Detainee Abuse Pictures to Be Released May 28

Thanks, again, to the ACLU:

By orders dated June 9, 2006 and June 21, 2006, the Court directed the Government to release twenty-one photographs depicting the treatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. By opinion dated September 22, 2008, the Second Circuit affirmed this Court’s orders. On November 6, 2008, Appellants filed a petition for rehearing en banc only as to the panel’s decision on FOIA exemption 7(F); that petition was denied March 12, 2009. As the Government has now determined that it will not seek certiorari of the Second Circuit’s decision, the Department of Defense is preparing to release the 21 photos at issue in the appeal and 23 other photos identified as responsive. In addition, the Government also is processing for release a substantial number of other images contained in Army CID reports that have been closed during the pendency of this case; these other images will be processed consistent with the Court’s previous rulings on responsive images in this case. The parties have reached an agreement that the Department of Defense will produce all the responsive images by May 28, 2009. [my emphasis]

Whether you believe Obama is impeding investigation or playing 11 dimension chess to set it up without looking like the bad guy, his policy on FOIA has already begun to open up the floodgates that may enable public opinion make this happen. 

I know we’ve been having our own fund-raiser, but if you can, please show some appreciation to the ACLU for fighting this fight. Multi-year FOIA fights don’t come cheap.

35 replies
  1. cinnamonape says:

    Does the ACLU or anyone else currently have a FOIA request ongoing about this?

    ” Two young sons of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks, are being held by the CIA to force their father to talk, interrogators said yesterday.

    Yousef al-Khalid, 9, and his brother, Abed al-Khalid, 7, were taken into custody in Pakistan in September when intelligence officers raided an apartment in Karachi where their father had been hiding…
    The boys have been held by the Pakistani authorities, but this weekend they were flown to America, where they will be questioned about their father…CIA interrogators confirmed last night that the boys were staying at a secret address where they were being encouraged to talk about their father’s activities.
    “We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children,” said one official, “but we need to know as much about their father’s recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times, and they are given the best of care…” [Khalid Shaikh Mohammed] has been told that his sons are being held and is [sic] being encouraged to divulge future attacks against the West and talk about the location of Osama bin Laden, officials said…
    “His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him.”

    Hmm! The kids and NOT the 186 water boarding rounds?

    • JimWhite says:

      I asked Jameel Jaffer today in the live chat if ACLU had already asked about or would get involved in obtaining any memos pertaining to the abduction and/or interrogation of children (with Mohammed’s children and Aafia Siddiqui’ children as examples who are said to have been in US custody) or ask about their location and condition. He did not respond to the question.

  2. Leen says:

    “or playing 11 dimension chess to set it up without looking like the bad guy” hope this is right. But of course from my take he would look like the good guy that I thought I was putting hundreds of hours in to get elected.

    Really hope he and his crew stop calling holding people responsible for serious crimes “retribution, witch hunts, vengeance, the blame game” Hope they stop saying we need to “move on, turn the page, a new chapter” yada yada. We can really turn the page when the liars, thugs and torturers are held accountable

  3. SparklestheIguana says:

    Yeah, my money would be on 11 dimension chess. I have a lot of confidence in our Prez.

    • Leen says:

      When I hear him repeat things like we need to “turn the page, move on, new chapter” We don’t want to be about “vengeance, retribution” I start to lose faith that he ever really meant NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW. Hoping Marcy and you are right and this is “11 dimension chess”

  4. Hmmm says:

    Maybe not 11-D chess so much as managing perceptions.

    But about the photo release… why a month’s wait, and are at this date there any statute of limitation issues for Abu Ghraib era crimes?

  5. bobschacht says:

    any statute of limitation issues for Abu Ghraib era crimes?

    Dunno, but will someone please teach Keith Olbermann how to pronounce “Abu Ghraib”? He seems to have a lot of trouble with the Arabic phoneme indicated by the Gh. In Olbermannese it often comes out, “Ghee-Ray-B” or some other monstrosity. Keith, it’s really not that difficult. And since so much else on your show is so excellent, this kinda sticks out like a sore thumb.

    Bob in HI

  6. Leen says:

    Obama administration to release Bush-era detainee photos
    The pictures show Americans’ alleged abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. An ACLU lawyer says they prove that Abu Ghraib ‘was not aberrational.’
    By Peter Wallsten, Julian Barnes and Greg Miller
    6:41 PM PDT, April 23, 2009
    Reporting from Washington — The Obama administration agreed late Thursday to release dozens of photographs depicting alleged abuse by U.S. personnel during the Bush administration of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    At least 44 pictures will be released by May 28 — making public for the first time images of what the military investigated as abuse that took place at facilities other than the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.…..9113.story


    Obama “steal time and energy from his ambitious priorities’

    this is bullshit

    April 23, 2009, 3:23 pm
    Senate Leaders Opposes Interrogation Inquiry Panel
    By David M. Herszenhorn AND Carl Hulse

    Senate Democratic leaders, joining forces with the Obama White House, said they would resist efforts by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other prominent Democrats to create a special commission to investigate the harsh interrogation methods that the Bush administration approved for terrorism suspects.

    At a meeting of top Democrats at the White House Wednesday night, President Obama told Congressional leaders that he did not want a special inquiry, which he said would potentially steal time and energy from his ambitious policy priorities, and could mushroom into a wider distraction by looking back at other aspects of the Bush years.


    • SparklestheIguana says:

      Well. I have to say, I don’t want torture investigations to steal time and energy from his ambitious policy priorities either. Dammit, I want healthcare in this country completely overhauled, and I want it done this year. Our financial and regulatory systems need to be overhauled. I’ll stop there to keep from boring everyone. Honestly? If you told me that I had to pick between having universal affordable healthcare for all Americans, and special inquiries and prosecutions for torture, I’d have to pick healthcare.

      I don’t think we have to choose, though. I hope we don’t have to choose.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I agree, we don’t have to choose. The government can walk and chew gum at the same time. Republicans will putz and moan, of course, but they have little left but full-court obstruction now anyway. Taking stronger initiatives might exhaust and distract them as much as they hope to exhaust Democrats.

        It would require juggling more balls in the air, but I think it would rapidly increase Obama’s popularity in the short term. (Is there a long term in politics?) People are very hungry for him to do that. And timing is important, because the longer it takes, the easier it will be for the Boehners in Congress to claim that Obama did what Bush or Cheney did. It’s one of the things Republicans remember from Karl’s seminars and they do it well.

  7. Fern says:

    Any theory why the FOI requests are bearing fruit now, when some of them have been in the works for years?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      For starters, Cheney’s not around. One of his first acts, deputizing for Mr. Shrub, was to have sent out a directive to federal offices that FOIA requests were to be deemed presumptively not answerable. That is, the first answer was No, with subsequent requests and appeals producing results in many cases, but not until a year or more later. That reversed longstanding federal policy, where FOIA requests were deemed answerable, but subject to redaction for national security or other legitimate purposes.

      Cheney’s not being around also means he can’t make a phone call and exact retribution against those too eager to tell the people what their government is doing in their name and with their money. At least, not as directly as he could three months ago.

  8. eagleye says:

    Deep Thought:

    If you have to invent euphemisms like “enhanced interrogation techniques” to describe what you’re doing, then you’re probably doing something wrong.

    • Hmmm says:

      At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, the W administration didn’t invent that euphemism. The Third Reich did that.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Naw. That’s a direct translation from the original German: verschaerfte Verhemung – literally, sharpened (enhanced) interrogation.

      You’re spot on, though. It’s why the Germans came up with that locution in the first place.

  9. GregB says:

    Sy Hersh indicated that the contents of these photos and videos are very explosive.

    If these pictures and videos allow people to connect the dots from Bush and Cheney to their lawyers and their directives to the abuse and torture in Guantanimo, Afghanistan and Iraq, it may be the final straw.

    May be……the degraded state of this nation doesn’t leave me with much hope.


    “The notion… that our leader, Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense and his aides, they all went and testified in May after the stories about Abu Ghraib became public that ‘oh my God, we just didn’t know about, we didn’t realize how serious it was,’ is simply not true.”


    “I described the naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum and said, ‘That’s not abuse, that’s torture,’” Taguba said. “There was quiet.”


    “It’s not when they saw the photographs,” Hersh stresses. “It’s when they learned how serious it was. They were told in memos what the photographs showed… They showed other, more sexual abuse than we knew, sodomy of women prisons by American soldiers, a father and his son forced to do acts together. There was more stuff [than] was made public. You didn’t need a photograph if you had a verbal description of it.



    • SparklestheIguana says:

      These are those photos? If so, I won’t be able to look. I’m sick of looking at this stuff. Reading about it is bad enough. And do we know who took them?

      • Fern says:

        You and me both. I imagine I’ll be disconnecting from the web for a while once these things come out.

  10. laserda says:

    I almost feel guilty for bringing this up in a discussion about far weightier things, but can we put in a FOIA request to find out more about Jeff Jim Guckert Gannon’s overnight stays at the world’s swankiest YMCA? I know there are much more important fish to fry, but my inner historian really wants that answer questioned: who was Gannon “visiting” overnight? If it was Rove, it would fit so well with the Edgar Hoover / Roy Cohn / Terry Dolan / unreconstructed David Brock linear narrative about closeted homosexual ultraconservative men in positions of high power and/or influence. (Though Cohn admittedly doesn’t necessarily fit the “closeted” part very well.)

