Friday :: Apr 30, 2004

What Is This, The First S&M WAR???

by pessimist

This prisoner torture thing is really getting out of hand!

We've been hearing for a couple of days about this story of US troops violating the Geneva Convention and putting their prisoners through humiliating tortures, even taking and publishing pictures of them while they are under assault.

Now, The BBC has a video of this torture in progress.

The Mirror is publishing photos.

The BBC Has some photos also - only these are British troops doing the torturing!

Amnesty International - Torture not isolated incident

The torture of Iraqi prisoners by United States and British soldiers is "not an isolated incident", the human rights organisation Amnesty International (AI) said on Friday.

The organisation also said that it had received "frequent reports of torture or other ill-treatment by coalition forces during the past year" which included sleep deprivation, beatings, prolonged hooding and restraint in painful positions, and exposure to bright lights and loud music.

AI deplored in particular that the most recent scenes took place at the Abu Ghuraib prison which had gained notoriety for mistreatment and torture of prisoners under former president Saddam Hussein.

Last month, AI had warned in a report that the human rights situation for Iraqis remained dire one year after the fall of Saddam Hussein: "The promise of improved human rights for Iraqis remains far from realised."

And the (mis)Administration wonders why the Iraqis hate freedom and liberty so!

World reaction to these traveties is righteous indignation. These pictures are going to show up on Al Qaeda recruiting posters all over the Muslim world, thus making the problems facing the US all the worse.

Anyone who has been around off-duty soldiers feeling their oats knows that this sort of behavior is quite easy for them to practice, despite what their superiors say. Such hazing is even encouraged among them to 'toughen up' the troops and to 'make men out of them'. It is no stretch to expect them to revert to such juvenile viciousness when given too much authority without any responsibile oversight. After all, only 'girly-men' care about what their prisoners might be feeling.

Isn't it bad enough that the US is already considered an international pariah? Now we have to go and make things worse by trying to justify these actions.

Iraq Torture Images Vie with Photos of U.S. War Dead

In contrast to media outlets in Europe and parts of the Middle East, where photographs of reported torture of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. forces were prominently displayed and decried, newspapers in the United States featured the images of the fallen -- which carried their own controversy.

This shows U.S. newspaper editors understand what kind of war coverage interests American readers, according to David D. Perlmutter, a historian of war and media at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. "The torture pictures are absolutely irrelevant," Perlmutter said in a telephone interview. "Americans care about American soldiers, and only journalistic and political and academic elites fret about pictures of collateral damage ...

"If you start talking to the public, you'll find people sympathizing with the soldiers," he said.

We are truly a morally bankrupt country if we condone the torture of prisoners without a care while we ignore these stories in favor of those who died in good faith making this torture possible.

The torture images were taken from CBS's "60 Minutes II," which on Wednesday aired photos taken in 2003 showing American troops abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison, a center of torture and execution under ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The Washington Post, which ran three full pages of pictures of war dead, offered the prison torture story and photographs deep inside its Friday editions, focusing on the military shake-up caused by the scandal.

Neither of Chicago's big dailies -- the Tribune and the Sun-Times -- ran the photographs, though the Tribune published a story on the scandal.

USA Today, the largest U.S. general circulation daily paper, published thumbnail-size photos of 116 U.S. soldiers killed during April on its front page, and bypassed the Iraq photos entirely.

In Detroit, which has the biggest concentrations of Arabs outside the Middle East, neither the Free Press nor the News ran the torture photos.

You can bet that this community already knows about these photos. The expected outrage has prompted Owwer Leedur to rouse himself from his rest after his own torture session at the hands of the 9/11 Commission and make the usual sympathetic-sounding moises for the benefit of the media:

Bush expresses 'deep disgust' at prison photos

In the face of international outrage, President Bush said Friday that he was disgusted by photographs that apparently show American soldiers abusing detainees at a prison outside Baghdad.

"I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated," Bush said. "Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people. That's not the way we do things in America."

If he had been around real soldiers, Like Senator John F. Kerry has been, he might not say this.

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the coalition's deputy chief of operations, said that he was "appalled that fellow soldiers who wear the same uniforms as us would do this."

"They crossed the line and violated every tenet we teach in the Army about dignity and respect," he said, adding that he was expressing his personal opinion and not speaking on the coalition's behalf.

Get out of your air conditioned quarters and get out with your troops once in a while, General. You might be surprised at what you discover.

