Friday, May 27, 2005

Follow the Blood 

Via diarists Lapin and Stand Strong at Daily Kos: You will recall that members of Congress were last year allowed to view a number of photographs from Abu Ghraib that had not then, and have not yet, been released to the public:
The images, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress, depict "acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman." After Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) viewed some of them in a classified briefing, he testified that his "stomach gave out." NBC News reported that they 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." Everyone who saw the photographs and videos seemed to shudder openly when contemplating what the reaction would be when they eventually were made public.
Yesterday a federal judge, ruling on an FOIA request by the ACLU, announced that we the people have a right to see our government's handiwork:
A federal judge has told the government it will have to release additional pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, civil rights lawyers said . . . .

The judge made the decision after he and government attorneys privately viewed a sampling of nine pictures resulting from an Army probe into abuse and torture at the prison. The pictures were given to the Army by a military policeman assigned there . . . .

The judge decided some pictures from Abu Graib could be released to comply with the Freedom of Information Act while others must be redacted or were not relevant to the ACLU's request, Lewis said.
The government, tender and solicitous as always, is expected to appeal on the grounds that release of the photos could jeopardize the privacy rights of detainees.

The same judge, Alvin Hellerstein, earlier ordered the release of a number of torture-related documents that are now available for viewing at the ACLU site:
Documents released by the FBI state that Defense Department personnel impersonated State Department officials in interrogations at Guantánamo Bay, the American Civil Liberties Union said today.

"Defense Department interrogators, possibly on instructions from high-level officials, went to great lengths to avoid being held accountable for the use of unlawful interrogation methods," said Jameel Jaffer, a staff attorney with the ACLU. "Apparently Defense Department personnel were willing to use torture but they wanted others to be held responsible for it."

In December 2004, the FBI released documents stating that Defense Department interrogators impersonated FBI agents in order to avoid being held responsible for the use of "torture techniques." The new documents provide the first indication that Defense Department interrogators impersonated State Department officials as well.
Refreshingly, the T-word makes an appearance in a document labeled "DETAINEES-2797B" (dated 12/05/03), an "E-mail (from CTD employee to Frankie Battle) noting that sender is forwarding this EC up the chain of command, concerning alleged impersonation of FBI Agents at GTMO":
Same document as Detainee-2797 with the following unredacted: "Of concern, DOD interrogators impersonating Supervisory Special Agents of the FBI told a detainee that the FBI . . ." and "These tactics have produced no intelligence of a threat neutralization nature to date and CITF believes that techniques have destroyed any chance of prosecuting this detainee." and "If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done [by] the 'FBI' interrogators. The FBI will [be] left holding the bag before the public."
So few words, so many damning indictments . . . .

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