News 100 Abu Ghraib pictures/videos to be released

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Judge orders Pentagon to release 100 new photos of Abu Ghraib prison abuse
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles

05 June 2005

A US judge has ordered the Bush administration to release more than 100 new photographs and videos of abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib, creating a fresh public relations nightmare for government officials as they seek to rebut accusations that the US is sponsoring torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.

The ruling comes as Tony Blair prepares to fly to Washington for meetings this week with George Bush. Although the Prime Minister's trip is part of a series of visits to fellow G8 leaders before next month's summit at Gleneagles in Scotland, Downing Street has said that the two men will also discuss Iraq, where violence has recently surged.

A suicide car bomber attacked a police patrol in Baghdad yesterday, seriously wounding two policemen. During the day, hundreds of Iraqi and US troops braved the heat to search fields and farms in an area known as the Triangle of Death, for hideouts used by predominantly Sunni Arab militants to mount suicide attacks against nearby Baghdad.

They rounded up at least 108 Iraqis suspected of involvement in the insurgency.

Iraqi forces were claiming one major success - the arrest in a raid in Mosul of a senior militant leader, Mullah Mahdi. He is said to be linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qa'ida follower accused by Washington of masterminding much of the violence against occupation troops. An Iraqi official said the arrest was "very significant".

But fresh evidence of abuse at Abu Ghraib is likely to complicate Iraq's already precarious security situation. Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the New York federal court granted a petition by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to release the materials after viewing eight sample photos last week. It is not known exactly what the 144 photographs and videos depict, but they are from the same sources as the graphic images of prisoners being piled up on top of each other, threatened by attack dogs and forced into sexually compromising positions that triggered scandal and outrage just over a year ago.

"These images may be ugly and shocking, but they depict how the torture was more than the actions of a few rogue soldiers," said ACLU director Anthony Romero. "The American public deserves to know what is being done in our name. Perhaps after these and other photos are forced into the light of day, the government will at long last appoint an outside special counsel to investigate the torture and abuse of detainees."

Government lawyers argued that releasing the photographs would reveal the prisoners' identities, a violation of their rights under the Geneva Conventions. But the ACLU said that objection could be easily overcome by blocking out the prisoners' faces. The judge agreed, and gave the White House until the end of the month to hand over the material.

More pointedly, the ACLU also said the government's reasoning was absurd because the violation of the Geneva Conventions began with the abuse, not with attempts to uncover it.

But a Pentagon spokesman indicated yesterday that the administration would not give up the materials without a further fight.

President Bush has come under increasing scrutiny over his repeated claims to be interested in spreading freedom around the world, most recently in the damning Amnesty International report on conditions at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.

..............
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=644264 [Broken]
 
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Seymour Hersch:

"Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib ... The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."
 
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Hurkyl

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I'm curious what the legal justification is for requiring these videos to be publicly released. (Is public release even what was ruled here? The article implies it, but doesn't actually state it)


This article seems strange to me. What was the point of the second through fifth paragraphs? They don't relate to the topic of the article.


The wording of the article seems to imply these are images of recent events, though it never comes out and gives a time period -- anyone know from what time period these pictures are supposed to be?


And you notice how the article states that "It is not known exactly what the 144 photographs and videos depict", but that doesn't stop them from telling us what they depict? Are we supposed to become outraged without knowing?


More pointedly, the ACLU also said the government's reasoning was absurd because the violation of the Geneva Conventions began with the abuse, not with attempts to uncover it.
This paragraph irritates me. Is the ACLU really suggesting that wrongs should be committed in order to bring to light other wrongs?


If these are indeed images of illegal activities, who will be doing the abuse? The same small set of soldiers? Soldiers under the command of a small set of officers? Contractors?

I don't think we'll find out -- it seems that people have already decided that these images have proven that abuse is the typical behavior of the American soldier, rather than investigate other possibilities. Guilty until proven innocent. *sigh*
 
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Seymour Hersch, the person who originally broke out what happened at Abu Ghraib, says that there are pictures of women being raped and videos of young boys being sodomized. Naturally, if you are the White House, what do you think the public reaction will be if they see these tapes or pictures? Would you want them to see it?
 
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We will have to wait to see what pictures or videos they release or if they will even be released. The White House won't give this one up, so even if they release some things, they won't be "shocking".
 

Hurkyl

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Ah, thanks. I didn't know who Seymour Hersch was.

If I was the white house, I certainly would not want these images public: only harm could come from it. Of course, if I was the white house, I would ensure that appropriate action was taken in response to the photos too.

But, nobody seems to care if appropriate action is being taken: they just want to have fuel for their smear campaign.
 

Art

Publishing more pictures will inevitably lead to more violence on the streets of Iraq and elsewhere resulting in the deaths of both Iraqis and US soldiers who had absolutely nothing to do with the abuses. Hopefully a compromise will be reached such as the establishment of an international independent enquiry to investigate all of the abuse cases and to identify all of the guilty parties, at all levels of seniority, followed by action in the federal courts in return for keeping this inflammatory material out of the public domain.
On a similar note the two British soldiers jailed in a fanfair of publicity for abusing prisoners have recently quietly had their sentences reduced with no reason given. This does not help build confidence in western justice among middle eastern citizens.
 
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Hurkyl

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I know international inquiries are in vogue these days, but what would be the justification for one? Wouldn't there need to be evidence that the US is systematically not taking appropriate action?
 

Art

Hurkyl said:
I know international inquiries are in vogue these days, but what would be the justification for one? Wouldn't there need to be evidence that the US is systematically not taking appropriate action?
Per the old adage It is not enough that justice be done but justice must be seen to be done.
If the abuse does goes up the chain of command would you trust these same people to set up / conduct the inquiry? History (internationally not just USA) would suggest you should not.
Plus with nothing to hide it seems like a fair compromise. An independant judgement ratifying the pentagons findings and thus exonerating the US administration would be tremendous PR for the USA. It would certainly help with the oft stated aim of winning hearts and minds.
 

Hurkyl

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Of course the USA has something to hide, and I'd imagine there's a lot in the area of interest. But to clarify, there are things worth hiding other than wrongdoing.
 

Art

Hurkyl said:
Of course the USA has something to hide, and I'd imagine there's a lot in the area of interest. But to clarify, there are things worth hiding other than wrongdoing.
What do you mean by "things worth hiding other than wrongdoing"?
 

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