When I first saw the photos alledgedly showing UK soldiers torturing an Iraqi prisoner, I thought they looked odd. The most obvious anomoly is that they were in black and white. Why? Because they look more dramatic that way? Or because it makes it harder to recognise skin colour and tone?
Second, these were meant to be sneaked shots, so how come they look so well posed? And the quality is so sharp. In the shot supposedly of a soldier urinating on the prisoner, you can see individual droplets in the air. I don’t know about you, but pee doesn’t look like that. Now it seems there were lots of other things technically wrong with the uniform, weapons etc.
My second thought when I heard that the Mirror had published the photos was that it was an incredibly irresponsible thing to do. For sure, if UK soldiers had done this thing, they should be punished, and punished hard, but given the effect these images would and have had on Islamic countries, surely they should have been handed in to the authorities so they could investigate the incident. They would have still had the pics to use if they felt there was a cover-up.
And so yesterday, we saw Brits and other westerners being killed in Yanbu. A direct result of the photos? Possibly, but it is certain that at least one Muslim fanatic will be spurred on by them to murder, and then the Mirror will have blood on its hands, and perhaps egg on its face if it has been duped.
But what made me cross was the way the media look after their own. There was a bloke from the Guardian on the radio today, and he was asked what should happen if the photos proved to be fakes. Know what he said? That the Mirror would print a correction and an apology. So that will be alright then. Al Quaeda, Hamas et al will say, “Oops! Sorry about all those dead people. What a tragic misunderstanding.” No, I don’t think so either.
Whatever you think about the ongoing war in Iraq, what the Mirror did was reprehensible and if these photos are proved to be a set-up, personally I’d see Piers Morgan and chums tried for corporate manslaughter.