Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bush blocks release of Abu Ghraib photos

The government continues to stone wall investigation in to the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. President Bush and the Defense Department is refusing to cooperate with a federal judge's oreder to release phtographs and viedotapes related to the Abu Ghraib scandal.

From the Progressive Newswire:

WASHINGTON - July 22 - The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) today denounced the latest efforts of the Bush Administration to block the release of the Darby photos and videos depicting torture at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison facility. On June 2, 2004, CCR, along with the ACLU, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense, and Veterans for Peace filed papers with the U.S. District Court, charging the Department of Defense and other government agencies with illegally withholding records concerning the abuse of detainees in American military custody. Since then, the organizations have been repeatedly rebuffed in their efforts to investigate what happened at the prison.
In June, the government requested and received an extension from the judge stating that they needed time in order to redact the faces of the men, women and children believed to be shown in the photographs and videos. They were given until today to produce the images, but at the eleventh hour filed a motion to oppose the release of the photos and videos, 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. Today’s move is the latest in a series of attempts by the government to keep the images from being made public and to cover up the torture of detainees in U.S. custody around the world.

It is funny how the Bush administration is all for protecting individuals as long as it suits them (ahem, Valeria Plame).
It is hard to maintain a system of checks and balances, if parts of the government feel they are above being checked and balanced.

Of course it is plain to see why they would want to cover this up. Every bit evidence released just supplied one more horrifying piece to this puzzle of abuse:
From 2004!
The unreleased images show American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys, according to NBC News

These are certainly not the images we want to see on the nightly news. But impeding a government investigation not only casts America in the role of cruel imperialists on the world stage, it also condones such abuse and sets a percedent for torture.

And it gets worse, Bush is threatening to veto any attempt by the senate to legislate detainee policies. Senators such as John McCain (R-Arizona) and Linsey Graham (R-South Carolina) (yes, two republicans!) are suggesting such outrageous policies as barring the holding of "ghost" detainees whose names are not disclosed, codifying a ban against cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and using the Army manual as a basis for all interrogations (Reuters).

The White House claims that such amendments would "interfere with the protection of Americans from terrorism by diverting resources from the war."
This poses the question: at what cost are we willing to win this "war"?

There is a good discussion of all of this at the Daily Kos blog.


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