A commenter on the WMD post provided a link to some very disturbing photographs of alleged rape of Iraqi women by American soldiers. The top selection of pictures you will recognize as those involving an investigation into Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski and those under her command.
Scroll down, however, and there is another set of photographs that Albasrah alleges to have received from a reader (caution: sexually explicit photographs, not safe for work):
The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos (UPDATE: This link is broken now, as the site appears to have been taken down. The pictures are spread out in various locations in the internet but I will see if I can find another link for them).
I have two immediate gut reactions to these pictures:
1. If they are real, the people responsible should be court-martialed and executed.
2. Albasrah may have a vested interest in faking such information to make the U.S. look bad.
Rather than discuss the possible truth of these pictures, let me discuss what I notice about them that makes me believe they are fake (excluding the bottom two, which I think are probably real):
1. Blurry images
Most of these pictures are taken at a close range, yet they are out of focus. Getting past the question of why soldiers would be stupid enough to take pictures of stuff like this (we’ve already established that Brigadier-General Karpinski’s soldiers were), I have to ask why are they blurry? To disguise the ethnicity of the soldiers? Bad quality camera? Karpinski’s pictures were sharp and clear.
The soldiers do sort of hide their faces in some of the pics, but in others, their features are blurred out just enough to make ethnicity uncertain. Also, in some of the pics where their faces are not covered, they are wearing camo face paint to further disguise their features.
And is it just me, or does the woman in picture 5 look rather, um, Asian to be an Iraqi pow?
2. “Porno Film” body language
I’ve watched a fair bit of commercial porno in my time, as well as some “amateur” porno done by people who aren’t experienced. The commercial stuff has some hallmarks, particularly in the way the actors position their bodies for the benefit of the camera.
Notice in picture 3 how the man on the far right has his body angled slightly toward the camera, one hand on the woman’s rump and the other arm pulled back out of the way. That’s not a natural body position for sexual intercourse. It is, however, very typical of staged pornography, in order to give the camera the best view of the action. Picture 4 shows a little of this, too. I can’t really explain beyond saying that the man on the right, who appears to be the same one as the man discussed in picture 3, is exhibiting what one might call “porno actor’s stance”.
In picture 8, two of the men have removed their trousers entirely, but are still wearing their boots and socks. Huh? That seems pretty awkward to do when they could just shove their pants down to get them out of the way. It is, however, a common feature of porno films intended to preserve the military “fetish” look of the boots.
And finally, in picture 9, the man on the far left has his body angled back toward the camera to give a nice view of the penetration, and has considerately moved his arm back out of the way in the classic “hand on hip” pose common in porno.
3. “Comfort” trappings for the “victim”
Notice in that pictures where the woman is kneeling or lying on the ground, that there is a blanket neatly spread out there for her comfort. That’s something unobtrusive that is commonly done in porno films, but it seems rather odd for these cruel rapists to have gone to such trouble.
4. Generic uniforms
The men are wearing camouflage fatigues, but if you look closely, they are completely generic. There are no patches, no markings, no flag or other identifying insignia that American uniforms (or probably any country’s uniforms) would have on them.
Come to that, these guys are all wearing forest and jungle camo. In Iraq? Dude, we all know that our soldiers over there are wearing the desert camo pattern. It’s visible in the last 2 pictures (which are probably real, unfortunately) and all the images sent to us by the media. What kind of idiot wears green jungle camo in a pale tan desert environment? Also, they’re not wearing helmets. I guess the folks staging the pictures couldn’t find any that looked real.
That gun in picture 8 doesn’t look like any of the issued military weapons I’ve seen in pictures of our soldiers. It definitely doesn’t look like an M-16.
So, in conclusion, I call bullshit on pictures 1-9 in that second set. Those are fake as hell, and not very good fakes either.
UPDATE 8/23/04: Just so people know, requests to “send me all these pics plz” will not be honored. I’m not going to email them to you. When I finally put them up they will not be capturable or downloadable. I’m not interested in helping you with your fetish, or providing ammo to the America-haters.