THE FALLOUT CONTINUES. Former Marine major Cecil Turner writes:
If anything, you're being too kind to Turner, Kambon, and the Globe.
More than a week ago, someone tried to peddle those pictures on Roger L. Simon's blog, and it was immediately debunked. A casual glance at the photos shows out-of-date and mismatched uniforms, improperly worn, wrong color t-shirt and boots, and lack of unit patches. Even without knowing about the porn site, there is no way this should have stood for a minute.
Turner's "just wanted to get verification" story is nonsense - and certainly wouldn't require a press conference. The technique of proffering a slanderous statement and hoping something will stick was old when practiced by Roman senators, and the Globe should never have fallen for it. The real story here is that Nation of Islam is spreading Islamist propaganda - and it certainly appears to be intentional.
Major, USMC (Retired)
Also, in my quick update this morning, I neglected to note that the Globe failed to include some pretty vital information in its "Editor's Note" today - or, for that matter, anywhere else in the paper: the fact that these photos had been exposed as fakes quite a bit before Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner and local activist Sadiki Kambon unveiled them at a news conference on Tuesday.
Yes, reporter Donovan Slack's story was properly skeptical, but if either she or her editors had known that the photos had already been identified as having come from commercial porn sites, this never would have seen the light of day. Those who hadn't been following the tale of the fake rape photos on the Internet would have had to buy today's Herald to find out the whole story.
Chuck Turner popped up on The Pat Whitley Show on WRKO Radio (AM 680) this morning and continued to peddle the line that he never wanted the media to publish the photos, just verify their authenticity. He called the Globe's decision to publish the photos a "serious mistake," and said he was "shocked and surprised." (Time out: the Globe didn't "publish" the photos; it published a photo of Turner and Kambon showing the pictures to the media. I still think that's an important distinction, because in the edition I saw yesterday, the images were so tiny that I really couldn't make them out. Still, there's no question that the Globe ran it big enough to shock in earlier editions.)
What crapola. You don't call a news conference to release photos that you don't want published. You don't say - as the Globe quoted Turner as saying - "The American people have a right and responsibility to see the pictures."
Here is the text of a press release sent out on Monday by Kambon's organization, the Black Community Information Center:
Release of US Military rape photographs in Iraq!!!
Assignment Desk/City Desk:
The Black Community Information Center Inc. will hold a press conference on Tuesday, May 11th, 2004, 9:30 a.m. The purpose of the press conference is to release copies of dramatic photos of members of the US Military, gang raping innocent Iraqi women in Iraq.
The press conference will be held in the Curley Room at Boston City Hall (5th Floor) in downtown Boston, Massachusetts.
For more information, call [phone numbers deleted].
Director, BCIC Inc.
Now, it's true that at the news conference Turner asked the media to use their contacts to authenticate the photos. But the tone of this press release admits to no doubt whatsoever, does it?