous and destructive?
posted by quonsar at 9:12 AM on May 1, 2004


but those units aren't usually officially acknowledged.

Neither is sasquatch, for good reason, but nice of you to spin conspiracy to cast what little aspersion possible on the honor of our troops.

I'm not arguing a "boys will be boys" position exactly,

You're arguing a position which is couched in a resentment and disdain for the military, which is not surprising.

But if it were equipped for nation building, it's basic training would include foreign language skills, cultural sensitivity, and diplomatic training.

Not necessarily, because the "nation building" should ostensibly be done by Iraqis themselves, the vast majority of whom are more than glad to accept the responsibility, and, it should be noted, are quite thrilled of being rid of the Hussein regime at long last. They welcome the handover of Iraqi control in June.

Would-be dictators and terrorists, both Iraqi and non-Iraqi, do not welcome a free Iraq, and are currently trying to destabilize and prolong the situation in order to weaken resolve and morale. They are the enemy and will be defeated if we let our good troops do what they are better trained to do than any military in the world: catch them or destroy them.

The success stories are too numerous to count, all thanks to the work of our brave men and women in uniform.
posted by hama7 at 9:21 AM on May 1, 2004


I agree that most of our soldiers are brave, valiant, patriotic, bright, well intentioned men and women. It's also true that many of them are in their late teens and early 20s.
Their bravery, valor, and naivete makes it especially important that their commanders -- especially their commander in chief -- are held accountable for their own words and actions, and do not send these fine men and women into wars, and possibly to their deaths, for undisclosed reasons justified by lies.
posted by digaman at 9:40 AM on May 1, 2004


respect. honor. duty.
ever notice how those words fly about most whenever we are engaged in something filthy, murderous and destructive?


Maybe if those words flew about when we weren't involved in something filthy, murderous and destructive things would change a bit.

/hopes.
posted by Cyrano at 9:52 AM on May 1, 2004


This kind of behavior is indefensible. The Americans and the Brits involved in this, especially the Americans, need to be punished and punished harshly. These acts are awful on many levels; it's amoral, appalling, disrespectful, inhumane, and cruel. Not to mention it's a public relations disaster that will be difficult to recover from. These pictures have made more Iraqis into enemies than the ongoing combat ever could. There should be investigations, court martials, and punishments, and there will be.

That being said, I think painting all soldiers with this humiliating brush is unfair. A handful of idiots shouldn't detract from the good that's been accomplished, nor should it be used as an indictment of the entire armed forces. It definitely shouldn't be used as an excuse to pull out and leave the Iraqis high and dry. The best thing we can do is punish the wrongdoers who are responsible while holding our heads high and carrying on.
posted by David Dark at 10:21 AM on May 1, 2004


This is a really horrible situation, but I think Jonah Goldberg makes a good point here:

Under Saddam torturers were rewarded and promoted. In America they must bee held to account.

It's shitty that we've got scum like these soldiers in our armed forces, but I think it will be instructive to see how a civilized nation deals with such a thing, versus how Saddam did.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:44 AM on May 1, 2004


" These pictures have made more Iraqis into enemies than the ongoing combat ever could."

no, the Iraqis are already mad enough because of declining living standars (yes, even comapred to Saddam's later years), absence of electricity and clean water more than a year after the war's end (wanna have a refreshing glass of raw sewage from the Tigris, anybody?). the real devastating effect of these pictures is happening all over the Muslim world.
the light of Liberation indeed. Western democracy. bla blah blah
those thugs in uniform have destroyed the good work of thousands of their brothers and sisters in arms. simple as that. I guess this currently beats, in the Muslim world, even the record ratings of that famous clip of Bush saying "this is a Crusade"
winning hearts and minds, right?
__________

anecdote:

a few years ago, an Italian magazine published souvenir photos of Italian soldiers violating a bound and gagged Somali woman with a hand grenade. they looked like they were having the time of their life, really.
and no, they weren't fake pictures.

bringing peace and democracy to Somalia, too.
posted by matteo at 10:52 AM on May 1, 2004


Under Saddam torturers were rewarded and promoted. In America they must bee held to account ... I think it will be instructive to see how a civilized nation deals with such a thing, versus how Saddam did.

If Jonah Goldberg truly believes that the U.S. should be "held to account" in a matter that the U.S. deems appropriate for torturers and thugs, then he'd have no problem with handing these soldiers over to the Iraqi courts just as we, in our civilized nation-ness, plan to do to Saddam Hussein. Why, oh why, do I not picture the National Review advocating that?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:06 AM on May 1, 2004


"So, you believe that the average soldier shouldn't be blamed for not knowing that torturing, beating, humiliating..."

I didn't get that as his point at all. Though, to be honest with you I can't really see why "humiliating" is up there with torture, but we live in a Oprah world now where any emotional trauma is considered fatal.

If a US soldier tortures someone (without exploring some of the grayer areas of what peopel consider 'torture') I don't let them off the hook because they are soldiers.

However when they blow up 6 guys in a truck rolling to a checkpoint who have refused to stop in an environment where the car bomb is a common weapon I damn sure do understand that as soldiers that sort of thing will happen.

What I am missing is the "disaster/sky is falling" routine. The IRaqi's hate us - but they always have and probably always will... hatred of the US seems to be the one and only real religeon there seems to be in that region. Militarily the war is goign well, politically there is trouble but it is by no menas a "disaster", let alone of epic proportions.
posted by soulhuntre at 11:34 AM on May 1, 2004


What surprises me is that the soldiers who are doing these deeds don't understand that they're holding a match to the powderkeg. Unless they actively want to be slaughtered in an all-out war against the mid-East, wtf are they thinking?

