Sunday, March 12, 2006

Iraq and the ultimate FOCUS editor 

Imagine you are a local community leader - an ordinary citizen say, who works as a parking garage attendant - and get cross because rubbish is being dumped on a local football pitch and you complain to the authorities. Sounds like a hard hitting FOCUS story. So what happens to you?

Well according to the New York Times if your name is Ali Shalal Qaissi and your locality is in Iraq and the people doing the dumping are the US Army you end up in Abu Ghraib prison being interrogated and tortured as a suspect Al Quaida activist, and a picture of you in a hood standing on a stool with electrodes attached to your arms becomes the emblemic image of the whole ‘aberration’ ( to use T. Blair’s charming evasion).

Yes we now know the name and incarceration circumstances of the man in that horrifying picture. Linked report from DailyKos newsblog in the USA.

To be clear – Abu Ghraib remains an atrocity even if every single one of those incarcerated and ‘processed’ there is a fully paid up active terrorist.

Ali Shalal Qaissi now belongs to a torture-awareness group touring Universities in the Arab world. This is his reported message:

“I forgive the people who did these things to us, but I want their help in preventing these sorts of atrocities from continuing.”

So over to us then.

It is now controversial whether the photo is actually of Ali Shalal Qaissi. See New York Times article
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