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Thread: Pres Obama changes mind, moves to block release of detainee abuse shots

  1. #16
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    Sorry, but if they have pictures of children being raped, and Obama doesn't bring up charges against the former administration he is just as bad as Bush.
    Agreed. It doesn't ven have to be kids being raped. Anybody who engaged or authorized or KNEW of any of it should be put on trial but again.. half of washington would be gone.

    That is sick, and anyone involved should be handed their ass. Even the people, like Obama, that know what happened and still continue to cover it up.
    Agreed.

    Now as far as the photos being released, I don't care to see them. I don't actually think the world needs to see them, but something does need to be done to punish those responsible.
    Without them being seein, there will never be any public cry to hold the perpetrators responsible.

    Ignorance is bliss.
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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    ^ True, I agree with all points. It doesn't matter if it's children, torture is wrong in all aspects, but the thought of dragging children in to just seems lower than low to me.
    I never realized it went that far.

  3. #18
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    it probably went even farther.

    even scarier is that there are people defending... this.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    ^ You know what gets me, too....why would anyone take pictures?
    I guess the people involved aren't real bright, since they even agreed to participate, but why risk having that evidence out there?

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    Sorry, but if they have pictures of children being raped, and Obama doesn't bring up charges against the former administration he is just as bad as Bush.

    That is sick, and anyone involved should be handed their ass. Even the people, like Obama, that know what happened and still continue to cover it up.

    Now as far as the photos being released, I don't care to see them. I don't actually think the world needs to see them, but something does need to be done to punish those responsible.
    Yes there needs to be a war trial.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Agreed. It doesn't ven have to be kids being raped. Anybody who engaged or authorized or KNEW of any of it should be put on trial but again.. half of washington would be gone.



    Agreed.



    Without them being seein, there will never be any public cry to hold the perpetrators responsible.

    Ignorance is bliss.
    You say that like its a bad thing... corruption is corruption is...child abuse & torture in this case....

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    ^ You know what gets me, too....why would anyone take pictures?
    I guess the people involved aren't real bright, since they even agreed to participate, but why risk having that evidence out there?
    Because by this point "the enemy" as so totally dehumanised that the perps can't tell the difference. Its part of the (all nationalities) brainwashing to ensure that people can kill other people in cold blood.

    Believe me, I support our troops, but this is just wrong.
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  6. #21
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    it's not a bad thing, except to the powers that be, ie it'll never happen
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Agreed!
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    Sorry, but if they have pictures of children being raped, and Obama doesn't bring up charges against the former administration he is just as bad as Bush.

    That is sick, and anyone involved should be handed their ass. Even the people, like Obama, that know what happened and still continue to cover it up.

    Now as far as the photos being released, I don't care to see them. I don't actually think the world needs to see them, but something does need to be done to punish those responsible.
    The claims about women and children were made by Seymour Hersh. Here is some additional information on what he said vs. what he actually knew (from Wikipedia):

    Some of Hersh's speeches concerning the Iraq War have described violent incidents involving U.S. troops in Iraq. In July 2004, during the height of the Abu Ghraib scandal, he alleged that American troops sexually assaulted young boys:
    Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children, in cases that have been recorded, the boys were sodomized, with the cameras rolling, and the worst above all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking. That your government has. They’re in total terror it’s going to come out.[30] In a subsequent interview with New York magazine, Hersh regretted that "I actually didn’t quite say what I wanted to say correctly...it wasn’t that inaccurate, but it was misstated. The next thing I know, it was all over the blogs. And I just realized then, the power of—and so you have to try and be more careful."[30] In his book, Chain of Command, he wrote that one of the witness statements he had read described the rape of a boy by a foreign contract interpreter at Abu Ghraib, during which a woman took pictures.[30]

  9. #24
    Elite Member Novice's Avatar
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    Doesn't matter who said it, it STILL breaks the Geneva Convention - which everyone is supposed to uphold.... and those that aren't are normally villified.... by... you guessed it The USA!
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novice View Post
    Doesn't matter who said it, it STILL breaks the Geneva Convention - which everyone is supposed to uphold.... and those that aren't are normally villified.... by... you guessed it The USA!
    I'm not doubting that the U.S. may have broken the Geneva Convention, but Hersh's claims of a campaign of rape and child rape aren't supported and apparently conflict with his own writings.

    My main point is that people don't have to throw around stuff like this to make the assertion that information and photos of what happened should be available, and that criminal prosecution should be taken where appropriate.

  11. #26
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    We wouldn't want to inflame anti-American sentiment

    (updated below - Update II)
    There are many bizarre aspects to Obama's decision to try to suppress evidence of America's detainee abuse, beginning with the newfound willingness of so many people to say: "We want our leaders to suppress information that reflects poorly on what our government does." One would think that it would be impossible to train a citizenry to be grateful to political officials for concealing evidence of government wrongdoing, or to accept the idea that evidence that reflects poorly on the conduct of political leaders should, for that reason alone, be covered-up: "Obama and his military commanders decide when it's best that we're kept in the dark, and I'm thankful when they keep from me things that reflect poorly on my government because I trust them to decide what I should and should not know." It's the fantasy of every political leader to have a citizenry willing to think that way ("I know it's totally unrealistic, but wouldn't it be great if we could actually convince people that it's for their own good when we cover-up evidence of government crimes?").

