not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake

Abu Ghraib follow-up


I don't think I ever heard this, although maybe I did and somehow managed to forget it.

The case files of 26 abused detainees, interviewed by military criminal prosecutors in the Abu Ghraib scandal, were obtained by NEWSWEEK this month. Charge sheets and interrogation reports show 13 of the victims were there for criminal offenses ranging from theft to rape. At least eight of the other 13 who were initially picked up as terrorists were later ordered released without any charges.
(Newsweek, 2006)

why the hell are we still there? because leaving would make it worse? i hope warmongers will factor this criticism in next time we want to invade somewhere.

ha ha yeah right


"Okay, I don’t like that anymore. At first it was funny but these people are going too far. [...] Again I thought, okay that’s funny then it hit me, that’s a form of molestation. You can’t do that. I took more pictures now to “record” what is going on. [...] The only reason I want to be there is to get the pictures and prove that the US is not what they think. But I don’t know if I can take it mentally. What if that was me in their shoes. These people will be our future terrorist. Kelly, its awful and you know how fucked I am in the head. Both sides of me think its wrong. I thought I could handle anything. I was wrong."

Letter home from Sabrina Harman, who was later sentenced to six months in prison and a bad-conduct discharge after being convicted on six of seven counts over the Abu Ghraib.

From New Yorker, 2008, which paints a very suggestive picture that the only charges that were ever brought and stuck were the ones visible in the photographs, despite lots of plausible claims that the activities were requested and condoned from "on high" (part of the reason they took so many photos). The Iraqi who died during interrogation? "Jamadi’s C.I.A. interrogator has never been charged with a crime."

Looking rather strongly like the charges were brought as a reaction to the photographs, not in reaction to the underlying crimes. I had another quote or something about this but I can't find it now.


Instead of asking: Who is that man? Who killed him? The question becomes, Why is this woman smiling? It becomes the important thing — if not the only thing. The viewer assumes that Harman is in some way responsible — or if not responsible, in some way connected to the murder — and is gloating over the body. How dare she? Isn’t she in the same photograph as the body? Looming over the corpse? And even if she is not guilty, she stands in (in the viewer’s imagination) for those who are.

And so we are left with a simple conundrum. Photographs reveal and they conceal. We know about al-Jamadi’s death because of Sabrina Harman. Without her photographs, his death would likely have been covered up by the C.I.A. and by the military. Yes, at first I believed that Harman was complicit. I believed that she was implicated in al-Jamadi’s death. I was wrong. I, too, was fooled by the smile.

Errol Morris (co-author of the above) weighs in on Harman and Jamadi in 2008.
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