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Troops throw down a weapon?
June 20, 2005 4:34 PM   Subscribe

A throw down? [Warning link to extremely graphic images of dead bodies, some nudity] Did US troops plant weapons on young boys after killing the boys? Currently, being discussed here, but it might be missed without coming here to the front page. Via insomnia_lj
posted by caddis (197 comments total)

 
Also see the ongoing discussion here.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:37 PM on June 20, 2005


I have looked at the photos. They prove what exactly? That soldiers moved weapons near the corpses. I am not a veteran but it is my understanding from talking to veterans that this has been going on since at least WW II (probably longer). After enemy troops are killed sometimes weapons found in their vehicle or in an area they were defending are placed alongside them for a "trophy" photo.

Now you can debate whether or not that is a civilized thing to do but it is definitely not "planting" them.

Your endless self-promotion on Metafilter (even going so far to post an Ask Metafilter question on your photos, where you went out of your way to mention your association with "Sy" as you called him) is crass, especially given that the photos do not live up to the hype you have created, nevermind they fail spectacularly to prove that anything was planted.

Oh, one other thing. It may surprise you to learn that there are actual journalists who are Metafilter members. One in particular I am thinking of is a freelance journalist who broke a story in 2004 that was reported on the front page of the Washington Post and credited to him.

I have observed this journalist Mefite make comments to posts that involve his area of expertise YET HE NEVER USES IT AS A CRASS SELF-PROMOTION VEHICLE. In fact, he has not even mentioned his occupation or area of specialty as far as I know.

I am thinking you could learn something from him.
posted by mlis at 4:38 PM on June 20, 2005


A close examination of the weapons shows that the same three (or in one case two) weapons are posed with as if dropped from the hands of two different dead "insurgents", and then with one live "insurgent".

Same weapons with the same scratches discolorations and dents dropped by three different guys in three different places, or an attempted frame-up to make it look like more weapons were captured and that more of the dead were "insurgents"?

Or are those weapons just like the WMDs, only there long enough to justify a war?

(A repost of my own comment, from the discussion caddis linked (and tddl linked again).)
posted by orthogonality at 4:39 PM on June 20, 2005


a bunch of words
posted by MLIS at 4:38 PM PST on June 20


Take it to MeTa or flag it and move on.

I think that if this sort of thing has been going on for decades then perhaps we would see it more often. It's hardly productive to scream DON'T WORRY THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME PLEASE IGNORE THE DEAD CHILDREN; instead, let's ask what happened, why, and exactly whose weapons are those? War is hellish enough without giving soldiers carte blanche to do whatever the fuck they want without even cursory oversight.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:46 PM on June 20, 2005


I have a more simple question, mentioned in the previous thread...

I'm fairly certain I've seen these photos already, perhaps only the ones containing the weapons, probably several months ago. Have the weapons-only versions already been passed around?

As to dios' comments in the other discussion, which I'll continue here in this more appropriate thread...

1. All the weapons are the same. This makes it impossible to assume that "insurgents" placed the weapons, since they could not have placed all of them at once...as each picture uses identical weapons.
2. In addition to point 1, this means that the americans were moving the weapons around. Okay, so that's a fact... now, were they:
3. Placing weapons already confiscated from another location, a "hideout" or other place? This wouldn't make sense, why place the same weapons in all the different pictures? Explanation? Stupidity... assuming the photos would look "cooler" for their buddies. This is the same thing at work in the lesser evil abu gharib photos of bodies stacked in pyramids. Sure, there's "no reason" for them to do that... that doesn't matter, they still did it.
4. Why are the children dressed like children, instead of "insurgents"? Did they just not have time to dress up fully before going out the door carrying their single RPG that they'd each share? Or did they just dress as if they were going out for a game of soccer to throw off "our troops"
posted by odinsdream at 4:52 PM on June 20, 2005


I agree with MLIS (the first part, I don't understand the other point he is making).

This has been going on forever in war-- weapons are placed in the hands of those who may not have fired them. There is no clear proof that that is what happened here, but I would guess that it is the case. But, again, there is no 'proof' so I don't think this will become a major story or anything like that.

It is still a brutal reminder of what war can do to innocent people.
posted by chaz at 4:53 PM on June 20, 2005


I think it's important to note that every time we hear the US military brag about how many "insurgents" they killed, that we show whatever proof we have that their claims are not always truthful.

If scAmerica would spend half as much money helping these people as we are spending to bomb and kill them, the war would have been over last year.
posted by rougy at 4:57 PM on June 20, 2005


"I have looked at the photos. They prove what exactly?"

They indicate that U.S. soldiers placed weapons in front of and photographed Iraqi teenagers. As for the reason they did this, that cannot be determined strictly based on the photographs.

That said, they raise an important issue that should be investigated if those apprehended are to receive a fair trial one day, wouldn't you think?!

As for my supposed motives of crass self-promotion, I didn't make the post. I did, however, request that someone else do it if they felt so inclined. I also haven't made a similar post on my own journal, because I don't feel it would be appropriate, and I don't want to invite the flamewar into my personal space. I *LIKE* having a journal which is both reasonably well-read, and yet personal.

If I wanted a ton of readers, I would get my own domain and use a more advanced blogging app, and then mirror it to LiveJournal... but I don't want to kill my journal's community.

It should also be pointed out that I didn't do what one MeFi member suggested to me in an email, which was to get an agent for the pictures and sell them to the highest bidder.

I put these pictures out there because a person I know who works in Iraq and risks their life on a daily basis *ASKED ME TO*. They felt it was shocking and important, and I agree with them. The matter clearly needs to be investigated. I did promote them, but not for my own personal gratification. These pictures are more important than my ego, frankly, and I do not want the work I do with soldiers to be tainted or in any way connected with this matter.

The pictures are out there now because they should be out there. It's one of the few real things we've seen of the terrible uncertainty of this war so far. At best, we're fighting kids. At worst, we're killing, maiming, and imprisoning innocent civilians, and framing them as the enemy.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:01 PM on June 20, 2005


yeah but they don't prove anything so what's your point, insomnia stop promoting yourself and SHUT UP! SHUT UP!
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:05 PM on June 20, 2005


chaz, so... because it's happened before.. it's okay? Or it should be ignored? Or we should put it on the front page of all the papers with the headline "SOLDIERS MISTAKE SOCCER CAMP FOR TERRORIST CAMP; NOT A BIG DEAL, WAR IS CONFUSING" ?

What exactly is your position, besides "yes, this happened before." ?

Moreover, why is the very fact that all the pictures show the -Same Identical Weapons- ... not clear proof that the weapons were placed?
posted by odinsdream at 5:06 PM on June 20, 2005


Also see the ongoing discussion here.

See that Currently, being discussed here four spaces above your comment ?
Um... same link, no ?
posted by y2karl at 5:06 PM on June 20, 2005


MLIS, I think you are misdirecting your ire. The photos and story are not from caddis directly, he just posted the FPP. Take it up with insomnia_lj or in Metatalk.

That being said, IMO, Hersh most likely backed-off this report for the same reasons that you mention. While terrible and troubling, I don't think there is enough evidence presented in the photos to make a credible claim for the weapons' plant.

Aside from that, the pictures are still horrible. The children do not look like insurgents. While not looking at them that closely (I just can't), I would imagine that anyone carrying the type of weapons in the pictures (or at least having access to them) would not walk around, in a US patrolled zone, wearing nothing but shorts and t-shirts.

My gut reaction is sadness over the death of what appears to be poor, defenceless children. My practical reaction is that I wish there was more evidence to prove that this story is true so that those responsible would pay for what they've done.
posted by purephase at 5:06 PM on June 20, 2005


I'm not as shocked as the poster promised during his hyping sessions last week.

Very weak sensationalism. Try harder next time.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:06 PM on June 20, 2005


I fail to see what these pictures "prove." We have no idea what the situation was leading up to the pictures, other than a story from a "friend of a friend." I'm no fan of the Iraq war, but for all we know, the kids were playing soccer, saw the americans and ran for their hidden weapon.

...and not to be crass, but there is a conspicuous lack of exit wounds for people killed by automatic high-caliber weapons.

I'm all for outrage about the war and the generally unpalatable job our military is doing there, but without a reliable narrative, it's hard to point a finger at anybody over these photos.
posted by fatbobsmith at 5:11 PM on June 20, 2005


"War is hellish enough without giving soldiers carte blanche to do whatever the fuck they want without even cursory oversight.
posted by Optimus Chyme"

Because it's all the soldiers fault of course.
It's not what you insinuated Optimus Chyme, but there is this mindset that somehow 'the troops" while they must be unquestionably supported, but also be unquestionably to blame for all the goings on.
It's one of the hazards of putting your life in the hands of politicians of course.

"The matter clearly needs to be investigated. "
Unquestionably, insomnia_lj. If that investigation reveals we are haphazardly killing civilians and framing them - while it's clear what interest it serves - I'm frustrated to think that we'll get another England out of it and the non-coms will again take it right in the ass for the policy makers.
I'm not justifying the ground pounders' complicity of course.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:13 PM on June 20, 2005


See that Currently, being discussed here four spaces above your comment ?
Um... same link, no ?


I believe that was added by Matt or Jessamyn and was not part of the original FPP. The original (to my memory) was just the first part. I could be wrong and if so I stand corrected and please feel free to tag/delete. I was simply trying to do a public service and cross-reference the dialogues.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 5:13 PM on June 20, 2005


Very weak sensationalism

Ah, the "Shit Happens" defense, I see.

Actually I agree to some extent, and realize that the soldiers who waxed these guys (if the hajis were indeed just playing soccer in a combat zone) are partially victims of circumstance too.

That's why I was against this intervention going in. The Big Green Machine is a very blunt instrument, and we should only employ it when necessary for national security (and no, pumping up the Oval Office's 'War President' creds, polarizing the nation about the nature of the WOT, etc etc etc are not sufficient rationales. But oh well.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:19 PM on June 20, 2005


Purephase: Yes, good point. My above rant is a re-post from the other discussion taking place about the photos and is intended for insomnia_lj not caddis.
posted by mlis at 5:22 PM on June 20, 2005


"I'm not as shocked as the poster promised during his hyping sessions last week."

I released photos that were exactly as I described them.

That said, given that you're former military and you admitted to training in waterboarding and to routine beatings and humiliation tactics, obviously you shouldn't be shocked, no.

It's just business as usual, even if the military officially doesn't want to admit to it... your fellow taxpayers, however, may feel somewhat differently about the issue.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:24 PM on June 20, 2005


Heywood Mogroot writes "yeah but they don't prove anything so what's your point" - potkettle muchly?

The taking of the photos, while offensive on the one hand to the deceased persons, don't of themselves constitute any great crime or sensation or headline story. The great offense would be the photographers/killers/higher-ups seeking to trade on mock-ups of the purported events surrounding the deaths.

insomnia_lj I would contact your friend in Iraq (if possible) and find out what happened with the photos - without that, they are disturbing images but little else.
posted by peacay at 5:30 PM on June 20, 2005


I was simply trying to do a public service and cross-reference the dialogues.

Understood. If it was added after your comment, well, another argument for marking edits. As well as, in this case, questioning the need.
posted by y2karl at 5:32 PM on June 20, 2005


The way the bodies are placed is nothing special, if you've ever spent time running through plain automobile accident photographs you can find all sorts of strange and odd looking positions. People don't pose themselves nicely like in movies.

As for the clothing the boys are wearing, that's probably the answer: they were couriers. Militia groups use them to smuggle weapons because they're less likely to get picked and searched, and it's all they're really good for because at that age they're often no use in combat.

And the arrangement of the weapons is also pretty simple to explain. Photos for the military serve a different purpose then for crime scene investigation with the police. Soldiers take photos of the group with the weapons unifying the roll. It would be exceedingly unlikely the soldiers carry around a set of live weapons in their Humvee, ready to drop in case something goes wrong.

My guess is the kids were carrying the weapons when they were surprised. They might have tried to fight, or more likely they turned around with the weapons in sheer reaction and got killed.

Now, all of this is just an educated guess of mine based on two fellows I know who served in northern Iraq and several other veterans I have in my family. However, like the photos, it means diddley squat without some more checking because for all we know it could have been a targeted killing to send a message to the enemy. What this piece needs is more investigation, which is pathetically lacking in the US military and government at the moment.
posted by Vaska at 5:35 PM on June 20, 2005


Try harder next time.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:06 PM PST on June 20


Yeah, maybe you could force U.S. soldiers to execute children and then dress them in "Osama Is My Main Man!" t-shirts. Look, the pictures are what they are. I fail to see how someone needs to "try harder" at sensationalism.

It's not what you insinuated Optimus Chyme, but there is this mindset that somehow 'the troops" while they must be unquestionably supported, but also be unquestionably to blame for all the goings on.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:13 PM PST on June 20


I didn't say that the soldiers involved definitely commited a war crime, nor did I say that this was evidence that they did. I merely noted that it's in the best interests of everyone - the soliders in Iraq and the defenseless at home and abroad - to have a professional military that completes its objectives without needlessly slaughtering innocents, or appearing to do so. These photographs warrant an investigation or explanation.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:35 PM on June 20, 2005


Shit does happen, Heywood. It happens all the time, even in combat zones. You know what I do when there's an insurgency in my neighborhood? I stay indoors. I stay very clear of dangerous areas. That's what I do.

I can neither condone, defend, blame, accuse or indict. I wasn't there.

What I can do is point out the amount of snivelling Mr. insomnia_lj has subjected us to. Don't ever plan a caper with him, because he's the guy who can't wait to blab about the money he stole from the armored car. This nervous nellie was the first in line to rat out the perpetrators of the old trash can full of water on top of the classroom door trick. Yes, he's that guy. He cannnot wait to make himself look interesting.

This is the same guy who has spent the the past couple of weeks pumping himself up over the bodies of dead kids. Next thing you know he'll be thumping his chest at the weekly wine cooler party telling his buddies that "I was the one, dudes, I was the one."

Do I have any issue with this so-called release party? No. Do I have a problem with the pictures? Nope. Seen hundreds. All the way back to my favorite: Eddie and The Cruisers. You've probably seen it. My problem is with people who try and enlarge themselves at the expense of others If they don't screw you over by accident, they'll do it on purpose.

I'll stick to porn.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:36 PM on June 20, 2005


I can neither condone, defend, blame, accuse or indict. I wasn't there.

But you do minimize and go ad-hom on the messenger.