Mere self-preservation should be enough to keep them acting civilized. It's scary that it isn't.

I note that the pictures have blurred buttcracks and genitals. I think this is indicative of a deep-seated problem with the American culture. It's perfectly happy to show a guided missile heading down a chimney, but afraid to show balls. Gahd.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:44 AM on May 1, 2004


You're arguing a position which is couched in a resentment and disdain for the military, which is not surprising.

The way I read it, he is basically saying that soldiers are human too and that war has a negative effect on humans. I fail to see the resentment and disdain in that. Unless you like to think of the military as being filled with robots that never break down.

The majority of a soldier's training is to fight and kill and to go into situations knowing that they might be killed as well. They are not typically trained to do many of the things they now have to do - including running prisons full of people that were previously trying to kill them and simply dealing with enemy soldiers outside of the battlefield.

Of course, even with a lot of specialized training it would not go away entirely. It might take away some of the lesser incidents brought on by soldiers feeling entirely out of their element, stress, etc. But it would not change the fact that some human beings are capable of great cruelty. Just pick up a local paper and see some of the shit going down in the suburbs and then mentally transplant a few of these folks into a war setting. And no amount of training can change the fact that a good portion of soldiers are kids who still have some growing up to do.

Those sending soldiers into these types of situations need to be aware of and prepared for this very type of problem in the first place. Because it is going to happen sometimes and it needs to be accepted up front as a possibility. All we can do is improve training as possible and look at things like psychological examinations to hopefully cull some of the bad apples or help those that are having problems. And when things go wrong, punish the guilty.

That being said, I think painting all soldiers with this humiliating brush is unfair.

I agree, but I do not think that is going on in this thread. There is a difference in accepting that this can happen and on occasion will happen in any military and that the atmosphere of violence can bring out the worst in SOME soldiers and saying that everyone in military service is capable of it.

People that would not do something this cruel in the first place are not going to magically become people that would do it when they join the military, but neither is someone who has this sort of cruelty inside of them going to suddenly lose it, and in fact it might bring said cruelty to the surface.
posted by bargle at 11:44 AM on May 1, 2004


I don't see how anyone with a heart still beating in their chest can declare any of these photos (faked or not) as "the cost of war." If a criminal were to come to your house, tie you up, urinate upon you and rape you, he'd be doing at least ten years. Furthermore, chances are that the neocon apologists would go all Dirty Harry on him, demanding that he be locked up for life, failing to believe in rehabilitation.

But not our boys in Iraq. No, sir. They're above this. The standard defense I'm seeing is this: Tragic, but it's the cost of war. Horrible, should be punished, but, hey, it's all in the name of doing business. Let's look at our successes. Let's look at the positive side. What positive side? If the officers at top were incapable of preventing this, then it seems likely that they were incapable of preventing other things that we don't know about. Factor in Nathan Sassaman's December statement, "With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them," and we begin to see that the message goes a lot further than we initially expected.

Fuck the operation in Iraq, fuck America, and fuck these cold-hearted motherfuckers who wouldn't know a shred of decency if it bit them in the ass. Right now, I'm ashamed to be an American.
posted by ed at 11:46 AM on May 1, 2004


Not necessarily, because the "nation building" should ostensibly be done by Iraqis themselves, the vast majority of whom are more than glad to accept the responsibility, and, it should be noted, are quite thrilled of being rid of the Hussein regime at long last. They welcome the handover of Iraqi control in June.

why, just the other night, the vast majority of iraqis appeared in hama7's dream and told him so. it's got to be so!
posted by quonsar at 12:31 PM on May 1, 2004


"Alas, I can only vote once..."

not if Diebold machines are used in your district


"When he was twenty-one years old, Edison took out his first patent. It was for and electric vote counter to be used by The United States House of Representatives. The machine worked perfectly but the congressmen would not buy it. They did not want the vote counting to be done quickly. Often the roll count was used for purposes of delay. This experience taught the young inventor a lesson. He decided then to follow a simple rule, "First be sure a thing is wanted or needed, then go ahead"."
posted by clavdivs at 1:01 PM on May 1, 2004


If Jonah Goldberg truly believes that the U.S. should be "held to account" in a matter that the U.S. deems appropriate for torturers and thugs, then he'd have no problem with handing these soldiers over to the Iraqi courts just as we, in our civilized nation-ness, plan to do to Saddam Hussein.

Well, no. Just because Goldberg may not believe that the soldiers should be held to account in the way you'd prefer doesn't mean that he's not sincere about wanting to see justice done.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:14 PM on May 1, 2004


hama7 i - If you say "Our brave men and women in uniform" one more time, that phrase is going to get stuck in your throat and come out, inadvertantly, in a high squeaky voice every time you speak !

I didn't cast doubt on the bravery of the occupation troops, and that's kind of beside the point of this thread discussion. But you're right on one thing : I probably should have used the term "practices" rather than "units". But "conspiracy"? Please. I presume, then, you're wholly unaware of the long and infamous history of the "School of the Americas" (now renamed because of controversy surrounding that "school").

"You're arguing a position which is couched in a resentment and disdain for the military, which is not surprising." - How so, exactly ? I'm arguing that US, british, and coalition forces have been placed, through reckless decision making and exceptionally poor planning on the part of the politicians who set this whole mess in motion, in an untenable situatiuon which is only going to get worse.

And I'm simply noting that basic human nature is involved here.

"You're arguing a position which is couched in a resentment and disdain for the military, which is not surprising." - I'm not really sure what reasons I would have to resent the US military. But as for disdain, well - I'd have to accuse the Bush Administration of disdain for troops serving in Iraq.

