Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Interesting Iraqi Fallings

Gentle Reader,

I suspect most of you have seen the pictures leaking out from the US military of the torture / you-pick-a-word acts in the Abu Ghraib prison. I'm not going to link to any of them, partially since the only on-line versions I've seen are on news site, which tend to update things too much for posterity.

Thanks to Boing boing I've noticed a related few things which didn't hit the front pages over the weekend.

Don't worry if you've missed the pictures; there are more to come. The news last week was about the US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the US Congress. That wasn't all that happened. According to MSNBC (look in the second last paragraph), after attending a classified briefing about the extent of the torture, Senator Lindsay Graham saw some of the photos that will inevitably be released. "We’re talking about rape and murder here. We’re not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience. We’re talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges." he said.

Yikes.

Of course the little voice in the back of my head is saying "how come the soldiers were so stupid as to pose for the cameras while they were doing this stuff".

While not exactly related (9/11 wasn't an Iraqi operation, but somehow...), this one has an Irish angle.

A Luxembourgian/Irish security research team (two people, one of each) have presented a paper on a technique for identifying words that have been blacked out of documents, as when government docs are published with big strikethroughs over the bits that are sensitive to national security. (more details here).

"I was 'sitting bored' in front of television, the weekend of Easter, when the CIA memo to George Bush was published," recalls David Naccache, a specialist in data coding for the French company Gemplus. "I telephoned at once Claire Whelan, a [graduate student] at Dublin City University, whose thesis I advised, to propose an attack on the redacted passages."

It's not a cure all, but it does allow you to do some common-sense discoveries. Of course, the earlier "memo" PDF files, which if you copy-and-pasted the contents of the PFD, showed you full text dose not happen any more. At least not often.

take care,
Will

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