You're a very odd person, jsavimbi. What I see insomnia doing is being a good example of an American citizen... that "my country, right or wrong... when right to be kept right, when wrong to be put right" stuff.

I understand your implied argument that the job of a US serviceman is really difficult and largely thankless, and nobody who hasn't been in that situation should pass judgement on their actions in combat.

But I believe we're a better country for those who seek truth and do not countenance dissembling and lies.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:45 PM on June 20, 2005


odinsdream, I do not excuse actions because they have happened before. I only mentioned that as a counterpoint to the idea that this is something worthy of sensationalism. Combined with the fact that the photos on their own don't prove anything specific, I am just saying don't get too worked up-- I don't mean in a personal, moral sense, but rather in a "let's change people's minds about war sense". I am just saying that these particular photographs, while gruesome and sad (for the dead boys, their families and the soldiers who killed them) are not going to shake the earth.

The "they were couriers" argument does not hold water to me (too many easy holes), and neither does the "don't go outside if you don't want to die" idiocy. But, the fact is, we do not know what happened, we can only be apalled that some children died, and that some soldiers have to live with that.
posted by chaz at 5:46 PM on June 20, 2005


Chaz : I'd like to state my 'couriers' comment was pure guess based on what's on a series of photos and nothing more. I wouldn't even begin to try and argue that idea seriously. There's simply not enough evidence to make a case in any direction.
posted by Vaska at 5:56 PM on June 20, 2005


"Don't ever plan a caper with him, because he's the guy who can't wait to blab about the money he stole from the armored car."

So, I'm a snitch, a "nervous nellie" and a "rat"? But what about you, as a former Marine? What of your values?

A Marine is honorable. A U.S. Marine must never lie, never cheat, never steal, but much more is required. Each Marine must cling to an uncompromising code of personal integrity, accountable for his actions and holding others accountable for theirs.

A U.S. Marine shows courage, and courage is moral strength, the will to heed the inner voice of conscience, and the will to do what is right regardless of the conduct of others. It is mental discipline, an adherence to a higher standard.

A U.S. Marine also shows commitment, which is not only a dedication to Corps and Country, but a relentless dedication to excellence. Marines never give up, never give in, and never willingly accept second best. Excellence is always the goal.

You also swore an oath to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution... but waterboarding and beatings are somehow okay in your book, as is planting evidence.

You, jsavimbi, are the only ex-Marine that I know.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:00 PM on June 20, 2005


Here comes the helicopter -- second time today
Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away
How many kids they've murdered only God can say
If I had a rocket launcher...I'd make somebody pay

I don't believe in guarded borders and I don't believe in hate
I don't believe in generals or their stinking torture states
And when I talk with the survivors of things too sickening to relate
If I had a rocket launcher...I would retaliate
...
I want to raise every voice -- at least I've got to try
Every time I think about it water rises to my eyes.
Situation desperate, echoes of the victims cry
If I had a rocket launcher...Some son of a bitch would die


I'm not drawing parallels between the Sunni Arab revisionists and 1980s-era resistance in Central America, but the song does sorta kinda fit, in illustrating the cycle of violence dynamic.

That the main military spokesman in Baghdad just said for every haji fighter we kill we create 3 more is significant here, and I'd say for every innocent bystander we wax we create 10-30 more insurgents.

What a clusterfuck. WE WARNED YOU.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:00 PM on June 20, 2005


I blame my parents for my oddness. Ask 'em.

I'm not minimizing anything. My comments about "try harder" and "weak sensationalism" were not brought about by the content of the pictures. Those pictures are obviously obscene. Nobody's child deserves to go out like that.

What brought them about, and please correct me if I'm offbase here, is insomnia_lj's attitude towards his own self-righteousness.

Go back with me for a second to last week's discussion: http://ask.metafilter.com/mefi/19907

And then, as now, I called him out on it:

Just send out one email to five of us, and dissemination will happen at light speed.

Unless you're trying to get something out of it...??
posted by jsavimbi at 10:39 AM PST on June 14 [!]


He could've done this months ago, but he wanted to see if he could make a buck first.

He could've easily done this last week. But no, too late in the week for a big audience. Let's try Monday instead. That'll get the ball rolling, for sure.

Should we post the pictures as is, or should we write some sort of discussion primer to accompany the photos? Not only will this exculpate me from direct contact (third party pics with borrowed bandwidth), but someone will see the genius in my arguments and I'll get noticed. Because that's what we're all about here: getting noticed. Without responsibility and a nice disclaimer, of course. I'm halfway surprised there wasn't a midi file attached to that page.

At the end of the day, the result is the same. Here we have a carny touting us into the tent to see pictures of dead and maimed kids.

Draw your own moral conclusions.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:04 PM on June 20, 2005


And while we're on the subject, why are you so intent to attack my moral character anyway, when the pictures obviously came to me from someone else... someone more closely connected to the soldiers in question.

For them, passing the pictures on to me and saying "Get these out there. People have got to know what happened." was a far harder, more serious moral choice than the one I made.

If you want to call them a snitch, a nervous nellie, and a rat, while not thinking that an investigation into this matter is warranted, fine... but keep in mind that they just might be a Marine, and that they may have acted in accordance to that higher standard of behavior that you so obviously don't adhere to.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:07 PM on June 20, 2005


thedevildancedlightly writes "I believe that was added by Matt or Jessamyn and was not part of the original FPP"

Jessamyn indicates when she edits. Saw her do it, again, a couple times just today.
posted by orthogonality at 6:09 PM on June 20, 2005


My guess is the kids were carrying the weapons when they were surprised

There is apparently only one weapon in these pictures.

While it is entirely possible that the hajis were in fact hostile (after all the reward for a successful attack on us is like a month's wages or something), from the absolute lack of military equipment on anyone -- other than the single RPG and parts that had been apparently planted in all of the various pictures), from my vantage point the evidence, such as it is, points to an accident and intentional cover-up.

We've killed from 15,000 to 100,000+ civilians accidentally so far, so this judgement should not be controversial.

But this is a very snap judgement, and I haven't been any closer to Iraq than Central Japan in my life, so what I think isn't worth spit wrt probitive value.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:09 PM on June 20, 2005


4. Why are the children dressed like children, instead of "insurgents"? Did they just not have time to dress up fully before going out the door carrying their single RPG that they'd each share? Or did they just dress as if they were going out for a game of soccer to throw off "our troops"

OK, I didn't even click on the link, but come on, this is stupid. Why aren't they dressed as "insurgents?" Isn't that kind of the whole point of an insurgency? That there is no uniform; that the enemies look just like everyone else? I mean, I think the whole war was a stupid idea for exactly this reason, but I hardly think it's beyond imagination that someone might dress in innocent-looking clothing while working for the insurgency.
posted by designbot at 6:10 PM on June 20, 2005


designbot, please view the pictures before talking about them. It's really not much to ask.
posted by odinsdream at 6:11 PM on June 20, 2005


This is the same guy who has spent the the past couple of weeks pumping himself up over the bodies of dead kids. Next thing you know he'll be thumping his chest at the weekly wine cooler party telling his buddies that "I was the one, dudes, I was the one."

posted by jsavimbi at 5:36 PM PST on June 20


Jesus Christ, who fucking cares? Why do you need this thread to be about caddis or insomnia, and not these horrific photographs?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:12 PM on June 20, 2005


insomnia_lj writes "why are you so intent to attack my moral character anyway, when the pictures obviously came to me from someone else... someone more closely connected to the soldiers in question."

You got the pictures fom dios!?!
posted by orthogonality at 6:13 PM on June 20, 2005


Jessamyn indicates when she edits. Saw her do it, again, a couple times just today.

Okay, if I'm wrong then I apologize and please flag and move on with life. When I first opened the thread I didn't see a cross-link. If it existed and I didn't see it then I apologize and stand corrected. Unfortunately I don't have a "MeFi 20 minutes ago" machine so I can't verify either way.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 6:18 PM on June 20, 2005


I believe that was added by Matt or Jessamyn and was not part of the original FPP. The original (to my memory) was just the first part. I could be wrong and if so I stand corrected and please feel free to tag/delete. I was simply trying to do a public service and cross-reference the dialogues.

The post remains the same as when I posted it.
posted by caddis at 6:22 PM on June 20, 2005


Insomnia has drama-queened himself into this, ok. I believe he's thoroughly enjoying this whole experience. He'll need a new bedspread by the end of the week.

If you'd seen a couple hundred of these pictures, you'd understand where I'm coming from. I'm not playing down the personal tragedies of either the victims or the perpertrators. It's sad that humans can't drive past a car accident without rubbernecking. But we're humans, so we do it anyways. In a war zone, soldiers take pictures of dead bodies and trade them. It's disgusting, I know, but it's part of the morbid fascination of seeing something gruesome happen to another person.

Now, insomnia can keep up his denial that he was looking for attention. That's fine. He can pour me a big ol' glass of Marine Corps koolaid if he wants to. I never liked the flavor, to tell you the truth. After all, why did we need armories, armed guards and a brig on every base. What? We couldn't be trusted with weapons and ammo? Do Marines actually go out and break the law? Heavens to Betsy. Please say it in't so. I kept wondering why a padlock was one of the first things issued to me. Funny.

Yeah, um, so much for honesty and integrity. They feed that crap to recruit's parents to soften the blow that little Jimmy is off to be trained how to kill people and not react too bad to it. They never taught me any other skills.

So, I'm not buying this whole thing about him doing the rest of us a favor. I'M NOT BUYING IT. If there was actually anything Abu-Ghrabby about them, Toonces never would've gotten a chance to scoop them.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:29 PM on June 20, 2005


Why do you need this thread to be about caddis or insomnia, and not these horrific photographs?

Indeed. Is this an unconscious defense mechanism, or something more overt? I really don't understand these people.

That there is no uniform; that the enemies look just like everyone else?

The pictures I've seen of waxed insurgents in eg. Fallujah show them with bandoliers, rifles, and other accoutrements of war.

These guys have nothing but a suspiciously placed RPG launcher.

Pretty good test of one's inner morality and to what degree one "supports" our military.

CYA effort, or our soldiers making trophy photos of dead hajis for themselves. Neither case is that creditable to our professionalism, but the importance, should the former be the truth, is rather large. Justice is justice, and people sending our troops into clusterfucks like Iraq SHOULD be required to understand the situations we placed our troops in and the consequences our soldiers have to live with.

I consider Iraq just another line of bullshit warmongering each Republican administration engages in, from Grenada to Panama and now Iraq. Maybe someday we'll learn the plot.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:31 PM on June 20, 2005


"Just send out one email to five of us, and dissemination will happen at light speed. Unless you're trying to get something out of it...??"

But I did want to get something out of it. Free bandwidth and greater exposure for what I thought was an important issue. That's what cryptome.org gave me.

As for me trying to seek money, let me say this once. I *NEVER* sought out any financial benefit from these pictures, and I refused to let the one person who offered to find a buyer for the pictures for me do so. If anyone needs any proof of this, I can show you the email that addresses this matter, so long as all identifying informaton of who emailed me is stripped out first.

"He could've easily done this last week. But no, too late in the week for a big audience. Let's try Monday instead. That'll get the ball rolling, for sure."

Then why was the picture released on Cryptome this weekend? Not that it would be unjustified for me to release it in such a way as to get greater exposure on this issue. I don't deny wanting the pictures to have significant, meaningful exposure, even if I chose not to discuss them on my 'blog. I will gladly promote and discuss them elsewhere, so long as it brings the issue to light and leads to a serious investigation into the matter.

"Should we post the pictures as is, or should we write some sort of discussion primer to accompany the photos?"

The text used was pretty much verbatim of what my email was to the founder of Cryptome.org, with a few things removed per my request. Frankly, I wish I had designed the entire page myself, because it could badly use some work in the layout and editing department. (Way too long, way too disorganized, with too many big pictures laid out in a way that doesn't show the planting of weapons into the photos as clearly as I think it should have.)

But hey, this post isn't about me. It's about the pictures. What do you think should be done now that they are out there?
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:33 PM on June 20, 2005


What do you think should be done now that they are out there?

Attack! Smear! Minimize! Misrepresent ("guns" -- that was a clever one)! Categorically Reject!

Did I miss anyone?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:42 PM on June 20, 2005


insomnia, is there any other information about these pictures forthcoming? Why haven't they been given to some form of authority for investigation?
posted by shmegegge at 6:43 PM on June 20, 2005


Questioning the motives of the poster (I mean insomnia_lj) seems to me to be just a way to distract from the power of the pictures themselves, and bullshit.
posted by caddis at 6:44 PM on June 20, 2005


Misrepresent ("guns" -- that was a clever one)!

Make straw men! Intentionally misconstrue other people's postings! Be pedantic about the differences in language between "gun" and "RPG" for no reason other than to score political points!
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 6:45 PM on June 20, 2005


This nervous nellie was the first in line to rat out the perpetrators of the old trash can full of water on top of the classroom door trick.

Wow. This is the stupidest analogy I think I've ever seen.
posted by dobbs at 6:55 PM on June 20, 2005


I'm not as much questioning the motives of the poster as the method:

Too much pre-hype: Big hat, no cattle.

Shady pseudo-anonimity: If you're in for a dime, you're in for a dollar. Make a decision here.

Underage exploitation: The least, the least you could've done was to blur out that kid's johnson. I'm going to wag the kiddie-porn finger at you.

Feigned confusion: What should we do now, people?

Don't "we" me, I'm not french. You've had this thing concocted for awhile. You're just trying to be sneaky. Just man up, sir. Put your pants on, post the pictures under your own name, and let the world know of your outrage. There'll be a lot more people with you if you're perceived to be honest.

Unfortunately, if you can't pass scrutiny with an amateur like myself, I seriously doubt you'll make it in a serious forum.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:57 PM on June 20, 2005


No straw required. Your post about "guns" was a misrepresentation of the pictures, tddl.

It wasn't the difference between 'gun' and 'RPG', it was the use of the plural guns here. HTH.

I am not attempting to score political points (red herring flambé any one?), I was just characterizing your side's reactions thus far to this fpp.

While there were multiple RPG munitions present, there was, apparently, this is indeed arguable, only one weapon, moved into each picture.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:59 PM on June 20, 2005


Underage exploitation: The least, the least you could've done was to blur out that kid's johnson. I'm going to wag the kiddie-porn finger at you.

