Tuesday, March 28, 2006

ACLU WINS: Pentagon concedes Abu Ghraib photo, video case


The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that the Department of Defense has withdrawn its appeal of a district court order compelling it to turn over images depicting detainee abuse by U.S. forces at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The Defense Department will identify which public images come from the contested trove and release any additional images in its possession.

The group's release, issued to RAW STORY, follows.

"A picture is worth a thousand words, but we have yet to hear one word of acknowledgment from Secretary Rumsfeld and other top officials that their policies and actions were responsible for the torture and abuse seen in these notorious photos," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "The ACLU will press on with its lawsuit to hold high-level officials accountable for creating policies that resulted in the abuse of detainees. If the American government wants to restore faith in our commitment to human rights, we must hold high-ranking officials accountable for their actions."

Today's developments mean that an earlier district court decision concerning the photographs will stand. That decision, written by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, held that "Publication of the photographs is central to the purposes of FOIA because they initiate debate, not only about the improper and unlawful conduct of American soldiers, 'rogue' soldiers, as they have been characterized, but also about other important questions as well -- for example, the command structure whose failures in exercising supervision may make them culpable along with the soldiers who were court-martialed for perpetrating the wrongs."


The government has not officially informed the ACLU as to how many images in its possession have not been published on Salon.com, but they are believed to be few in number. The ACLU has not seen these images

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