In his NYTimes.com blog, filmmaker Errol Morris reconstructs the series of events that led to the death of Manadel al-Jamadi, the dead man shown in the well-publicized Abu Ghraib photo with Sabrina Harman flashing a thumbs up.
In the process of making his new film, Standard Operating Procedure, Morris conducted hours of interviews with the soldiers who served at Abu Ghraib, including Harman and others convicted of abuse. He also carefully analyzed the photographs taken by Harman and others stationed at the prison. Morris’s own investigation into the crimes committed at Abu Ghraib and the death of al-Jamadi might very well be the best examination on public record today.
Morris also talks a lot about Sabrina Harman, and how the photograph of her smile over the corpse of a dead man, in his view, “aided and abetted a terrible miscarriage of justice.” In true Morris fashion, he takes the investigation deeper, contacting psychology professor Paul Ekman at the University of California, San Francisco, an expert on facial expressions and emotions. Morris actually has Ekman analyze several photos of Harman to determine whether her smile in the Abu Ghraib photograph expresses true happiness or is just posturing for the camera.
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Understanding Abu Ghraib
by Carrie Ching, Reveal May 20, 2008
Carrie Ching is an award-winning, independent multimedia journalist and producer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For six years, she led digital storytelling projects at the Center for Investigative Reporting as senior multimedia producer. Her multimedia reports have been featured by NPR.org, The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Grist, Time.com, Fast Company, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, KQED, PBS NewsHour, Salon.com, Mother Jones, Public Radio International, Poynter, Columbia Journalism Review and many other publications. Her specialty is crafting digital narratives and exploring ways to use video, audio, photography, animation and interactive graphics to push the boundaries of storytelling on the Web, tablets and mobile. Her work has been honored with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Best of the West, the Online News Association, Scripps Howard, The Gracies, and was part of the entry in a Pulitzer-finalist project. Prior to her time at CIR she was a magazine and book editor, video journalist, newspaper reporter and TV comedy scriptwriter. She was on the 2010 Eddie Adams Workshop faculty as a multimedia producer working with MediaStorm to teach digital storytelling techniques to photojournalists. She completed a master’s degree in journalism at UC Berkeley in 2005.