So, you know pornography when you see it, do you? You sick fuck.
posted by interrobang at 7:02 PM on June 20, 2005


Keep beating that drum, jsavimbi. That's all you guys are going to have for the next 3+ years, character assassination, denial, and obfuscation. It may have worked for the last election cycle, but I believe Lincoln had a saying apropos here.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:03 PM on June 20, 2005


The least, the least you could've done was to blur out that kid's johnson. I'm going to wag the kiddie-porn finger at you.

*jsavimbi self pleasures to the sight of a dead kid's weenie
posted by caddis at 7:10 PM on June 20, 2005


Indeed. Is this an unconscious defense mechanism, or something more overt? I really don't understand these people.

Ugh. Please spare us the armchair psychologist routine, k?

Don't "we" me, I'm not french.

Huh? WTF is that supposed to mean? Not funny.

Questioning the motives of the poster (I mean insomnia_lj) seems to me to be just a way to distract from the power of the pictures themselves, and bullshit.

I call bullshit. Someone who has done as much as insomnia_lj has to call attention to himself in the run-up to this post deserves to have his motivations examined.

Also, what "power"? Crytopme, Ogreish and the AP Photo database (accessible through subscription or some public libraries) all have pictures of dead children and the devastation in Iraq. They are all powerful and the images I have scene through those sources do not prove US military personnel executed teenagers and planted weapons nearby either.
posted by mlis at 7:11 PM on June 20, 2005


it's hard to point a finger at anybody over these photos

It's not hard at all. I point right at the top. This is why Bush lied us into war. For dead teens.

My above rant is a re-post from the other discussion taking place about the photos

Lame.

He'll need a new bedspread by the end of the week.

The last words of jsavimbi that I will ever pay attention to.

posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:15 PM on June 20, 2005


jsavimbi, let's assume insomnia_lj (by the way, his real name is on the photo page, there is no pseudo-anonymity here, just so you know) is a convicted murderer. It doesn't get much worse than that, right? He's a murderer, alright? Okay, now how does that change the pictures at all?

Character assassination is only useful to obscure the real subject of debate, which is what you're trying to do. It doesn't matter who insomnia_lj is, or what his motives are, because here we have pictures from a source in Iraq. Insomnia_lj is not that source. The pictures raise important questions all by themselves.

If you want to argue about something, let's argue about the real issue, not what you think about Mark as a person. Do that in e-mail with him personally, if you feel so inclined, but it doesn't belong here.
posted by odinsdream at 7:17 PM on June 20, 2005


Please don't lop me in with people on the right. I'm far from it. That's plain wrong.

What I am is a disgruntled customer. I was promised shocking, disturbing images of teenage soccer players being gunned down. That's the image I had in my head.

Is that what we got? Nope. Instead we're being treated to someone's third person account of Woody's dad out on the grassy knoll.

I'm sorry that I'm not agreeing with everyone on what the pictures depict. They are deplorable and disgusting, I've said that, but truth be told, if it had been me the one to shoot those kids, I would've done a better job at CMA. Hell, I would've propped a couple of them up and shown them fighting. The guys taking the pictures don't seem at all shaken up by the events. I would've been shitting myself at this point. Maybe my thinking is skewed on the subject, but something here isn't computing.

And by the way, there's no reason not to give that kid some dignity. Insomnia had a chance to show his compassion for a wounded kid and instead he exploits him.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:19 PM on June 20, 2005


I'll vouch for insomina on this and have no objection to making any communication public without redaction.

This attack the motives of the poster crap is omnipresent on MeFi and it, quite frankly, sucks. There is no basis for it in fact or in logic. Sliming somebody because you disagree with their argument is cheap, shoddy, dishonest and usually involves no small amount of projection. So suck it up.
posted by warbaby at 7:27 PM on June 20, 2005


What I am is a disgruntled customer. I was promised shocking, disturbing images of teenage soccer players being gunned down. That's the image I had in my head.

I think you said it all, right there. Really. That's truly awful.

Also, give it up with the dignity shit, please.
posted by odinsdream at 7:31 PM on June 20, 2005


What I am is a disgruntled customer. I was promised shocking, disturbing images of teenage soccer players being gunned down.

Well, sorry the pics didn't meet you high standards. Would you like your money back?
posted by c13 at 7:35 PM on June 20, 2005


ps. I was only following the web etiquette of not using someone's personal info when they've clearly chosen a handle by which to refer themselves, odinsdream.

I'm not sliming the guy. I'm not pulling some character assasination. I'm not threadjacking and I'm not trolling anyone.

I have a simple disagreement with insomnia_lg over the way in which he hyped-up this story and did not deliver. I'm sorry, but I feel cheated.

I'm not the one who brought up past, unrelated posts to discredit myself, I freely admit to everything I've done. I'm not the one to delve into someone's past history, outside of this thread, and present some USMC bullshit propaganda as some sort of Tom Cruisey code of honor I swore to uphold as evidence that I'm a bad person.

I'm a jerk with a keyboard, people. Sheesh, talk about character assasination.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:36 PM on June 20, 2005


(In other words, there were not enough hot, hot, dead Iraqi adolescent penises in the pictures.)
posted by interrobang at 7:40 PM on June 20, 2005


This attack the motives of the poster crap is omnipresent on MeFi and it, quite frankly, sucks. There is no basis for it in fact or in logic. Sliming somebody because you disagree with their argument is cheap, shoddy, dishonest and usually involves no small amount of projection. So suck it up.

Why don't you suck it up? To describe the legitimate points made about insomnia_lj's motivation as "sliming somebody" is hysterical. Pearls before swine, warbaby.
posted by mlis at 7:40 PM on June 20, 2005


I am not attempting to score political points (red herring flambé any one?), I was just characterizing your side's reactions thus far to this fpp.

If you're not trying to "score points" then why are you talking about "your side" as if this is sports?

I don't have a "side" in this other than the truth. If you'll notice there are a lot of people trying to figure out what exactly is depicted in the series of photos, and then there are some people playing character attack games. The character attack games are happening on both sides. I want to get to the bottom of the story. If it happens that the bottom of the story is that there are a few US soldiers out there who are sadistic bastards then so be it. But at this point there are also a lot of other possible narratives that are equally (if not more) likely.

You, however, seem to be stuck on language. I shall not mention what is unmentionalbe, but please try to keep the bigger picture in mind this time.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 7:42 PM on June 20, 2005


It wasn't the difference between 'gun' and 'RPG', it was the use of the plural guns here. HTH. [emphasis Heywood's]

Just to be clear, you used "some RPGs" over on the other discussion of the same topic. You take your time in this thread to make the distinction between an "RPG" and "RPG munitions" clear, so don't try that distinction. That makes your call-out hypocritical, pedantic, or both. Remember that "guns" is probably better for "your side" (since you like to make this into a "you're either with or you're against us" sort of thing) since US soldiers are probably more likely to have small arms laying around to pose with bodies than banged-up RPGs.

That said, I'm looking forward to the investigative skills of MeFites to find out who the actual people taking the photos were and get their stories.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 7:56 PM on June 20, 2005



:: Shady pseudo-anonimity: If you're in for a dime, you're in for a dollar. Make a decision here.

:: ps. I was only following the web etiquette of not using someone's personal info when they've clearly chosen a handle by which to refer themselves, odinsdream.


You brought up pseudo-anonymity as one of your points seeking to discredit insomnia_lj before claiming that same thing as "just following web etiquette."

You obviously didn't read the link far enough to see his real name, in print, as part of what he submitted to cryptome, so you pulled the internet anonymity point out of your bag. Then, when shown it wasn't true, that Mark had indeed put his real name on this story, tried to claim that you were the one doing the honorable thing by not using his real name. What gives here? Did I miss something? Or are you trying to flip this whole issue yet again?
posted by odinsdream at 8:00 PM on June 20, 2005


Well, I suppose we could always attack the messenger. When all else fails...

That said, the idea of these being 'trophy pictures' is ludicrous. Trophy pictures do happen and when they happen they are almost inevitably (1) deliberately goofy (think corpses with tongues stretched out) (2) involve the bragging soldiers posing with the kills in some manner. The idea of some soldier just wandering around with pictures of dead kids and bragging about it is just silly, IMO. Except for sickos, no soldier is going to do this.

As for any notion of 'couriers' or the like, there's zero evidence. What we do know is that in some pictures there's dead kids and in later pictures there's dead kids with guns and it's a deliberate attempt to hide the fact since weapons are reused. The simplest possible explanation for this is that somebody killed these kids and is now attempting to cover it up. Thanks for bringing this to light insomnia. I hope this does spread and we get a full investigation.
posted by nixerman at 8:10 PM on June 20, 2005


Shady pseudo-anonimity: If you're in for a dime, you're in for a dollar. Make a decision here.

He won't reveal his source, "someone", yet he's (insomnia) the source of the pictures. At least the source to us. But he's not really the source.

Needs "someone" to host the pics for him, yet he has a website.

Has "someone" else FPP for him, yet apparently he could do it himself. (This may not be right on mefi, I'm a n00b)

Looks to me that he wants all the "glory" yet doesn't want any responsibility if anything goes awry. Good thinking on his part, but lame in my book.

ps. I was only following the web etiquette of not using someone's personal info when they've clearly chosen a handle by which to refer themselves, odinsdream.

These are two separate issues. As far as I'm concerned, he's insomnia_lg to me. I have google and whois and zabbasearch. I could care less who this guy is in real life, nor do I have any desire to out him for any reason. Do I believe you're really odin's dream? I strongly doubt it, but stick to the nick, ok? He can defend himself if he wants to.

My thinking hasn't been all that clear, Cleveland was trying to mount a comeback, yet they failed. Any thing else I can clear up?
posted by jsavimbi at 8:13 PM on June 20, 2005


Nixerman, sorry to burst your bubble, but the troops tend to get carried away a little when not properly supervised. I was in Gulf War I and I saw plenty of trophy pictures. Pah-len-tee.

See here:

http://www.undermars.com/gallery8.html

http://www.undermars.com/gallery52.html

http://www.undermars.com/images/mars0156.jpg

http://www.undermars.com/images/mars0155.jpg

posted by jsavimbi at 8:19 PM on June 20, 2005


Needs "someone" to host the pics for him, yet he has a website.

And of course there is no difference in traffic between his livejournal site and cryptome...
posted by c13 at 8:26 PM on June 20, 2005


Here's an honest question: insomnia_lj, do these "sources" have any more information about the photos? Like the names of who took them? If so, then maybe they can clear this up. If you have the full story and you're sandbagging intentionally then that's pretty cheap. If not, why doesn't somebody (perhaps you, insomnia_lj) email them and post their answers here (with private info redacted if need be).

Also, if the soldiers were trying to get CYA proof that the kids had weapons why did they bother with the very carefully taken "before" shots? That seems like a pretty obvious thing you WOULDN'T do if you were trying to CYA. Also, why pose each kid with the same RPG? I mean, even the stupidest soldier would realize that it's pretty obvious when each kid has the same weapon. Wouldn't it be more "realistic" to mix the weapons up a bit?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:30 PM on June 20, 2005


Trophy pics were actively encouraged by the Nazi's. I'm sure Allied troops took them, but there was hell to pay if they got caught.
posted by bardic at 8:32 PM on June 20, 2005


nixerman: As for any notion of 'couriers' or the like, there's zero evidence. What we do know is that in some pictures there's dead kids and in later pictures there's dead kids with guns and it's a deliberate attempt to hide the fact since weapons are reused.

I was with you right up until the end. If it's a "deliberate attempt to hide the fact" why would they reuse the weapons?

On preview: What thedevildancedlightly said.
posted by event at 8:35 PM on June 20, 2005


And I was just thinking there weren't enough Nazi references in this thread...
posted by smackfu at 8:36 PM on June 20, 2005


thedevildancedlightly writes "Be pedantic about the differences in language between 'gun' and 'RPG' for no reason other than to score political points!"

No, Mogroot pointed out that you'd called the RPGs "guns" in an earlier post, because in a later post you called others less credible because of their lack of knowledge about ordnance ("and thus is more credible with respect to all things combat").

You can have it one way (either discussion of the pictures doesn't require being able to tell a gun from an RPG, or possibly just that you launched into your comments without first even looking that the pictures in question) or you can have it the other (a knowledge of ordnance is required to speak "credibly" in this discussion), but you can't have it both ways; you can't castigate your opponents for lacking detailed knowledge of ordnance when you yourself can't distinguish a "gun" from an RPG.

That's just elementary fairness. You demonstrated you're a smart guy when you exposed BushIsForEating as your sneaky roommate and not your sneaky sock puppet, so I don't see why you can't see that holding two contrary standards in one thread just isn't fair.

Unless, of course, your roommate once again sneaked onto your computer, and posted one of your two comments? Forgive me if in fact, this one is BushIsForEating's fault too.
posted by orthogonality at 8:37 PM on June 20, 2005


that's it: Nazis. Maybe there's something we can all agree upon:


posted by jsavimbi at 8:38 PM on June 20, 2005


Just to be clear, you used "some RPGs" over on the other discussion of the same topic.

Right. There were rocket propelled grenades but only one weapon to fire them.

You take your time in this thread to make the distinction between an "RPG" and "RPG munitions" clear, so don't try that distinction. That makes your call-out hypocritical, pedantic, or both.

Wrong. I'm not on the side trying to obfuscate, minimize, misrepresent, and slime the messenger. You are.

Remember that "guns" is probably better for "your side" (since you like to make this into a "you're either with or you're against us" sort of thing) since US soldiers are probably more likely to have small arms laying around to pose with bodies than banged-up RPGs.

Conjecture.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:46 PM on June 20, 2005


No, Mogroot pointed out that you'd called the RPGs "guns" in an earlier post, because in a later post you called others less credible because of their lack of knowledge about ordnance ("and thus is more credible with respect to all things combat"). ...
posted by orthogonality at 8:37 PM PST on June 20 [!]
It wasn't the difference between 'gun' and 'RPG', it was the use of the plural guns here. HTH. ...
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:59 PM PST on June 20
Heywood himself said that he was making the call-out for mis-using the plural, not about the difference between "weapons" and "guns." I give Heywood enough credit to not be pedantic about the difference between using a catch-all term and Please be careful when you're talking about the motives of others.

To futher make a distinction I pointed out a poster who talked about the "RPG thingy" which belies a fundamental and admitted lack of knowledge and pointed him toward a more knowledgable poster (not myself). I used "guns" as a catch-all for ordinance, which was admittedly sloppy but does not admit a lack of knowledge about weaponry. Further, even if I didn't know the first thing about armament I could still recognize a similar condition in others and point them toward a 3rd party who is more knowledgable (in this case, MILS).