    But what is ultimately even more amazing is the claim that suppressing these photographs is necessary to prevent an inflammation of anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world generally and Afghanistan specifically. That claim is coming from the same people who are doing this:


    Up to 100 civilians, including women and children, are reported to have been killed in Afghanistan in potentially the single deadliest US airstrike since 2001. The news overshadowed a crucial first summit between the Afghan President and Barack Obama in Washington yesterday. . . .

    This week’s airstrikes took place in the Taleban-controlled area of Bala Baluk, in Farah province. US military officials in Kandahar said that the number of fatalities was nearer 30, but the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that the death toll was far higher.

    Jessica Barry, an ICRC representative, said that an international Red Cross team in Bala Baluk saw “dozens of bodies in each of the two locations” on Tuesday. “There were bodies, there were graves, and there were people burying bodies when we were there,” she said. “We do confirm women and children.”

    And doing this:
    The Obama administration has told a federal judge that military detainees in Afghanistan have no legal right to challenge their imprisonment there, embracing a key argument of former President Bush’s legal team.

    In a two-sentence filing late Friday, the Justice Department said that the new administration had reviewed its position in a case brought by prisoners at the United States Air Force base at Bagram, just north of the Afghan capital. The Obama team determined that the Bush policy was correct: such prisoners cannot sue for their release.

    And this:
    American soldiers opened fire and killed a 12-year old boy after a grenade hit their convoy in Mosul on Thursday. . . .

    "We have every reason to believe that insurgents are paying children to conduct these attacks or assist the attackers in some capacity, undoubtedly placing the children in harm's way," a U. S. military spokesman wrote in an email on Saturday.

    But eyewitnesses said the boy, identified as Omar Musa Salih, was standing by the side of the road selling fruit juice - a common practice in Iraq -- and had nothing to do with the attack.

    And this:
    The Obama administration is weighing plans to detain some terror suspects on U.S. soil -- indefinitely and without trial -- as part of a plan to retool military commission trials that were conducted for prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    And this:
    In a federal court hearing in San Francisco this morning, a representative of the Justice Department said it would continue the Bush policy of invoking the 'state secrets' defense, which has been used in cases of rendition and torture.

    And this:
    The Israel Air Force used a new bunker-buster missile that it received recently from the United States in strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, The Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday. . . .

    Israel received approval from Congress to purchase 1,000 units in September and defense officials said on Sunday that the first shipment had arrived earlier this month ..
    We're currently occupying two Muslim countries. We're killing civilians regularly (as usual) -- with airplanes and unmanned sky robots. We're imprisoning tens of thousands of Muslims with no trial, for years. Our government continues to insist that it has the power to abduct people -- virtually all Muslim -- ship them to Bagram, put them in cages, and keep them there indefinitely with no charges of any kind. We're denying our torture victims any ability to obtain justice for what was done to them by insisting that the way we tortured them is a "state secret" and that we need to "look to the future." We provide Israel with the arms and money used to do things like devastate Gaza. Independent of whether any or all of these policies are justifiable, the extent to which those actions "inflame anti-American sentiment" is impossible to overstate.

    And now, the very same people who are doing all of that are claiming that they must suppress evidence of our government's abuse of detainees because to allow the evidence to be seen would "inflame anti-American sentiment." It's not hard to believe that releasing the photos would do so to some extent -- people generally consider it a bad thing to torture and brutally abuse helpless detainees -- but compared to everything else we're doing, the notion that releasing or concealing these photos would make an appreciable difference in terms of how we're perceived in the Muslim world is laughable on its face.

    Moreover, isn't it rather obvious that Obama's decision to hide this evidence -- certain to be a prominent news story in the Muslim world, and justifiably so -- will itself inflame anti-American sentiment? It's not exactly a compelling advertisement for the virtues of transparency, honesty and open government. What do you think the impact is when we announce to the world: "What we did is so heinous that we're going to suppress the evidence?" Some Americans might be grateful to Obama for hiding evidence of what we did to detainees, but that is unlikely to be the reaction of people around the world.

    If we're actually worried about inflaming anti-American sentiment and endangering our troops, we might want to re-consider whether we should keep doing the things that actually spawn "anti-American sentiment" and put American soldiers in danger. We might, for instance, want to stop invading, bombing and occupying Muslim countries and imprisoning their citizens with no charges by the thousands. But exploiting concerns over "anti-American sentiment" to vest our own government leaders with the power to cover-up evidence of wrongdoing is as incoherent as it is dangerous. Who actually thinks that the solution to anti-American sentiment is to hide evidence of our wrongdoing rather than ceasing the conduct that causes that sentiment in the first place?