"I think painting all soldiers with this humiliating brush is unfair" (David Dark) - I agree. Who is this insensitive person on this thread?

"The standard defense I'm seeing is this: Tragic, but it's the cost of war. Horrible, should be punished, but, hey, it's all in the name of doing business. Let's look at our successes. Let's look at the positive side. " (ed) - Who is saying that?
posted by troutfishing at 1:18 PM on May 1, 2004


Funny you all dismiss these pictures out of hand as fakes. Frankly, I believe they are real. The people who took them were just smarter not to show their faces in the pictures than the American soldiers. War does fucked-up things to people. Look at all the people who collaborated with the Nazis and turned in the jews, how can "normal" people turn into animals in war? I'm not saying it's right, but it happens all the time. War turns people into sick, warped, inhuman creatures.

This pictures and the other ones are probably the tip of the fricking iceberg. This is probably happening all the time. Heck, I bet it happens in Guantanamo all the time, too. I can barely look at the pictures of the Americans. Sick bastards. They ought to be put in the brig for the rest of their natural born lives. I am so so so ashamed to be an American. I am so ashamed of the violence and hatred and bloodshed that is being done in my name and with my tax dollars. what a goat-screw this has turned out to be. Old Osama must be jumping up and down with happiness with these pictures. They just flooded the terrorist organization ranks with new recruits.

So Bush says this war has made the world safer for Americans. Safer for Americans, indeed.
posted by msacheson at 1:57 PM on May 1, 2004


Crap, the above posting was done by me (aacheson) not msacheson. I forgot to log him out first.
posted by aacheson at 2:00 PM on May 1, 2004


check out what some people had to say about the other photos of tortured iraquis:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/04/29/60ii/main614799.shtml
posted by lord_wolf at 2:04 PM on May 1, 2004


The sufferings which revolution entailed upon the cities were many and terrible, such as have occurred and always will occur, as long as the nature of mankind remains the same; though in a severer or milder form, and varying in their symptoms, according to the variety of the particular cases. In peace and prosperity states and individuals have better sentiments, because they do not find themselves suddenly confronted with imperious necessities; but war takes away the easy supply of daily wants, and so proves a rough master, that brings most men's characters to a level with their fortunes.
posted by Zurishaddai at 2:23 PM on May 1, 2004


This is cruel, this is inhumane! What do you think war is about? It's about burning cities, sowing salt, raping women, looting homes, torturing strangers, and finding new ways to participate in the same act of murder that has been commited endlessly, without a single moment of rest, for the entire history of the human race. The Charge of the Light Brigade is what you expected, maybe? That this comes as a surprise to anybody is just amazing. Pay attention! This is what people do to each other. Soldiers are people who work in teams to murder other people for money. They are cruel scumfucks for agreeing to do it, and it might surprise you that someone you thought was civilized and rational would agree to murder people for money, but once they've joined up, why should it continue to surprise you that they turn out to be cruel scumfucks? Optimism? Naivety? Willingness to accept lies about what wars and soldiers are? Fuck, wait til you see what goes into a sausage.
posted by Hildago at 2:33 PM on May 1, 2004


Something smells funny here. How long was it between the American photo's being published, and the British ones? Why do the British ones look staged, whereas the American ones look like frat initiations?

...but then I think back to my experiences with Terry's, and it seems vaguely believable.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:33 PM on May 1, 2004


Extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof.
posted by stbalbach at 2:37 PM on May 1, 2004


I'm arguing that US, british, and coalition forces have been placed, through reckless decision making and exceptionally poor planning on the part of the politicians who set this whole mess in motion, in an untenable situation which is only going to get worse.

Fine. I argue that the situation is not only tenable, but despite the constraint carping and naysaying by seditious traitors like senator Kennedy (and quite possibly typical media lefties like Ted Koppel), that things are going remarkably well. The troops there believe that and have always believed that, and are embarrassed and dismayed, at the completion of their terms in Iraq and subsequent return to the U.S., to hear (most of) the media paint the situation as some kind of mistake, or that the battle is being lost, which it is definitely not.

Speaking of loony-lib Koppel, I heard he changed his mind. Also, tactical urination.

Additionally, the United States and its allies in Iraq must be allowed to win, and on this point we agree on the meddlesomeness of politicians.
posted by hama7 at 3:31 PM on May 1, 2004


Doubt cast on Iraq torture photos
posted by sad_otter at 3:36 PM on May 1, 2004


Unless they had on of those Take-A-Picture-Every-Second things working (forgive me camera-philes, for I know not what it is called) that picture just didn't seem real.

Is is perhaps possible that these are captures from a videotape? They have been cropped or resized so it's hard to tell too much by their size, but they really do look more like video than any sort of still camera, digital or film. Small details (like hairs) are washed out by a strong video light and the background looks like a canvas covered transport truck (there are some sort of tie-downs on the floor) which doesn't seem likely to be a civilian vehicle.

I want them to be fakes as well, but wishing ain't gonna make it so.
Is there any decent justification for the fakes theory?
posted by milovoo at 3:37 PM on May 1, 2004


Damn it sad_otter! If you had posted that 5 seconds sooner...
posted by milovoo at 3:39 PM on May 1, 2004


despite the constraint carping and naysaying by seditious traitors like senator Kennedy

That's a serious accusation, calling an elected legislator 'seditious'. Justify it or admit your mistake.

Or are you embracing the fascist doctrine against questioning authority?
posted by Space Coyote at 4:13 PM on May 1, 2004


The Pictures That Lost The War

The British pictures show a hooded Iraqi aged between 18-20 on the floor of a military truck being brutalised. According to two squaddies who took part in the torture, but later blew the whistle, the Iraqi’s ordeal lasted eight hours and he was left with a broken jaw and missing teeth. He was bleeding and vomited when his captors threw him out of a speeding truck. No-one knows if he lived or died.