When in doubt, attack the messenger. Have anything substantive to add?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:47 PM on June 20, 2005


I'm not on the side trying to obfuscate, minimize, misrepresent, and slime the messenger. You are.

HAHAHAHAHAHA.

I love self-contradictory statements. Priceless. Can we mount this one and frame it?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:48 PM on June 20, 2005


I'm not on the side trying to obfuscate, minimize, misrepresent, and slime the messenger.

Speaking of sliming the messenger, please find ONE comment by me in this thread "sliming" insomnia_lj. You started attacking my character (again) out of nowhere. Please point out where I have misprepresented or slimed insomnia_lj. And don't say that it's "my side" since that just belies a ridiculous "you're with us or against us" attitude that mandates that everyone drink your kool-aid without first asking what's in it. I think anybody slinging character attacks here (that includes you) is being childish and petty.

I'm after the truth here. MILS, jsavimbi, event and no shortage of others are also trying to figure WTF is going on with these pictures instead of just buying one party line. Find me where I'm sliming insomnia_lj. I'll be waiting.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:55 PM on June 20, 2005


I called him a carny and a nervous nellie. That was my sliming for the day. Meanwhile, I was painted as a penis-oogler and some other stuff.

Ok, so the carny bit was a little harsh. Bite me.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:59 PM on June 20, 2005


Anyway, sorry to derail the derail and all, but what do you think Hersh was referring to here:

And in the digital videos you see everybody standing around, they pull the bodies together.

He's seen video? Or is he referring to the photos as video?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:59 PM on June 20, 2005


Trophy pics were actively encouraged by the Nazi's. I'm sure Allied troops took them, but there was hell to pay if they got caught.

Take your Good War revisionist bullshit elsewhere. You're obviously not familiar with the lovely Life Magazine photo of an all-American Arizona girl gazing admiringly at the boiled, fleshless skull of a Japanese soldier sent to her by her soldier sweetheart.

As a wiser man than me once said, "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it." I don't think much of this war, or indeed any war in which the US has seen fit to involve itself since 1776. But does this really surprise anyone? There's a lot worse than these pictures that's gone on in this war and every other.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:02 PM on June 20, 2005


insomnia_lj: What is the relationship between the pictures and the video that Hersh is talking about in his quote? Did they all come from the same source?

Barring that, I don't see any evidence on the cryptome.org page that the quote is about what is depicted in the photos.
posted by event at 9:05 PM on June 20, 2005


insomnia, is there any other information about these pictures forthcoming? Why haven't they been given to some form of authority for investigation?

"He won't reveal his source"

Damn straight, dumbass. My source's career and life could be in danger from those around him if I did, because there are a lot of violently kneejerk people like you out there who pay lip service to words like duty and honor.

"Needs "someone" to host the pics for him, yet he has a website."

Damn straight, dumbass. I have a journal, but it's really intended primarily for interacting with friends and netfriends. I don't want the expense that comes from hosting the pictures, nor do I want the attention of violently kneejerk people like you who pay lip service to words like duty and honor.

"Has "someone" else FPP for him, yet apparently he could do it himself. (This may not be right on mefi, I'm a n00b)"

Damn straight, dumbass. The fact is, I would've loved to have posted to MeFi about this myself, but MeFi has rules against self-linking. You can get your account banned over it, infact, and I happen to like being a part of MeFi. Although linking to something I wrote over at Cryptome is more questionable than linking to my own journal, I think I should try to abide by the spirit of what is acceptable regarding posting to this site, rather than pay lip service to words like duty and honor.

But of course, all of this won't make any sense to you. Obviously, to you, if what I did doesn't lead to personal gain, it doesn't make a whit of sense. Or, as you've previously said, all that high-falootin' talk about adhering to a code of conduct is for mothers and losers... but if that's the case, I would proudly be either, so long as it doesn't mean I have to be like you.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:09 PM on June 20, 2005


It's not what you insinuated Optimus Chyme, but...
posted by Smedleyman at 5:13 PM PST on June 20

I didn't say that...,nor did I say that... I merely noted that...
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:35 PM PST on June 20 [!]



"The matter clearly needs to be investigated. "
Unquestionably...
posted by Smedleyman at 5:13 PM PST on June 20



These photographs warrant an investigation or explanation.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:35 PM PST on June 20 [!]



*Tap Tap Taps monitor*
Is this thing on? Hello? Am I typing in English? Does anybody read anything anymore? Hello?

in·sin·u·ate
Pronunciation: in-'sin-y&-"wAt
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -at·ed; -at·ing
Etymology: Latin insinuatus, past participle of insinuare, from in- + sinuare to bend, curve, from sinus curve
transitive senses
1 a : to introduce (as an idea) gradually or in a subtle, indirect, or covert way b : to impart or communicate with artful or oblique reference
2 : to introduce (as oneself) by stealthy, smooth, or artful means
intransitive senses
1 archaic : to enter gently, slowly, or imperceptibly : CREEP
2 archaic : to ingratiate oneself
synonym see INTRODUCE, SUGGEST


Not
Pronunciation: 'nät
Function: adverb
Etymology: Middle English, alteration of nought, from nought, pron. -- more at NAUGHT
1 -- used as a function word to make negative a group of words or a word
2 -- used as a function word to stand for the negative of a preceding group of words


Not to get on my hind legs here, but at least 50% of communication is listening/reading. I'd say 80 to 90%.

Not to bust Optimus Chyme's chops, because I don't see much of that anyway (here and in general). But WTF?

Is anyone seriously suggesting we simply ignore this?
posted by Smedleyman at 9:12 PM on June 20, 2005


insomnia_lj:
In the event (or in addition to) you can't obtain any further information perhaps you should pass on the cryptome URL to the DOD.
posted by peacay at 9:15 PM on June 20, 2005


smackfu, jasvimbi, Ishmael Graves--

Go fuck yourselves gently.

"Eliach's mission was a reaction to the work of many Western and Nazi propaganda photographers, who pointed their cameras toward poor and Hasidic Jews in the years before World War II. From 1933 to 1939, the Nazis used photographs, especially shots of exotic-looking eastern Jews with long beards and clad in traditional garb, to define the enemy for the German masses. (So successful was the propaganda effort that in 1937 the New York Times reproduced photos taken by an SS photographer without critical comment.) Official photographs taken in nearly every concentration camp formed part of official Nazi administrative records. Camp commandants and SS officers also put together photo albums in which pictures of drinking parties were pasted beside those of lynchings and shootings. A macabre album confiscated from Kurt Franz, who supervised the final gassings at the Treblinka death camp, is titled "The Best Years of My Life." Despite bans on unauthorized photography, ordinary Nazi soldiers also captured torment and murder on film. "Many are trophy pictures that soldiers sent home," says Raye Farr, director of film and video at the Holocaust museum. "In them, the soldiers are very often laughing." Some of these pictures, which sometimes circulated as postcards, were eventually used to prosecute perpetrators at Nuremberg and other trials."

I haven't said a damn thing about whether I think the weapons were planted on the Iraqi boys. I was not equating anyone with Nazis. I was simply making a point that armies throughout history have had differing attitudes towards the practice of trophy photography. But since it's this late in the thread, you all have the right to just rant on and not actually think about what someone was posting.

on preview: This article claims the Reich didn't allow trophy photography, but I find that very hard to believe. And I'm familiar with the skull picture that was brought up--it's shameful, and taken at a time when the death of a "dirty jap" would be delightful for most Americans. I fear that many of my countrymen today take a little too much delight in the torture/corpse picks of a "dead Haji."
posted by bardic at 9:21 PM on June 20, 2005


These photos of dead or seriously wounded young men are tragic, but no more and no less than any of the other photos of dead or seriously wounded individuals coming back from Iraq.

The appearance of the weapons, on the other hand, is strange and worthy of investigation. That said, the photos in and of themselves are not evidence of wrongdoing.

Without more backstory, all we're doing in this thread is hand wringing and name calling.
posted by event at 9:25 PM on June 20, 2005


Wrong. I'm not on the side trying to obfuscate, minimize, misrepresent, and slime the messenger.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:46 PM PST on June 20 [!]

...dumbass ... there are a lot of violently kneejerk people like you out there who pay lip service to words like duty and honor.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:09 PM PST on June 20 [!]
This stuff just writes itself. Heywood, what color is that kettle over there?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:29 PM on June 20, 2005


"What is the relationship between the pictures and the video that Hersh is talking about in his quote? Did they all come from the same source?"

There was no video in this case. Hersh was apparently giving a live radio interview, and he accidentally said video, I presume, only to correct himself later and say pictures.

Dunno. Maybe he was probably thinking of those other videos, which he mentioned in the past, and which are supposedly going to be released in the next few months, thanks to the ACLU.

Really, I get the feeling that he's starting to be a bit tenative about talking about things that aren't in print yet in his interviews. Doing so has probably caused him some minor problems, as it sets expectations on what he's going to write about which may or may not come to pass. It also leads to questions which he frankly should not attempt to answer until his articles are released.

In any case, he's not focusing on writing articles currently. Most of his spare time is apparently gong into writing a book on the Bush administration.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:30 PM on June 20, 2005


Dead kids? Who cares, we got a internet flame war!
posted by iamck at 9:42 PM on June 20, 2005


insomnia_lg, I'm sorry that you think that you have some treasure with these pics. You don't, face it. You were caught blatantly hawking pictures of dead kids in order to gain some notoriety. That's not right.

You sat on this for months. Why?

You could've easily ponied up $15 for a domain and $9.95 for a place to host it, not to mention come out with a more creditable format, yet you chose to take the cheap road and pose yourself as something mysterious. Kudos to you, I actually thought you had something worthwhile, yet you come up with squat.

First of all, you've failed to shock me. Secondly, you've failed to convince me that there's even a remote chance that a war crime has been committed. I'm not even buying the cover-up theory at this point. I'm not even convinced that this was "collateral damage". Bad PR? Yes, but other than that, your argument is kinda thin...

And stop calling me a dumbass, because you've failed to convince this dumbass, based on the sole merits of your arguments, that you're somehow not trying to pull a fast one here.

You're taking this way too personally. It's unbecoming.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:43 PM on June 20, 2005


You're a dumbass, jsavimbi.
posted by interrobang at 9:57 PM on June 20, 2005


I am in over my head and lost here. How is this action not wrong? Whatever the motivation how does setting up pictures of people you have killed out of context ever become acceptable?
posted by arse_hat at 10:03 PM on June 20, 2005


How is this action not wrong?

Nobody is arguing that soldiers should take pictures of bodies unless they're for documentary purposes (document for the families, "most wanted" list, whatever). However, some people are convinced that the pictures are an attempt to "set up" some innocent Iraqi's by posing them with the same weapon repeatedly. That's a much bigger deal than just a bunch of photos, but it's not supported by anything other than assumption.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:07 PM on June 20, 2005


Whatever the motivation how does setting up pictures of people you have killed out of context ever become acceptable?

Why does it feel like a light just turned on?

I wouldn't take trophy photos now. I wouldn't have taken them in the past (for slightly different reasons - light footprint, but it wouldn't have felt right anyway).
Although I can see the Third Reich (referenced above) discouraging it's rank and file from doing so. They had a very professional outfit at the start of the war. The SS, Gestapo, etc, and political considerations eroded that professionalism....why does that sound familiar?
posted by Smedleyman at 10:10 PM on June 20, 2005


Well, the matter(s) of importance really isn't about whether it's acceptable or not -- at the very least, the killers/photographers wanted to misrepresent the situation for whatever reason. But it grows in magnitude by a significant degree if they try to sell them, sidestep justice for wrongdoing, use them as evidence to justify their counterinsurgency methods or they are held out as being representative one way or another for why people should further support the war/the General/the Captain/the government or who/whatever may wish to engage in misrepresentation of the facts.


But as it stands, they're just sad pictures without a story.
posted by peacay at 10:12 PM on June 20, 2005


For those who are counting, so far in this thread, I have been accused of: ... and told that I should just "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!"

And I wasn't even the one who made the post.

Pardon me if I get a little defensive about such insults, but I tend to take these things seriously. I have a lot of friends in the military, and, amazingly enough, we get along, even if we don't always agree on everything. I don't spit on them in my spare time. I also know several Iraqis, but I have yet to set up a domain for iraqiboyporn.com.

So, yeah, knock it the hell off. If I get any more insults -- not questions, not reasoned arguments, but personal, slanderous insults -- I will take this to MeTa because these baseless accusations have gone far enough.

The worst thing I've done is call the most heinous offender a dumbass, and said that he doesn't live by the standards that Marines are supposed to live up to... a fact he's admitted to.

I know a lot of honorable Marines. Call them grunts, jarheads, and dumbasses and they won't mind much. Question their honor, however, and you're generally in for a can of whoop-ass. There's nothing more serious than questioning a true Marine's honor... and that's what makes them such good friends to have, whether you agree on everything or not.

"You sat on this for months. Why?"

I didn't. Seymour Hersh did, after I referred it to him. When he decided not to go forward with the pictures, I decided that I would do it without him, because I felt they should be public, and merited a full, open, public investigation into what happened that day in Buhriz.

U.S. troops planted an RPG in front of these kids... but why? And is such behavior an isolated incident, or a disturbing trend? That's what needs to be figured out. I don't know the answer, but the questions it makes you ask are disturbing, to say the least.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:30 PM on June 20, 2005


"...a bunch of kids were going along in three vehicles. One of them got blown up. The other two units -- soldiers ran out, saw some people running, opened up fire. It was a bunch of boys playing soccer. And in the digital videos you see everybody standing around, they pull the bodies together. This is last summer. They pull the bodies together. You see the body parts, the legs and boots of the Americans pulling bodies together. Young kids, I don't know how old, 13, 15, I guess. And then you see soldiers dropping R.P.G.'s, which are rocket-launched grenades around them. And then they're called in as an insurgent kill." -- Seymour Hersh

The only similarities between this quote and the pictures are the fact that they contain boys and RPGs. I don't see any evidence of vehicles, soccer playing, bodies being pulled together, or the calling in of an insurgent kill.

Perhaps the quote is about something else entirely?
posted by event at 10:30 PM on June 20, 2005


so far in this thread, I have been accused of
...
sandbagging intentionally


Just to pick one of that list, I did not accuse you of sandbagging intentionally. I asked if you could email your "sources" and post some answers, with private information redacted. I said that IF you were sandbagging it would be cheap, but in context it was clear that the request was to get more information. You've taken some personal attacks, which sucks. People attacking you personally have gone beyond what is called-for. But don't stretch beyond what's there.

