Thursday, February 16, 2006


Busy little bees

By poet Isaac Watts HOW doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day From every opening flower! ... (image from In books, or work, or healthful play, Let my first years be passed, That I may give for every day Some good account at last. From Salon's Mark Benjamin, quoting CID Special Agent James E. Seigmund: "A review of all the computer media submitted to this office revealed a total of 1,325 images of suspected detainee abuse, 93 video files of suspected detainee abuse, 660 images of adult pornography, 546 images of suspected dead Iraqi detainees, 29 images of soldiers in simulated sexual acts, 20 images of a soldier with a Swastika drawn between his eyes, 37 images of Military Working dogs being used in abuse of detainees and 125 images of questionable acts."...Based on time signatures of the digital cameras used, all the photographs and videos were taken between Oct. 18, 2003, and Dec. 30, 2003. Ten weeks. Over 2500 shameful acts caught on tape from one prison containing only ca. 6,000 prisoners. Very busy little little bees, indeed, if less than half a dozen members of the prison staff have even been charged. Meanwhile, DemocracyNow producer Jeremy Scahill discovers that on CNN the Abu Ghraib scandal is not-- NOT-- about abusing prisoners. It's about inappropriate photography! Read it and see if you can believe that things like this are said on "the most trusted name in news," by CNN correspondent Barbara Starr: "Let's start by reminding everybody that under U.S. military law and practice, the only photographs that can be taken are official photographs for documentation purposes about the status of prisoners when they are in military detention. That's it. Anything else is not acceptable. And of course, that is what the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal is all about." ... "As we look at a couple of the photographs, let's remind people why these are so inappropriate. Under U.S. military law and practice and procedure, you simply cannot take photographs -- as we're going to show you some of them right now. You cannot take photographs of people in detention, in humiliating positions, positions that are abusive in any way, shape or form. The only pictures that are ever allowed of people in U.S. military detention would be pictures for documentation purposes. And, clearly, these pictures are not that. That is the whole issue that has been at the root of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, that it was abusive, the practices in which soldiers engaged in." ... "But the Pentagon certainly is not happy that these pictures, these additional pictures, which had not been distributed publicly in the past, Pentagon not happy that they are out. And the reason is, the Pentagon had filed a lawsuit trying to prevent their publication in the United States out of concern, they say, that it would spark violence in the Arab world to see these photographs, and it would put U.S. military forces at risk." For any officer of the US military, sworn to serve the Constitution and its commitment to the rule of law, one would think the whitewash effort underway might spark violence in the Pentagon. (with apologies to The Felt Source, Isaac Watts, and the Iraqi people)
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