The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Is this Sy Hersh's October surprise?

A good deal of blogospherical heat, but not much light, shed: read first at Kos details of Seymour Hersh's speech to the ACLU in which he apparently claims that there are videos of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib.

There is a link to a (broadband) stream of the relevant part of his speech given at a dinner on July 7.

Naturally enough, the first question raised queried the time-lag. In fact, it seems that Hersh has been talking about yet-to-be-revealed Abu Ghraib horrors for at least a month - Brad de Long on June 10 has a piece on a Hersh speech at the University of Chicago in which he supposedly talked about
horrible things done to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run.

And he's hardly the first journo to mention the subject: a Boston Herald piece of May 8, for instance, dealing with Donald Rumsfeld's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, to the effect that there was a lot more material to come, says
The unreleased images show American soldiers...taping Iraqi guards raping young boys, according to NBC News.

Hersh's own piece (posted May 9) has the same reference to the NBC allegation.

Members of Congress were subsequently shown (all of?) the extra material - the piece doesn't mention, nor can I recall, that any of those who attended the viewing talked about having seen images of boys being sodomized.

Has Hersh got the sodomy tapes? His May 9 piece talks about him having received new photographs [1] - that, and the reference to the NBC story, invite the inference that he did not then have a copy of the tapes.

Perhaps he now has tapes, but is waiting to have them verified. Perhaps - a suggestion I've seen - he's taking legal advice on his position under child pornography laws. Perhaps, like Mr Micawber, he is hourly expecting something to turn up.

Or perhaps he's waiting to see the whites of Bush's eyes before opening fire. Around October 20, say.

On the substantive allegation, I can't immediately trace the story on the MSNBC site. There is a Newsmax story of May 4 which includes the following:
"The Iraqi guards apparently engaged in rape of female prisoners and perhaps some young boys," reported NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski on Tuesday.

Miklaszewski told radio host Don Imus...

Does that mean Miklaszewski gave his some young boys quote to Imus as well? Since Newsmax is the most prestigious news source (!) for the quote, a carload of salt is required, naturally. Yet the quote is much less definite - a perhaps on the rape, no mention of a vid - than the position of NBC News as cited in the CBS piece linked above!

  1. The other pieces in the series posted April 30 and May 15.


The issue of child prisoners in Iraq generally has attracted interest in Denmark, it seems.


October Surprise, it is, apparently.

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