If I get any more insults -- not questions, not reasoned arguments, but personal, slanderous insults -- I will take this to MeTa because these baseless accusations have gone far enough.

As a comrade-in-Meta, let me be the first to point out that taking insults to Meta never goes well. "Matt, people aren't being nice" just doesn't fly. I'd put money on a "waaambumlance" showing up in the first 10 comments.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:35 PM on June 20, 2005


who talked about the "RPG thingy" which belies a fundamental and admitted lack of knowledge

Actually I said, "3 RPG thingies". It is still somewhat unclear to me what to call these three separate pieces as a group. Components would be the more serious term, but we have the launcher with RPG and two reload RPGs, so that's not entirely accurate either.

While not in the military, and never seen or handled a real-life RPG, I do know the RPG consists of a reusable launcher, the warhead, and the rocket charge that propels the warhead to the target.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:42 PM on June 20, 2005


Nope. It's about these pictures. I gave him a call and talked about it with him, as I was surprised to hear:

1> that he mentioned it already.
2> that he decided not to make the story public

Mr. Hersh and team did a bit of digging into the story. They no doubt have sources I am not aware of that led them to their conclusions, but it would be unethical of Mr. Hersh to disclose such sources to either myself or anyone else without the source's approval.

It's possible that these soldiers have already rotated back to the states, in which case it would be a relatively easy thing to interview one of them, reveal the photos, and find out what happened... But what if the soldier in question feared for his life/career and didn't want Mr. Hersh to go public with the story? What if the source in question could go to prison for his actions that day, or could face abuse from fellow soldiers and a ruined career?

The answer is, if such a source objected, Mr. Hersh wouldn't go public with the story. He promised me the same thing, infact. The reason he cited for not releasing the story is because he wanted to protect his source, so I don't think it's that hard to speculate about what happened here.

If I were Hersh, the first place I'd search for information would be amongst the people who were there -- members of 1st Lt. Terry "T.J." Grider's platoon -- 1st Infantry Division, out of FOB Gabe. Only after getting the goods, would I consider talking to the officials at the DoD.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:44 PM on June 20, 2005


It's a RPG launcher and two RPGs, which are typically worn on the back of the person with the launcher.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:46 PM on June 20, 2005


... and told that I should just "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!"

Actually that one was snark from me.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:48 PM on June 20, 2005


“However, some people are convinced that the pictures are an attempt to "set up" some innocent Iraqi's by posing them with the same weapon repeatedly” And again I ask so what? How does the motivation of the picture taker or his or her comrades change the fundamental problem? That is, making something very serious look like something else? How is that ever not wrong?

“But as it stands, they're just sad pictures without a story.” But still a vile lie.
posted by arse_hat at 10:51 PM on June 20, 2005


Actually I said, "3 RPG thingies". It is still somewhat unclear to me what to call these three separate pieces as a group. Components would be the more serious term, but we have the launcher with RPG and two reload RPGs, so that's not entirely accurate either.

I totally didn't realize that the original poster over there was you. My bad, sorry about that. That makes everything make a little more sense over here.

With your explanation it makes a bit more sense. Sorry to have accused you of having little knowledge of weaponry -- in a vaccum somebody calling a part of a weapon a "thingy" tends to sound a bit blonde. I recognize that you are more knowledgable than that. The rest of my comments stand, but sorry for starting the dispute over there.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:55 PM on June 20, 2005


How does the motivation of the picture taker or his or her comrades change the fundamental problem? That is, making something very serious look like something else? How is that ever not wrong?

The motivation makes a HUGE differnce. If the motivation was to record the attackers and what weapons they used for the sake of building a database of similar incidents, then it's simply being documentary and making it easier to connect attacker to weapon. That's completely benign in my book.

If the purpose is to decieve the US public into thinking that each of the individual attackers had an RPG when they were actually innocent kids playing soccer then that's horrible. The people who tried to pull the wool over our eyes should be publicly shamed and court martialed. The problem with that theory is, of course, that the only people propagading the pictures are on the "other side" (to borrow Heywoods' term for the moment), which is entirely inconsistent with that theory. (as is very carefully taking "before" pictures)

If the purpose was just to take some pictures for friends back home to show how tough they were to take out some insurgents, one of whom had an RPG, then it's a poor decision and the sort of thing that should be disciplined, but not FPP-worthy. It's tasteless, but it's not the same as covering-up the murder of innocents

Your question is like "why do the intentions of the gunman matter?" when somebody was killed in a firing-range accident. In that case there's a huge difference between murder, carelessness, and accident. Here there's a huge difference between simply documenting facts, being tasteless or crude, and attempting to cover-up killing innocents.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:01 PM on June 20, 2005


That is, making something very serious look like something else?

Also, could somebody not make the same charge of you? We have a bunch of photos (something) without a narrative. You've supplied one narrative without confirmation from anybody on the ground. Providing a story without confirmation is trying to use that something for a possibly political end. Is that not making them look like something else?

In other words, we have a bunch of pictures without a backstory. You're trying to make them look like a cover-up. That's making something look like something else.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:08 PM on June 20, 2005


“If the motivation was to record the attackers and what weapons they used for the sake of building a database of similar incidents,” But we know that is not the case. The pictures of the dead and pictures of the weapons in the state they were found would satisfy that need.

“If the purpose is to decieve the US public into thinking that each of the individual attackers had an RPG when they were actually innocent kids playing soccer then that's horrible. The people who tried to pull the wool over our eyes should be publicly shamed and court martialed.”… “If the purpose was just to take some pictures for friends back home to show how tough they were to take out some insurgents, one of whom had an RPG, then it's a poor decision and the sort of thing that should be disciplined,” Yes they should be publicly shamed and courts marshaled.

“Your question is like "why do the intentions of the gunman matter?"” No it is not. I am asking NOT why they fired on the victims but why they are trying to alter the documentation of the action.
posted by arse_hat at 11:15 PM on June 20, 2005


“Also, could somebody not make the same charge of you?” Anyone can make a charge.

“You've supplied one narrative” No I have not. I have asked why it might be OK to move weapons around from dead guy to dead guy when they were not part of the original outcome of a battle.

I do not care how the young men came to die in this case. I can give latitude to people under fire. Maybe they were kids on the way to a soccer game or maybe they were stone cold killers. Either way the pictures have fucked up the water and the perpetrators are wrong.
posted by arse_hat at 11:23 PM on June 20, 2005


No it is not. I am asking NOT why they fired on the victims but why they are trying to alter the documentation of the action.

It's a parallel, not an exact metaphor. There are a LOT of situations in which motivation matters. I didn't mean it to be an exact match.

The pictures of the dead and pictures of the weapons in the state they were found would satisfy that need

Not if they wanted a picture of each insurgent with the attack weapons. I don't know what they do to document attacks over there, but I could easily see a situation in which you'd want a picture of each and every attacker in the same frame as the weapon used. Do I know for sure that's the purpose? Of course not. But it's one possibility.

Maybe I can be more clear -- you think there is no differnce between making a tasteless picture for your buddies back home and attempting to decieve 300 million Americans about the situation on the ground? Both might be "altering the documentation" but for dramatically different purposes. It's like the difference between photoshopping a friend's picture and photoshopping the satellite photos that were used to make the UN case for war. If you don't see the difference between intentional deception about the status of a war and crude photography then you and I have fundamental and irreconciable differences.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:24 PM on June 20, 2005


thedevildancedlightly is calling it correctly in my view. That's why I suggest that the cryptome URL be forwarded to the DOD. Without investigation these pictures remain a mystery.
posted by peacay at 11:27 PM on June 20, 2005


“Maybe I can be more clear -- you think there is no differnce between making a tasteless picture for your buddies back home and attempting to decieve 300 million Americans” There is NO difference. It is a question of liability. As “a parallel, not an exact metaphor” lets say you popped an M-80 in a mailbox as a Halloween stunt and the house occupant checked her mail just as it went off. In the strictest legal terms there is a difference between murder and manslaughter you are still wrong in either case.

“Not if they wanted a picture of each insurgent with the attack weapons” Wow, hate to think the DOD is that dumbass.
posted by arse_hat at 11:37 PM on June 20, 2005


I second (third) thedevildancedlightly. The pictures may be evidence of a huge coverup. They may be evidence of nothing.

The only thing we have that points one way or the other is the Hersh quote at the top of the cryptome page:

"...And then you see soldiers dropping R.P.G.'s, which are rocket-launched grenades around them. And then they're called in as an insurgent kill."

insomnia_lj says that the quote is, in fact, about these pictures, but he also admits that Hersh conflated the story with at least one other. There are definite inconsistencies between Hersh's story and the photos. Since he hasn't published, for whatever reason, I don't see how we can give his statement much weight at this time.

On preview: There is NO difference.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!
posted by event at 11:44 PM on June 20, 2005


There is NO difference. ... firecracker... murder and manslaughter

Okay, let's try another example. Let's say you float a check that bounces. If you INTEND to deceive the recipient then it's check fraud and you should go to jail. If you were merely forgetful about your bank balance than it's an innocent mistake and you should pay $25 and get on with life. One is criminal, one is an innocent mistake.

You really think that intending to decieve 300 million people is the exact same as making a tasteless photo for a friend that gets leaked? Intent matters, sorry.

Wow, hate to think the DOD is that dumbass.

On what grounds? Why would that not be something that would be useful to post in the barracks for review before going out on the streets? I'd like to know what the most recent attackers have looked like (age, style of dress, etc) and what they're packing. I'm not saying that it's a practice currently in-use, but it's hardly "dumbass".
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:44 PM on June 20, 2005


"If the purpose is to decieve the US public into thinking that each of the individual attackers had an RPG when they were actually innocent kids playing soccer then that's horrible."

It obviously wasn't intended for the public, but who were the pictures for? A case of CYA designed for internal military use? Something that might be put into a case file and passed along to the Iraqis? Pictures to be possibly used for information warfare? Or merely a dumbass way of counting coup?!

What I find discomforting is the amount of time and effort put into taking these pictures in the middle of a supposed combat zone that day. Someone took all the original shots -- which, incidentally, didn't show any U.S. personnel giving aid to the wounded -- and then took a series of considerably different shots, starting all over again from the beginning, re-staging every single shot, planting the weapons in each frame, and even photographing U.S. soldiers giving aid.

Two very different stories are being told with these photos, in such an apparently calculating manner that it makes you wonder whether someone was following orders to do it in this manner.

"The problem with that theory is, of course, that the only people propagading the pictures are on the "other side"

Does that mean me? Which side am I on now?! Cowboys or Injuns?
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:48 PM on June 20, 2005


Does that mean me? Which side am I on now?! Cowboys or Injuns?

Ask Heywood. He seems to be the one who knows which "side" each poster is on. He accused me of being on the "other side" from him, and I think you guys are on the "same side", but you got me as to which one that is. I just know that y'all are apparently on the "other side" together.

Do you want shirts or skins?

/sarcasm
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:51 PM on June 20, 2005


Yes it is is "dumbass". You can post the pics of the insurgents and the weapons side by side.

”You really think that intending to decieve 300 million people is the exact same as making a tasteless photo for a friend that gets leaked? Yes I do. Results matter more than intent.

I have sold products for a number of firms. If I set up a joke on a fellow employee and it got out and lost a sale I would have been fired just as if I had pulled the prank on the client. And rightly so.
posted by arse_hat at 11:51 PM on June 20, 2005


"I second (third) thedevildancedlightly. The pictures may be evidence of a huge coverup. They may be evidence of nothing." and that makes them wrong.
posted by arse_hat at 11:54 PM on June 20, 2005


Consider the non-zero possibility that these pictures are (for whatever reason) innocent.

Who is more guilty, arse_hat? The soldier who took the innocent pictures, or the people who use those pictures to deceive millions into thinking that soldier is guilty?
posted by event at 11:58 PM on June 20, 2005


"I second (third) thedevildancedlightly. The pictures may be evidence of a huge coverup. They may be evidence of nothing." and that makes them wrong.

Um...

What?
posted by event at 12:01 AM on June 21, 2005


"The soldier who took the innocent pictures"
Please splane wha you mean. I really do not understand you.
posted by arse_hat at 12:02 AM on June 21, 2005


Well firstly, there's no dispute that the photos were staged. The weapon planting is so transparent and obvious.
Secondly, photographing your victims (innocent or otherwise) for anything besides official reports is really shameful. The frequency or history of such activity can in no way make it excusable.

So, why go to the effort of photographing these dead youths and then rephotograph them with the same RPG kit?

As far as I can see it, there are a few possibilities, none of which are excusable.

1) Trophy photos.
2) A poor attempt at ass-covering.
3) Artificial body count.

I mean, the weapons are arrayed in such a way that it appears (to me, at least) that they're being photographed with the intent to either catalogue and record them, or to otherwise emphasize them and make the kills look legitimate.

I dunno, maybe we can rule out "ass-covering" because of the clear ineptitude of the attempt.

The lack of any additional posing in the photos (along the lines of the Abu Graib images) can mean several things.

1) They're not trophy photos
2) It would have been too conspicuous. Inside, you can grin and give the thumbs up, but outside on the street in broad daylight, that might generate many more immediate consequences.

I'm leaning more towards artificially inflated body counts and success records. Not to say that kids playing soccer are becoming targets of a larger propaganda scheme, but that these tragedies are becoming convenient opportunities to redefine the situation on the ground. (For example: "Look how bad these terrorists are. They're getting kids to do their dirty work. It's such a shame that we're forced to kill them. But it's ok. We're still winning, as you can see.")

(ASIDE) Although I'm sure that I'll be corrected on this, but since when can a scrawny 13 year old operate an RPG? Sure, we've all shot our daddy's .22 or our grandpa's 12guage but I'd imagine that, not only is that gear really heavy to a young teen, but it might be too much to handle. I'd expect hand grenades and pistols from people that small.

Whatever the context of these photos is, the unbearable tragedy still stands. Is there any more information? I'd really like to turn my heartache into rage.
posted by Jon-o at 12:03 AM on June 21, 2005


event, go back and read my posts. The pics are wrong no matter the motive.
posted by arse_hat at 12:04 AM on June 21, 2005


The pics are wrong no matter the motive.

