Sunday, March 23, 2008

Not so Light Reading

Two recent articles of some significance in The New Yorker have come with web-only addenda that are worth linking here.

The first, in the March 17 issue, concerned an album of daily-life photos from the Auschwitz concentration camp.
(That is the issue with the priceless cover of Hilary and Obama in bed, fighting to pick up the red phone. I've linked to the cover art thumbnail on their web site, but I doubt the link will last long.) The article itself is not available on line, but selections from the album are there with enough commentary that you can get the gist of the story. These are really a must see. They are totally unique (including the only pictures of Mengele at the camp) and greatly expand our historical knowledge of how the killers lived.

The other article, "Exposure" from the March 24 issue, is available on-line. It gives the back story of the woman who was in the most sensational photographs taken at Abu Graib, and provides her testimony about what happened there and perspective on the photos. The related web material includes both photos and videos.

This article and web material add new information to what has already appeared in a series of three articles about the prison and one about the investigation by Seymour Hersh. The one thing it does not shed any light on, at least as far as I could tell, was on the questions raised in the second article about who issued illegal orders to a Navy dog handler, William Kimbro. After all, if you can be prosecuted for following illegal orders or ignoring a legal order, the fact that Kimbro was praised rather than prosecuted for ignoring an order begs the question of why no officer (intelligence or otherwise) has been charged with issuing it. Like I said, not so light reading. We may need to wait for a regime that actually supports the troops before we find out.

The videos are part of a documentary, Standard Operating Procedure, that has a projected release date in April (Tribeca Film Festival) and late May (in Germany). A trailer is on the Sony Pictures Classics web site.

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