One of the British soldiers said: “Basically this guy was dying as he couldn’t take any more. An officer came down. It was ‘Get rid of him – I haven’t seen him’.” The other whistle-blower said he had witnessed a prisoner being beaten senseless by troops. “You could hear your mate’s boots hitting this lad’s spine ... One of the lads broke his wrist off a prisoner’s head. Another nearly broke his foot kicking him.”

According to the British soldiers, the military police have found a video of prisoners being thrown from a bridge, and a prisoner was allegedly beaten to death in custody by men from the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment. Although there is a debate about the veracity of the images, Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said that if the pictures were real, they were “appalling”. A Downing Street spokesman said Tony Blair expected “the highest standards of conduct from our forces in Iraq”. The UK’s most senior army officer, General Mike Jackson, said that if the allegations were true then those involved were “not fit to wear the Queen’s uniform”. The Defence Ministry is in crisis over the pictures as top brass know they ruin any hope of UK forces winning Iraqi hearts and minds.

posted by y2karl at 4:38 PM on May 1, 2004


The troops there believe that and have always believed that, and are embarrassed and dismayed, at the completion of their terms in Iraq and subsequent return to the U.S., to hear (most of) the media paint the situation as some kind of mistake, or that the battle is being lost, which it is definitely not.

the troops appeared to hama7 in a dream and told him so. it must be so!
posted by quonsar at 4:38 PM on May 1, 2004


to hear (most of) the media paint the situation as some kind of mistake, or that the battle is being lost, which it is definitely not.

So...the media should just be quiet and stop asking questions and reporting events then, to avoid offending returned soldiers?

I'm sure they're fine with that. It would, after all, reduce their workload to cut-and-pasting millitary press releases.

10 hour work-week for journalists, NOW!
posted by Jimbob at 5:20 PM on May 1, 2004


You know, just the other day I was wondering how we could f*ck up the occupation of Iraq any worse than we already have. Now this comes out.

I am beginning to worry that I have the magical power to change reality by thought alone.
posted by moonbiter at 6:12 PM on May 1, 2004


OTOH, these Brit photos really look fake.
posted by moonbiter at 6:13 PM on May 1, 2004


The Mirror's photos did look odd to me before I posted the link. It seemed strange that a thief in post-liberation Iraq would wear a Saddam-era flag on his shirt. And the refutations from "sources close to the army" quoted by sad_otter include specific details that sound convincing. (I hope they're not the same sources that convinced us Saddam could launch biological weapons at us within 45 minutes of putting his mind to it.)

On the other hand, the text of the Mirror's story rang true to me. And there have been detailed and specific allegations of torture by British troops in the past - as well as by US troops (More US torture here - these allegations seem almost trivial now that we've seen 'those' photos: I wonder what really went on in the earlier cases).

For example, Amnesty's 18 March 2004 report on Iraq says:

"Eight Iraqis arrested on 14 September by British soldiers from the British military base Camp Steven in Basra were reportedly tortured. The men all worked for a hotel in Basra where weapons were reported to have been found. Baha' al-Maliki, the hotel's receptionist, died in custody three days later; his body was reportedly severely bruised and covered in blood. Kefah Taha was admitted to hospital in critical condition, suffering renal failure and severe bruising."

I figured that, for those of us who've never been on the scene of this sort of thing, photos were almost bound to seem unreal. Who can understand the looks on the faces of Private Lynndie England and her fiancee Charles Graner? Now that picture looks photoshopped to me.

(By the way, thanks for linking to that astounding New Yorker story digaman. Truly astounding, and a testament to some of the best in American culture. If General Taguba can investigate such a scandal honestly within a few months of the events, and can flatly contradict an earlier investigation by another general, and if Seymour Hersh can report the story so fully then there's a hope for salvation for your country)

Before I posted, I thought "What could be the scenario in which these might be faked photos?" I couldn't think of a single scenario that was more believable than "Out of all the torture scenes in Iraq, someone was stupid enough to photograph this one".

It's true, the photos don't look genuine, but Occam's Razor tells us they are.
posted by iffley at 6:47 PM on May 1, 2004


BBC: Doubt cast on Iraq torture photos
posted by waldo at 6:53 PM on May 1, 2004


the level of denial here is amazing.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:19 PM on May 1, 2004 [1 favorite]


Considering how easy it is to create fake photos nowadays (the pros have always been able to pull it off), and recent examples of such fakes appearing in the mainstream press, one should have a healthy scepticism of such things.
posted by moonbiter at 7:49 PM on May 1, 2004



Who is my daddy?!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:52 PM on May 1, 2004


.5 of a second, gentlemen. Read 'em and weep.

That's how long it took me to figure out.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:10 PM on May 1, 2004


hengeman, it's just "doubt" at this point, so hold off on the jubilation. I remind you that you doubted the "This is What We Do to Looters" video, too, so don't get too excited about your tremendous fake-footage-spotting skillz.
posted by waldo at 8:12 PM on May 1, 2004


the level of denial here is amazing.

Which way?
posted by Cyrano at 8:20 PM on May 1, 2004




I still doubt that video, waldo.

Have there been any developments? Do we know their names? Have they been disciplined?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:33 PM on May 1, 2004


If they are fake: who faked them? If they were faked by people in the millitary, that's still not an ideal way to spend their time, is it?

