Bothered by an email on Abu Ghraib

March 9, 2006

I didn’t care much for this email from Salon.com, which I received on 8th March. (Emphases added.)

Dear former Salon Premium member,

Three weeks ago, Salon released 18 photos from Abu Ghraib prison that had never been publicly available, along with documentation of the Army’s own investigation into the disturbing images. Reaction was swift and strong; some accused us of undermining American interests, while others took us to task for not publishing every image in our possession. Most feedback praised our decision to highlight a scandal that’s been largely underreported by the mainstream media.

We’re planning to release hundreds more photos taken inside Abu Ghraib. Using information found in a U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) report and other sources, our news team is cataloging each image so we may provide captions that offer critical context. Our goal is to publish newsworthy pictures that haven’t been widely seen before, providing the best information that the CID investigation materials could offer.

I’m contacting you and other former Salon Premium members to make sure these photos reach a large audience. Your expired Premium membership supported our ongoing mission to speak truth to power, but we need your help again now.

I’d like to urge you to renew your Premium membership now through this link to give us the support we need to continue this important work:

As we create an Abu Ghraib archive, we will aim to shed light on what the administration has determined to keep dark. In giving the American electorate the information it needs, we’ll try to provide some of the transparency our government has so sorely lacked.

We’ll do our job with integrity and diligence. That, of course, takes time. So thanks for your patience, your trust, and your support.


Joan Walsh
Editor in chief, Salon

Odd, the claim that the Abu Ghraib story had been ‘underreported’ in the media. There hasn’t been a bigger story in years. It was on the front page of every paper in the world, in nauseating detail, and did the US enormous damage.

But what really bothers me is that the US Army has already, months ago, dealt with the low-level reservists who disgraced themselves, their service and their country at Abu Ghraib, and the ring-leader is now serving a lengthy term of imprisonment. Less culpable individuals have also been punished. And it was the Army itself, as I understand it, that actually undertook the initial investigation into allegations of abuse at the prison. Salon’s own blurb acknowledges the source of these ‘new’ pictures is a US army investigation.

There’s been no cover up. The Administration has been publicly humiliated by, and has apologised for, the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

What purpose is served by harping on about it? It’s an old story now, and an unpleasant one. But it’s been dealt with. So why flood the world’s media with more pictures? It can only serve to strengthen the hand of the insurgents in Iraq, and exacerbate anti-American sentiment world-wide, when it no longer has any genuine news value anyway.

At a time when the world treads on eggshells to avoid inflaming Muslim opinion by re-publishing the Danish cartoons, here is a major on-line journal salivating (discreetly) at the thought of a course of action that can only do exactly the same thing — and that to the likely detriment of Coalition troops deployed in the field, quite possibly at the cost of their lives.

Puzzling, and bothering. Needless to say, I won’t be renewing my subscription.

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