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Feb 20, 2006

The Most Obscene Pictures Taken At Abu Ghraib

(...thumbnails clickable)


A. Karpinski-Alone1Rev-300    B. Karpinski3:Rummy-300    C. Karpinski4:Rummyhand-300

I decided I would try and determine which photo from Abu Ghraib I considered the most blasphemous.

After going through all the torture pictures again, however, I couldn't find anything more obscene than the images of Don Rumsfeld on the premises.  Rumsfeld actually visited the prison a couple times.  The most well documented was the visit he made in May '04 after the first set of torture pictures had been released.  At that point, the visit represented one of those classic BushCo. reactions in which any misstep requires a show of bravado at the scene of the crime.

On that trip, most of the images were recorded on the way to the installation or on the grounds outside.  (Example 1, 2, 3.) As far as I can tell, there was only one shot taken inside, which the Village Voice had a field day with.  (The caption reads:  "This is the only known photo of soldiers at Abu Ghraib taking pictures of a fully clothed person inside the prison.")

The most blasphemous picture, however, is the one above, taken on a visit in September '03.  This was just around the time Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller -- the officer who had been in charge of Guantanamo Bay -- arrived at Abu Ghraib saying he was going to "Gitmo-ize" the place.  (The period in which the abuses took place was October to December 2003.)  In most of these shots (example 1), Rumsfeld has Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski in tow, the commander of the base whose oversight was supplanted by military intelligence, and then was sacked for failing to stay on top of the situation.

If not a direct indictment, it is really chilling to see Rumsfeld in the body of Abu Ghraib just a month before the abuses began.  If nothing else, the photo reveals tension in Karpinski and the intensity and selective attention of Rumsfeld. (A, B and C.)


There was at least one other shot of this visit from inside the facility.  In this instance, Rummy is focused on the guy in the blue shirt to the exclusion of all else.  And, even though this guy is not reciprocating the attention (D), it seems Rumsfeld could wait.


(image 1: unattributed.  September 2003.  Iraq. image 2:  Mike Kelly/AP. September 2003.


Rummy is being aggressive. Hips thrust forward, arms at angles, eyes boring into the others.

The others are all showing hesitation, skepticism, a need to listen and ponder... they are looking down or away while they are thinking about what he is saying. They are not enthusiastic believers. If the other people are congress-critters and field officers, not one of them is showing any sign of power or authority.

Some of the other dogs may think they are wolves, but an alpha male wolf with teeth bared just walked into their territory and they are all slinking around with tails stuck between their legs.


The coat over the shoulder "captain of industry" stance in photo D is out of sync with everyone else. This reminds me of when a politician would visit one of the south bronx schools-- they were never really there.

It's comforting, though to see the anxiety-- people do know that doing these things is wrong-- at some level...

pit y the em paths

So the photos here are the "before" (torture) pics and the Village Voice shows an "after" (torture) pic. The "before" pics show serious, solemn, grave expressions: These people are IN TROUBLE for not getting any information out of the prisoners. (Rumsfeld: "I've brought in a consultant to show you people how to get results.") Gitmo-ization commences, Rumsfeld returns 8 months later and is all smiley in the dining hall "after" shot. People around him look more relaxed, less tense. (Rumsfeld: "Excellent work! You've all done a fine job.") One wonders if the photos of the torture, bloodshed, and death were meant to document that the new orders were being followed. Of course Rumsfeld would have seen *all* of the Abu Ghraib photos by the "after" pic.

But wait, shouldn't these photos showing smiles and frowns be in the opposite order? Shouldn't the "after" pic show an angry Rumsfeld and everyone else around him with worry lines creasing their faces instead of looking like they are being congratulated by him?

Just some random stuff. I've only checked out what The Bag has on his site, no links but...

Rummy is focusing on the same guy in blue in both shots. He must be the appointed guide or expert.

The coat thing stands out to me too. At the same time the boots are what gets me. Look at the dark blue suit's boots. You'd think they'd have commissioned an Allen-Edmonds wing-tip combat boot by now. I've seen shots of Rummy in Iraq that show his feet and he too wears these combat boots. Is he covering such rough terrain that a snappy pair of box-toes wouldn't cut it? Needing the boots but wearing the suit don't seem run in line. Are the boots function or an attempt to visually send a message. You hear the President say he doesn't listen to polls but never hear him say they don't listen to focus groups. That marketing mindset is the issue with the prison abuse photos for the administration, control of the message.