Two problems:

1 - If the pictures are perfectly innocent (as in some need to catolog assailants with weapons) then why are they "wrong" just because somebody leaked them? To put it in your salesman terms, it's not wrong to discuss pricing with a client, but it is wrong to broadcast pricing information to the world. Under your rules it's okay to call a client and discuss pricing information, but somehow it's wrong to call a client and discuss if they subsequently leak it (or it is stolen or leaked). Yes, results matter, but SO DOES INTENT.

2 - There are DEGREES of wrong. Some are FPP-worthy, some are outrage-worthy, and some are "that's stupid, but there are far worse things happening in the world." Nobody is arguing that we should take more pictures of the deceased. But if this really is just a set of innocent or juvenile photos then we should spend a lot less outrage on this and a lot more on other things. Some people are trying to figure out what degree of wrong to assign to the photos instead of seeing the world in black-and-white. Isn't that one of the big criticisms of the Bush administration? Why are you stooping to that level?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:10 AM on June 21, 2005


since when can a scrawny 13 year old operate an RPG?

Because the forward motion of the grenade is powered by a rocket (the "R") there is a lot less recoil than you might expect. There is some (intentional) overpressure in the tube, but it's allegedly not the same sharp recoil as a gunshot. (source) Total weight for the system when loaded is around 10 kg, which isn't light but is also managable for a kid to hoist for a long enough to get a shot off. (source: 7.9 kg empty + 2.2 kg munition).

That said, it looks like the kids didn't exactly do a good job of handling their RPG given that they ended up in the pictures with at least two munitions unused.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:15 AM on June 21, 2005


“If the pictures are perfectly innocent” I still cannot see an innocent reason for these pictures. Yes I may be thick but nothing in my life and no one here suggests an innocent reason.

“There are DEGREES of wrong. Some are FPP-worthy, some are outrage-worthy, and some are "that's stupid, but there are far worse things happening in the world."” Agreed but adding weapons to pictures of dead combatants (or not) should be punished in harsh terms just because left-wing sucks could possibly make hay from them.

Nobody is arguing that we should take more pictures of the deceased. Agreed.

” Isn't that one of the big criticisms of the Bush administration?” Why are you bringing the Bush administration into this?
posted by arse_hat at 12:26 AM on June 21, 2005


no one here suggests an innocent reason.

Now that's just patently false. You can argue whether they are good reasons or not, but they have been suggested.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:29 AM on June 21, 2005


"Now that's just patently false." Correct. Sorry.
“You can argue whether they are good reasons or not” I did.
posted by arse_hat at 12:32 AM on June 21, 2005


arse_hat: The pics are wrong no matter the motive.

You may live in some strange world where motive is irrelevant but the soldiers from these pictures are American. In the American legal system, motive matters. See, for example, this:

"First Degree Murder: ...To kill with malice aforethought...to kill either deliberately and intentionally or recklessly..." (emphasis mine)
posted by event at 12:46 AM on June 21, 2005


event, you have veered into the whacked out zone. So I bid you good night and good day (emphasis mine).
posted by arse_hat at 12:53 AM on June 21, 2005


In the American legal system, motive matters.

As well as in real-life. If I tell you that tomorrow is going to be sunny and it rains because the forecaster was wrong then that's just being mistaken. If you decide not to bring your umbrella to work then it would be silly to blame me. If I tell you that tomorrow is going to be sunny when I actually know that it's going to rain then that's lying and I am morally culpable. If you fail to bring your umbrella then I am at-fault for lying to you, especially if I lied in order to make you get rained-upon. Same actions (telling you that it's going to be sunny), same result (you get wet), but vastly different moral culpabilities.

There's a reason we have two different words for "lying" and "mistaken" -- we draw a huge distinction. One is an intent to decieve, one is passing possibly the same information without an intent to decieve. The moral consequences are and should be different for an innocent mistake and an intentional lie. The only difference is intent.

event, you have veered into the whacked out zone.

WTF? I think you are the only one arguing that intent is absolutely irrelevant. Everybody else is spending all this time trying to figure out what the intent was BECAUSE the intent matters.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:58 AM on June 21, 2005


I for one think it's entirely possible these guys were carrying that RPG set when they were waxed and thus legitimate kills in this fucked enterprise. We ARE taking dozens of attacks on our forces each day, from all kinds of people and all kinds of weapons.

Likely? Dunno. That one "haji" was apparently getting medical attention is encouraging.

Shows pretty bad judgement to screw with a "crime scene" like that, but Iraq is one big unfolding crime scene now so kinda tough to really push this one, and the Army's job is to kill hajis, not police itself.

An investigation is in order perhaps, but even if these guys were waxed accidentally there's not much we can do it about it now. The Iraqis will likely mete out their own justice in that case. What's 7 dudes out of 15,000 to 100,000+.

The real import of the pictures is to show how nationbuilding in the middle of a civil war gets sideways:

"Vietnam presumably taught us that the United States could not serve as the world's policeman; it should also have taught us the dangers of trying to be the world's midwife to democracy when the birth is scheduled to take place under conditions of guerrilla war." -- Jeane Kirkpatrick, 1979
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:01 AM on June 21, 2005


The real import of the pictures is to show how nationbuilding in the middle of a civil war gets sideways

I think you and I might have found something to agree upon. Peace to you and goodnight on a positive note.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:04 AM on June 21, 2005


I can't help but wonder, where are these pictures of "kids" and "children" some of you are talking about? I went to the link and saw pictures of "youth" and "young men".

These dead and wounded were of an age I would expect to see in active resistance were the US ever invaded. At least, I would HOPE they would. The young would know better the unlikely ways to be hidden and get from one place to another unnoticed--At least in my youth. Today, maybe not so much since kids spend less time outside.

How they are dressed? WTF? They dress like themselves. Its an insurgency, not an army. When you fight an invader, you fight with what you have, not with what you wish you had (Damn, y'all got me sounding like Rummy).

Was it a frame-up job? I hope not. What's the point to the double set of photos? I can't say. But I certainly can imagine they might have dropped their weapon/s and ran before they got shot. I can also imagine it is a frame-up. All the guys weren't dead. Evidence against the ones who remain alive perhaps? Sadly, I doubt the evidence would get much careful scrutiny in the event of some tribunal.

Oh, a reason for the double set of photos occurs to me. Perhaps the photographer was unhappy with what he was required to do, and has deliberately made a record to show things were faked.
posted by Goofyy at 1:10 AM on June 21, 2005


I went to the link and saw pictures of "youth" and "young men"

Several of them look pretty young to me. Young enough to do something stupid and be (more or less innocently) in the wrong place at the wrong time.

How they are dressed? WTF? They dress like themselves. Its an insurgency, not an army.

But there's ZERO evidence consistent with them being insurgent dudes other than the mysteriously appearing and apparently multiplying RPGs. No guns. No ammo. No Nothing but counterfeit FILA sweats. Not very consistent with these guys being an RPG squad.

Here's what real insurgents look like.

But I certainly can imagine they might have dropped their weapon/s

yeah, we all can imagine a lot of things. Idle speculation wrt attendant facts not part of the photo sequence is rather pointless. At this juncture all we can know is what the photos show. It's kind of a rorschach test, really. People, including our enemies, will see what they want to see here.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:28 AM on June 21, 2005


I'd just like to say that I pretty much disagree with thedevildancedlightly's viewpoint in almost every facet, in most situations. However, I think this person does a good job in arguing his viewpoint rationally, with a minimum of ad hominem arguments, even though he may be accused of such. He is a real asset to this website, and there should be more members of this type allowed to display his or her point of view, without people snarking on him just because they don't agree with him.
posted by greasepig at 3:53 AM on June 21, 2005


Can't disagree with you, greasepig. Certain, similar topics have their customary fulgurate sputter, but with those like Tiddles and Heywood involved, I nearly always learn something new.
posted by Haruspex at 4:39 AM on June 21, 2005


I recently watched a handycam video of a US infantry squad tearing through several thousand rounds, grenades, Predator MPIM AT rockets (it's an RPG type thingie...) followed by a Bradley firing off maybe another hundred rounds and a couple of TOW missiles. The video was maybe 5 minutes long (edited).

The soldiers whooped and hollered throughout the process like a bunch of fucking idiot kids. I have very little doubt in my mind that several non-combatants were killed during that video I watched because absolutely no care AT ALL was taken for ROE. They basically lit up a block of buildings for the purpose of flushing out or suppressing some insurgents, used >$500K of your money and acheived approximately bollock-all in the grand scheme of things. Either they wasted over half a million taxpayer dollars showing off or they did it to kill maybe a half dozen people with $10 AKs.

I have seen and heard too many instances of seriously dangerous unprofessional behaviour from the US Army, from this, the roadblocks, the prisons, policing etc. I would struggle to respect most members of the US Army simply because the ratio of sensible professionals to complete fucking idiots seems to be not so high as it maybe should be.

That's a huge shame - I am maybe writing off two or three hundred thousand kids in a foreign warzone because of the dumb shit things they do, but I can't help it. They do shit like this and what on earth do they think is going to happen?
posted by longbaugh at 4:51 AM on June 21, 2005


When I told my Gulf War I veteran friend about the existence of these photos he said 'Iraq gets worse every day'. He said he would be getting his US Marine tattoo removed at the next opportunity.

Considering the violent anarchy that the US and UK have brought to Iraq, what is the likelyhood of an investigation into this incident that could be reliable in any way?
posted by asok at 4:51 AM on June 21, 2005


I have a very simple, serious question about these photos that hasn't been answered yet, perhaps because of the bickering above (in which I played a part), which I won't comment on further, since it seems to be heading nowhere.

I'm almost certain I've seen half of these pictures before, somewhere, passed along in an e-mail or something like that. I'm also fairly certain that it was only the with-weapons set that was passed around. To the commenter above who indicated that the motivation of the photographer is what matters, this could be very important.

Apparently, someone that received these photos, or perhaps the photographer themselves, decided to send out the weapons-only version, and somehow those passed my desk.

This was at least several months ago. Does anyone else reading this thread remember receiving these photos early on in the war? If so, did you receive the full set, or the weapons-only set?
posted by odinsdream at 6:26 AM on June 21, 2005


odinsdream, if we're trying to identify the motives of the photographer, then no, that doesn't make a difference. You explain why yourself:

someone that received these photos, or perhaps the photographer themselves

That is to say, even if the gun-only photos have been floating around for months, we still only know that the photographer may or may not have had nefarious intentions.
posted by event at 6:56 AM on June 21, 2005


from longbaugh: I have very little doubt in my mind that several non-combatants were killed during that video I watched because absolutely no care AT ALL was taken for ROE.

Yeah but, in this day and age, some people need to see the trigger pulled, a bullet leave the gun, then some gun-cam footage until it hits a person who is holding a sworn statement from the Judge Advocate General's Corps stating the impending victim is a non-combatant. And even then, it would be suspect.

So, your "little doubt" is now a "big doubt."
posted by gsb at 7:03 AM on June 21, 2005


Not to digress from the snarkfest, but could these pictures have been taken to document who was carrying which weapon? Is the real question here not the photos, but Sy Hersch?
posted by iamck at 7:04 AM on June 21, 2005


"could these pictures have been taken to document who was carrying which weapon?"

No, because it is clearly the same weapon.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:02 AM on June 21, 2005


U.S. troops planted an RPG in front of these kids... but why? And is such behavior an isolated incident, or a disturbing trend? That's what needs to be figured out. I don't know the answer, but the questions it makes you ask are disturbing, to say the least.

The real question here is why insomnia_lg has indicted, tried and condemned the soldiers involved in the incident. All based on the photos he's shown us.

Did anyone see photos of the actual shooting?

No. We got the aftermath.

Did he provide us with corroborated eyewitness testimony?

No. His source is a secret source. One of those sources that don't have a name. He believes that his theory of what happened should suffice and any digression of this is tantamount to character assasination. Sounds like he should be sitting on a military tribunal to me.

Has he proved that this was no more than an attempt of being a shameless attention-whore?

No. He's couched his terms with "duty", "honor" and "service", yet here we have an individual who shopped the pictures around and when told to go away by respectable parties, decided to hype this up for a week and get noticed. There's plenty of evidence of this in the past week, so I won't bore you with reposting.

Did he try and ignite an open, honest discussion as to the content of the pictures?

If I get any more insults -- not questions, not reasoned arguments, but personal, slanderous insults -- I will take this to MeTa because these baseless accusations have gone far enough.

No, again, he did not. He set the agenda, put it in the perspective that would most suit his needs and attacked anyone who differed from his view.

insomnia_lg, are these all the pictures you have, or are there more that you haven't released? Do you have any eyewitness testimony from someone who was there? Did you do any factual checking as to the veracity of the photos and the person who passed them onto you? Do you have any other argument to back up your theory other than that you're convinced there's a war crime here based on what you wanted to see?

Maybe Hersch will notice him now, and permanently put his email address in the "Kook" folder.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:23 AM on June 21, 2005


"He believes that his theory of what happened should suffice"

Hardly. I said that U.S. soldiers planted weapons in front of these Iraqis, but I don't know the motive behind it any more than you do. I think that this merits further investigation. Don't you?

"here we have an individual who shopped the pictures around"

I didn't shop them around, as that involves trying to sell them. I sent them to a reporter, who apparently found out some pretty damning information about them, but decided not to go forward with his story. After that, I decided to stop waiting for reporters and go forward with the pictures via the internet instead.

"Did he try and ignite an open, honest discussion as to the content of the pictures?"

Sure. I put them out there and asked what people thought about them, and what should happen next. I didn't invite trolls like you to personally insult me, however. Your behavior has been inappropriate for this site, frankly.

"Did you do any factual checking as to the veracity of the photos and the person who passed them onto you?"

Yes. So did Seymour Hersh. When you take a digital photograph, it saves more data than just the image. In the hands of an expert, you can determine a lot more. The pictures absolutely check out, as does the source.

"Do you have any other argument to back up your theory other than that you're convinced there's a war crime here based on what you wanted to see?"

I see no weapons in front of these kids, then I see the same weapon placed in front of each of them. That is what I see. What I don't know is why they were placed there. That's what needs to be investigated.

Answer the question -- Do you deny the need for a serious investigation into this matter?
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:16 AM on June 21, 2005


For those of you who do think it should be investigated, you may want to contact your congressional representatives.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:17 AM on June 21, 2005


I don't know if this thread is till going, but when I asked insomnia_lj if there were any more information to go with these pictures, I was thinking of the following questions:

1. How do you know what you know about the events that took place? Did your info come through the same channels the photos did?
2. What leads you to believe in their authenticity?
3. Have you done your own investigations at all?
4. Who took the photos and why?
5. why you?
6. chain of events that lead to these being in your hands?


