U.S. Senator shows Syria abuse photos in Senate

'What is happening in Syria today is a stain on collective conscience of moral peoples everywhere,' McCain says

'What is happening in Syria today is a stain on collective conscience of moral peoples everywhere,' McCain says

WASHINGTON - United States Senator John McCain took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to display graphic images of torture and abuse by the Syrian government, first published by Anadolu Agency, U.S. news network CNN, and UK publication the Guardian.

“When the images and horrors of this conflict occasionally show up on our television screens, the impulse of many Americans is to change the channel. But we must not look away,” McCain said Wednesday.

He added: “We must not avert our eyes from the suffering of the Syrian people, for if we do, we ignore, we sacrifice that which is most precious in ourselves – our ability to empathize with the suffering of others, to share it, to acknowledge through our own sense of revulsion, that what is happening in Syria today is a stain on our - the collective conscience of moral peoples everywhere.”

McCain also took to Twitter to release a number of the photos.

The U.S. Senator said the images “haunt” him, and called for the U.S. to take steps on Syria to bring an end to the bloodshed, describing current efforts as “nothing meaningful."

Responding to McCain’s charges, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney noted Washington’s aid to Syria, and said that a negotiated settlement between the opposition and the government is the only way out of the Syrian conflict.

McCain is a longtime proponent of increased military involvement in the Syrian conflict, including arming the Syrian opposition.

Commenting on his claims, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said, “I don't even want to guess what would be meaningful for Senator McCain. What I know is the people in this building, the people on the ground are doing what we can to help resolve this conflict, to support the people of Syria and to move the process forward.”

She described such efforts as “painstaking” and “complicated."

Anadolu Agency published a number of photos from a trove of some 55,000 pictures depicting 11,000 detainees – many of whom appear starved and brutalized – which it received from a Syrian military police defector.

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