Starts humming "Olivers Army".
posted by Jimbob at 12:42 AM on May 2, 2004


Maybe American soldiers faked them so they wouldn't be the only ones copping shit on this topic? ;)
posted by Onanist at 2:20 AM on May 2, 2004


hmmm......perhaps the fakers were right , closer examination of the arc of urine's light refractive properties reveal it to have the same level of consistency as evian water.

Indeed , what we may actually be seeing is the british 'hearts and minds' policy in action.

Its obvious to me now that this prisoner is merely being 'cooled down' by the troops after complaining of the heat .

In another photo , a soldier charitably helps the iraqi prisoner scratch an itch in his upper leg area with the butt of his rifle.

Of course , we've all seen 'the elephant man' and i'm sure this poor disfigured chap actually wanders around the souks and mosques with this thing on all the time you know , a kind of John-Al-Merrick.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:56 AM on May 2, 2004



I also note with mirth: the brand spanking new, ironed and starched hessian bag in the second photo.

Standard British issue? Lot's of 'em lying around Saddam's palaces maybe?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:29 AM on May 2, 2004


Uncanny hengeman: A little context for your doubt. The Mirror is a tabloid newspaper, akin in some ways to the New York Post. It has a left wing inclination and for a long time it was regarded as the ‘voice of the working classes.’

The Mirror has a long and proud history of reporting on foreign affairs. Indeed it is so well regarded largely for this area of expertise that in 2002 it was awarded the national newspaper of the year award by the British Press Awards.

If they are fake this is a huge fuck up for the Mirror’s team and one would expect to see this reflected in News International’s rival newspapers, in particular The Sun. Following the Mirror’s scoop The Sun is reporting the torture allegations itself.

The Prime Minster’s office at Number 10 Downing Street has failed to officially comment on these allegations, as has the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence. Briefings given to journalists this weekend indicate that these allegations are being taken seriously.

These are not the first photos of British troops torturing and degrading Iraqis that have surfaced. In fact, similar allegations were made and upheld this time last year. There is prescedent.

Quite frankly, given what The Mirror has at stake here I would be astounded if they’ve not done their homework here and ensured that these pictures are not fakes. There is going to be hell to pay at Prime Minister’s questions in Parliament next week over these photos. If they do turn out to be fake The Mirror will have done grave damage to a position to which to strongly adheres, that of the war and occupation being illegal and unjust.

You are of course welcome to your view, but as a professional who has worked in the field I would be astounded if these are in fact fake.

I would put it to you that insisting in the absence of meaningful corroboration that these photos are fake, is burying your head in the sand as to the realities of the human rights violations perpertuated by western troops in Iraq.
posted by dmt at 6:32 AM on May 2, 2004



dmt,

I wouldn't be surprised to find that these sort of acts are going on in Iraq at the present time. Witness the recent (not fake) photos of USA soldiers’ abuse of prisoners.

This thread is about - and I quote - British soldiers in new Iraq torture photos. All I am saying is that these photos are fake.

Nothing more, nothing less.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:47 AM on May 2, 2004


A Wistful Farewell to NPR's Minimalist

If you have never heard Edwards, it is a little hard to explain why so many of us have become devotees. He is a minimalist. He works hard to be unobtrusive. In a business where constant yakking is the norm and most hosts feel a need to dominate the dialogue, Edwards is different.

I could make a case that he is the most skilled questioner in the business, but there are other worthy candidates. What no one could dispute is that he is the most succinct...

posted by y2karl at 7:11 AM on May 2, 2004


Oh, man, now I know why that damn comment didn't show up in the right thread. I had two open--my bad.
posted by y2karl at 10:35 AM on May 2, 2004


from a British RAF navigator, who was imprisoned at that prison as a POW in '91 ... That was all 13 years ago in a different Iraq, and to be honest I expected that sort of treatment, I knew how brutal the regime could be and that I could expect no mercy once in its grasp.
But it is all meant to be over now. Last year America, with Britain at its side, went to war to put an end to such brutality. The Iraqi people are meant to be liberated from a regime that ignores the rules of war, that knows no bounds in its cruel, degrading treatment of prisoners. ...

posted by amberglow at 11:15 AM on May 2, 2004


Six British soldiers held over Iraqi torture photos

Military police are preparing to arrest six British soldiers they suspect of torturing and abusing Iraqi prisoners, The Telegraph has learnt. Six junior non-commissioned officers serving with the Queen's Lancashire Regiment are being questioned over claims that they systematically abused Iraqi civilians during a tour of duty last summer. They are expected to be formally arrested within the next 48 hours. The soldiers, being interrogated in Cyprus by members of the Royal Military Police's Special Investigation Branch, face court martial and may be imprisoned if found guilty of any assault charges.

...Piers Morgan, the Mirror editor, said he was "completely satisfied with the veracity of the photographs", adding: "We went to great lengths to check them out." He declined to say whether the paper had paid for the pictures, but he added: "Money was not the motivating factor. The motivating factor was a deepening sense of guilt about what [the soldiers] had been involved in, and a feeling that this would inevitably come out at some point."

posted by y2karl at 3:48 PM on May 2, 2004



That is an extremely misleading headline and article, y2karl.

It tries to make it out that the photos were the reason for the arrests. What rot.

The story could very well be true. Like I said above, wouldn't be surprised. But the photos that accompanied it are obviously fake, and I'm guessing they had naught to do with the arrests.

One senior officer, however, refused to rule out that the newspaper had become the victim of a hoax. "The pictures are clearly posed…"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You know how in some women's magazines, they might occasionally have a special 4 page story such as "my boyfriend was cheating on me for 5 years". And the story is surrounded by all these goofy photos, where paid boy and girl models act it all out for us!

