Monday, April 24, 2017
Photo-Fakery and Abu Ghraib, part 4
Going on with the Abu Ghraib "abuse" photos at www.antiwar.com/news/?articleid=8560 --
When we move down to the next picture, #5, it begins to look familiar. To the right, in a corner formed by a spotty concrete floor, one apparently plastered wall and one wooden wall, kneels a man in an orange jumpsuit with his hands behind his back. He has a narrow, tanned face, close-cropped dark hair, and a somewhat dismayed expression that doesn't quite look natural. To the left, fairly close to the wooden wall, stands a medium-sized black dog, facing the kneeling man. The dog is standing with its legs straight, not pulling forward or back. Its ears are half-cocked back, its mouth is partly open with its tongue partly out, and it's panting. Its expression is calm and patient, and it has a pad of grayish callus on its visible elbow, showing that it spends a lot of time lying down on rough surfaces. It's wearing a narrow chain-link collar with nothing visible attached, and a wide leather collar with a leash attached. Holding the leash taut, standing beside and somewhat behind the dog, is a man in a desert-camouflage uniform, a thick flak-vest, black gloves and a tan knit cap. He has a grayish five-o'-clock shadow, and his face is slightly more pink and less tanned than the kneeling man. The focus and resolution are sharp and clear, and the coloration is natural. The lighting is strong and bright, and is coming from above and somewhat to the left. That's all we see.
Yet at least two of these figures are familiar; we saw that dog, and the man holding its leash, in the first photo -- in a similar pose, but with much worse lighting and resolution. In fact, the man in the orange jumpsuit in photo #5 looks very much like the supposedly-naked man in photo #1, but we can't be sure because the lighting and resolution are so poor.
The text accompanying the photo says (emphasis mine): "A US soldier in a flak jacket appears to be using both hands to restrain a dog facing an Iraqi detainee in the Abu Ghraib prison."
"Appears"? The dog is standing four-square, not pulling against the leash, calm and panting. There's nothing but his darker tan to indicate that the man in the orange jumpsuit is even Iraqi, and nothing to prove that he's actually a detainee. He doesn't look believably frightened, and -- despite that soldier's two-handed grip on the leash -- the dog doesn't look threatening. In short, this picture looks staged.
Now compare this with photo #1. Despite their position in the list, there's reason to think that photo #5 was taken first -- and that is its "stagey" look. Photo #1 appears more brutal and "abusive" precisely because the lighting, focus and resolution are so bad that we can't see any details clearly. Since all the other photos in the series are quite clear, so we can only assume that this mis-focus is deliberate, done to cover up the "detainee's" shortcomings as an actor -- not to mention the dog's.
Again, why? Consider the real story of Abu Ghraib as revealed by both the army's and the Red Cross' investigations as we venture further into the collection of photographs. Stay tuned!