Tags: Afghanistan | George W. Bush | Iraq | War on Terrorism | detainees | abuse | military

Thousands of Detainee Abuse Photos May Soon Be Made Public

Monday, 15 December 2014 08:28 AM

With the controversy surrounding the Senate’s torture report still raging, the Obama administration may face a new public and political outcry with the possible release this week of a trove of prisoner abuse photographs.

The government has been withholding possibly thousands of unclassified images of detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003 that resulted from 203 criminal investigations at the time into prisoner mistreatment, according to The Daily Beast.

The reportedly shocking pictures of U.S. troops abusing Iraqi and Afghan captives, said to number about 2,100, were taken during the Bush administration, but the President Barack Obama has kept them under wraps with the approval of Congress.

The Obama administration has been given a Friday deadline to tell a New York judge why each photograph should not be made available to the public.

The images allegedly show American troops posing with corpses, simulating forced sodomy, and holding guns to prisoners' heads. One photo shows American soldiers pointing a broom handle at a hooded detainee’s rectum, according to Vice News.

Hundreds of pictures were from the notorious Abu Ghraib detention facility, where U.S. troops abused Iraqi captives early in the Iraq War. The remaining photos surfaced after investigations into detainee abuse from across Iraq and Afghanistan, The Daily Beast reported.

The Freedom of Information Act case is part of the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) long-running lawsuit against the U.S. government to allow documents about the treatment of detainees of the CIA and the military to be released to the public.

"We're not dismissive of the fact that some people could react badly to the publishing of the photographs," said the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer, who has led the decadelong fight with the government over the photos, the Daily Beast reported.

Jaffer acknowledged that there could be a violent reaction around the world to the photos from Muslims and terrorist organizations, but said that it was more important that the public was made fully aware of what happened to Iraqi and Afghan prisoners at the hands of the U.S. a decade ago.

"The public has a right to know what happened in these military detention facilities, in the same way it has a right to know about what happened at the CIA black sites."

In September, Vice News revealed that Department of Defense documents evaluating the images showed that there are three different categories of prisoner abuse — Category A: Will require explanation, egregious, iconic, dramatic; Category B: Likely to require explanation, injury or humiliation; and Category C: May require explanation, injury without context.

In 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ordered the release of a small numbers of these pictures.

But the following year Obama refused to release the images, despite his promise of transparency during his administration, saying that it would endanger national security and the lives of US military personnel.

"The publication of these photos would not add any additional benefit to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals," Obama said at the time.

"In fact, the most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger."

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With the controversy surrounding the Senate's torture report still raging, the Obama administration may be ordered on Friday to release possibly thousands of photographs of detainees in U.S. military prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan being subject to abuse.
detainees, abuse, military, CIA, Abu Ghraib
Monday, 15 December 2014 08:28 AM
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