That's what the photos remind me of. That and a poor man's Robert Mapplethorpe.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:31 PM on May 2, 2004


there are more photos being swapped by servicepeople, apparently.
posted by amberglow at 5:53 PM on May 2, 2004



Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the soldiers said: "Maybe the officers don't know what is going on - but everybody else does. I have seen literally hundreds of pictures."

Pity that all the ones The Daily Mirror used were fake.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:00 PM on May 2, 2004


Soldiers say pictures are 'tip of the iceberg'

After their initial claims last week, Mr Blair said any misconduct in British ranks was "exceptional" and limited to a handful of servicemen. But the two soldiers said the photographs were "just the tip off the iceberg". They claim troops serving in southern Iraq had swapped hundreds of pictures among themselves. The soldiers, who last night said they stood by "every single word of our story", insisted it was not a hoax and that the Army knew a lot more had happened. One told the Daily Mirror: "Maybe the officers don't know what is going on - but everyone else does. I have seen literally hundreds of pictures."

NASA - Numerous Anomalies And Scams Allowed

Now the picture shown on right is Camelot crater which is Station 5. Camelot crater is over 1 kilometer from the landing site in a totally OPPOSITE direction to Station 8, (which incidentally is over 4 Kms from Station 5). Low and behold that SAME curvature of light, but the crater has been obliterated in this shot. A classic example of shuffling the background imagery to try and create differing views. Tuttle did a poor job of blacking the sky in this picture. Look closely on a high resolution screen, and you will see traces of trees which surround the KSC testing ground within the blackness of space.
posted by y2karl at 6:21 PM on May 2, 2004


Pity that all the ones The Daily Mirror used were fake.
posted by y2karl at 6:28 PM on May 2, 2004



Classic, y2karl!!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:34 PM on May 2, 2004


Can I ask you y2karl, do you believe the 4 photos in the story linked at the start of this thread are the real McCoy?

That's all I have been talking about. Those 4 photos.

The layout and captions have us believe that the photos are of the incident the story describes.

I not only find that laughable, but I also believe that the photos aren't of ANY incident, let alone the one The Daily Mirror reports.

What do you think, y2karl?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:47 PM on May 2, 2004


you don't think someone is pissing all over someone else? (or that it's not a soldier/prisoner thing? (a kinky sex thing maybe?)
posted by amberglow at 7:00 PM on May 2, 2004


Sorry amberglow, that was badly written. It should say "the photos aren't of ANY incident in the recent Iraq conflict".
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:04 PM on May 2, 2004


I also note with mirth: the brand spanking new, ironed and starched hessian bag in the second photo.

Ironed and starched? You can tell this from looking at a picture? That suggests clairovoyance to me--or wishful thinking. I can't see a starched and ironed bag. The lighting is consistent with a flash to me. Claiming the t-shirt is silk, as I have seen elsewhere, is voodoo. Polyester can have a sheen and I see shiny t-shirts made of poly-cotton-rayon on people every day. They are cheaper than all cotton. The Iraqi flag in question predates Saddam.

Now it seems to me that, as noted by iffley above, according to the principle of Occam's razor--the logical explanation is the one which requires the fewest assumptions--your insistence they are certainly fake implies far more assumptions than saying they quite possibly could be fake--especially if the Mirror reaffirms their authentification and the soldiers who gave the Mirror the pictures stand by the their story.

If the photos are fake, who faked them, how were they faked, who had the means, the time and what was the motive? A conspiracy is required. That requires a far more complicated story than disgusted soldiers simply revealing inhumane treatment of prisoners by other soldiers.

So, I don't know if the pictures are the real McCoy but I do know that you don't know they are not. You've agreed there might be something to the story that Bristish troops tortured Iraqi prisoners, agreed that there might be other pictures of prisoners being tortured but on this one point you insist these pictures are fakes. You don't know this, you believe this. You keep insisting your belief is a fact. But's it not a fact yet. The question is still open.
posted by y2karl at 9:27 PM on May 2, 2004


You don't know this, you believe this. You keep insisting your belief is a fact. But's it not a fact yet. The question is still open.

I agree with you totally.

But I notice you have avoided my question.

What do you believe, y2karl? Do you believe them to be fake or not?

For the record: I believe them to be screamingly obviously fake.

(How much dirt and dust do you see in the back of a supposed army truck in the supposed Iraqi desert?. Hmmmm.)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:42 PM on May 2, 2004


Re-read my last sentence.
posted by y2karl at 9:53 PM on May 2, 2004



Re-read my last sentence.


I can read, y2karl.

You "don't know". How very coy.

Now how 'bout you re-read my question then:

What do you believe? What is your gut feeling? If you were a betting man, which way would you lean?

As far as I can tell, you seem to have your knickers in a knot only because I've got an opinion.

Shame on me.

And your opinion on the photos is...
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:13 PM on May 2, 2004



The first casualty of war is Occam's Razor.

;)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:10 PM on May 2, 2004


What do you believe, y2karl?

