Friday, May 15, 2009

When Friends Are Worse Than Enemies!

Well, they're out there! The photos of prisoner abuse.

According to The Daily Kos they were released by an Australian network. Truth be told, when I was looking for pictures for yesterday's post I saw many of them but thought they were among those already released.

I never bought into the argument that releasing them would show the world we mean it when we say no more. What it shows the world is what was done. No one is going to care which administration was in power when it happened. What will be remembered is that it's what the Americans did with their prisoners!

According to the article the channel SBS obtained the photos in 2006 after Abu Ghraib but were not among the photos distributed at the time and are believed to among those the President wanted to block. That hasn't been made totally clear, but there couldn't be much worse among any still unreleased. This photo is one I felt I could post. Even though I make points graphic when I feel it appropriate, there are some lines that even I won't cross. Take that as you may.

So what is it? Not only the Islamic world doesn't trust us; it appears that other countries feel it is their due to take decisions which should be ours, away from us. No, that isn't true. It isn't Australia. It's the Australian media. I have no doubt our media would have done the same given the opportunity. Has all the media succumbed to paparazzi mentality? Anything for a story; a scoop? The Australian media, nor it's country, had no part of the decision making process, they had no hand in the execution of the abuse nor were any of them victims of it.

Freedom of the press? If they've had these photos since 2006 why wait until now? Now, when a new administration is trying mightily to turn around the grievances of the past administration? Where's the responsibility? Is it strictly for the sensationalism of seeing men demeaned? Is it meant to embarrass the American government? What?

The article indicates there are more to come. This is a sorry day indeed. Our President was trying to do right by our soldiers and has been denied. Not by our Congress nor our media but by a foreign entity.

What is the world coming to? In early June Obama is scheduled to travel to Egypt to make a major speech. The photos are "out" there. This is the first time I've really had a queasy feeling in my stomach about the safety of our President on foreign soil.

I have no idea what the world is coming to. In time, it's senses, I hope!


Margie's Musings said...

I hope so too. No good will come of showing those photos...mark my words.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely nothing in the entire universe that is totally lacking in ethics and integrity more than the media. And that includes politicians, but it is a very fine line between the two. Just when you think so called journalists can't sink any further into the slime...they do! CU

June Saville said...

I consider you a friendly blogger Dogwalk so you will excuse my comment I hope ...
Why did you repeat the 'crime' if you feel so strongly about disseminating these pictures?

Actually I am somewhat torn about this matter. I probably understand President Obama's secondary decision not to release the photographs. However, surely it is also very important not to meddle with the freedom of speech which your constitution prizes so much?

June in Oz

Dogwalkmusings said...


I considered the photo posted to be the least offensive of the ones already circulating all over the internet and used it as an example of what is already out there.

Two or three on a blog of little note is quite unlike worldwide distribution with all that goes with it when it's done by the mainstream media.

The fact that photos that are presumed (note presumed!) "classified" are already available on the web for everyone to see is curious and troubling. Something is amiss somewhere.

A point I should have further explored is just how long these photos have been out there or have they just been released. Has there been anything in the Australian press regarding this?

Is it even an accurate story? It was sourced on the web. We all know one should not consider everything we read on the web to be gospel, but have rather an "if this is true this is what I think" attitude.

Freedom of speech is important but when lives are at risk prudence would be appreciated. The issue of prisoner abuse has taken over our news cycles for days now and once all the posturing is over perhaps it will be resolved. That it took place is fact. Who is responsible has yet to be resolved. As does what was and was not within legal parameters.

Is illustrating it by releasing more photos to add to the unrest necessary? As you can see from this and my previous post there are already a great plenty available.

This was not a post castigating Australia but rather the media and it's judgement as a whole.

I would rather have seen the whole issue resolved without all the public hype but such is not the way of American politics. It's bad enough we have dirty linen. The world has seen it. Need they see more?

The thought is most likely moot. They will see more. And we all will have to deal with the consequences.

Hope this answers your question to a degree. Heck, it could have been a post unto itself!

Anonymous said...

