Anorak News | Invitation To A Beheading

Invitation To A Beheading

by | 12th, May 2004

‘WHAT is striking among all the stomach-churning incidents of abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners by American guards is the homoerotic nature of so much of it.

A still from the gruesome video

The catalogue of abuse detailed by Maj-Gen Antonio Taguba lists things like forcing male detainees to masturbate while being photographed, forcing male detainees to wear women’s underwear and forcibly arranging naked detainees into a variety of explicit sexual positions for photographing.

What is it about the US military, one wonders, that encourages such behaviour.

According to the Independent, Taguba has concluded that the abuse suffered by Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison was caused by a failure of leadership.

‘Failure in leadership, sir, from the brigade commander down,’ he told Congress yesterday. ‘Lack of discipline, no training whatsoever, and no supervision. Supervisory omission was rampant. Those are my comments.’

All well and good, but when the boss is out most of us don’t go round torturing our work colleagues – we nip out to the pub or bunk off early.

Anyway, the all-too-predictable consequence of the actions of the US soldiers is emblazoned across the front pages of all this morning’s papers – a still from a video showing the beheading of an American civilian captured in Iraq.

The Telegraph relates how five masked men are shown shouting ‘God is great’ over the screams of Nick Berg, a 26-year-old businessman from Philadelphia missing since April 9.

They are then pictured holding Berg’s severed head out in front of the camera, promising that America would receive nothing from them ‘but coffins after coffins, slaughtered in this way’.

The gruesome killing, a direct consequence of the pictures of brutality that have emerged in the past couple of weeks, has also put even more pressure on the Mirror after it published pictures purporting to show British abuse of Iraqi detainees.

Piers Morgan, the paper’s editor, insists that the pictures are genuine, demanding that anyone who says otherwise provides incontrovertible evidence.

Short of a confession from the people who staged the pictures (and staged they quite obviously are), how can anyone provide such evidence?

Surely, the burden of proof rests with the Mirror, which is already trying to muddy the waters by claiming that the authenticity of the pictures is not the real issue.

Yes and no. The Mirror is to be applauded for highlighting the issue, but to publish fake pictures of such a sensitive subject would be a journalistic blunder of catastrophic proportions.

One only hopes that in that case Piers Morgan will have more honour than politicians on both sides of the Atlantic and fall on his sword.’

Posted: 12th, May 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink