Philosophy Hurts Your Head

The blog of a cranky Philosophy PhD Student from Newcastle, Australia.

Archive for September, 2005

More Gore for Porn Madness.

Posted by Sam D on September 29, 2005

It appears that the investigation has been and gone. The NY times really needs to try harder to keep up. Too slow. Not good enough.

The Register reports that the probe has been launched but there will be no felony charges laid.

Reuters is reporting, via Reuters Alert Net , that the U.S. Army has “failed to determine whether U.S. soldiers provided grisly photos of people killed in the Iraq war to a porn Web site”, and has (wait for it) ENDED THEIR PROBE!

( Is That Legal? was right, that was quick.)

They apparently couldn’t prove that “U.S. soldiers were responsible for the photos and whether they showed actual war dead”. I’m not satisfied with this response, and I think a lot of people are going to share that sentiment. People are not going to accept this, and they are not going to let it go away.

I want to know how long the U.S. government has known about this, and I want to know if the Australian government knew what was happening. I want assurances that no Australian personnel were involved, which they can’t give because they don’t seem to know who is responsible.

I’ve just found out that Aljazeera.com has reported on this. Read the article here
(Now the shit will really hit the fan.) It is not a much stronger article than the NY Times report, but it will be enough to get people started.

If you are concerned with the lack of coverage on this story, do something about it. Publish on your blog. Link to someone who has. Start asking your elected representatives what they think of this, and what they may have known. Last of all, contact the media, at any level. Don’t let them ignore this.

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Posted in Ethics, News, Politics | 2 Comments »

Gore for Porn Update.

Posted by Sam D on September 29, 2005

The New York Times has finally reported on this.

Army Investigates Photos of Iraqi War Dead on Web

By THOM SHANKER
Published: September 28, 2005

“WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 – The Army has opened an investigation into whether American troops have sent gruesome photographs of Iraqi war dead to an Internet site where the soldiers were given free access to online pornography, Army officials said Tuesday.”

Read the full article here.

So the army has launched an investigation eh? They took their time. If I’d been a day or two quicker I’d have beaten them to it. That’s not right. At least they admit that this could constitute a breach of the Geneva Convention.
The article states that the authenticity of the photos has not been confirmed. Authenticity of what!? If nothing else I think we can depend on the authenticity of the bodies in the pictures. I appreciate that people in the US don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I would find it very, very hard to believe that any of this material was fake. On the other hand, because of the way that the pictures are being supplied and published, the only person who knows if a given picture is of what, where and when they say it is, is the person who originally sent it.

That is if they can find who sent it. The article indicates that the Army has been having trouble tracking down service personnel in some of the photos as their unit and name markings are unclear. I hope that is not the only option that they have at their disposal in this investigation.

There is no good way that this can be taken. If the Army was aware of this, but did nothing till it became public then it is complicit in this grossly unethical and possibly illegal affair.

If the Army was really un-aware of this, then the implications are disturbing. If soldiers could get away with sending these pictures unnoticed, what other information and material has been passing through these channels unnoticed? Incompetence in monitoring this web traffic to could constitute a major security weakness and a ridiculous naivete of what is actually happening with personnel on their bases.

The third possibility, implied by the Times’ assertion that the authenticity of the photos was unconfirmed, is that it isn’t US personnel who are sending the pictures. I would find this hard to believe, but have to admit that it is a possibility for at least some of the material in question. If the pictures are at all what they appear to be, then someone in Iraq and Afghanistan is sending them. For all the conservatives who are thinking of crying ‘conspiracy’, take note: People are going to find it hard to believe that this whole thing has been orchestrated by Islamic extremists or peace activists. While the ‘proof’ may mysteriously elude army investigators, people will still know which group is responsible for this, the marks of military culture are all over it, and not amount of handwaving and misdirection will change that.

I’m glad that the NY time ran the story. But I was disappointed at how cautious in their language they were. While I have no proof, it seems that they are treading very carefully. There’s your conspiracy.

As far as I can tell, despite the growing momentum in the blogsphere and finally now in print media, CNN has not touched this.

Posted in Ethics, News | Leave a Comment »

Societies worse off ‘when they have God on their side’

Posted by Sam D on September 28, 2005

Another article making waves at the moment in the blogsphere, from The Times, September 27, 2005.

By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

“RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.

According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.”
Read the full article here!

I’ve inlcuded this post here, rather than on Dialectic to avoid the accusations of bias from my fellow Philosophy Club members. While my feeling on this are well known I do think it is timely that this study was undertaken at all, regardless of it’s conclusion.

Posted in News, Philosophy & Religion, Religion | 1 Comment »

US Soldiers swap gore for porn

Posted by Sam D on September 28, 2005

In searching for confirmation of a rumor that US soldiers were setting up porn sites from Iraq I discovered a far more disturbing situation. A website, http://nowthatsfuckedup.com/ , containing ‘amateur’ porn is now, and has for some time, been offering free site membership to military stationed in Iraq if they send pictures or video of deceased insurgents, the more graphic and gory the better. I first found the story here.

To label this as ‘disturbing’ is a spectacular understatement. I recommend that if people want to look at this site they had better not be eating at the time. One example that many will find disturbing and offensive on many levels is the post titled: “Nice puss / bad foot”, which shows an Iraqi woman who has (alledgedly) stepped on a land mine. Her leg is enough to turn most stomachs. Her genitalia is clearly visible below the edge of her skirt. (I won’t dignify this with a direct link, but if you don’t believe me and want to see for yourself it is not hard to find on the site.) The ensuing discussion concerning the personal hygiene habits of women from certain cultures and the treatment of this woman as a sex object by the participants in the discussion are enough to make the blood of anyone even vaguely feminist boil.

Other material includes photo’s showing dead bodies in extreme detail, some surrounded by grinning Coalition soldiers.

As I said, all of this is disturbing enough. A more chilling implication is that this is not an unknown activity. A comment on the recent Is That Legal ? post on this issue indicates that the story was broken on Nur al-Cubicle around a month ago. While it may have made the news in Italy in particular, it does not seem to have made the news in the US or here. The bulk of the ‘western’ blogsphere seems only to have picked this up in the last week or so. This is a story that people need to hear. It appears to be accurate. It is therefore, part of the reality of this ‘war’. Anyone with any media contacts in Australia should encourage them to run this story.

If you thought the irony was over, you were wrong. The site at the center of this bizarre issue, nowthatsfuckedup.com, says it does not want pictures of wounded Coalition soldiers.

That this is happening at the same time as the US government is talking up its ‘war on porn’ is outrageous. If the current administration is aware of this activity, the implication that consenting adults tying each other up, having sex, and selling the picures online is somehow worse than the swap deal that is occurring. Such a twisting of values is implied, it beggars belief.

I find it hard to believe that this photo-trade is in line with Geneva conventions. But as Is that Legal? observes, no one seem to care.

Posted in Ethics, News, Politics | 1 Comment »

US Feds to search for deviant porn

Posted by Sam D on September 26, 2005

Coming from Ars Technica via suicidegirls.com was this amazing revelation. The FBI is apparently going to pay agents to surf the net looking for deviant porn, which would then be removed. Unlike other outbreaks of public moral hysteria, this one openly targets the depiction of acts between consenting adults, for no other reason than they are deemed ‘obscene’.
Read the full story here.
I have the rather sheep-like quality in that I am surprised by the world fairly often. But this really takes the biscuit. Consenting adults. Depictions- not just photo and video, but also literature and art describing acts that have never happened anywhere in reality.

Desire cannot be regulated so easily.

Posted in Ethics, News, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Behold the FSM!!

Posted by Sam D on September 21, 2005

This is the funniest thing I’ve read for a while.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said it before: Religious arguments fail if they are not specific in their conclusions. Even Keith Devens knows that.
There is a reason that the ID argment has been discarded from so many religions: It’s more or less useless!
So you have ‘proved’ that there is an Intelligent Designer (which you haven’t, but let’s pretend for a second eh?)

Q:Have you proved that they are the Christian God?
A: No.

Q: Can you tell me if they are Catholic or Protestant?
A: No.

Q: Have you proved that they are not Allah ?
A: No.

Q: Have you proved that they have any of the following attrbutes: Omniscience, Omnipotence, Moral Perfection?
A: Um, no.

Q: Have you proved that they are not the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
A: No.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, ID defendors!

PS, I am willing to have a serious discussion about this matter, so please do not take my irreverance to be indicative of a lack of respect.

Posted in humour, Intelligent Design, Philosophy & Religion, Religion | 6 Comments »

Yes, I am a little ray of sunshine this morning.

Posted by Sam D on September 20, 2005

I feel like what defines us is the inability to help others due to the amount of our own shit we have to deal with. Many people need help, but the only people they can possibly ask for it are themselves barely coping. I don’t know how widespread this is, but if it is, something is broken. We are pressurised to an extent where in order to do what we feel that we need to (very different to ‘real’ needs) we use too much of ourselves up, and have nothing left to give to others when they need it.
The above is my hypothesis. Below are (some of the) the phenomena:

Increasing suicide.
Marrige breakdown.
Dropping birth rate.
Loss of ‘community’.

Or am I wrong. Probably. Are we just so soft and weak that instead of sucking it in and geting on with things like our grandparents would have done, we moan about how unhappy we all are. Are we unhappy because we expect to be happy?

uhg. Thesis almost finished. I am going to get so drunk after that’s handed in.

Posted in Student Life, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Update

Posted by Sam D on September 13, 2005

Urg. Sorry to anyone who actually reads this about my lack of posting lately. I’ve been hard at work on this pesky thesis. I’m happy to say that I’m probably about 3 weeks away from having the damn thing finally finished, leaving only 8k of words on Socrates (2nd half of coursework) to do.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »