US slams SBS for showing new Abu Ghraib photos
February 17, 2006
(from The Australian)
The Bush administration has criticised SBS's decision to broadcast new pictures of the US military abusing prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, saying it could further inflame Middle East violence.But John Bellinger, a legal adviser at the US State Department, acknowledged that the images were further proof of the "reprehensible conduct" of US military personnel at Abu Ghraib.
Initial photos of detainee abuse first aired in 2004, provoking international outrage.
The release of additional images comes at a sensitive time as the Muslim world protests against the cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammed, first published in Danish newspapers.
"It's unfortunate, though, that the photographs are continuing to come out because I think it simply fans the flames at a time when sentiments on these issues are raw around the world," Mr Bellinger said of the images aired on Wednesday night on SBS's Dateline. "But the photographs show conduct that is absolutely disgusting."
The publication of these photos is important. Ironically, their importance is inseparable from their repulsiveness. These photos--one of which shows a gravely wounded prisoner bleeding and left to die in the prison yard, and another shows a naked prisoner smeared with human feces--are proof of the inhumane treatment of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. forces. To withhold these photos would be to silence critique of U.S. policies in Iraq. By publishing them, SBS shows the world the truth and makes it possible for the international community to demand the U.S. change the way it treats Iraqi prisoners. Therefore, I believe the publication of these photos--as awful as they are and even though such publication may trigger violent protests--is an example of Right Speech.