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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bitter Irony

Skimming over the "Iraq" photo tag on Flickr, I came upon this compelling juxtaposition (and insightful commentary, pasted below).

New photos of the tortured were apparently picked up by the Australian press in the last week or so, and they're making their way around the world.

The photo on the cover is an insane prisoner in Abu Ghraib, covered in feces, screaming at the ceiling.

Am I just out of touch, or has America ignored these photos? I wondered.

So I checked, googling "torture photographs" under Google News. No major American newspaper had covered the photos. had run an article. Newspapers in Italy, Iraq, Germany, and Australia had covered them as well. Foreign reporters called the photos "worse than Guantanamo".

How cold to human suffering have we become?

American news admits no coverage of torture in our prisons. The news is washed out in dreary proceedings of he-said-she-said testimony in courts, wherein the White House denies that torture has ever happened in US prisons. Googling "Torture Pictures" in American newspapers only returns only purple journalism from Florida on how hard it is to sell Real Estate where a sex offender tortured his victims. The American attention span pleads for the most gruesome details. It simply can't handle the international truth.

From the Flickr blog of horncologne:

"Der Spiegel" landed in my mailbox as usual this week- cover photo: victim of American torture in Iraq.

The headline and subhead on the cover say "America's Disgrace - Torture in the Name of Freedom."

Trying not to look too hard at the nauseating cover photo, I flipped the magazine over to carry it into the house ...

... to find a full page ad from Cisco Systems with the header/lead text/largest word "GEDANKENFREIHEIT" - that is "Freedom of Thought" in English ... ouch.

For me, this goes way past irony. Consider Cisco's role in the "Gang of Four" stuff in China (Cisco Yahoo, Microsoft and Google actively assisting in Chinese censorship of the Internet).

In Cisco's case, as I understand it, they have provided China with the technology to make an efficient and effective internal filter/firewall system for the Chinese internet, thereby aiding the government's ability to monitor users and control what content is available.


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