James Taranto, OpinionJournal, May 13
A Boston city councilman held a press conference the other day to disseminate enemy propaganda. Dan Kennedy of the Boston Phoenix quotes the press release announcing the event:
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.
The Boston Globe reported on the event, where Councilman Chuck Turner declared: “The American people have a right and responsibility to see the pictures.” The Globe made it clear that Kambon and Turner’s claims were thin:
The images, depicting men in camouflage uniforms having sex with unidentified women, bear no characteristics that would prove the men are US soldiers or that the women are Iraqis. And there is nothing apparent in the images showing they were taken in Iraq. Unlike the photographs widely publicized last week, the images appear to have been taken outdoors in a sandy area with hills in the background.
A WND investigation has revealed that most of the photos are taken from the American pornographic website “Iraq Babes,” and the Hungarian site, “Sex in War,” which is linked to by the American site. Both websites are linked to by violent pornography sites and both describe Iraqi women — played by “actresses” — in vulgar terms.
The Globe found itself in a kerfuffle over a photo it ran with yesterday’s story, which showed Kambon and Turner displaying the photos at the press conference. (That photo — which as you might expect is somewhat graphic — is reproduced at the Drudge Report.) Today the Globe ran the following “editor’s note“:
A photograph on Page B2 yesterday did not meet Globe standards for publication. The photo portrayed Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner and activist Sadiki Kambon displaying graphic photographs that they claimed showed US soldiers raping Iraqi women. Although the photograph was reduced in size between editions to obscure visibility of the images on display, at no time did the photograph meet Globe standards. Images contained in the photograph were overly graphic, and the purported abuse portrayed had not been authenticated. The Globe apologizes for publishing the photo.
Kennedy argues that the story the photos accompanied “is completely legitimate, making it clear that there was no way of authenticating the photos … and even raising the possibility that it was all an Internet fraud — as it indeed turned out to be.”
We’re not so sure we’d agree with the defense of the story. Turner and Kambon are racist crackpots, as Kennedy notes, citing an April Boston Herald report:
Turner was quoted as saying that [Condoleezza] Rice isn’t concerned “about the plight of the majority” of African-Americans. Okay, she’s a foreign-policy wonk, not a domestic-policy analyst. But then Turner added that Rice is a “tool to white leaders … It’s similar in my mind to a Jewish person working for Hitler in the 1930s.” Say what?
Kambon, naturally, was even more outrageous, calling her “Condoleezza White Rice” and “The Negro Security Adviser.”
The Globe’s original story on the porn photos also reports that Kambon “said at the news conference that he received the photographs by e-mail from Akbar Muhammad, a representative for the Nation of Islam.”
This is roughly the equivalent of a newspaper skeptically but respectfully reporting on a showing of anti-American propaganda by David Duke, which Duke says he got from the Ku Klux Klan. Such an action by Duke might be newsworthy, but the story would be about an extremist hate-monger peddling lies, not a respected officeholder making a statement that may or may not be true.