no porn for oil

Tom Tomorrow says it best: "Just a remarkable coincidence!"
The Pentagon found nothing worth investigating in the story about the porn site trading free access to soldiers in return for their grisly war photos--but in what is described as an entirely unrelated development, the operator of the porn site has been arrested on obscenity charges.

Not that anyone wanted to, you know, shut the site down or anything.

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30 Responses:

  1. zonereyrie says:

    Double plus ungood.

  2. ctd says:

    Well now, who was offended when the story broke?

    Unless you're Tom Tomorrow and start every chain of "reasoning" with "I hate the Republican party, therefore...", I don't think there's any reason to expect that the complaint came from the DoD. If they wanted soldiers to stop sending stuff in to such sites, they'd have no qualms about pillorying a few guys as an example (cf. Charles Graner and Lynndie England).

    • jwz says:

      Oh, come on. If you want to keep these pictures out of the news, it's a lot easier to shut down the site distributing them than to go after every single person who might have taken one. The site is a bottleneck. Besides which, A) arresting soldiers makes news, and B) it only stops future pictures, not the ones that have already been sent out.

      • ctd says:

        Your argument presumes a finite number of websites.

        To your asides:
        A) If the Pentagon deemed this an embarrassment, arresting soldiers would be _good_ news!

        B) This won't make the existing pictures go away anyways.

        • jwz says:

          No, to the Pentagon saying, "our soldiers are animals, but we slapped a few of them" is not good news. Good news is "nobody talking about it at all."

          Look, if you want to go ahead and believe that this really is just a big coincidence, go right ahead. I'll try not to let that ruin my day.

          For the record, I think the soldiers in question are scum, the site operator is scum, and people who use "obscenity" to justify supression of freedom of speech are scum. So it's just a scum-fest all around.

          • ctd says:

            >Good news is "nobody talking about it at all"

            Too late!

            And I don't think it's a coincidence, I just think there are plenty of people who would agree with you that the soldiers and site-maintainers are scum, but have no problem doing away with (and possibility no familiarity with) freedom of speech.

          • dasht_brk says:

            Careful tossing around the word "scum" until you've been there and unless you at least understand the mission. They spit on soldiers coming home from Viet Nam, remember. War is hell and it fucks people up but that doesn't mean that developing a dark sense of humor (something you might relate to yourself) over things you have to face every day makes you scum. In need of help? Ignorant about the impact of posting something on the internet? Sure and sure. But "scum"? Please be careful.

            • jwz says:

              Someone who poses with a dead person and captions it "what every Iraqi should look like" or "die haji die" is scum. Whether they got that way because of trauma, or brainwashing, or just because mommy didn't love them enough doesn't matter. Just because someone can be turned into a monster doesn't mean they're not a monster.

              • dasht_brk says:

                Someone who feels those captions in their heart of hearts and acts accordingly? I would agree. But that isn't what we're talking about. Or are you against rap songs that talk about killing cops, too?

                • dasht_brk says:

                  Oh and: "Soldier behaving badly and perhaps warrenting some degree of disciplinary response"? Yes, certainly. "Scum"? -- not based on this evidence, by a long shot.

            • editer says:

              They spit on soldiers coming home from Viet Nam, remember.

              That's an urban myth.

              • dasht_brk says:

                Your multiple links are all about a single source that happens to be widely reported. So your whole point comes down to the accuracy of Lembcke's book.

                Turns out that wikipedia comes through, especially in the discussion page.

                Vet's were abused coming back from Vietnam. Were some literally spat upon? Um... seems likely, actually. Was this a wide-spread pop-phenom like smiley-face icons in the 70s? No, which seems to be all that Lembcke actually argues. Are there plenty of first-hand accounts of abuse around? You betcha.

                -t

                • king_mob says:

                  Some of them were abused years and years after coming home, even:

                  It's a neat rhetorical device you use, that whole thing where someone posts a link and you say "Oh, I don't believe that." What do you call that? I've studied rhetoric a smidge, and I don't remember that one.

                  • dasht_brk says:

                    You misread me pretty seriously there but, in any event, I've replied "off-blog" since this isn't the place for an extended debate of that sort.

                    -t

                  • king_mob says:

                    You misread me pretty seriously there

                    Maybe back in <lj user ="dasht_brk">'s reality. Here on Earth Prime, what I read was this:

                    Vet's were abused coming back from Vietnam. Were some literally spat upon? Um... seems likely, actually.

                    "Seems likely" is one low-ass standard of proof for a guy who wanted me to provide multiple references for events I personally witnessed.

                    Don't send mail to me again. Since I don't expect you to respect that request, I have also bozo-filtered you, just in case you are under the impression that you should bother. I won't ever see it.

          • telecart says:

            obscenity is, by definition (or lack there of), counter-constitutional.

      • dasht_brk says:

        Nothing in this requires DoD collusion and I'm certain that, unless the charges against the site operators are completely justified and truly independent of the attention called to them, there are many in the armed forces at all level who would be offended.

