Friday, July 22, 2005
1.) Courtesy of our esteemed colleague Mike Jones at 18½ Minute Gap, a press release from the ACLU:
Today was the day the government was supposed to process and redact photographs and videos relating to the abuse and torture of prisoners held abroad. Raising new arguments on the eve of its deadline, the United States government refused to release the materials to the public. The photographs and videos were to be processed for eventual release as a result of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations . . . .2.) Via our exalted colleague Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque (we've tried to stop linking to him, honest we have), a Reuters story entitled "White House Threatens Veto on Detainee Policies":
"The government is raising newfound reasons for withholding records to which the public has an undeniable right," said Amrit Singh, a staff attorney with the ACLU. "Instead of releasing these records and holding officials accountable for detainee abuse, the government now seeks to shield itself from public scrutiny by filing these reasons in secret."
In a letter filed at the eleventh hour, the Department of Defense claims that photographs and videos of abuse that the court had previously ordered redacted for future release "could result in harm to individuals" for reasons that will be set forth in a memorandum and three declarations that the government will file under seal with the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York.
Under the government’s proposal, the documents explaining the government’s reasons for withholding the images of abuse will not be available to the public except in redacted form, and the photographs and videos may never be made public.
The White House on Thursday threatened to veto a massive Senate bill for $442 billion in next year's defense programs if it moves to regulate the Pentagon's treatment of detainees or sets up a commission to investigate operations at Guantanamo Bay prison and elsewhere.
The Bush administration, under fire for the indefinite detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and questions over whether its policies led to horrendous abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, put lawmakers on notice it did not want them legislating on the matter.
In a statement, the White House said such amendments would "interfere with the protection of Americans from terrorism by diverting resources from the war."
"If legislation is presented that would restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice," the bill could be vetoed, the statement said.