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Old 05-13-2009, 03:25 PM   #1
Ugly
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Default Obama to not release Iraqi prisoner photos

Obama orders stop to detainee photo releases

# Administration official says prison photos will not be released
# Photos show detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2006
# The release is response to lawsuit filed by ACLU
# Pentagon says photos don't represent a systemic problem

President Obama has ordered government lawyers to object to the planned release of additional detainee photos, according to an administration official.

The Defense Department was set to release hundreds of photographs showing alleged abuse of prisoners in detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Last week, the president met with his legal team and told them that he did not feel comfortable with the release of the [Defense Department] photos because he believes their release would endanger our troops, and because he believes that the national security implications of such a release have not been fully presented to the court," the official said.

"At the end of that meeting, the president directed his counsel to object to the immediate release of the photos on those grounds. ... [Obama] strongly believes that the release of these photos, particularly at this time, would only serve the purpose of inflaming the theaters of war, jeopardizing U.S. forces, and making our job more difficult in places like Iraq and Afghanistan."

The release is in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. It follows President Obama's decision to release Bush-era CIA documents showing that the U.S. used techniques like waterboarding, considered torture by the current administration.

Photographs released in 2006 of detainees being abused and humiliated at the Abu Ghraib military prison in Iraq sparked widespread outrage and led to convictions for several prison guards and the ouster of the prison's commander.

The Pentagon shut down the prison in the wake of the scandal, but it reopened under Iraqi control this year.

The ACLU said the Pentagon had agreed to release a "substantial" number of photographs by May 28. Officials at the Pentagon have said the photographs are from more than 60 criminal investigations between 2001 and 2006 and show military personnel allegedly abusing detainees.

"The disclosure of these photographs serves as a further reminder that abuse of prisoners in U.S.-administered detention centers was systemic," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU National Security Project. "Some of the abuse occurred because senior civilian and military officials created a culture of impunity in which abuse was tolerated, and some of the abuse was expressly authorized. It's imperative that senior officials who condoned or authorized abuse now be held accountable for their actions."

ACLU attorney Amrit Singh adds that the photographs "provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by U.S. personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib."

But Pentagon officials reject ACLU allegations that the photos show a systemic pattern of abuse by the military.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the Defense Department has "always been serious about investigating credible allegations of abuse."

"The policy of the Department of Defense is to treat all prisoners humanely, and those who have violated that policy have been investigated and disciplined," he added.

More than 400 people, Whitman said, have been disciplined based on investigations involving detainee abuse. The discipline ranged from prison sentences to demotions and letters of reprimand.

The Pentagon wanted to prevent the images from being put into the public domain but decided to release them after losing two court cases, according to Whitman.

"We felt this case had pretty much run its course," he said. "Legal options at this point had become pretty limited."

Last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed concerns about the photo release, saying that terrorist groups like al Qaeda could exploit the photos to recruit terrorists or incite violence.

It's a sentiment echoed by two veteran U.S. senators. In a March 7 letter to the Obama administration, Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, expressed concern over the new photographs.

"We know that many terrorists captured in Iraq have told American interrogators that one of the reasons they decided to join the violent jihadist war against America was what they saw on Al-Qaeda videos of abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib," the senators wrote. "Releasing these old photographs of detainee treatment now will provide new fodder to Al-Qaeda's propaganda and recruitment operations, undercut the progress you have made in our international relations, and endanger America's military and diplomatic personnel throughout the world."

Andrew McCarthy, writing on the Web site of the National Review, issued a harsh warning Tuesday: "American soldiers, American civilians, and other innocent people are going to die because Pres. Barack Obama wants to release photographs of prisoner abuse."

"The photos at issue won't tell us anything significant about prisoner abuse, and they may very well serve to distort reality. What seems certain is that they will get Americans killed," he added.

David Rehbein, the national commander of the American Legion, wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week that nothing good can come from the release of the photographs.

"Other than self-flagellation by certain Americans, riots and future terrorist acts, what else do people expect will come from the release of these photographs?" he asked.

But group such as Human Rights First have argued in the past that releasing photographs of alleged abuse is vital.

The group, in a release on its Web site, says it has set up a nonpartisan inquiry to "evaluate the full cost of abuses, look at how we got there, and come up with safeguards so we don't repeat the same mistakes."

"The U.S. needs to invest in a forward-looking strategy on intelligence gathering that gives interrogators training and guidance on which techniques work, and which techniques -- such as torture -- don't."


---

100 bonus points to anyone reading this who can justify Obama not releasing the aforementioned photos ("Oh noes, there's no reason to show this except incite more hatorz!"), yet they would totally bag on Bush if he DIDN'T release the aforementioned photos ("Oh noes, he's suppressing the truth! He'z a Nazi!! Get 'em!"), AND not feel like a hypocrite all at once. That takes some real dissociative skill, I'm interested if anyone can lie to themselves that badly.

 
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:51 PM   #2
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He secretly wants them released, but is doing it in a way (just wait, you'll see) that he wastes no capital and cant be held accountable by the republicans (see also: State secrets). He's playing political chess of a degree so far beyond us when we finally see it we'll shit bricks.

