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Posted Friday, May 7, 2004

Saddam, you're toast. 'Died of natural causes in captivity.' 'Shot while trying to escape,' whatever. That's the subliminal message, the grayed-out caption to the pictures of Lynndie England.

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May 2, 2004 (Sunday)

I HAVE been sent by an anonymous reader horrifying screen-shots taken from poor quality videos showing people in American army camouflage uniform seemingly committing a number of sexual acts on civilian prisoners in Baghdad, including women.

These had been emailed to an Arab newspaper, al-Basrah. I check the al-Basrah website first, then spend some time working on the less offensive of these and finally post them on the website at 11:25 p.m. Although the images have the prisoners' genital areas, the women's mouths, etc., pixellated to conceal the detail, I provide a carapace of warnings about their explicit nature -- though it is difficult to find an appropriate wording which will not entice readers to go there anyway.


May 3, 2004 (Monday)

During the night -- I am still working on volume three of the Churchill biography -- I have second thoughts about the images I have posted. I think they are too graphic, and one person who has already seen them on my website, emails to warn that they could equally well have been taken off some Hollywood porno video. The quality is too poor for that, but even so I take that page down and replace it with a link to the original source. By morning that link too is dead.

The British Daily Mirror has meanwhile published photos showing British soldiers engaged in perverted acts with a male prisoner or prisoners. One shows a boot placed on the prisoner's neck. The prisoner seems surprisingly unconcerned -- his torso is not tensed, not writhing. A rival newspaper's commentator says the hooded prisoner's weight, body tone, and musculature is more typical of a European than an emaciated Iraqi. There have long been rumours of British maltreatment of prisoners, and one or two deaths have been reported, but I do not like these photos at all: they seem to be stagy, too well-focused, and for some puzzling reason although they are digital images they are in black and white, not colour, which would involve making a pretty complicated adjustment to the camera: which begs the question, why?

The relieved British press -- except of course for the Mirror, which has no doubt paid handsomely for the scoop -- suggests that the British images are faked, or staged, or reconstructed (rather like that faked gas chamber in Auschwitz, the one that has been shown to millions of shuddering schoolchildren since it was built in 1948).

Karpinski and friends

More details have come out about the American photos, taken at Abu Ghraid prison however, including the names of the people concerned. The prison's US commandant, the burly Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski, above, has a face that would have suiuted her well for the role of the Beast of Buchenwald, like Ilse Koch, making her apocryphal lampshades from human skin: she has a heavy, masculine face with the dark-ringed eyes of a heavy smoker.

Karpinski, KochBut then through all history women have turned out to be the crueler of the species: who was the famous communist torturess of Enver Hodzha's Albania? I forget her name.

Right: Janis Karpinski and Karl-Otto Koch, husband of Ilse. He was sentenced to death by an SS court for brutality and corruption, and hanged on Apr 5, 1945.


Janis Karpinski

Bush's jailer, and his nemesis too? Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski.


May 5, 2004 (Wednesday)

It gets worse. Another stranger emails to me the gun-camera video taken by the crew of a US Apache helicopter gunship, as it hunts down four Iraqis in the middle of a field, and shoots them to death with long bursts of 30mm cannon fire, one at a time, including one who is detected to have been "wounded".

"Hit him!" -- and "hit" he is too, vaporized in a burst of cannon fire that leaves nothing discernibly human on the ground. The film is awful to watch, I cannot bear to run it a second time. But I put it on the website for others to judge, as I have not seen it referred to in any newspaper media, let alone shown on television.

gun camera video The camera as such, and these gun-cameras recording the final seconds of the human beings in their sights, will be the end of the global reputation of the United States armed forces yet, as surely as the souvenir snapshots taken by German soldiers standing by the pits into which the Jews and other enemies were massacred in 1941 and 1942 have made it impossible to speak of the exploits of the Wehrmacht against the Soviet Union in terms of unqualified praise.

President George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld have taken the moral low ground by default. Not since Custer's last stand have elements of the US Armed Force behaved with so little honour.


Lynndie England goes into history

Lynndie England, US Army, and friend.


May 6, 2004 (Thursday)

guards and prisoenrs at Abu GhraibThe press is filled with still more images of the torture and acts of perverted degradation in the American prisons. Though only a few days, the passage of time since this act began has however given opportunity to stand back and reflect, amidst all the clamour and calls for resignations at the highest level of the Pentagon.

Let us retain a sense of proportion. True: It is a humiliation to be paraded naked in front of your captors, to be taunted by the female soldiers who are now part of every democracy's army, to be urinated on, and to be forced to commit real or feigned acts of a sexual character.

But this is small beer compared to what the same forces have inflicted on the tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, whose simple homes have been blasted to pieces, brought down on top of their families, or burned to the ground with napalm, a country whose inhabitants are now forced to inhale the irradiated dust of the British and American uranium-tipped tank shells, or have seen their families killed by ill-targeted Tomahawk missiles, "daisy-cutters," anti-personnel mines, or 500 pound fragmentation bombs dropped at the whim of some distant and callous "controller."

To my western mind, humiliation seems less permanent than death; it is less uncomfortable than being torn apart by high explosive; more congenial than being burned alive. Amidst the outcry for resignations, I hear a voice -- mine -- calling out: Many thousands of needless deaths still go unatoned, and with no inquiry mounted into them: hecatombs of the innocent, numbers neither counted nor acknowledged by George Bush or Tony Blair. Neither statesman has yet apologized for having wrought this terror and tragedy upon a sovereign nation on false premises, acting upon a lie, for whatever purpose.

Finally, one further reflection: The Abu Ghraib prison photos published this week make it unlikely that Saddam Hussein will ever see the light of day again, at least alive. He is a prisoner of war, protected by the same conventions which should have protected these very lowly Iraqi subjects upon whom the humiliations and indignities of Abu Ghraib were inflicted.

And there's the rub: If the Central Intelligence Agency's "civilian contractors" felt able to do these things to these humble Iraqi folks, in order to "stress" them -- to use the latest military vernacular -- that is, to soften them up for interrogation, what things have not been done already to Saddam Hussein in order to force him to reveal the whereabouts of those damn'd Weapons of Mass Destruction, whose discovery is so urgently needed now by the honourable gentlemen in Washington and London? Saddam Hussein as PW

If the Americans were ever to produce him for trial, he might tell of the things that have surely by now been done to him, to a far worse degree.

Saddam, you're toast. "Died of natural causes in captivity." "Shot while trying to escape," whatever. That's the subliminal message, the grayed-out caption to the pictures of Lynndie England, and the rest of the trailer-trash, whose antics have succeeded in besmirching the name of US forces everywhere.

Hussein after his capture Dec. 13, 2003. International Red Cross officials visited Saddam Hussein at his secret prison on April 27, 2004. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt told a news conference that the location for the visit, the second by the Red Cross to Saddam, would not be disclosed. The Red Cross is keeping its findings secret. (Photo by Reuters).



  A scurrilous website on Janis Karpinski
Atrocity-galleries from a "bloodless war": rather worse than humiliation-pics Pictures that President Bush does not want the world to see: hundreds of images of Iraqi victims

 [Previous Radical's Diary]


© Focal Point 2004 F DISmall David Irving