Tag Archives: Abu Ghraib

Google Suspends Ads on Antiwar.com for Publishing Newsworthy Photo of Ukraine Massacre

Google’s AdSense network is a crucial monetization tool for many websites that provide free content to the public. Antiwar.com, a site that has relentlessly promoted non-interventionist foreign policy views through the publication of news and world events that relate to the outbreak of war, has relied on AdSense to pay the bills of late. However, Google controversially suspended the site from its network on Wednesday, initially for publishing Abu Ghraib prison photos, citing AdSense’s policy against violent and gory images.

Google outlined its policies on violence and gore in an email to Antiwar.com, which said, “VIOLENCE/GORE: As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on pages with violent or disturbing content, including sites with gory text or images.”

Gawker‘s Alex Pareene covered the controversy over Antiwar.com‘s content and pointed out, “Either Google is incorrectly enforcing its own policies, or their policies do not allow for controversial — but clearly and objectively newsworthy — content.”

Antiwar.com appealed Google’s decision to ban the site from its ad network over the Abu Ghraib photos and was told on Thursday that it would be allowed back on board with AdSense. However, Google suspended Antiwar.com again the following day, this time citing an Associated Press photo of a massacre by the Ukrainian government as the basis for reigniting the ban.

Gawker pointed out the distinction that Google’s policies specifically require sites to either remove offending content from the site entirely or to remove ads from the specific page on which the content appears. Eric Garris at Antiwar.com says that the pages singled out by Google do not feature ads, meaning Antiwar.com is not in violation of Google’s policies. However, there were some remnants of ad code eventually found by Antiwar.com on some of the pages, but ads were not being delivered. Google’s process for appealing these types of bans is so complex that the tech giant requests that appeals come via snail mail.

Antiwar.com is continuing to appeal the suspension, conducting a fundraising drive to make up for lost ad revenue, and calling on supporters to push back against the policy on Google’s online forum. Said Eric Garris about the conflict, “Antiwar.com has no intention of allowing Google to dictate our content. We are looking into alternate sources of advertising and will not likely be working with Google AdSense in the future.”

While it is understandable that Google would have policies to prevent advertisers from being linked to offensive content, the fact that the policies are being implemented in such a way that there is no distinction between newsworthy content and that which is gory-for-gore’s-sake presents challenges for news and political advocacy sites that naturally deal in edgy subjects. Google’s suspension of Antiwar.com raises questions as to exactly what those policies are and what they should be.

Exclusive: CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou “I Am Proud To Have Stood Up Against Torture”

Washington D.C.- “As terrible as it’s been, as difficult as it’s been,” CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou would expose the agency’s torture practices all over again.

In part 1 of the interview with Ben Swann, Kiriakou talks about the CIA torture program and why he says President Bush, despite claims made in the Senate Torture Report, absolutely was aware and signed off on the torture program. In addition, Kiriakou talks about the CIA agents who struggled to carry out the policy of torture.

In part 2 of the interview with Ben Swann, Kiriakou says that he would certainly choose to expose the CIA torture and rendition program all over again but that he would go about it differently. Recently released from prison for exposing the spy agency’s acts to the public, Kiriakou discusses his time in prison, how it drastically changed his family and his plans for the future.

US government acknowledges it “crossed the line” on torture

For many years, the US government has said it respects, protects, and promotes human rights here at home and all over the world.  However, the US admitted to the UN Committee on Torture that after 9/11, abuses had occurred during the “War on Terror.”

The US legal adviser Mary McLeod spoke to the ten member committee saying, according to the Raw Story, “In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we regrettably did not always live up to our own values… we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that.”

After this, the committee began to ask the 30 top US officials present for the hearing, various questions regarding how the US planned to amend and atone for these acknowledged abuses.

Some of these questions revolved around Guantanamo Bay.  The committee asked the US delegates why the prison was still open after saying it would be closed and when the US government plans on shutting down the prison for good.

The delegates were also questioned on the Abu Ghraib prison incident and the lack of redress for the victims.

McLeod responded by saying, according to ABC News, “As President Obama has acknowledged, we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that… The United States has taken important steps to ensure adherence to its legal obligations.”

Amnesty International previously submitted evidence of human rights abuses to the UN Committee on Torture, outlining various violations US personnel are responsible for.  The method of water-boarding and secret detention of captives were two methods mentioned on this list.

From here, the UN questions moved from international torture to torture at home.

They questioned the delegates how the government justifies the detention of non-violent, non-criminal illegal immigrants, specifically children.  The disproportionate levels of police brutality in cases involving minorities were also brought into question.

The committee plans to publish its conclusions concerning torture and the US government on November 28.