WARNING: The links in this story are to graphic, gruesome pictures of dead bodies, and some include graphic sexual content as well.
(This soldier is proudly presenting what appears to be a bloody dismembered human arm dangling from perhaps a hook on the wall. To see the uncensored photo click here.)
I spent the good part of this weekend following up on a report by the East Bay Express, an alternative paper in San Francisco, alleging that US soldiers are posting gruesome pictures of dead Iraqis and Afghanis online in exchange for access to hard-core amateur porn.
What I found suggests the story is correct.
The death photos are hosted on a Web site hosted in Holland, called NowThatsFuckedUp.com. The site is an amateur porn site where people can post their own nude photos and browse the photos of other visitors. This is the header of the Web site:
Ah, but the site isn't just about the usual porn. It's also about military death porn. Below is an example of a photo on the site - a very tame example that I've censored (I blacked out the image of a body burnt to a crisp, you'll see two soldiers pointing to it, Lyndie England style - see the real uncensored photo here):
The title given to the photo: Cooked Iraqi
Now, before I go any further, I want to explain why I believe this site is legit. The pictures on the site are of real dead people, that is obvious. The dead also appear Middle Eastern. The soldiers in the pictures appear American and real. And the pictures are recent, rather than from, say, the Vietnam war. Next, the text accompanying the photos is clearly American and from native speakers, and if you read the back and forth - there are a lot of visitors to the site who are not happy about the pictures posted there - the responses from the "soldiers" sounds like what you'd get from real Americans and real soldiers. Finally, I looked at one photo on the site, allegedly showing a dead Iraqi man shot in his car while trying to go through a check-point. I zoomed in on the man's license plate and compared it to a picture of an Iraqi license plate I found on the Internet - they're identical:
Therefore, I'm publishing the photos and helping to spread the word about this site, because we need answers from our government as to why more photos of US soldiers with dead people are floating around the Internet. This is discussed in more detail at the end of my post. And finally, check out this page from the site and tell me these photos aren't real.
GRAPHIC EXAMPLES OF WHAT'S ON THE SITE
When I clicked around NowThatsFuckedUp.com I noticed a lot of the content seemed to be a year old (though now, suddenly, much of the content is back - very strange). That seemed odd, so I decided to check the WayBack Machine - a Web site that stores copies of old Web sites that have long since been taking down or changed (JeffyJames is quite familiar with this site, it's how I found his old prostitution sites). On the WayBack Machine I found a more updated site. On the NowThatsFuckedUp home page (see a copy of the home page here) - you can also see the current live home page here - you see a variety of sub-headings where visitors can post and see examples of female and male amateur porn, then you see the following sub-heading:
Once you click on the sub-heading that reads "gory," you arrive at a page of links to photos of dead people, supposedly from Iraq and Afghanistan.
(As I mentioned, on the NowThatsFuckedUp.com Web site, these links to the dead people photos keep appearing and disappearing (they were gone Saturday night, they're back today). Just to be safe, I went to the WayBack Machine and found up-to-date posts containing photos of dead people.)
The posts have titles like:
"Iraq driver tryed (sic) to run a check-point"There are additional sections containing gory photos of the dead, including (this link is particularly gruesome) "Name this body part" (no amount of censoring can make that section available for publishing publicly), another entitled "What every Iraqi should look like," and more.
If you click on this particular page, you see an apparent Iraqi man sitting in the driver seat of a car that's been shot up, two US soldiers are standing outside the car, and the Iraqi man's head has exploded, it's totally gone. Below is the tamest photo from the page, I've blacked out the worst part of the photo. A photo of the entire page, uncensored, is here.
"Nice puss / bad foot"
The page titled "Nice puss / bad foot" is devoted to the photo of a nude woman laying down on a table, her foot has been blown off by a land mine, blood, muscle, skin and bone are dangling in its place, and her naked crotch is clearly visible in the photo (thus the reference to "puss"). This is a sanitized version of the photo (unsanitized version here):
To give you a sense of what the rest of the site contains, this is another picture of a driver with his head blown open:
MORE LINKS TO MUCH OF THE ARCHIVED WEB SITE
I've made copies of many of the pages from this site, to ensure the evidence doesn't disappear. You can see them by clicking on the links below (each of these pages is a megabyte or larger).
- NowThatsFuckedUp.com site home page.
- Photos of the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan home page.
Sub-pages with gruesome photos:
- Suicide bomber (this is one of the most gruesome pages on the entire site)
- Just got back from the sand box (this is also one of the worst pages)
- Warning this is some hard core shit (and it is)
- Die Haji Die
- Cooked Iraqi
- Name this body part
- Nice puss - bad foot
- Destruction of the Afghans
- Gotta respect the head shot
- Iraqi tried to run checkpoint
- This is disgusting
Interestingly, there are a few posts of people extremely upset about this site. The responses to them are fascinating, and add more credence to this site being real:
- One question
- Really proud of you boys
- Something wrong here
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
Personally, this site sickens me. But I asked myself "why"? War is horrible, and these pictures simply show us the war we don't see on our TV screens. Is there some glorification of killing going on? Sure. And having this on a sex site only makes the glorification that much creepier. But having said, I can't imagine what it must be like for our soldiers to look at scenes like this, day in and day out, for real, up close and personal. That has got to take its toll, and I wouldn't be surprised if, for some of these guys, posting these kind of photos is their own version of therapy. Yes, it's gruesome - but unexpected?
Having said all of that, I still find this incredibly troublesome, dehumanizing, immoral, and wonder how legal all of this is as well (per the Geneva Conventions - you remember them, I believe the Bush administration called them quaint). I worry about what this kind of activity does to our culture, to our soldiers, and to our society. How it debases us slowly, gradually, without our even knowing it. I worry about these soldiers when they come back to the US after having seen all this gore. What kind of productive members of society will they be? I worry about all of us who have no clue that war is THIS gruesome. I worry about our government that think this kind of thing should be hidden from the public, and that it's a acceptable cost of going to war.
And maybe it IS an acceptable cost of going to war. But that in and of itself should tell us something. There ARE costs of going to war. Most Americans have yet to fully comprehend what it means to have 2,000 US soldiers dead, and tens of thousands injured, in this war. They have yet to comprehend the level of violence, the level of civilian casualties. They have yet to comprehend what this war is doing to our soldiers, and what it's doing to our own national psyche. Yes, these are all costs of going to war. But if these costs are hidden from the public, then it's not something they take into account when "approving" of the war, and thus their consent is hardly informed.
That's why I'm publishing this story. I can't say for 100% that these photos really are our service members, that the pics really are of dead Iraqis and Afghanis, or that they were posted by US soldiers. But everything about this story rings true (and let's not forget the US has a history of these photo abuses of the Iraqi dead). Worse yet, even if this site is a fake, it's already flying around the Internet - and has been live for over a year. This Web site, real or fake, is going to be another public relations disaster for the US, and a bonanza recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.
Our government needs to tell us, fast, whether this is for real or not, and what they plan on doing about it.
(Thanks to Kyle of AmIPatriotic.com for hosting the photos for this post.)