[Marxism] Coffin photo controversy

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 23 07:11:30 MDT 2004

Photos of Soldiers' Coffins Revive Controversy

By Blaine Harden and Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, April 23, 2004; Page A10

The Pentagon lost its tight control over the images of coffins returning 
from Iraq as about 350 such images were released under the Freedom of 
Information Act and a Seattle newspaper published a similar photo taken 
by a military contractor.

After Dover Air Force Base, the main port for returning remains, 
released hundreds of government photos of the ceremonies, the Defense 
Department ordered yesterday that no more photographs be released. In 
addition, two employees for defense contractor Maytag Aircraft were 
fired after the Pentagon complained about a photo of flag-draped caskets 
taken by one of them that appeared in the Seattle Times.

In March 2003, on the eve of war in Iraq, the Pentagon ordered an end to 
all media coverage of ceremonies for the returning remains of soldiers 
killed overseas. Although Dover already had such a policy, the Pentagon 
action enforced a military-wide ban on images of flag-draped caskets 
that dated to late 2000 but had not been followed.

With few exceptions, the ban had remained in force until recent days. 
But last week, about 350 photos from Dover were released under a Freedom 
of Information Act request by Russ Kick, a First Amendment advocate who 
runs a Web site called the Memory Hole (www.thememoryhole.org). Dover 
recommended that Kick's request be denied, but officials at Air Mobility 
Command headquarters at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois authorized the 
release on appeal. After Kick posted the photos, they appeared on other 
Web sites, including the Drudge Report.

The sudden spread yesterday of the Dover photos of flag-draped caskets 
returning from Iraq came a day after Tami Silicio and her husband and 
co-worker, David Landry, were fired for the photo she took at Kuwait 
International Airport of caskets in an aircraft. The photo was published 
Sunday on the front page of the Seattle Times.

"We have terminated two employees in Kuwait who violated Department of 
Defense and company policy by working together to photograph and publish 
the flag-draped caskets of our servicemen and women being returned to 
the United States," said William Silva, president of Maytag Aircraft, 
the Colorado Springs-based military contractor that employed Silicio and 
her husband.


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