    Anyway, high five to the ACLU. I hope the narrative is firmly in place by then that this torture was done for purely political reasons. “Here, America, this is what Cheney had done in your names.” The GOP is going to have to cut all ties from the most prominent torture apologists at that point — it should be good fun watching what happens when the apologies stop flowing to Rushbo.

  11. FrankProbst says:

    Whether you believe Obama is impeding investigation or playing 11 dimension chess to set it up without looking like the bad guy…

    I’m still going with 11 dimension chess. Keep in mind that he was elected less than 6 months ago. He’s been in office less than 4 months. Every time he’s done or said something that I find horribly disappointing, the whole situation ends up shaking out even better than I’d hoped for only a few weeks later. Torture is a good example: We’ve still got a long way to go, but did anyone honestly think that the NYT would be calling for Bybee’s impeachment by now?

    My other big issue is gay rights. (Disclosure: Yes, I’m gay.) Prop 8 was a major blow for me. Inviting Rick Warren to the Inauguration was like rubbing salt into that wound. I was furious with Obama at the time. Now look where we’re at: Several more states have legalized gay marriage in the past few months, the anti-gay-rights crusaders are being held to widespread open ridicule, and Rick Warren is waddling away from the issue as fast as he can.

    I’m not always happy with the way Obama plays things, but I’ve come to accept that the man is much, much smarter than I am.

    • bobschacht says:

      Keep in mind that he was elected less than 6 months ago. He’s been in office less than 4 months.

      He’s been in office less than 100 days. The last week has seen a tsunami of change in the direction of things. The OPR report is due within days. Judge Walker is heading resolutely in the direction of declaring Bush administration actions illegal. More torture pictures due shortly.

      FDR told some activists, sounds good; now make me do it.
      I think Obama is setting things up so that we’ll make him (or AG Holder) do it.
      Then he’ll say, well, gee, I wanted to look forward, but if you really want him to, AG Holder will name a special prosecutor to see if they’re any laws that were broken, and by whom.

      Bob in HI

  12. rkilowatt says:

    OT but fyi: The Hague Invasion Act?
    Found the above phrase and was surprised when checked Wiki:
    “It authorizes the President to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court”. This has led opponents of the act to call it “The Hague Invasion Act” “.

  13. SparklestheIguana says:

    WaPo has an animated Ann Telnaes cartoon up. Audio of Condi saying “The United States does not torture,” cartoon of her in her dominatrix getup, as Lynndie England with the naked prisoner on the dog leash.

  14. perris says:

    here’s why he’s releasing those photos, here’s the only reason he’s releasing them

    every court decision has said they must be released, they are not giving his new administration any more deferance then they gave his old administration

    he is simply not going to invest his time in an effort that he knows has to fail

    if he were playing some ultra dimensional chess he would have oposed the release and mounted only the bush defense, he would have oposed it only one time, been smacked down and then he would have blamed it on the courts.

    this is no multi dimensional chess player and he is hardly the poker face everyone gives credit…and judging by his applications defending the previous administration’s lawless depravity he’s hardly the constitutioanl scholar everyone gives him credit

    now let’s see where this goes, I’ve read there are also video tapes of rape

  15. perris says:

    just occured to me, what happened to the meirs and rove testimony, anything moving forward on them?

      • perris says:

        I believe so. I did some asking last week when Rove was so pissy (pissier, I guess I should say). Couldn’t get any details.

        rove is behaving like a cornered rat, he’s throwing whatever he can to see if it scares the oposition

        I will tell you, this works more often then commonly known the animal kingdom, you can scare off a shark, a bear, a lion with the proper aggresive behavior

        rove has it down and is more effective then cheney on his torture tour

        that’s what’s going on with the extra pissy prissy rove

  16. klynn says:


    Thanks for all your posts since yesterday evening. Great work.

    I left a comment at the end of your Mitchell post you might find interesting (or not). It was a response for Sara (and sort of for Valtin, but I think Valtin is there by now.)

  17. Dalybean says:

    The Obama administration could have further appealed this FOIA decision as the Bush Administration did. When the pictures come out the tide of public opinion will turn decisively. Everyone knows this. It will be interesting to watch how the torture defenders deal with the coming tsunami of public revulsion now that they are already on record.

  18. Dalybean says:

    An example, in a post by Jake Tapper, of the pushback, by an ex-CIA official who says that the release of the pictures means that the CIA will have “no cover.”

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