Beyond the boots there is the overall rumpled look Rummy has. It says this is a tough land, no steam irons here. In most public appearances Rummy is in a crisp suit and dimpled tie. You know he could have someone tote in a garment bag and he could change. Was he wearing a crisp suit and changed into wrinkled dockers for the event? Wish I could find some Katrina pictures of Rummy. I know that talkleft mentioned Rummy visiting LA but not to see victims. Bad photo-op (see my url).

With all the bags and coats being carried it seems like everyone was told not to leave their stuff on the bus. Worry about hidden bombs even in the places we have a strong hold over?

There is the normal soldier back-drop but I spot a couple of interesting guys who in the same posture but I am not sure why. In the middle back there is a man in a blue-shirt and one back-pack strap that seems to be holding a video camera. To his right in fatigues is a guy in the same pose but no camera. Is a camera photoshopped out? Is he reaching for the wire in his ear at that moment?

Thanks for reminding that these are before abuse shots. In the second picture it should have been obvious but I missed it. There is a soldier with a disposable camera at the right of the shot. Not sure but at the far left of the shot it looks like a soldier is holding a digital camera at chest height. These cameras wouldn't be allowed after the release of the photos documenting the prisoner abuse. This also shows there must be a bunch of photos of this visit by Rummy. What would they show?

c biscuit 4 more pale riders

Rumsfeld is giving everyone the brush-off except the guy in the blue shirt. No one's happy to see him and it doesn't seem as if they're really all that interested in what he has to say. It's a visit intended to shame them. Karpinski looks isolated and exhausted. She was undoubtedly set up to fail so military "intelligence" could step in to do their dirty work. These photos from the prison show that Rumsfeld was in on the ground floor (so to speak) and implicated in the torture from day one.

Hasn't anyone else noticed how positively evil Karpinsky looks? And with the vast amount of abuse going on, and the DVD evidence of it circulating widely, I find it impossible to believe she wasn't well aware of it.

BAGNotes -

"The period in which the abuses took place was October to December 2003"

On what evidence do you confidently assert the abuse stopped in December '03? The Iraqis don't buy that for a minute and have repeatedly called for, and are STILL calling for, U.S. forces to cede control over detainees at Abu Ghraib and other prisons to Iraqi custody.

Iraq is supposed to be a sovereign state and one wonders why the U.S. are detaining anybody, let alone the estimated 14,000 in custody.

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski -
St Petersburg Times
Dec 14, 2003

"Whereas detainees used to cry at the very thought of Abu Ghraib, for many the "living conditions now are better in prison than at home," Karpinski says. "At one point we were concerned they wouldn't want to leave."


The Taguba report clearly show Karpinski, in charge of all Iraqs prisons at the time, is lying.

She doesn't just look evil - she IS evil.

Paul Elm took the words right out of my mouth - he remembered the quote. With those dark pools under her eyes, what's keeping her up at night? Rummy's oblivious (blindness really) to the surroundings, he might as well be having a chat by the water fountain. What hubris! The known unknowns.....

'Blasphemous'? In what sense: evil? There are pictues and then there are words. After nearly three years the horror continues at the same steady pace: Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, civilian casualites, Iraqi corruption, Washington corruption, lies by cabinet and congress, torture, spying on U.S. persons and on and on and on seemingly endlessly. The criticism goes no where, not even at a snail's pace. Only the U.S. can afford itself the luxury of so much self-indulgence.

The top image clearly shows that Karpinski is a vampire. You probably don't want to know what's keeping her up at night.

The latest issue of The New Yorker has a related must-read article by Jane Mayer about the paper trail documenting approval of abuse at Guantánamo. Our friends Donald Rumsfeld and Geoffrey Miller (titles intentionally deleted by me) figure prominently. Here's an excerpt, followed by the link to the article.

"[Alberto J.] Mora saw what he now refers to as 'the package' — a collection of secret military documents that traced the origins of the coercive interrogation policy at Guantánamo. It began on October 11, 2002, with a request by J.T.F.-170’s commander, Major General Michael Dunlavey, to make interrogations more aggressive. A few weeks later, Major General Geoffrey Miller assumed command of Guantánamo Bay, and, on the assumption that prisoners like Qahtani had been trained by Al Qaeda to resist questioning, he pushed his superiors hard for more flexibility in interrogations. On December 2nd, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld gave formal approval for the use of 'hooding,' 'exploitation of phobias,' 'stress positions,' 'deprivation of light and auditory stimuli,' and other coercive tactics ordinarily forbidden by the Army Field Manual. (However, he reserved judgment on other methods, including 'waterboarding,' a form of simulated drowning.) . . ."