 
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Future Boy View Post
He secretly wants them released, but is doing it in a way (just wait, you'll see) that he wastes no capital and cant be held accountable by the republicans (see also: State secrets). He's playing political chess of a degree so far beyond us when we finally see it we'll shit bricks.
haha, awesome

 
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:21 AM   #4
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why should they be released? So everyone can be outraged all over again? It would just feed more anger and hate.

i'm sure they'll be leaked anyway.

 
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:20 AM   #5
Thaniel Buckner
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Originally Posted by Toast View Post
why should they be released? So everyone can be outraged all over again? It would just feed more anger and hate.

i'm sure they'll be leaked anyway.
my feelings on it. if it's evidence that's being withheld in a war crime trial, than that would be annoying. but there's no real point in the public seeing it.

he should leak it through ogrish.com.

 
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:28 PM   #6
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well i guess he did campaign on hope for change not that he was actually gonna deliver on it

 
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toast View Post
why should they be released? So everyone can be outraged all over again? It would just feed more anger and hate.
So, total hypothetical, if Bush did the same thing you'd be totally cool with it? There'd be no ruckus. Everyone would be fine?

 
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:53 PM   #8
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Thats irrelevant, now's the time to look forward. The stakes are too high for petty disagreements.

 
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Old 05-15-2009, 01:29 PM   #9
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So, total hypothetical, if Bush did the same thing you'd be totally cool with it? There'd be no ruckus. Everyone would be fine?
Until the media can find a way to not spin everything out of control I think we're better off.

 
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Old 05-21-2009, 11:51 PM   #10
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It's not a matter of spin, it's a matter of it's a pretty horrible thing that happened and it's irresponsible to simply sweep it under a rug because it's not politically palatable. It basically boils down to a PR move. As the ACLU dude says in the article: "The disclosure of these photographs serves as a further reminder that abuse of prisoners in U.S.-administered detention centers was systemic...(the photos) provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by U.S. personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib."

That seems like a pretty big deal. But Obama is saying that showing them it hurt some people's feelings. No way, that's just cutting and running from responsibility. If it happened under Obama's watch or not doesn't matter. The actions were taken by the U.S., a force that is still there in Iraq right now.

Of note: Obama was applauded on not releasing the photos by none other than Dick Cheney himself. So if you like this idea then, yeah, you're Dick Cheney.

 
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:44 PM   #11
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Can't wait to get the torrent!

 
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:07 PM   #12
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Thousands of lives have been saved already by this courageous act of not bowing to political fringe groups.

 
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:24 AM   #13
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hey guys this is par for the course in america you know

i mean they infected a bunch of black dudes with syph and just came clean about it 80 years after the fact

i mean you know this already right

 
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:31 AM   #14
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Yeah, nothing to see here. Same old shit different day.

Obama's support for the new Graham-Lieberman secrecy law - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com


...The White House is actively supporting a new bill jointly sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman -- called The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009 -- that literally has no purpose other than to allow the government to suppress any "photograph taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States." As long as the Defense Secretary certifies -- with no review possible -- that disclosure would "endanger" American citizens or our troops, then the photographs can be suppressed even if FOIA requires disclosure. The certification lasts 3 years and can be renewed indefinitely. The Senate passed the bill as an amendment last week.


....Other than creating an illusion of transparency and accountability, what's the point of having laws that purport to restrict what the Government can do if political officials just retroactively waive those laws whenever they want? What's the point of having a FOIA law if the Government will simply pass a new law exempting itself from FOIA's mandates any time it loses in court and wants to conceal evidence anyway? And what conceivable rationale is there for limiting the President's new secrecy powers to post-9/11 photographs? Given that anything which reflects poorly on our Government can be said to endanger our troops and American citizens, why stop here? Why not just have a general power of suppression whereby the President can keep any evidence secret as long as his Defense Secretary decrees that its disclosure will "endanger" the troops?

The debate over whether there is value in disclosing these specific photographs is entirely misplaced. That isn't how open government works. The burden isn't on citizens to prove that there is value in disclosure. Everything that government does is supposed to be transparent to the public unless there is a compelling reason for secrecy -- and the whole point of FOIA always has been that mere embarrassment, the mere fact that information reflects poorly on our government, isn't a legitimate ground for concealment. That's a critical principle for open government. This new law explicitly guts that principle. It institutionalizes the pernicious notion that secrecy is justified where disclosure would reflect badly on the Government and thus "endanger" American citizens and/or our troops.

Combine all of this with the increasingly disturbing spectacle taking place in a California federal court in the Al-Haramain case -- where the Obama DOJ is on the verge of being sanctioned by a federal judge for defying the court's order to make available documents relating to Bush's illegal eavesdropping activities -- and the infatuation with excessive presidential secrecy, the linchpin of government abuse, appears alive and well in the new administration. Is there really anyone who wants to argue that defiance of a federal court's order and enacting a new law authorizing suppression of torture evidence -- the disclosure of which is compelled both by courts and FOIA -- are remotely consistent with anything Obama said he would do, or remotely consistent with what a healthy democratic government would do?
----

Bit more at the link.

Guess you're going to be stuck waiting on your torrent Gish. Im going to go play some Gears.

 
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