"Freedom of speech"...a very misunderstood concept. As children we used to say, nyah nyah I can say whatever I want, it's a free country. And many truly believe that even as adults. In fact, our vaunted freedom of speech has limitations. And for very good reason. You cannot, for instance, yell fire in a crowd. You cannot preach sedition. And you absolutely cannot say what you will against the public good and safety. Our constitution most assuredly does not protect those who would indulge in the above. All this being said, this subject would not rise to freedom of speech in any event. It would come under freedom of the press. But of course the bigger question is simply common sense. What will be the effect of the publication of this material? To the media, that is irrelevant. Prurient salacious material sells paper. And the devil can take the hindmost for the results. Shameful!! CU

June Saville said...

Hi again
I certainly wasn't reacting to the fact that an Australian media organisation was involved in this business.
Without knowing a lot about this I understand that SBS was showing again pictures which had been released months ago.
Dateline is regarded as being very reputable - they're not your tabloid sensationalist journalists certainly. I think they may have felt that they were making a stand screening these pix in the context of the Obama decision - but that's simply my suspicion.
If that's the case the stand would have been taken on the issue of freedom of speech (or the media) if you will Anonymous.
With respect Dogwalk, I don't quite know why you have posted three pix of this ilk, given your stated point of view on this. It's your right of course. And I am still torn on the situation myself - it depends on the context I reckon. And that's really why I wonder about your stand.
Good to chat.
June in Oz

Dogwalkmusings said...

Hi June!

The reason why I posted the photos was to put in context what we have done, as repulsive as it is, compared to what they've been known to do. Which is what could happen not only to our military personnel but any people from the western world working in countries where they hold sway.

These pictures have already been widely dispersed across the internet therefore I'm not posting anything that isn't already available . What I feel strongly about is that I don't see releasing more would be of any help to an already bad situation.

It isn't the photos per se. It's the end result of rubbing salt into the raw wounds of the Islamic extremists. It's concern for the type of retribution that can be expected from savages should westerners fall into their hands.

Does this explain it better?

Anonymous said...

June, I'm not absolutely sure and would have to do some research on whether the broadcast media vs. the print media would be judged "speech" as opposed to "press". But based on our history and the situation that prevailed when our constitution was written, I would hazard a guess that broadcast still falls under the "press" . Simply because when written the press was only print and speech was, well, just that...speech. But on a more current level, broadcast news calls itself journalism. So I really think that, strictly speaking, there is no difference as to reading or hearing. A guess that I would be more sure of would be that it depends on how the media (in question) chooses to use the material. Whatever would be most beneficial to their position would be the claim. I really don't know if constitutional scholars and/or legal eagles have ever ironed this out. Certainly open to interesting interpretation.

My comment was directed at the fact that the print press had used these pictures, as well as the internet. As we read the internet, I believe that would also fall under "press" definition. After all of this convoluted rhetoric, it still comes down to effect. Is the prurient curiosity and sale of a few papers worth what the result could be on, not only our military, but on civilians. Daniel Pearl was a civilian. That young construction worker was a civilian as were others who had their heads sawn off by these savages. To say nothing of the 3000 on 9/11. We cannot undo the past. What has been done cannot be undone. However we can, and certainly should, control what could happen as a result of this information. As for Obamas original decision, appalling lack of forethought and common sense. CU

June Saville said...

Thanks for taking the time Dogwalk and Anonymous.
I understand your attitudes more now.
One thing: responsible journalists tend to justify what they write on contentious issues as being 'for the public good' and regard freedom of the press very highly indeed. They (we) believe that no-one has the right to muzzle free speech/writing in this context.
Of course, the crux of the matter is: what's 'for the public good'? The issue is one about which courts grapple.
June in Oz

Dogwalkmusings said...

Thank you June! I love it when someone is interested enough in what I write to question me. I learn. How others think, how they interpret what I've written and hopefully, how to better express myself!

Anonymous said...

Cheers right back at you June. By the way, you can call me CU. Although Anonymous does have a certain Mati Hari cachet.

A good blog makes one think. And this is a good blog. This interchange of ideas is marvelous, as the replies on this particular post have demonstrated. On further thought, the broadcast media must fall under the "press" definition. In England, they are called news readers. And that is exactly what they do here as well. The talking heads, on the other hand, give opinions and that would be speech. The constitutionality of free speech covers opinions and is limited as previously stated.

Your point on the catch all excuse of "the publics right to know", is well mentioned. That one always infuriates me. It is not my right to know how some parent feels when told their child has been murdered. It is not my right to know just how to make a bomb. It is not my right to know military strategey at all, let alone when it will compromise lives. You get my drift....My opinion of the media in general is negative and that is putting it diplomatically. CU