"from looking evil, to is evil, to stealing words from ones mouth, a vampire "

the vampire speaks:

Does anyone know who that guy in the blue shirt is?

His shirt is kind of strange... At first, it looks like he has short sleeves, but then it looks like it might be a long-sleeved shirt, worn buttoned up with a tie, but with the sleeves carefully rolled up - not pushed up as if he's getting down to some hard work.

Definition of "war crime":

"A crime (as genocide or maltreatment of prisoners) committed during or in connection with war"

It seems to me that torture most definitely qualifies, and since Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, Cheney and Bush have all openly advocated for torture, then it would seem that they are all war criminals.

interesting photos and posts about them but the one thing we can comment on is the stench. the foul odor of sweat,shit ,piss and blood that is staining their clothes and seeping into their pores..there`s where the real story is- what did they do to cleanse themselves?

Someone independent should go to Abu Graib and mark out where the photos were taken. That would help to show if it was all over the prison over it was just in a hidden section like the administration says.

What I am curious about is whether the tie Rummy is wearing is the same one he wore when he shook Saddam's hand. It would be a nice subtle touch providing continuity to the visual record.

Notorious Apostate, all that can be observed is Rummy's tie like is character is dark, in stature he has to look up to Saddam to make eye contact as they are glad handing.

Info declassified Oct 25 2003; as Donald was making his sales pitch he was in 'good company'

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein:
The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984

It was sustained by an arms bazaar made up of a broad spectrum of foreign governments and corporations: British, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Brazilian, Argentinean, Chilean, North Korean, Chinese, South African, Eastern European, Israeli, American.

Iran needed U.S.-origin weapons compatible with the military infrastructure created by the U.S. during the shah's reign, could not buy them directly, and had to rely on third-party suppliers like Israel.

The USA has now accepted torture and cruelty and sadism as a way of life. It's now part of our national character. If the world lasts another 50 years, and historians still roam the earth, they will not lack for photographic evidence of the evils our country has committed. Future citizens will ask "how could this superpower, this beacon of freedom, let this happen?" the same way people wonder how a Germany could create an Auschwitz.

jt from BC uses the classic morally relativist line:

But others were doing it too!

JT from BC is quite right that Saddam Hussein purchased weapons from many nations. But he misses the point entirely, because it is WMD that were of concern, not rusting Soviet tanks.

That's were the U.S. comes in -

U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Gulf War

Anthrax, botulinum, West Nile Fever, e-coli, it's all there - a smorgasbord of death, approved for export to Iraq, before, during and after the peak in Saddam's atrocities, all detailed in Senator Riegle's Report.

Paul Elm , I don't believe I missed the point for if you check documents # 24 and 25 in my link who will see a very concerned State Dept trying to cover their asses, for they know about dual use purchases and the CW as being supplied to Iraq from the U.S in addition to other countries. Thanks for your additional help. I am familiar with your link and could add more about U.S backroom dealing which attempted to obscure U.S involvement and complicity.

Thanks to FLOOPMEISTER I will try to be more precise in presenting and supporting my comments.( moral relativism, classic or otherwise is not a label I identify with)

If you are interested I can dig up the different types of gasses used by both Iraq and Iran and questions still concerning Halabaj, which is a heavy duty topic in itself. A Canadian documentary film of some time ago raised perplexing questions and interviewed various former US State Dept officials also referring to unclassified documents but maybe we can leave this topic for discussion should it be entered in Saddam's trial.
When discussing the Iraq-Iran war we will probably agree that the US was the primary Quarterback in this bloody desert game.

No one is happy to see him since he makes them a target, and since he is there to tell them the way its going to be. What a man, not young but so powerful. What a loser, seeing as we know exactly what he was telling them... take everyone in here (including the 80% who are innocent) and treat them like animals and make them and their families our enemy for life.

WOW! so much energy with all of your negative comments. I wish you would check out with the same intensity the other sides perspective and then try to convince another lefty to consider it. Thats what I did and it opened my eyes. I'll be brief. Nothing that we do can come close to what they do to us in the same situation.Thank GOD you guys were not around for World War II, (we might be speaking German) and for that matter any other war the US has been in. I guess You guys have never washed a toilet, nor have feed a hungry lion. That's reality.


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