Sherrie Gossett is associate editor for Accuracy in Media and a contributing reporter for WorldNetDaily. Her original news stories have been widely cited by the press, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Herald, Agence France-Presse, London Times, Fox News and Inside Edition. She is based in Washington, D.C. More ↓Less ↑
Boston residents got more than they bargained for this morning when their copy of the Globe came complete with graphic photographic images depicting U.S. troops gang-raping Iraqi women.
Problem is the photos are fake. They were taken from pornographic websites and disseminated by anti-American propagandists, as first reported by WND a week ago.
WND contacted the Globe to question staff about the photos.
Asked whether the photos were the same as the porn photos WND already investigated, reporter Donovan Slack said, “I have no idea. I’m surprised the editor even decided we should write about it.”
She added: “Oh my God, I’m scared to answer the phone today.”
“It’s insane,” said Slack. “Can you imagine getting this with your cup of coffee in the morning? Somehow it got through all our checks. Our publisher’s not having a very good day today.”
Slack sent the photos to WND, which immediately confirmed they were the same porn photos reported on last week.
Responding to an e-mail request from the Globe, WND furnished the true source of the photos, and walked Slack through the “Sex In War” site over the phone, so she could see the photos matched.
I’ll take the ‘Five days for $15′ deal,” Slack quipped, adding, “This is ridiculous. I’ll be working at Penthouse soon.”
The photos accompanied an article about Boston city councilor Chuck Turner, who distributed the graphic photographs yesterday at a press conference with activist Sadiki Kambon. Turner told reporters the photos showed U.S. soldiers raping Iraqi women.
“The American people have a right and responsibility to see the pictures,” Turner said.
Kambon, who is director of the Black Community Information Center, said at the news conference he received the photographs by e-mail from Akbar Muhammad, a representative for the Nation of Islam.
The Globe was provided with a statement by Muhammad who wrote, “There aren’t any doubts in my mind about the reports on torture of Iraqi prisoners. All you have to do is look at the pictures of Saddam Hussein after his capture when he was being examined on television across the world. He appeared to be drugged and unaware that he was being filmed to be humiliated and disgraced in front of the entire world.”
As WND previously reported, the pornographic ‘rape’ images were carried, among other venues, on the website for the Committee for the Defense of Saddam Hussein.
In the letter given to the globe, Muhammad termed reservists, “raving beasts,” and added, “I was fortunate enough to make copies of the pictures before they became unavailable on the Internet.”
The pictures are still on the porn site “Sex In War” and appeared in several Arabic newspapers.
Muhammad also called for the resignation of Rumsfeld.
Turner and Kambon told the Globe they don’t know where or when the photos they distributed yesterday were taken. But Turner said they came from a “very legitimate person.”
“We cannot document their authenticity,” he told reporters. “But you have the ability to do that.”
The Globe published the photographic images despite the fact a skeptical Slack had raised serious doubts about them and was not able to verify their authenticity. Slack was assigned to report on the press conference and did not approve of the photos being published. The photos were approved for publication by three Boston Globe editors.
In the article the Boston Globe ran with the photos, Slack underscored her skepticism: “The images, depicting men in camouflage uniforms having sex with unidentified women, bear no characteristics that would prove the men are U.S. 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.”
Ironically, a simple “Google/news” search using the terms “Iraq rape photos” would have proven the photos were fake and the story groundless. Specifically, the search would have retrieved WND’s series on the photos as well as a statement issued the day after WND’s expose (May 5) by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo confirming that the photos were fake and demanding that Arab newspapers that had carried the photos publish retractions. In addition, WND’s expose of the photos was mentioned at Monday’s White House press briefing.
A source with the Globe said the controversy already had reached the president of the New York Times, who reportedly is furious. The Boston Globe is owned by the New York Times Co.
Turner said he and Kambon were distributing the photos to force the Bush administration to release additional documentation of abuses, which Turner said are not limited to the prison, west of Baghdad.
At the time of publication of this report, Turner and Kambon were not available for comment.
So far, the Globe hasn’t published a retraction. However, as posted on the Free Republic website, a reader who wrote the Globe’s ombudsman, Christine Chinlund, received the following e-mail reply:
The Globe should not have run the photo. It appeared as the result of a miscommunication between photo staffers, and a collapse of the usual “checks and balances” system. In my next column I will provide a more detailed explanation of how this lamentable mistake happened.
Chinlund’s response ended with the following P.S.: “Can you tell me which website is providing the copy for letters like yours? Thanks.”