'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The ACLU vs. The DoD 

For those following the story that might be called Abu Ghraib Part II, there was a some news today.

Some legal documents were unsealed today in which the ACLU petitions a federal court to force the military to release the as-yet-unseen Abu Ghraib material depicting Americans engaging in behavior that Rumsfeld once chracterized as "blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman" -- we're talking rape and torture, here.

Here's a bit of the press release:

In legal papers unsealed today, the American Civil Liberties Union urged a federal court to order the release of photographs and videos that depict the abuse and torture of prisoners in U.S. custody at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The ACLU also asked the court to reject the government's attempt to file some of its legal arguments in secret.

"The ACLU shares everyone's deep concern about the dangers facing American soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "The actions depicted in these photos and videos demonstrate the failure of American leaders who placed our young men and women in compromising situations and are now seeking to blame them for it. The real shame here is that our leaders left our troops out on a limb and now they are hiding behind a veil of rank and government office to avoid accountability."

Romero noted that until the first photos of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib were made public in April 2004, the government had consistently denied that any wrongdoing had taken place despite news reports to the contrary. Since then, the ACLU has obtained through a court order more than 60,000 pages of government documents regarding torture and abuse of detainees.

Despite this evidence, the government continues to minimize the extent of the torture and to describe it as the action of a few rogue soldiers. In response, the ACLU has called for an independent counsel with subpoena power to investigate the torture scandal, including the role of senior policymakers, and has filed a separate lawsuit to hold Secretary Rumsfeld and high-ranking military officers accountable.

And, as usual, the ACLU has posted scans of the actual documents at the usual place if you're interested.

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