U.S. allies denounce photos

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's human rights envoy to Iraq said Friday that she was shocked by the images, while the editor of a London-based Arabic-language newspaper predicted Muslims would be furious.

Ann Clwyd, Blair's envoy and a lawmaker from the ruling Labor Party, voiced her condemnation. "I think they are absolutely terrible. I am shocked," she told British radio.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Friday that he was "appalled" by the images but praised the U.S. military for investigating.

British military expert Col. Bob Stewart said the pictures would inflame an already volatile situation in the Arab world. Stewart, NATO's former commander in Bosnia, told ITN that the images were "the best recruiting sergeant that al Qaeda and those people that want to fight against British soldiers, American soldiers and the rest of coalition could ever want."

Photos also were splashed across many of Britain's newspapers.

"We are losing their hearts and minds" was the headline in the Daily Mail's main editorial comment.

The Daily Mirror added: "When it comes to winning hearts and minds the U.S. Army hasn't got a clue. Many of its actions seem calculated to make enemies of Iraqis and drive them into the arms of extremists. The photos of prisoners being tortured ... are the most unforgivable acts yet."

Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper in London, said he agreed. "It is absolutely shocking. I think this is the end of the story, the straw that broke the camel's back, for America," he told the UK Press Association. "People will be extremely angry. ... Sexual abuse is the worst thing in that part of the world. It is shocking to all Muslims. America has lost the battle completely. I believe there will be more attacks."

At least one news site seems to understand the ramifications of this action:

Torture pictures 'the end' for USA in Iraq

Chilling TV pictures of Iraqi prisoners being tortured and abused by US soldiers will damage Britain and signal the “end of the story” for America in Iraq, it was claimed today. The pictures taken by US soldiers guarding Iraqis were broadcast on TV news bulletins in the US last night. The graphic photos show hooded and naked prisoners being abused, some sexually, with US soldiers smiling and looking on.

They have caused a storm in the US and a number of soldiers and officers have been suspended. But experts fear the damage has already been done to the coalition cause in Iraq. Military experts also claimed it could bolster support for insurgents who have killed coalition troops and taken civilian prisoners since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Former UK Foreign Secretary Lord Owen said Britain would be “damaged” by the revelation while Arab commentators said the US had now lost the battle to win over hearts and minds in Iraq.

Lord Owen said the pictures were “damaging” for Britain as well as the US. “I hope, I believe, nothing like this happens in the British Army. But there is no joy for us. What happens with the Americans of course impacts on us. We are in it together. It hurts us as well.

“Things go wrong in every conflict. But this is very bad to happen at this time. We could have done without it, it is very damaging. You never pull back lost ground.

"At least it is being handled as far as we can tell, robustly by the American military and these people will be brought to justice and show that nobody is above the law.”

Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a respected London-based Arabic newspaper with worldwide circulation, said: “I think the British job will be extremely difficult because we are associated with this torture and abuse, the closest ally of a country which tortures prisoners. Iraqis expected the Americans and British to bring democracy and human rights and not the same thing as under Saddam. We have replaced a brutal dictator with a brutal super-power.”

Major Charles Heyman, a senior UK defence analyst with Jane’s Consultancy Group said: “It is a disgrace. A slur on the uniform of the US Army. It will not play well inside the Arab world. In Iraq they will say they have just exchanged one brutal regime for another one.

“I don’t think there will be an explosion of rage on the streets, but the opposition will say, ‘We told you so, we knew this was happening’. A significant percentage of support for the US will transfer to the insurgents.”

Maj Heyman said the US decision not to invade Fallujah reflects a more considered approach and the US were now “listening” to their British military colleagues. British military figures have been privately critical of US actions according to sources, claiming the approach is making matters worse rather than better.

Levels of violence in the British-controlled south of Iraq have been much lower than in the US held north. It is suggested this reflects the more low-key approach by the British military to governing compared with the more aggressive American approach.

But aggression is as American as Texas. To do anything less would show the world that we might have something about us to like. Can't have that, can we? What would they then have to fear about us?

It woud be nice if George Warmonger Bush and Dickless Chickenhawk Cheney and all the rest of the PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse would just do as former GOP VP Nelson Rockefeller did and patronize a dominatrix. The rest of the world would greatly prefer that these clowns kept their violence fetish private between consenting adults.

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pessimist :: 7:43 PM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!