I don't know about karl, but what I do believe is that more cases of jail torture/abuse are coming out, there'll be at least some military trials (the situation is impossible to sweep under the rug at this point), most of the indicted low-level thugs will try the, ahem, I-was-following-orders defense (just read Hersh in the New Yorker, their lawyers are already screaming "orders from above"), hence it will get worse
the huge damage to the "bringing democracy to Iraq" (the only one still arguable after the non-discovery of the phantom wmd's that started the "war effort" in the first place) angle is done, and it is impossible to undo
let's just hope that Islam (1.3 billion people often living in appalling poverty, often angry at the West and already feeling humiliated) don't find a real Saladin in the near future (I mean somebody less ineffective than that old former-CIA-asset rich boy with bad kidneys and Marfan Syndrome who's scaring us shitless right now).
the moment the more disaffected and angry and poor section of Islam finds a real warrior leader, they'll strike back at the perceived-by-them Crusade (well, Bush helped them out when he gave the world that marvelous Freudian slip about all this being, and I quote, "a crusade")
and then, at least CNN will have something interesting to broadcast, for a change. not that we'll be there in front of the Tv to watch it for very long, but still
posted by matteo at 4:28 AM on May 3, 2004


oh, I forgot:

The interview also sounded ridiculously fake, and scripted out of some cowardly fantasy dreamt up by some patchouli-reeking, che-guevara-T-shirt-wearing, upper-middle-class bolshevik phony, not unlike someone suggesting shooting Americans. Again.


heh. even the Pentagon has dumped these thugs, admitting the torture and mistreatment. and some people here still speak out for them.
anyway, since you're a fan of all things Asian, maybe you'll get a nice kick out of this:

From Dower, John W. War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. New York: Pantheon, 1986.


``In 1944, the New York Times reported that a US serviceman had sent President Roosevelt a letter opener made from the bone of a dead Japanese soldier. Life magazine published a photograph of a woman standing next to a Japanese skull which her fiance had sent from the pacific, with the caption: Arizona war worker writes her Navy boy-friend a thank-you note for the Jap skull he sent her in the May 22, 1943 issue.''

``US soldiers routinely used Japanese skulls as ornaments on military vehicles and as war trophies, after the flesh was boiled in lye or left to be eaten by ants. On February l,l943, Life magazine published a famous photograph by Ralph Morse which showed the charred, open-mouthed, decapitated skull of a Japanese soldier killed by US Marines at Guadalcanal, which was placed on the tank. The caption read as follows: A Japanese soldiers skull is propped up on a burned-out Jap tank by U.S. troops.''

``The mutilation of Japanese dead for souvenirs or trophies was a popular activity among U.S. combatants during World War II. Skulls, noses, ears, teeth, and other portions of the Japanese anatomy were prized as symbols of victorious confrontations with an inhuman foe (no similar practices emerged in combat with the European Axis). If, as an American general observed, "killing a Japanese was like killing a rattlesnake," then it was not inappropriate to preserve as a token of the fatal encounter something analogous to the reptile's rattle or skin.''

``This was not an ambition that developed only in the course of long and brutalizing combat with a fanatical and ruthless enemy, but one American troops carried into the earliest counteroffensives against Japanese ground forces. Richard Tregaskis, in his classic Guadalcanal Diary, quotes Marines aboard a troop ship steaming toward the Solomon Islands: "They say the Japs have a lot of gold teeth. I'm going to make myself a necklace," and, "I'm going to bring back some Jap ears. Pickled," Many GIs did just that, to the extent that the importation of Japanese body parts by U.S. servicemen became a matter of concern to the U.S. Customs Service. The practice was widely reported in the American press, including The Washington Post and Life, and occasioned official anxiety, particularly on the part of the U.S. State Department, which feared Japanese retaliation against U.S. prisoners of war and civilian detainees. Nor did the practice find favor with some private citizens and religious groups. But trophy gathering at the expense of Japanese dead (and sometimes the living) proved impervious to efforts to halt it and persisted until the end of the war.''

posted by matteo at 4:50 AM on May 3, 2004


matteo: yuck. You mean we'll never change?
posted by dmt at 6:09 AM on May 3, 2004



What about the authenticity of the pictures, matteo? What do you believe?

Y'know what I mean...? The actual subject I’ve been talking about this whole thread. The question a lot of people are seemingly trying to avoid.

Do you think they are legit?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:11 AM on May 3, 2004


What is this daring us to have an opinion ? What are you trying to prove ? Your bravery in jumping to conclusions ? This has gotten to be more about your ego than the facts, uncanny hengeman.
posted by y2karl at 7:06 AM on May 3, 2004


While I appreciate the level-headedness and caution about putting forth an opinion, it is extremely hard to look at those pictures and take them seriously, isn't it? Especially when one looks at them next to the American photos. When you look at the US torture pics, you feel sick; that is not the case when you look at these ones. They look stilted and posed; there is no evidence of movement, actual injury, nudity, or identity (even if those last two would have been fuzzed or blacked out). Cyrano provided a nice list of specific questionables above.

So why would someone fake them? I guess it would be someone who wanted to make the british army look bad, or make the mission to iraq in particular look bad. There are plenty of people who feel affirmed when bad news like this comes out; it is going much farther to actually set up fake shots and send them in, but under a burst of adrenaline or testosterone, I can imagine someone thinking it worth doing. They could rationalize that mistreatment happens anyway and needs to be shown, or something.

And for the record, I'm not in favor of this war (I was on the fence about whether overthrowing saddam was a good idea, but I have thought from the start that bush has handled the matter incompetently).
posted by mdn at 8:07 AM on May 3, 2004


Y'know what I mean...? The actual subject I’ve been talking about this whole thread.

This has gotten to be more about your ego than the facts, uncanny hengeman.

Not really, when he's on topic and right.

The topic is not what happened during World War two and how much matteo despises the United States, (which to a slice of lukewarm luncheon meat should be ponderously, morbidly apparent), but the authenticity of these photographs. The uniforms are apparently bogus, weapons of that type were not issued for use in Iraq, and all signs are pointing to fake, so uncanny hengeman called it.
posted by hama7 at 8:33 AM on May 3, 2004



This has gotten to be more about your ego than the facts, uncanny hengeman.

Considering this is a thread specifically about "British soldiers in new Iraq torture photos", what facts about the photos am I neglecting, y2karl? What facts about the photos has my big ego got in the way of?

