< HOME  Friday, February 17, 2006

Abu Ghraib: What if it were YOU in those pictures?

Carey defended SBS's decision to show the images.

"We felt a responsibility ... to broadcast them," he said. "It is a matter of free speech."
This has been a REALLY busy month for 'free speech.'

Of course, these images are easily distinguished from the cartoon depictions of the prophet Muhammad. Though limited to insult, the cartoons intimately affected almost every Muslim of over a billion, so they made a big impact.

These images, though they've inflamed passions generally (either for or against the war), they only intimately affect those against whom the torture was inflicted - by adding INSULT to INJURY.
"I felt disgusted when I saw those pictures and I felt at the same time how weak our government is that it can't help its own people," said Sadun Mohammed,

* * *

"We don't want to publish this picture because they are humiliating and if we published this in a newspaper it would be seen by his family, neighbours and neighbourhood," added Hassan.
How would you feel if that were YOU in those pictures? Would you want pictures of you being TORTURED and HUMILIATED beamed across the globe for viewing by anyone and everyone, whether or not they gave a rat's ass about you?
American officials have said the pictures and video should not have been released, with Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman telling The Associated Press their airing "could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world." Whitman said the images came from material that authorities already had investigated, the AP reported.
As much as I am against this war, and as important as I think it is to show the war for what it TRULY is - a barbaric and hypocritical exercise in domination and cruelty - I must concede that there ARE countervailing interests that weigh against circulating these images far and wide to persons not responsible for bringing the perpetrators to justice.

It's not a strategic argument, as the one advanced by Rumsfeld and crew: 'it's okay to torture, but bad to expose.'

It's an argument in defense of human dignity.

THESE ARE IMAGES OF REAL PEOPLE. They have lives, however shattered. They must try to get past the humiliation and injustice. Of course, bringing their torturers to justice is part of the healing. But, does it really warrant broadcasting the images across the globe for ANYONE to save on their hard drive, for whatever purpose, however IGNOBLE?

Shouldn't the subjects of this torture at least have a SAY in whether and to whom the images get circulated? We protect commercial interests through copyrights, but human rights in dignity be damned?

Sure, 'free speech' has its virtues. And I'm not saying that publishing images are akin to torture. But the more I encounter 'free speech' as applied in circumstances where human dignity is at stake, the more I'm convinced the word 'free' is a terrible misnomer.

Any policy that does not account for human dignity is a bad one - even if you call it free.

What's more, the timing of all these 'media releases' are EXTREMELY suspect. Remember these Abu Ghraib images are OLD, just as the footage of abuse by British soldiers (released a couple of days ago), and indeed the cartoon depictions of the prophet Muhammad.
SBS has refused to say how it obtained the images.
There is more to this string of events than meets the eye.

Although circulating these images increases dissent against the war, it also increases hostility between the US and Muslim countries - a perfect run up to a war with Iran.


At Friday, February 17, 2006, Anonymous Ruby said...

Hi Q, Injustice must be brought out and acknowledged. Iraqis have been living with this horror for years now. THEY already knew what was going on. We're the ones who need to know - we're the ones who are surprised.

Recent protests over published material has more to do with the occupation of Iraq than anything else IMHO.

Things that can't last forever, don't last forever.

As this dying economy spirals downward, we won't be able to sustain this level of insult to the rest of the world.

We're going to need the world, but by then, they'll be giving us the finger.

At Friday, February 17, 2006, Blogger tomtom said...

Ruby is right. The US audience is the one that is ignorant.
I would say leave free speech out of the disussion. Do you know what free speech actually means. The US was never occupied by an allien force. So you dont know about resistance and curbed press. I live in a country that was occupied for 5 long yeras. The value of free speech ( press) is sacred to us.

What should happen in the US is a drastic change of your press. Since your press maybe free, defacto it is not. Large news corporations are owned by groups or individulas that support this government. They control what is going to be aired or printed. The editorial staff can not operate really freely. The exception is the internet but for how long? Generally speaking there is no mainstream independent press in the US.

Example: What do you know of the CIA flights that cross Europe and do touchdown in Europe. Those flights are suspected torture flight or illegal transport of prissoners. Yes it was in the press for a couple of days.

Here: We ( The press, parliament) are asking our governments, what do you know about this? We have questions in parliamment. Not clear answers yet but when goverments are compromised they could be in big trouble. And the relationship with the US government will be under pressure. Because we have a free mainstream press that keeps on digging.

So the world needs a non american station to bring this torture and handling of prisoners under the attention again because Bushes team's spin doctors had swept this under the carpet, like so many uncomfartable events are brought conviently out of sight.

TomTom, Fearless Navigator

At Friday, February 17, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

I totally disagree with you.

It's quite easy to show these images with blurred out images of the faces. I think it's important and newsworthy to see. In fact, the images I have seen have blurred out the faces.

If I were being tortured, I would want the world to know. But that's just me.

At Friday, February 17, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

And re: the timing. I dispute that we are going to war with Iran. I think most of the talk is bluster. I honestly don't think we have the military capacity to go to war with Iran.

PREDICTION: There will be targetted bombings in Iran by Israeli strike force planes, just as there were in Iraq in 1981. That is my prediction. However, if this happens this time, I can guarantee you that you won't see the Western world up in arms over the supposedly horrible breach of international law.

I want to further add that the damage to human dignity was done in the torturing. Exposing the torture is an attempt to expose the barbarians committing the brutalities - as an attempt to END torture! Saying that showcasing the images is an offense to human dignity just seems to turn logic on its head, in my opinion.

At Friday, February 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it's official. A Muslim cleric offered $1 million to kill those responsible for the cartoons, and a gay pride parade in Moscow was canceled after there were intense threats of violence from an iman.

Russia is not a Muslim country. I just have no words at these actions.

There is brutality on the side of the west. But this sort of brutality, frankly...it frightens me. And I think it's only a matter of time until it becomes an issue in America. (again)


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