        Lemme untangle: maybe the investigation predates the incidents. Maybe the charges are sound on some other grounds. Maybe, sigh, it is just a big coink-a-dink.

        But: in between a big Big Brother and utter coincidence, there's the "zelous attitude" bug that can come off as Big Brotherish. Some prosecutor or investigator thought they were doing a patriotic duty all on their own, triggered bureaucratic inevitability and here we are.

        There's a spectrum here, much of which is ugly, but don't be too quick to assume the worst.

        It's all just rumour and speculation, of course, and there's every chance I'll be embarassed to later learn that, indeed, this was a purely Big Brother maneuver from the highest levels. I just have my doubts -- cost/benefit considerations and all, if nothing else.

        -t

        • jwz says:

          It's not like this takes some big conspiracy. All it takes is one phone call. "Hey, not that I'm asking, but if you were to move this guy to the front of the list, you know, all on your own, that'd be swell."

          There's no reason to assume the best either, you know.

          • dasht_brk says:

            Agreed. The pentagon is not all lightness and purity, sure. An agnosticism and concern is justified -- just not a rush to judgement.

            • flipzagging says:

              Your frame implies that one day, we will know more. But that never happens. When corruption is taking root, you get less and less information about what's going on, not more. You just get a lot of these funny little coincidences.

              I mean, what would *you* do if you were Rumsfeld and this story broke? Thirty seconds later you'd have the FBI director on line one.

              • dasht_brk says:

                Taking you out of order....

                If I were Rumsfeld.... Well, that's a hard hypothetical to answer. He gets to play in lots of spaces I have no access to and I am constrained to play in spaces mostly unimportant to someone in his position. I, speaking for myself, have seen photos etc. from WWII soldiers and so on. The internet is a new factor but the hectoring, by otherwise good soldiers, isn't. And things like the Stanford Prison Experiment predict this kind of thing. I suppose I'd add it to the short stack of things like Abu Ghraib and do two things: (1) I'd encourage the commander in chief to give a long overdue speech even it the meat of it is going to fly over most people's heads. (2) I'd ask for a report from the COs of the poster about what the fuck is going on.

                As for my frame (nice formulation, btw): part of my point in all this contrarianness is that there's a lot more by way of open sources out there than you realize. There's vastly more information out there, for anyone, than you see on the news, in the paper, or in most of the blogosphere. I don't want to just spew all my bookmarks at this site. Maybe, just to choose a pretty banal one... start with Intel Dump (although they haven't spoken about this incident specifically, unless I missed it). You can find a lot "two or three clicks" from there.

                -t

            • omni_ferret says:

              Why don't you two just stop fighting and make sweet love already?

    • otterley says:

      I don't think there's any reason to expect that the complaint came from the DoD.

      You mean besides the fact that "[the sheriff] said the investigation was continuing and any pertinent information would be shared with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division" ?

      I know a bit about constitutional law, and while this is not legal advice, I can tell you that obscenity charges are generally only brought up to harass people, because (a) they're very, very hard to prosecute within First Amendment limitations, and (b) the number of parties out there practicing obscenity without being charged is staggering. I think it's very clear that only people being charged are ones who earn the ire of law enforcement.

  3. transgress says:

    The charges were unrelated to the photos of corpses from Iraq and
    Afghanistan, which the site states were provided by U.S. troops in exchange for free access to pornographic material.

    so what is obscene exactly, the porn? did mr flint already goto bat on this one?

    • king_mob says:

      I haven't seen anything he posted -- any of the porn, anyway -- but my guess is they'd have a hell of a time getting a conviction. In an age when Penthouse is available in Barnes and Noble, yet publishes golden showers pictures, that whole "community standards" thing becomes a real bitch.

      • transgress says:

        my inclination would be to believe that the news story is incorrect, but who knows. Pictures of dead bodies can be found all over the place, I doubt they will get a conviction. I mean you could argue all sorts of things post excessive amounts of dead bodies, from the news to the faces of death movies, to rotten.com and so on.

        • king_mob says:

          Except they've explicitly said they gives a fuck about some dead Iraqis:

          The charges were unrelated to the photos of corpses from Iraq and
          Afghanistan, which the site states were provided by U.S. troops in exchange for free access to pornographic material.

          This is just about the sexual content on his site. Which I haven't seen, but what, is it gonna beat Tubgirl?

  4. ciphergoth says:

    While I agree with your "scum all around" assessment, I'm not sure there's any particular reason to believe that this was done under directions from on high. The person who ordered the arrest was probably also outraged by the media storm, and they wouldn't need to hear it from above to figure out that an arrest would suit the government's purposes.

  5. omnifarious says:

    My suspicion is that the police who did the arresting were tipped off by the news articles and took extra special care to find a reason to arrest this guy because he was besmirching the good name of the military. I certainly don't put a tipoff from the whitehouse outside the realm of possibility, but I do not think that is the most likely scenario.