The reason I ask these questions isn't because I don't believe you. I believe you believe everything you've said. I believe these are pictures of a real situation. But there are only certain things that anyone can know for sure from these photos and what you've said:

1. These are photos of dead children near soldiers that appear to be U.S. soldiers.
2. These photos appear to have been taken in such a way as to highlight the absence of an rpg and rockets in one set of the photos
3. These children appear to be middle-eastern and in a wooded area.
4. The date would seem to be somwhere between 199x and now. Certainly after the invention of the rpg.

Photos don't prove a lot. Photos with some kind of context prove a fuck-ton. I'm not saying this to doubt you, but if this is photographic evidence of what you're saying, it's going to come under a good deal more scrutiny than what I've just typed, and for good reason. People are going to want to know why you believe what you believe. If there's anything rathergate taught us, not to mention that biography of gwb that accused him of drug abuse, it's that you can never have too much evidence to prove authenticity.

Also, for the record: I'm strongly on the side that believes these merit further investigation, at least.
posted by shmegegge at 10:21 AM on June 21, 2005


keeee-rist, wtf is in the mefi drinking water today? Some of you have gone completely off the deep end.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:22 AM on June 21, 2005


Just an assumption here, seems to be many of those here (and on the other thread where I fist posted this a minute ago, yes I'm stupid) but couldn't the boys have been together as a group carrying the RPG? They were killed, the weapons secured and photos taken to document the event and and the weapons in queston for an investigation which would surely follow?

My first reaction was not necessarily one of shock that boys were killed, but rather disgust at a situation where children become soldiers. A situation that we created.

Just to clarify, to me an accidental killing can be far less revolting than an intentional one. It is a war zone and soldiers are understandably paranoid, shit happens, tragic, but it does. The idea that these kids were driven to fight to the death is somehow a worse situation than the first.

I suspect that even if it was an accidental killing, the soldiers who shot these children had plenty of reason to believe that even kids were capable of what the photos implicate.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:53 AM on June 21, 2005



Has he proved that this was no more than an attempt of being a shameless attention-whore?


As far as I'm concerned, yes he has proved it. It seems pretty up and up to me.

Have you proved that you're doing anything besides splitting hairs and being obnoxious, jsavimbi?
posted by Jon-o at 11:06 AM on June 21, 2005


1. How do you know what you know about the events that took place? Did your info come through the same channels the photos did?

I know about it from an American who is in Iraq. They received the pictures from someone in direct contact with the unit in question. While the photos came to me through this person, the information that Seymour Hersh discovered about this being a photo of Iraqi kids playing accidentally attacked while playing soccer came through independent sources of which I'm not aware of. I suspect he talked to one of the soldiers who was there that day, but obviously he'd want to protect that source, especially if the person in question is still active military.

2. What leads you to believe in their authenticity?

The photos were analyzed by a technical expert that does some work with the New Yorker to verify the authenticity of photographs. They verified that the pictures were taken with a digital camera, that the sequence was taken in the order described, and that the date stamp corresponds with that date in Buhriz.

"3. Have you done your own investigations at all?"

I have certainly googled the events of that day, which led me to find the supporting photographs taken by Al Jazeera, as well as many of the supporting links. I haven't approached any of the soldiers in question myself, however.

4. Who took the photos and why?

They were taken by a soldier who was part of the unit I mentioned in the article. Why? I don't know.

5. why you?

Because I've made a lot of friends over in Iraq, I guess. In my previous involvement with LiveJournal, I came up with the idea behind LiveJournal's communities. In order to evangelize these features, and make LJ a gemerally larger, more interesting site, I started creating international communities for various countries, such as Italy, Turkey, Greece, Brazil, etc. I would run directory searches on LJ and do some pretty extensive, time consuming "needle in a haystack" searches to find people living in these countries, then I would organize them into a community, eventually handing it off to one of the members to run.

Well, early last year, it really became obvious to me that there were several LJers who were working or serving in Iraq, as well as a few Iraqi expats. I did a similar search of LJ, and found several more, and organized them into an invite-only community, where they could discuss their lives freely.

The community grew and now numbers over 100 people, who are either in Iraq, going to Iraq, or back from Iraq. Many of them have become my friends, and a significant part of my life. I try to help them out with whatever I can, from giving them advice on PTSD and depression, to contacting companies for merchandise and sending out care packages to the soldiers.

That is how I came to know so many people there and helps to explain why me.

'6. chain of events that lead to these being in your hands?"

They were given to me by a U.S. citizen in Iraq. They got it from a soldier, who got it from the person who took the picture. I do not know the identity of my sources' source, but the pictures check out authoritatively according to Seymour Hersh / the New Yorker.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:28 AM on June 21, 2005


Answer the question -- Do you deny the need for a serious investigation into this matter?

What a guy.

You sir, are not creditable. How am I supposed to formulate an opinion on the matter when you've done nothing but hype-up the events, produce sketchy evidence at best and couch the terms of your argument. How can I debate someone who's statement out-of-the-box swings like this:

They indicate that a group of U.S. soldiers planted weapons -- the same weapon, in fact -- in front of killed, wounded, and captured Iraqi kids. I cannot authenticate whether Mr. Hersh is correct and that the teens in question were innocent or not, but clearly, something significant is amiss. At the very least, it indicates how uncertain the situation is over there. Our soldiers literally do not know who the enemy is, and apparently are willing to manipulate the evidence in order to justify their actions.

You sir, were not there. You sir, by your own admission, cannot authenticate that the teens in question may or may not be combatants. You sir, do not know how many weapons were found. You sir, without having set foot in a combat zone are stating as fact that the situation "over there" is uncertain. You sir, state as fact that "our soldiers" do not know who the enemy is and are willing to manipulate the evidence in order to justify their actions. But lo and behold, you, the expert, are positive that something is amiss.

All of this without one shread of substantative evidence. Conjecture is not fact. Personal theories are not facts. Obvious political motivations are not justification enough to warrant anything. Just because you want it to be so doesn't mean it's going to happen.

I know what's amiss alright. It's your elevator, and it isn't going all the way up to the tenth floor, sir.

I know you want to be successful. I understand that you need to see this through. Unfortunately, your IQ and resources are severely limited and you're asking for our help.

Well sir, help comes at a price. And I, for one, find myself unable to lend any help to someone who has spent the better part of the week selling all sizzle and not steak. You are way too focused on your own personal agenda and nothing is going to sway you.

You don't give two shits about those kids. You don't give two shits about the facts of that event. You don't give a shit about anything other than ego-driven quest to make yourself look and prove someone wrong.

And you're too sold on yourself at this point to realize that you're wrong. Good luck.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2005


If there's one thing we can agree on, jsavimbi, it's insomnia_lj, not insomnia_lg, right?

As for your other points, jsavimbi, you're claiming a lot more than everyone else is. Here's what is known for sure:

There are pictures, taken in sequence. The first pictures show dead kids without weapons, the following pictures show dead kids with weapons. The same physical weapons are in each picture. This stuff is physical fact, it's not arguable, and it's nobody's opinion.

That's all that insomnia_lj is claiming, and that's all the page claims. Seymore Hersch makes further claims about the motive behind these facts, but that's not insomnia_lj's claim.

Are we in agreement so far? If not, let me know.
posted by odinsdream at 11:44 AM on June 21, 2005


odinsdream, you forgot that jsavimbi wasn't shocked enough by the pics. He wants his money back.

I've got $2 towards making him go away.
posted by jmgorman at 11:48 AM on June 21, 2005


" "Vietnam presumably taught us that the United States could not serve as the world's policeman; it should also have taught us the dangers of trying to be the world's midwife to democracy when the birth is scheduled to take place under conditions of guerrilla war." -- Jeane Kirkpatrick, 1979
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:01 AM PST on June 21 [!] "

Appropriate post Heywood Mogroot. Similar circumstances in Vietnam in the sense that we were winning that war (inflicting more casualties, etc. etc.) but the question at home was is it worth it?

Seems similar here. I keep hearing Bushco saying how wonderful were doing, but I question - if we're winning or not - whether it's worth it or whether we're looking at a pyrrhic victory.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:48 AM on June 21, 2005


If I was shown simply the pictures with the dead boys & the weapons (without the "before" version), I wouldn't have any better sense what these pics are trying to show. the weapons look placed in front of the corpses to start with - whether as a way of cataloguing or as a way of fake-cataloguing. If the suggestion is that it's fake-cataloguing, we need more evidence of who these boys actually were and why they were not part of the insurgency - because they're young? Not in uniform? But when you're fighting an unofficial army, those things aren't where the line's drawn.

At this stage, there's no evidence anyone was claiming the pictures to represent anything in particular - so to claim that they don't in fact represent what no one ever said they represented, is already jumping ahead of ourselves. And anyway, if they are meant to catalogue enemy dead, taking additional pictures with the weapon would not be misleading if in fact the group had been brandishing the weapon but lost control of it in the fight.

If the claim is that these pictures imply that the boys were using this weapon, and it can be shown that in fact the weapon belonged to US troops, then we need that evidence in conjunction with the photos, i.e., we need to be shown the context where these pictures are presented as evidence, and we need to be shown the proof that the weapon in question was actually planted and not introduced by the iraqi boys.

Otherwise, these are just sad pictures of a messy war... but not evidence of war crimes.
posted by mdn at 11:51 AM on June 21, 2005


insomnia_lj, please stop feeding the troll. No one is listening to him anymore anyway. He's just pissed because your pictures weren't gory enough to get him off. Perhaps he needs some Viagra.
posted by caddis at 12:02 PM on June 21, 2005


odinsdream: Are we in agreement so far? If not, let me know.

Quotes from insomnia_lj on the linked page:

"clearly, something significant is amiss"

"Our soldiers literally do not know who the enemy is, and apparently are willing to manipulate the evidence in order to justify their actions."

etc.

These quotes are not facts for which the photos provide evidence. These statements color the viewer's interpretation of the photos, but the photos don't don't give evidence one way or the other for their veracity.
posted by event at 12:05 PM on June 21, 2005


There are pictures, taken in sequence.

There are pictures, yes. Our expert at on the sequencing: some guy at the New Yorker. Sorry, that part won't fly.

The first pictures show dead kids without weapons.

Agreed.

the following pictures show dead kids with weapons.

Agreed.

The same physical weapons are in each picture.

That's physical evidence that you and I do not have. Weapons have serial numbers. We cannot ascertain that the RPG launcher, grenade and fuel are all the same three elements in each and every photograph through the eveidence given. This is in dispute until we get a corroborating eyewitness to testify that they are in fact the same.

insomnia_lx has ALSO claimed that:

They indicate that a group of U.S. soldiers planted weapons -- the same weapon, in fact

it indicates how uncertain the situation is over there.


Our soldiers literally do not know who the enemy is, and apparently are willing to manipulate the evidence in order to justify their actions.

It appears to me that these teenagers are not insurgents

where that fear and uncertainty leads to a situation where U.S. soldiers try to manipulate the reality of the situation.

It's also worth noting that medical treatment was apparently not offered until shown in the later pictures, leading me to wonder whether the assistance, in itself, was part of the "staged" element of these photos.

It's also pretty obvious at this point that he has a thang for poor Seymour Hersch.

Aside from the claims on the simple validity of the photographic evidence that he has, he's made the claim that weapons were planted, evidence destroyed or distorted, a claim on the strategic situation "over there", a claim on the denial of medical assistance until it was photographically convenient. Also, these are claims that you've co-sponsored. None of which have any evidence to back them up. Both of you have failed to present the facts. You've presented your theories and arguments to support your accusations, but you don't have a leg to stand on, aside from what you want to see in those pictures. Good luck convincing a jury, gentlemen.

You simply cannot believe something just because you want it to be so. And so far, you and your buddy have failed to convince me of your story. It's that simple.

I stand by MLIS's first comment at the top of the thread.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:06 PM on June 21, 2005


I wanted to share a small collection of screencaps that I've taken of personal journal entries by soldiers in Iraq. They not only establish my contacts with soldiers over there, but they also are pretty revealing about some of the things these people go through.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:09 PM on June 21, 2005


mdn writes "At this stage, there's no evidence anyone was claiming the pictures to represent anything in particular"

I daresay with insomnia_lj's full explanation on the table there is the circumstantial evidence (in addition to the photos themselves) of something being awry just by virtue of the volition with the delivery method -- with the (my assumption) expressed hope that they be made public. Otherwise someone is going to extraordinary lengths in an attempt to discredit the killers/photographers -- that seems a big stretch.
insomnia_lj, you could email the link to DOD and a whole bunch of Congressman yourself - that would seem to me to be your role because you're named and no doubt questions will be asked of you.

That 1/2 of them turned up elsewhere months ago is odd though?
posted by peacay at 12:14 PM on June 21, 2005


Are you kidding me?

Not a single one of those screen caps establish any contact with you and whomever wrote them.

And the screen caps reveal nothing other than the usual gripes about living out in the field and getting shot at.

This is not about you and your Orkut ring. Get it through your head, we don't care about you, we just want the facts.

Next thing you know I'll be taking pictures of my cubicle to verify my employment.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:19 PM on June 21, 2005


Our expert at on the sequencing: some guy at the New Yorker. Sorry, that part won't fly.
...
Weapons have serial numbers. We cannot ascertain that the RPG launcher, grenade and fuel are all the same three elements in each and every photograph through the eveidence given.


These are fair points. insomnia_lj could have received pictures that showed different weapons with identical scratches, dents, and dirt-marks in the first set of pictures, but then the soliders removed them to take another set of pictures. Since this didn't fit with insomnia_lj's wish to exploit children, he re-coded the EXIF data, somehow figured out how to regenerate the appropriate checksum, and then went public with them, using his real name.

I understand your position much better now.
posted by odinsdream at 12:25 PM on June 21, 2005


This thread == weak.

Discussion of the 'motives' of the poster should have been done in MeTa, so I could ignored it. jsavimbi's ranting in this thread should have been ignored.
posted by delmoi at 12:31 PM on June 21, 2005


odinsdream, can you also address the other claims that insomnia made, please? It's in the second part of my post. That comes after the first part, where I answered your questions.

Btw, even though I sound crazy, you still can't verify that it's the same RPG launcher, grenade and rocket fuel in every picture. Not without eyewitness corroboration.

ps. eyewitness testimony does not come in the form of selected screen caps from people's journals.

insomnia, stop promoting yourself. I'll stipulate that once you were a big cheese over at the journal thingee. Your resume does not need to be included with the evidence.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:36 PM on June 21, 2005


I can understand how soldiers would take pictures of all insurgents involved in an action alongside the weapons found with them. There could be pictures without and pictures with the weapons to fully document things. I have no problem seeing how that could have happened, even if one RPG launcher with a few RPG was being used in all the pictures.

That could simply mean that these kids were operating as a group with only one launcher. And as someone documenting the scene, I probably would place the launcher in each picture I take of different individuals simply to indicate that they were part of the group using this one launcher.

But am I the only one finding it strange that all the kids in those pictures are barefoot?

To me, that adds quite a bit of weight to the notion that they may have been playing football. I notice that there is a pair of sandals in a few of the pictures placed beside one of the kids.

I mean, if I were involved in insurgent activity against the U.S military, I'm pretty sure I would try to get myself some good footwear since I would probably be doing lots of running away.
posted by Physics Package at 12:45 PM on June 21, 2005


jsavimbi, you asshat, quit flooding this comment section with your crap comments!
posted by iamck at 1:06 PM on June 21, 2005


jsavimbi has made it into my top five list of MeFi loons.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:44 PM on June 21, 2005


jsavimbi, I don't need to deal with what insomnia_lj thinks about the pictures, because I'm not hung up on him as a person, or his own credibility. I'm only discussing the pictures and what they clearly show. That's what this thread is really about, despite your hand-waving.
posted by odinsdream at 1:46 PM on June 21, 2005


odinsdream, my friend, you and I both know that insomnia_101 made this whole thing up to center on himself.

btw: are you two the same person?
posted by jsavimbi at 1:54 PM on June 21, 2005


odinsdream, my friend, you and I both know that insomnia_101 made this whole thing up to center on himself.

Okay, I don't know what your motivations are, but no matter what insomnia_lj's motivations may be he clearly did not "make this whole thing up".

Please stop, think, and come back when you want to discuss the post. You've made your points about insomnia_lj and it's time to move on.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:08 PM on June 21, 2005


Agreed. Feel free to whine and moan about how we ganged up on you and censored you. But really, I was looking forward to discussing these images in a productive and substantive way rather than having to traipse around your spewing garbage. Thanks for all of your pointless derailing, jsavimbi. You can show yourself to the door now.
posted by Jon-o at 2:29 PM on June 21, 2005


This comment by jsavimbi is over the top. This comment, however, is right on.
posted by event at 2:41 PM on June 21, 2005


Every time I'm driving around and see a group of 3-5 schoolage kids waiting to cross the street, with their skateboards, bicycles, basketballs and such, I think to myself, "Insurgents". It's kind of fun if you say it out loud a couple of times. These kids aren't hoodlums, hooligans, gangstas, or even nice innocent kids out having a good time, they're insurgents. It's kind of a fun game, and helps to put yourself in the mindset of the average soldier in Iraq today. They look at every kid on the street as someone who can and will kill them if they turn around. If they shoot first, they're gonna make damn sure it was self defense, even if they have to plant the same weapon next to every one.
posted by Balisong at 2:44 PM on June 21, 2005


I daresay with insomnia_lj's full explanation on the table there is the circumstantial evidence (in addition to the photos themselves) of something being awry just by virtue of the volition with the delivery method -- with the (my assumption) expressed hope that they be made public. Otherwise someone is going to extraordinary lengths in an attempt to discredit the killers/photographers -- that seems a big stretch.

Although I don't doubt insomnia's motives, I don't think you can call it evidence without some kind of explicit claim. At this point it's just "this seems weird". I'm not saying that I'm certain all's fine; I just am neither convinced of what in particular is amiss. The placement of the weapons does not seem like an issue to me - it does not look as if they were attempting to suggest that the weapon & body were found already positioned, and it seems especially unlikely that someone would have bothered to take, and save, the initial pictures if that's what they were trying to do.

What intuitively strikes one as odd is that they do look like kids in everyday clothes, whereas our soldiers are a few years older and wear protective gear. But is this the claim being made here, that our soldiers shouldn't kill plainclothesed 15 year olds? Because that is a notably different claim than that these are manipulated pictures...
posted by mdn at 2:50 PM on June 21, 2005


Before you go, jsavimbi, I'd like to hear whether you think the following statement is true, or false:

The subject matter of these pictures is peculiar enough to warrant further investigation, without which we can never be certain of what exactly happened that day.

And the followup:

Such investigation is appropriate and useful to determining the efficacy of our fighting forces abroad.
posted by odinsdream at 2:59 PM on June 21, 2005


jsavimb: seriously, just fuck the fuck off. did you take these pics? sounds like you did.
and ttdl just made his first sane post of the day. good!
this thread is almost as disgusting as the photos.
posted by mr.marx at 2:59 PM on June 21, 2005


At this point, I don't have anything to add to the topic. I'm just making this comment so that mr.marx's unnecessary vitriole isn't the last comment in what was, by MetaFilter standards, a fairly civil discussion.
posted by event at 5:22 PM on June 21, 2005


Relax Mrs. Marx. I haven't said anything to you.

I will make one concession, and one concession only:

You find us a copy of the after-action report from THAT ACTION, from THAT PLATOON, from THAT UNIT from THAT DAY and we'll compare the report with what is in the pictures.

(An after-action report is submitted by the platoon commander to the company commander and so on, that relates the events that happened on that day. An after-action report is not to be confused with news reports from the media)

If there is something that got squashed in the report and is in the pictures, then we have "something very weird" to address. And I'll be the first to point that out.

However, if the after-action report and the pictures coincide to tell the same story, and no other organization or creditable person (eyewitness) has conclusive evidence to support insomnia_lj's theory, then we have nothing amiss.

This is the internet. Let's get our hands on that report, let's all read it, compare it to the photos and make our determination.

The after-action report is an official document and I'll take that in trade for an eyewitness account, thus insomnia won't have to give up the name of his source.

Does that sound fair enough? On one hand we have an official report, on the other we have these pics that are alleged to contain wrongdoings that obviously wouldn't be in that report. It's only fair that we look at both sides of the story.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:23 PM on June 21, 2005


Relax Mrs. Marx. I haven't said anything to you.

you must have confused say something online" with "emailing someone" and "comment in a community" with "shooting shit with my pals".
everything you say here is for me to read and comment. me and every other reader.

btw, the "mrs" thing was an awesome snark. I mean, I wouldn't want to be mistaken for a GIRL (YUCK!!), would I?

and no, nothing you say sounds "fair". you are loony, seek help.
posted by mr.marx at 6:44 PM on June 21, 2005


by MetaFilter standards, a fairly civil discussion.

How does the right live with its incessent need to lie? I'd say easily half the 180 comments here have been a clusterfuck centered around attacks/counters regarding insomnia_lj. It's to be expected, I guess, given that photos of dead children are uncommon on the front page.

It may be fairly civil by standards of a deeply divided America, but it is way beyond MetaFilter snark.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:00 PM on June 21, 2005


jsavimbi on Abu Gharib photos and video:

"Find us a copy of the after-action report for THAT ACTION, from THAT PRISON, on THAT DAY, and we'll compare it to the rape and murder shown in the video and pictures.

If that report doesn't mention the rape and murder shown in these pictures, well then we have something "very weird" to discuss, and I'll be the first to point that out.

Otherwise, this is just the internet, and these pictures of rape and murder could have come from some, I don't know, weird person or something! THINK ABOUT IT, we have NO IDEA who gave us these pictures, I mean, besides his name, and all.

And anyway, why would soldiers take pictures of rape and murder? That's just stupid. It would never happen."
posted by odinsdream at 7:06 PM on June 21, 2005


jsavimbi, that sounds fair enough. I take you to task for attacking the messenger over the message in this thread. I think you have been most unfair (a few of my comments have gone way beyond my comfort level - they were in response to my perception of your unfairness and for them I apologize).

The pictures alone, in my mind at least, are insufficient to support the throw-down theory. However, it doesn't seem farcical either. That is why I posted it, and posted it with a question. Your argument seems to be that because insomnia_lj is a little excited over getting these photos they must be wrong. Well, that seems to be the argument at least, and if not why the continual attacks upon his motives? I can understand the excitement somewhat if they show what he thinks, although I hope they don't as that would be most horrible. I don't really want to catch our boys in war crimes or whatever; I hope they just don't do it. If they do, and it is bad, then I would want it investigated. The pictures speak for themselves, and are horrible, but to show horrible action on the part of the soldiers requires more info. At the very least though, the actions of the soldiers seem fishy. Let's look further before coming to conclusions.
posted by caddis at 7:15 PM on June 21, 2005


by MetaFilter standards, a fairly civil discussion.

I'm going to have to second If I Had An Anus' comment. I'm not on the left, I'm not on the right.

I tried not to use denigrating insults. If someone's feelings were hurt because I called him "that guy" and nervous nellie, or compared him to a drama queen and a carny or a kook, then maybe they shouldn't venture out onto the internet by themselves. All I did was to poke holes into his theory and he starts screaming that I'm from the "other side" and I have no values and morals.

Please, find one posting, one, where I've insulted/attacked this in the guy on a personal level. I don't have a problem with him. I have a problem with the fact that he's interjecting himself into the tragic deaths of these kids in order to make himself look interesting. I did not attack the messenger over the message. I attacked the messenger for trying to play me like a fool.

That's my beef, and always has been. I do not deny that the killings took place, I do not deny that it's very odd that these kids' sandals are placed neatly beside them. I do not deny that a very suspicious shell game is going on with the weaponry in the photos, and I do not deny the fact that for awhile I was having some fun at insomnia's expense. But for all those asertions of the facts as they've been presented to us, I still remain unconvinced that what we have here is a murder/cover-up that merits me waking up my congressman with a handful of printouts. I have requested more info in order not to be lopped in with the misinformed knee-jerk squad.

As far as "excitement" on behalf of insomnia_lj? I find it a little fishy that he sat on this for months before finally getting "excited" about this whole posting. Had he simply posted the pictures with a explaination of his disgust at the content, suggested his theory without condemnation and allowed for normal discourse to ensue, then we don't have any controversy. However, he decided to showboat, highlighting himself at every opportunity, play coy, set the stage, paint the situation in his own light of convenience and try and lead us into a predetrmined reaction to fufill whatever desire he has. I'm sorry, I'm not going to play his games.

odinsdream, please stop paraphrasing what I said. You cannot compare the torture, rape and murder of shackled prisoners with the events out in the field, fog of war aside, at 7:20am. Which is a very strange time for thirteen year-olds to be playing soccer.

You should be on the horn with your man in Iraq getting us the after-action report.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:41 PM on June 21, 2005


and I do not deny the fact that for awhile I was having some fun at insomnia's expense.

And this is the sickest part of it all, what makes your posts so despicable. Here, we have a very serious subject, brought to light by someone who feels it's important, even if you don't, and you're "having some fun" with him. You don't need to let us know, it's very clear to us that's what you were doing, and that's what's so sickening about it, given the subject we're all actually trying to discuss alongside your shit-slinging.

at 7:20am. Which is a very strange time for thirteen year-olds to be playing soccer.

Conjecture, not worth responding to.

You should be on the horn with your man in Iraq getting us the after-action report.

Some kind of sick sarcastic joke. I don't have a man in Iraq, and I have no way of getting at this holy-grail-report you absolutely need in order to feel like this situation is worth further investigation.

posted by odinsdream at 8:41 PM on June 21, 2005


If someone's feelings were hurt because I called him "that guy" and nervous nellie, or compared him to a drama queen and a carny or a kook, then maybe they shouldn't venture out onto the internet by themselves.

This is not the internets. This is Metafilter.

Please, find one posting, one, where I've insulted/attacked this in the guy on a personal level. I don't have a problem with him.

Well, let me keep reading, oh wait, what's this?

I have a problem with the fact that he's interjecting himself into the tragic deaths of these kids in order to make himself look interesting.

That's a personal insult. Right there and it's idiotic as well. Every other fucking post in this thread is some comment, by you, attacking or nitpicking Insomnia_lj or defending yourself. You act like the thread is all about you and what it would require for Insomnia_lj to convince you about what happened. You make it impossible to discuss anything other then your nitpicking.

And what's worse is that for some reason you seem to think Insomnia_lj's perceived self-aggrandizement is the worst thing going on, like a little self-aggrandizement is worse then planting RPGs or whatever.

Just go away.
posted by delmoi at 9:01 PM on June 21, 2005


jsavimbi: well, you have successfully gained my attention. I am now well aware of your username. You've attracted the attention of other respected and prolific posters, too. You're famous!

Also, you are a fuckwitted douchebag, and I suspect many others feel the same about you. Never will I see a post of yours without recalling what a shitheaded trolling asswipe you are.

Is that the goal you had in mind? 'cause if it was, you've met with resounding success.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:17 AM on June 22, 2005


While I might not use the same language as five fresh fish, I think it's particularly regrettable given the serious and sensitive nature of this FPP that it devolved into what I can only describe as a vendetta against insomnia_lj. jsavimbi man, you should go back and read all this and then take a week away perhaps. The photos and their meaning was the topic.
posted by peacay at 12:26 PM on June 22, 2005


jsavimbi, I third FFF and peacay. I can't for the life of me understand your behavior in this thread. Why the personal vendetta against insomnia_lj? Personal or professional jealousy? Or a failed attempt to "shoot the messenger" and divert attention away from the real core of the thread: "the photos and their meaning ?"
posted by ericb at 1:35 PM on June 22, 2005


I wouldn't use the same language as five fresh fish, either. But whatcha gonna do, eh?

Perhaps between my vulgar words and your polite ones, the very essense of a hint of a notion of a clue might penetrate into the git's head, and he'll realise just how deep he dug his hole.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2005


It's been 48 hours since caddis made the FPP. General Franco is still dead and this little pantomime has yet to catch on...

"I may be a douchebag, but I'm definitely not fuckwitted"
Winston Churchill addressing the House of Commons
posted by jsavimbi at 2:27 PM on June 22, 2005


SHUT UP ALREADY! PLEASE?
posted by blasdelf at 5:42 PM on June 22, 2005


Please don't feed the trolls.
posted by craniac at 2:45 PM on June 24, 2005


Follow-up from the officer in charge.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:42 PM on June 29, 2005


Thanks for the heads-up kirkaracha.
posted by caddis at 8:53 PM on June 29, 2005


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