Arts, Culture & Media

Abu Ghraib documentary

(You have said that photos can be misleading; so do we not know the true story of Abu Ghraib?) The photos reveal and conceal. We would not know what happened at Abu Ghraib if not for the photos but they told us we saw everything we needed to see. (You tell the story in your film through the photos and through the individuals involved. How willing were those people to talk to you?) Everybody I talked to had their own reasons for not wanting to be interviewed. Many of these people have been disgraced, imprisoned�their stories have never been told. I hoped to tell their story, not because I think they're completely innocent. But the ringleaders are much, much higher up�they're not sergeants, specialists and corporals, they're generals and major civilian officials in the State Department and much higher up. (The officer in charge of prisons in Iraq at the time was a woman named Janis Karpinsky. Here's a clip from the film where that officer is talking about the demands being placed on the prison guards from higher up the chain of command.) Karpinsky: find Saddam at whatever the cost. It's a downward spiral, this isn't working, try this. It's ok. (She comes across as very angry at what happened and she was eventually relieved of her command but nobody above Staff Sergeant was relieved of their command. It seems like the photos got people into trouble.) Oddly enough the people who were punished were punished because they were caught in photos. Are these photos ones of policy? Are they the actions of a few rogue soldiers? These questions can only be found out through investigation. One prominent Washington politician I talked to says the most iconic picture of the Abu Ghraib photos is just one of �standard operating procedure.� (You reenact events at Abu Ghraib. These sequences are highly stylized and since you had the photos already, why did you decide to go that route?) I am taking the viewer inside and behind the photo. We don't see outside the frame of the photo and this is an attempt to look beyond the photos. (How necessary was all that?) Well I'm a filmmaker and the idea is to bring you into a scene with all the tools at my disposal. My job is to pursue the truth, so this is a sincere attempt to find out what happened. (There is a sense of humiliation that seeps through the whole movie, does this ring true for you?) Absolutely. It's a story of humiliation and re-humiliation, both for the Iraqis and America. I think our anger towards these people is because they humiliated us and I would like this anger to be redirected towards the people I think are truly responsible.

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