Snuff porn from Iraq

Chris Thompson writes for East Bay Express in Oakland, CA, Sept. 21:

War Pornography
US soldiers trade grisly photos of dead and mutilated Iraqis for access to amateur porn. The press is strangely silent.

If you want to see the true face of war, go to the amateur porn Web site For almost a year, American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been taking photographs of dead bodies, many of them horribly mutilated or blown to pieces, and sending them to Web site administrator Chris Wilson. In return for letting him post these images, Wilson gives the soldiers free access to his site. American soldiers have been using the pictures of disfigured Iraqi corpses as currency to buy pornography.

At Wilson's Web site, you can see an Arab man's face sliced off and placed in a bowl filled with blood. Another man's head, his face crusted with dried blood and powder burns, lies on a bed of gravel. A man in a leather coat who apparently tried to run a military checkpoint lies slumped in the driver's seat of a car, his head obliterated by gunfire, the flaps of skin from his neck blooming open like rose petals. Six men in beige fatigues, identified as US Marines, laugh and smile for the camera while pointing at a burned, charcoal-black corpse lying at their feet.

The captions that accompany these images, which were apparently written by the soldiers who posted them, laugh and gloat over the bodies. The soldier who posted a picture of a corpse lying in a pool of his own brains and entrails wrote, "What every Iraqi should look like." The photograph of a corpse whose jaw has apparently rotted away, leaving a gaping set of upper teeth, bears the caption "bad day for this dude." One soldier posted three photographs of corpses lying in the street and titled his collection "DIE HAJI DIE." The soldiers take pride, even joy, in displaying the dead.

This could become a public-relations catastrophe. The Bush administration claims such sympathy for American war dead that officials have banned the media from photographing flag-draped coffins being carried off cargo planes. Government officials and American media officials have repeatedly denounced the al-Jazeera network for airing grisly footage of Iraqi war casualties and American prisoners of war. The legal fight over whether to release the remaining photographs of atrocities at Abu Ghraib has dragged on for months, with no less a figure than Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Meyers arguing that the release of such images will inflame the Muslim world and drive untold numbers to join al-Qaeda. But none of these can compare to the prospect of American troops casually bartering pictures of suffering and death for porn.

"Two years ago, if somebody had said our soldiers would do these things to detainees and take pictures of it, I would have said that's a lie," sighed recently retired General Michael Marchand, who as assistant judge advocate general for the Army was responsible for reforming military training policy to make sure nothing like Abu Ghraib ever happens again. "What soldiers do, I'm not sure I can guess anymore."

But for Chris Wilson, it's all in a day's work. "It's an unedited look at the war from their point of view," he says of the soldiers who contribute the images. "There's always going to be a slant from the news media. ... And this is a photo that comes straight from their camera to the site. To me, it's just a more real look at what's going on."

Wilson, a 27-year-old Web entrepreneur living in Florida, created the Web site a year ago, asked fans to contribute pictures of their wives and girlfriends, and posted footage and photographs bearing titles such as "wife working cock" and "ass fucking my wife on the stairs." The site was a big hit with soldiers stationed overseas; about a third of his customers, or more than fifty thousand people, work in the military. Wilson says soldiers began e-mailing him, thanking him for keeping up their morale and "bringing a little piece of the States to them." But other soldiers complained that they had problems buying memberships to his service. "They wanted to join the site, the amateur wife and girlfriend site," he says. "But they couldn't, because the addresses associated with their credit cards were Quackistan or something; they were in such a high-risk country that the credit card companies wouldn't approve the purchase."

There's more. Wilson defends his ultra-creepy site by saying the photos are "newsworthy." We agree—unfortunately, the problem is precisely that they are not making the news. They are being presented as the sickest kind of snuff pornography—as the hideous, sneering captions accompanying the photos make all too clear. The fact that these pictures are being used as porn, not news, should itself be news. East Bay Express provides a link to a selection of the shots, but be forewarned: this is not for the squeamish. Note the irony that the Pentagon is simultaneously trying to suppress atrocity photos from Iraq intended for the news media, and for legal evidence.

See our last post on the ongoing torture scandal, and on the Iraq war.

the single thing you dont understand..

The rest of the pasty world seems to forget what happens to anyone that joins an extreme fraternity--they become a changed person and don't see the world in the same light.

there is no other explanation.

The military is the most extreme fraternity. Some people want to be all apologetic and call it Post Traumatic Disorder blah blah---the plain and simple truth is that all the soft civilians they find themselves around when they get back--well, they have exactly ZERO in common with them.

I'm not even in the military any more, I'm a civilian contractor over here and when I went back for R&R--the only person I could have any real conversations with was a friend of mine who'd done a rotation in Iraq already. His hint was to not mention it around his wife. His wife asked: “Doesn’t it feel great to be back in the states?

