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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Part 3: No Photos Please!

In a piece written by Lucinda Marshall, artist, activist and founder of the Feminist Peace Network,portions of which are excerpted here, the writer suggests the Bush administration was trying to end the Iraqi prison scandal by successfully trying Lynddie England. Here is what she wrote:
The Bush administration's assertion that Abu Ghraib was an isolated incident, and its attempt to atone for it with England's highly publicized show-trial, was further damaged by the magnanimous gesture of entrepreneur Chris Wilson. Wilson generously offered military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan free access to his porn site in exchange for pictures of the action in the war zone.
It is perhaps fitting that the depravity of war should find it's fullest expression on a site that peddles pornography. The pictures on this site show all manner of mutilated bodies and clear evidence of torture being committed by U.S. troops. It is also clear that many of the soldiers sending in these pictures took great pride in these displays of their handiwork.
The military's response to the site was to simply block soldiers in Iraq from accessing the site on military computers because of concern about photos of nude female soldiers posing with weapons that had been posted to the site. The New York Post broke the news last October. Following that Wilson was overwhelmed with news queries about the pornographic portion of the site. It was only lately that any interest was shown in the photos of abuse and torture.
Officials at the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida told George Zornick of The Nation that they would not comment on the pictures, claiming that military firewalls prevented them from viewing the site. A Centcom spokesman did say that, "Centcom recognizes DoD regulations and the Geneva Convention prohibit photographing detainees or mutilating and/or degrading dead bodies," and that, "Centcom has no specific policy on taking pictures of the deceased as long as those pictures do not violate the aforementioned prohibitions."
Obviously, this person hasn't received or read the memo that the US no longer adheres to the Geneva Convention. US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says that agreement is "quaint".
The military has concluded that while some disciplinary action may be taken, at this point there is insufficient evidence for felony charges since the website's postings are anonymous and because it would be difficult to verify the origins and authenticity of the photos (an inexplicable statement since many of the photos show readily identifiable faces of enlisted personnel). The military's position is quite troubling inasmuch as the posting of these photos on a porn site for entertainment purposes would appear to be in violation of the Geneva Conventions, which stipulate that the remains of persons who die for reasons related to occupation or detention as a result of hostilities shall be respected and treated honorably.

Next Post: No Photos Please, Part 4.


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