Federal Judge Says U.S. Must Release Abu Ghraib Photos


The few photos publicly seen of the abuses American soldiers committed inside the Abu Ghraib prison are only a tiny portion of the whole (former Senator Joe Lieberman said in 2009 that there were nearly 2,100 more photographs.)

The photos, such as the ones you see here, were released by a whistleblower. A significant number of photos, said to show acts of sodomy and brutality far worse than what is already known, have been kept from the public by the U.S. government for eleven years now, ostensibly to protect American forces from retaliation. Since the American Civil Liberties Union first filed a lawsuit against the government in 2004 seeking the release of the photographs, the government has been successful in blocking them. That may — may — change.

A federal judge ruled March 20 that the U.S. government must release photographs showing the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and other sites. However, Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan ruled that his order would not take effect for 60 days to give the U.S. Department of Defense time to decide whether to appeal.

“The photos are crucial to the public record,” ACLU’s deputy legal director said. “They’re the best evidence of what took place in the military’s detention centers, and their disclosure would help the public better understand the implications of some of the Bush administration’s policies.”

Keep in mind Hellerstein first ordered the government to turn over the photographs in 2005, but while that order was being appealed, Congress passed a law allowing the Secretary of Defense to withhold the photographs by certifying their release would endanger U.S. citizens. Then remember Hellerstein already ruled last August that the government had failed to show why releasing the photographs would endanger American soldiers and workers abroad, but then immediately gave the government until March 20 a chance to submit more evidence. The judge’s most recent order said the additional evidence had failed to change his decision. Yet Hellerstein has still left open a further appeal.

Meanwhile, the horrors of Abu Ghraib done in our names, and well-known to the Iraqi victims, remain shielded from only the American public by their own government.

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  • I understand the delay. Special edition personalized copies on DVD had to be made for all members of the Cheney/Bush cabal so they could show them at cocktail parties fror a hoot. That takes time since tastes vary somewhat between say a Rumsfeld and a Rice. She might want more looped scenes with those cute German Shepherds while Rummy would want more sodomy. Man, I’d hate to be an video editor working for empire.

  • Rich Bauer on said:

    Releasing the photos would make people angry…

    Don’t expect this to end up in the Supreme Court. This is the same argument the Supreme Court uses to ban cameras in its courtroom.

  • Kyzl Orda on said:

    “Congress passed a law allowing the Secretary of Defense to withhold the photographs by certifying their release would endanger U.S. citizens…”

    If the departments want to withhold the photos, claiming their release could endanger the American public, they are tacitly recognizing they KNEW these actions, sodomizing and brutality, were WRONG. By allowing these kind of actions to occur, the agencies are guilty of endangering us further.

    Plus, isnt sodomy illegal in many US states??

    Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah are supposed to still have sodomy laws on the book per this USA Today article http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/21/12-states-ban-sodomy-a-decade-after-court-ruling/7981025/

    Where does it say US Citizens can violate US laws abroad? Shouldnt we still be held accountable to at least the weighty laws whereever we go?

  • Kyzl Orda on said:

    Its sad that two consenting adults can be prosecuted for sodomy, because two nonconsenting adults, and the issue of rape, can NOT be prosecuted — especially when done under the blanket of US agencies

    These officials must have been those guys that slept through civics in high school or went where it was removed from the curriculum. SO much for promoting democracy and defending the very laws one takes an OATH to uphold and protect

  • bloodypitchfork on said:

    quote”The judge’s most recent order said the additional evidence had failed to change his decision. Yet Hellerstein has still left open a further appeal.”unquote

    Yeah. Takes time for the NSA to dig up some dirt on the appellant judge. This ruling is just for appearances. Rule of law and all that you know.

    sheeezusH.. given the USG threatened the UK gov with “not sharing terrorist info” when a UK court “almost” allowed torture evidence to be entered into Binyam Mohamed’s trial, they’ll stop at nothing to prevent these pics from being released.


    Meanwhile, this same judge tries to force the Admin to declassify ONE phrase in the “Gloves Come Off” memorandum in the torture “authorization” blame game which continues between the CIA and the NSC to the point of absurdity.


    Check out the dialog between Judge Wesley and the NSC scumbag who repeatedly obfuscates and refuses to answer POINT BLANK YES OR NO questions from the Judge. Had it been me or you, we’d be in jail on contempt charges. Absurd is a monumental understatement.

  • bloodypitchfork on said:

    ps..sooner or later, a trial will come along whereby the US is finally going to lay out their cards.. by declaring you are an idiot if you still believe in the Rule of Law. Haha. Sorry. Fuck you.

    Which is almost what the government is saying here…


    youbetcha..sooner or later. National Security of course. Which will eventually be the reason for Martial law too.

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