Another thing you forget

What makes me pissed about all this whiny liberal snivelling over pictures of dead terrorists is that most of the American public goes about their daily life in complete daze. Half of you people can't even pull your head out of your ass long enough to drive your SUV in a straight line for 10 seconds at the posted speed limit and you bitch and moan about pictures of dead terrorists. You seem to forget these are the same animals, yes I said animals as they are not human in my book, that will cut off your head just because you aren't one of them. The same animanls who flew planes into buildings full of innocent people killing thousands. Those wonderful guys from the so-called "Religion of Peace. What a crock of shit. America better wake the hell up, look around you and see what is really going on, stop believing everything that dumbass from CNN tells you. People are more concerned with OUR treatment of terrorists who think nothing of blowing up innocent women and children, yet rarely have anything to say when these same terrorists are cutting off some businessmans head. In my opinion the people who concern themselves with how those "poor" terrorists are treated are NO better than the terrorists. If soldiers can get some free porn for sending in pictures of dead scumbags then I think it's great! If I had access to that site I would buy some access for some soldiers as my gift to them for keeping my family safe at night. People in America are so oblivious to what goes on in the world and how much these great kids sacrafice by being here it makes me sick. All I can say is that after being deployed here I will never watch the news at home again, what liars they are. The media people over here sit around in the hotels and rarely venture out, prefering to get the news from some local.

Spoken like a true American

By the way, your pal Wilson has been arrested and is awaiting trial in a Florida jail "on 301 counts of possessing and distributing obscene material relating to the site's sexual content. Bail was set at $151,000." (Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 9) Now, one can acknowledge that this is likely a dubious case on First Amendment grounds while still recognzing that Wilson is an ultra-depraved sicko and a moral midget. I am not impressed by the word "terrorist." That is being used as a dehumanizing propaganda term in this war just as "gook" and "jap" were in previous wars. Some poor schmuck who fails to break fast enough to appease some trigger-happy GI at a roadblock and winds up getting his head blown off is a "terrorist"? Sounds to me like it's the trigger-happy GI who is acting like the terrorist. And then poor schmuck deserves no better than to have his grisly remains posted to the Internet in exchange for jerk-off material? Gee, I'm so glad America is bringing freedom and dignity to the people of Iraq...

How Would You Know?

Trigger Happy? You have no idea man. You've never pissed all over yourself in a firefight and you have the nerve to judge what we are doing in Iraq. These people don't need labels to be dehumanized, 3000 years of stiffled evolution and constant dictatorship ruling their lives have made them animals. They have little concept of the world outside their distorted religious teachings. Trigger happy? The 18 year old kid from Cowpie, Nebraska whose only brush with violence was seeing a fight in the seventh grade is in Iraq and has had to pick his buddies intestines off his own face as these animals indiscriminatley bomb G.I.s, women and children all over the country. "Some poor shmuck". You sound like you know these guys from your old neighborhood and that they are just misunderstood. Believe me, you dont know them and if they have it their way they would rather be coming to a neighborhood near you. You could never have been there and say the pathetic things you say about us troops.
As for that psycho's site in Florida; true there are a lot of sick bastards out there who like to look at that carnage. These people exist with or without war. Don't blame the soldier. Besides, all the categories have a disclaimer explaining the content. Don't look if you dont want to see it. Dont stare at accidents, dont go to boxing matches, dont get thrilled during a great hit during a football game, and dont watch Nascar for the wrecks.

Got no right!!

I stumbled across this site and it seems weird that some friends and I were just talking about this kind of thing the other day. The public, or should I say the bleeding hearts, get upset over the things they hear from the media.....I can only imagine if they really knew what went on!!? I have a solution, everyone that complains, or takes a stand against the military's actions etc...should be sent over there and made to do the job for a month. Maybe they effing bleeding hearts would change their tune if they had to deal with this kind of stuff every day.
It's called 'black humour' and it's been part of society for ever, and it's as common as apple pie... Police, firefighters, paramedics, and yes, the soldiers that protect us use it as a release from they don't go insane. It's a very common defence mechanism and these people need it to survive doing what they do!
So, all you assholes that get upset at the site of a soldier laughing or, seemingly, enjoying what they are glad it's them that have to do it instead of you, and be glad that they have found a way to temporarily cope...otherwise they may be coming back home and shooting you in a shopping mall.

On another note....if you don't like to see or hear what goes on....don't go looking for it!!!

Support your right to snuff porn?

No buddy, it's YOU that's got no right. No right to have invaded Iraq, no right to kill motorists for running checkpoints, and certainly no right to put grisly photos of your victims on the Internet for perverse amusement. Don't try to pose this as a free speech issue—you could make that argument if you had secured permission from the victims' kin to post the photos, which of course they would never give. It is about basic respect for humanity. It terrifies me that people like you exist.