Friday, July 22, 2005

U.S. Government Refuses to Release Torture Photos

The Bush administration has been trying for over a year to prevent the release of photographs and videos that show detainees at Abu Ghraib being tortured. Papers were filed in federal court in June of last year by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, Veterans for Common Sense, and Veterans for Peace to compel the government to release the Darby photos and videos (so called because they were the evidence of prisoner abuse that U.S. reservist Joseph Darby released to U.S. Army officials in April of 2004).

Last month, government attorneys asked for an extension on the release deadline because, they said, the photos needed to be edited so that the detainees in the photos (both men and women, as well as children) would not be identifiable. Reasonable request, even though they waited a year to ask for the extension; and the district court judge agreed to the extension.

The new deadline for delivering the photos and videos to federal court was today. But the court does not have them, because the Bush administration filed a last-minute motion to block their release, "...based on an entirely new argument: they are now requesting a 7(F) exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act to withhold law enforcement-related information in order to protect the physical safety of individuals."

The physical safety of the individuals in those photos and videos has already been destroyed, so whose safety is the government referring to? If it's American soldiers on the battlefield, it beats me why George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and the other cronies would lose any sleep over that, given that they have been telling lies for almost four years now to persuade those American men and women to volunteer their bodies as cannon fodder.

I guess it's just the Bushies' foolish pride. They don't want "our enemies" to see over 100 photographs and 4 videos depicting brutality and torture committed by Americans in the same prison that was notorious for torture under Saddam Hussein. That would put our troops at risk, because the insurgents would use our use of torture against us. We can't have Iraqis thinking we do the same things Saddam did, even if we do.

There are some who take a different view on the matter, though. Like Barbara Olshansky, Deputy Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"The public must be informed of what is being done in our name. It is this Administration that has put our troops at risk and caused world-wide anger by fostering policies that promote torture and refusing to hold those responsible publicly accountable."

It's an unorthodox argument, I know. But do you think it has merit?

Thanks to Chief for telling me about this.

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