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Turner's bogus photos

THE RECENT actions of Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner were reckless and inflammatory. With no regard for truth or consequences, Turner unveiled graphic photographs at a Tuesday press conference, suggesting that the images portrayed the rape of Iraqi women by US soldiers. The display was an all-time low for a member of the City Council. Turner, now in his third term, used twisted logic to justify the photo array. While stopping short of claiming authenticity, Turner argued that "the American people have a right and responsibility to see the pictures" in light of recent revelations regarding abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

Turner's photos appear to match ones found on a pornographic website. Yesterday the Globe apologized for including a photo showing the images with the article about Turner's claims.

Unsubstantiated charges are becoming common in Turner's repertoire. Last September he accused City Council President Michael Flaherty of "institutional racism" when Flaherty tried to steer council business toward local concerns and away from resolutions on the Iraq conflict. One year earlier, Turner suggested that a police officer, not a robbery suspect, might have shot a 3-year-old boy. Again, he offered no credible evidence.

Turner represents Roxbury and parts of the South End, one of Boston's poorer districts. He could be working to improve housing, education, and job opportunities for his constituents. Instead, he makes a mockery of his office by mounting a bogus photo exhibit with Sadiki Kambon, a black activist known for barring whites from Kwanzaa celebrations.

Turner says he is "appalled" by the conduct of the war and offered the pictures "in good conscience," leaving authentication to news media. But if Turner is genuinely concerned about prisoner abuse by US military police, he has undermined that cause as well by giving fuel to outlandish claims that the Abu Ghraib prison photos were faked. Unfortunately, city councilors can be held in contempt only when they insult fellow councilors. But Turner's action are contemptuous of all Bostonians -- especially those serving honorably in the world's war zones. 

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