(I also note that you still avoid answering a very simple question. Do you think the photos are fake or not?)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:02 AM on May 3, 2004


I hope we beat valuable intelligence out of those fuckers.
posted by dfowler at 10:31 AM on May 3, 2004


dfowler
posted by mcgraw at 11:47 AM on May 3, 2004


Sometimes people ask me Do you believe in God or not ?

My answer is It's not an either/or choice, else what's the point in having the word agnostic in the common vocabulary ?
posted by y2karl at 12:02 PM on May 3, 2004



I asked it three different ways to try and get an answer out of you, and still you squirm!

I'll try the betting man angle again...

If I was a betting man, I would have to say those photos are fake.

Your turn now, y2karl.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:40 PM on May 3, 2004


I have answered you. Several times.
posted by y2karl at 1:53 PM on May 3, 2004


hengeman really, leave it, please. Like you my something doesn't look right here alarm went off when I saw those images, I even tried to explain the static looking action shots and even flash with an idea that perhaps they were stills from a video. Something is strange about them, yet scenes like this could be happening every day for all I know. I don't know for certain if they are real or faked, either way they are bad news.
posted by dabitch at 2:02 PM on May 3, 2004


Something is strange about them, yet scenes like this could be happening every day for all I know.

For about the 4th time now: I agree. But that's not the point and it's not what this thread is about. I've wound up in a quasi-political debate and I'm not sure how.

I specifically want to talk about those pictures because that is the title of this thread. If the thread had begun "British soldiers in new Iraq torture claims" then you wouldn't have heard a peep out of me.

I don't know for certain if they are real or faked, either way they are bad news.

I’m not sure what you’re getting at here, dabitch. If they are fake it should be bad news for The Mirror for being fools and/or liars to publish them.


y2karl, your continual evasiveness leads me to believe you know the photos are fake but can’t bring yourself to admit it.

;)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:17 PM on May 3, 2004


You don't know this, you believe this. You keep insisting your belief is a fact. But's it not a fact yet. The question is still open.

I agree with you totally.


In this, at least, we are in agreement.
posted by y2karl at 2:45 PM on May 3, 2004


The Guardian shows why the photos look fake, and the Mirror's sources respond.

The BBC summarises the responses with numbered graphics.

Anyone else starting to feel desensitized? Or is that numbness?
posted by iffley at 3:20 PM on May 3, 2004



I'm starting to feel numb to the fact that these photos are clearly staged, yet a bafflingly large number of Mefites seem to be excusing The Mirror because "they are probably staged photos of what really happens anyway."
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:30 PM on May 4, 2004


has anyone actually said that, uncanny hengenman? It seems like a few people on this thread are unwilling to declare the photos staged, preferring to remain agnostic about it. A lot of the early posters to this thread agreed they looked fake.

My opinion on agnosticism is generally innocent until proven guilty - don't believe the claim until good evidence for it is presented. These pics are not good evidence. If they were offered in a trial, I would acquit. But some people like to remain in the "maybe" territory - there's more suspicion than if no pics had been presented at all.
posted by mdn at 7:54 PM on May 4, 2004


has anyone actually said that, uncanny hengenman?


Here is stavrosthewonderchicken dismissing The Mirror photos and changing the subject to "the big picture":

What are you, 12? "Here" is a fuck of a lot bigger than a shitty-ass Mirror.co.uk link.

Wait! Can I call 'newsfilter' and erase the whole thing, no matter if it's right or wrong, or fabricated, or not? If those pics are fake, does that somehow make the real ones of American forces (and mercs) doing evil invalid?



Here is a truly amzing statement from kaemaril:

Fake or not, they're not good news.


Here’s stavrosthewonderchicken again, saying something even worse:

Whether these linked ones are dodgy or not (was my point) is immaterial. That the kind of shit that is pictured in them (either real of faked) is actually happening is inarguable, thanks to the the other images revealed recently.


And again, in the same post:

I merely say what I think, based on what I know and see and believe.

Yep, just like how the editors of The Mirror believed it happened, so they published fake photos along with the story.


digiman:

My point was that whether the Mirror photos are faked or not, what they depict has been documented as happening in Abu Ghraib.


jonmc:

Yeah, but the American ones are real.


I’ll think I’ll leave it at that, mdn. And I’m not even half way thru the comments yet.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:16 PM on May 4, 2004


Hmm. Also.
posted by moonbiter at 5:00 PM on May 13, 2004


Fake abuse photos: Editor quits
posted by sad_otter at 11:21 AM on May 14, 2004


Gotta to hand it to uncanny hengeman who called this right from the start.

Kudos to you both for not starting a new FPP on the subject while this one's still open.

The question is, I suppose, where now for Piers. I must confess that I was staggered that he held on through slicker-gate but surely this is in the end for his print media career?

I’m betting that he goes off, Andrew Neil stylee, to concentrate on his embryonic career as a minor television celeb,

On a side note while we're talking about the Mirror; yay to the House of Lords. Finally, something approximating a privacy law. Only about 15 years late but how terribly, terribly British of US...
posted by dmt at 3:54 PM on May 14, 2004



Who is my daddy?

;)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:36 PM on May 14, 2004


Looks like I need to sharpen my Occam's razor . . .
posted by iffley at 5:15 AM on May 15, 2004


That said, I hope the faked photos bring our attention to the allegations against British forces in Amnesty's recent report, and these ones (a year old and still not resolved), and these.
posted by iffley at 7:39 AM on May 15, 2004


From whence did theses fake pictures appear? Who made them and why?
posted by asok at 11:36 AM on May 17, 2004


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