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August 23, 2005

Your Turn: Facing Fallujah

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Is this the new face of occupation?

After seeing one picture like this, I kept finding more and more variations of  it.  Most of these shots are coming from Fallujah, where the U.S. military is using retina scan technology to try and keep this ghost-city in lock-down. 

Because they are few and far between, you might also be interested in this Fallujah update ("We Regard Falluja As a Large Prison" – link)   by David Enders in July’s Mother Jones.

I don’t think you can find a more evocative image.  How do you eye it?

(Autoposted for your review while the BAG is off braving the wilds.)

(referral and big thanks: monsieurgonzo)

(image:  Official Photo: SSGT. JONATHAN C. KNAUTH, 1ST MARDIV. COMBAT CAMERA.  Jan 25, 2005. Security & Stabilization Operations (SASO), Operation Iraqi Freedom Brahma Park, Fallujah, Iraq.)

  • pjr

    With all of the hallowed technology employed by the US in Iraq, I wonder how long they can claim to be ‘making progress’ when the ‘ex-Baathists and dead-enders’ continue to wreak havoc virtually unchecked throughout the country? With Pat Robertson issuing assasination threats, and armed soldiers descending from helicopters to break up a rave in Salt Lake City because Bush was speaking there, I ask you; is this the kind of Democracy which the administration is seeking to install in Iraq?
    Aim higher people.

  • lytom

    These are the survivors of the US occupying punishment forces in the town of Fallujah.
    How different outcome compared to Nazi’s punishment acts on places which were suspected of resistance. This is not a final solution, but ongoing terror on the remaining occupants of the town. This is the future of the Iraqi state. The US forces are preparing the ground work for a “camp” (entire country of Iraq) for the citizens who no longer have any rights! How well fitting would the term be “Operation To Control and Erase the Personal Freedoms of Iraqi Citizens.” It is an improvement of the Nazi “stamping out” the numbers on forearms.
    The sickness of the busheviks has no borders.
    The Bush experiment, if it survives and I hope with all my heart it will not, has terrifying future for all of us!

  • Purple

    The irony is that we go higher and higher tech in our efforts, but ultimately we’re trying to stop a guy with a bomb who’s willing to blow himself up.

  • Purple

    The irony is that we go higher and higher tech in our efforts, but ultimately we’re trying to stop a guy with a bomb who’s willing to blow himself up.

  • bg

    This is the first photo I have seen of the iris ID. When I first heard about this, I immediately thought of the Nazi resistance museums in Oslo and Amsterdam (among other places I am sure, but these 2 I have visited). The Nazis had more and more layers of ID-fraud protection, but the resistance managed to continue to be able to manufacture fake IDs for all types of resistance operations. I suppose there are means to thwart the iris-print, but it is difficult to imagine how this technology will be available in Fallujah, if it is available anywhere.
    And so, as has already been pointed out, the resistance will continue to use the low-tech method (BAG photograph yesterday–the suicide bomber).
    I must say, it had never entered my mind that there would be remains–much less what we see in that photo.
    What we are doing in Iraq needs to be seen. Thank you again for keeping these images front and center.

  • George Myers, Jr.

    I was first reminded of “Blade Runner” the film which revolves around retinal scanning after the “double” fad (or cloning or the “doppelganger”) and the “greenhouse factor” come to pass (back in 1980 according to the script, I was a “Planetary Atmosphere” student during the Mars Viking Lander). Then I thought if all magic is science, science we just haven’t seen before, what might someone attribute to this “science” as they found out about it. Perhaps it should be used while handing out a voter’s identification. I read 10 years ago they tried that in Mexico, the card, provided by a US firm, I don’t know how well it went. Many are still denied voting rights in the US, after the “motor voter registration” crusade.
    “DECKARD (V.O.) Every government that could was racing to populate their colonial territory. But emigrants needed incentive. Over-population and the greenhouse factor didn’t seem to be enough; but owning a human look-a-like had lots of appeal. It was big industry, the competition was stiff and Tyrell was top of the line.”
    BLADE RUNNER
    Screenplay by
    HAMPTON FANCHER
    July 24, 1980 Brighton Productions Inc.
    1420 No. Beachwood Drive
    Hollywood, Calif. 90028

  • Kitty

    “I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul.” — Bush, on meeting Putin.
    Bush’s statement was written to appeal to a nostalgia. In America we have begun to believe that identity is electronic. How can we expect a soldier to look an Iraqi in the eye and know the first thing about what he’s thinking? Even the most recent Army recruitment ads on TV appeal to this nostalgia: the father meets his son after his son returns from basic training and marvels at his son’s ability to look him in the eye. When Clinton was president, people were floored by his eye contact, and I suspect that Bush does the same thing for his supporters. It’s this quality that Democrats need to locate in their next candidate in order to win: the ability to make us think we’re being looked in the eye again.

  • http://www.futurebird.com Susan Murray

    Hey. All I can say is it’s better than writing on the people with a sharpie marker….
    Okay. I’ll add, that eye is looking at me and it scares me. That eye says try to keep me down with all you might I still know who I really am and what I stand for and it is not you.
    Let’s get outta there!

  • Gary in Ithaca

    Well, no, the eye isn’t looking at us, or at the soldier, of course; we are hidden behind a technological screen, the dream location for the exercise of unseen power, for power that is ashamed of itself. There aren’t any eyes in sight here; that’s an element in what’s unsettling in the composition of the image.

  • radu

    Another reference would be some scenes from Brasil , where they had a small monitor and a big lens in front of it. If I remember correctly, some scenes show what the small monitor would ’see’ through the lens, as if the machine would be able to decipher the human behind the lens by reading the image of the eye.

  • http://molly.douthett.net Molly

    Interesting that you mention the movie “Brazil”, radu. I have been thinking about that movie a lot in the last two-three years, especially the disconnect between “reality” for the haves and the REALITY for the have nots and the power of images to shape each. Great movie; Terry G. is a prophet before his time.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    yeah. well the other image…
    http://crisispictures.org/?p=102&cp=all#comments
    …scroll up and it should be there ~ that we came across first, we couldn’t identify its origin, though it looks to be the same time & place, fwiw.
    anyhoo, that other image, well the young Iraqi man is drop -dead- gorgeous, his costume is elegant, his expression (almost full face is visible) absolutely haunts me. And the American soldier, only his arm / dirty uniform and grubby hand / eye machine are visible.
    i admit, i really dig this (the image we could not post) news photograph: the aspects of self-reference; its composition; the defiance; the technological wall between this clueless American brute and the raw emotion & beauty of the young martyr’s expression.
    never made the American News {sigh} too haunting, i suppose. damn thing really haunts me, fwiw :-/

  • fotonique
  • Rafael

    Reminds me of the old Roman proverb:
    Who watches the watchmen?

  • Nutthuis

    The picture reminded me of a cyclops. According to Hesiod, they were strong, stubborn, and “abrupt of emotion”. Their names eventually became synonyms for strength and power, and were used to signify especially well-crafted weapons.
    The fact that he is human sized and not a giant leaves the impression that this monster has been shrunk to a manageable size, but even blinded & weakened the cyclops can still cause great damage.

  • http://geocities.com/alfast Rafael

    Question is, is he a real monster or does the “camera” turn him into one?

  • glenn ward

    There is an interesting subtext to the picture of the “iris scan”. In an insurgency, as we all know, the people living under occupation don’t have to militarily defeat the occupiers to win: they only have to be willing to continue to pay the price of warfare for a longer duration. In other words, they have to make the occupiers “blink first”. In this picture, the state-of-the-art technology is in the hands of the occupier, seemingly rendering the Iraqi man a subjected individual, defeated and passive. However, looked at another way, the steady, unblinking eye seems to be challenging the occupier, in mocking disregard for the technology, to blink first, thus rendering the occupier the true subjected individual, trapped in a situation of his own making.

  • Nutthuis

    “Question is, is he a real monster or does the “camera” turn him into one?”
    The US military turned that innocent human being into a “monster”.

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