    * * * * *
    For a discussion of why the release of these photographs is so imperative and the very real value they could generate, see here and here.

    UPDATE: Federal District Judge Alvin Hellerstein (.pdf) and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (.pdf) have both rejected the Bush arguments -- now the Obama arguments -- for suppressing these photographs, and held the the law clearly requires their public disclosure.

    For those wishing to defend Obama's decision here (and, again, were any of you who are doing so criticizing Obama two weeks ago when he announced he'd release these photos?), please read these three paragraphs from Judge Hellerstein's decision explaining why the Bush/Obama arguments in favor of suppression are so bankrupt, along with his quotation of a passage from Daniel Patrick Moynihan's book arguing that "secrecy is for losers" and documenting how citizen trust in government secrecy is the linchpin of abuses of power.


    UPDATE II: The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin:
    In trying to explain his startling decision to oppose the public release of more photos depicting detainee abuse, President Obama and his aides yesterday put forth six excuses for his about-face, one more flawed than the next.
    Read Froomkin's full column as he indisputably documents the truth of that claim.

    Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    it just makes the blood boil

    "We can't show you the horrible things we're doing because it might piss you off and force us to stop, so you don't get to see any evidence. Later!"
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  13. #28
    Elite Member Sarzy's Avatar
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    Whoever raped children should be named and shamed and shot. That is disgusting.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I'm not doubting that the U.S. may have broken the Geneva Convention, but Hersh's claims of a campaign of rape and child rape aren't supported and apparently conflict with his own writings.

    My main point is that people don't have to throw around stuff like this to make the assertion that information and photos of what happened should be available, and that criminal prosecution should be taken where appropriate.
    but you quoted its youself....

    "In his book, Chain of Command, he wrote that one of the witness statements he had read described the rape of a boy by a foreign contract interpreter at Abu Ghraib, during which a woman took pictures"
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Obama's latest effort to conceal evidence of Bush era crimes




    It's difficult to react much to Obama's complete reversal today of his own prior decision to release photographs depicting extreme detainee abuse by the United States. He's left no doubt that this is what he does: ever since he was inaugurated, Obama has taken one extreme step after the next to keep concealed both the details and the evidence of Bush's crimes, including rendition, torture and warrantless eavesdropping. The ACLU's Amrit Singh -- who litigated the thus-far-successful FOIA lawsuit to compel disclosure of these photographs -- is exactly right:
    The reversal is another indication of a continuance of the Bush administration policies under the Obama administration. President Obama's promise of accountability is meaningless, this is inconsistent with his promise of transparency, it violates the government's commitment to the court. People need to examine these abusive photographs, but also the government officials need to be held accountable.

    Andrew Sullivan, one of Obama's earliest and most enthusiastic supporters, wrote of today's photograph-concealment decision and yesterday's story of Obama's pressuring Britain to conceal evidence of Binyam Mohamed's torture:
    Slowly but surely, Obama is owning the cover-up of his predecessors' war crimes. But covering up war crimes, refusing to prosecute them, promoting those associated with them, and suppressing evidence of them are themselves violations of Geneva and the UN Convention. So Cheney begins to successfully coopt his successor. . .

    From extending and deepening the war in Afghanistan, to suppressing evidence of rampant and widespread abuse and torture of prisoners under Bush, to thuggishly threatening the British with intelligence cut-off if they reveal the brutal torture inflicted on Binyam Mohamed, Obama now has new cheer-leaders: Bill Kristol, Michael Goldfarb and Max Boot. . . .

    Those of us who held out hope that the Obama administration would not be actively covering up the brutal torture of a Gitmo prisoner who was subject to abuse in several countries must now concede the obvious. They're covering it up - in such a crude and obvious fashion that it is actually a crime in Britain.
    John Aravosis said Obama's logic was "a bit Bushian." Steve Hynd observes that "Obama Trades Our Principles For Cheneyism." TPM declares: "Obama falls back on Bushisms." Dan Froomkin writes: "Obama Joins the Cover-Up." I'll just note a few points for now about Obama's efforts to keep these photographs concealed:

    (1) Think about what Obama's rationale would justify. Obama's claim -- that release of the photographs "would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger" -- means we should conceal or even outright lie about all the bad things we do that might reflect poorly on us. For instance, if an Obama bombing raid slaughters civilians in Afghanistan (as has happened several times already), then, by this reasoning, we ought to lie about what happened and conceal the evidence depicting what was done -- as the Bush administration did -- because release of such evidence would "would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger." Indeed, evidence of our killing civilians in Afghanistan inflames anti-American sentiment far more than these photographs would. Isn't it better to hide the evidence showing the bad things we do?

    Apparently, the proper reaction to heinous acts by our political leaders is not to hold them accountable but, instead, to hide evidence of what they did. That's the warped mentality Obama is endorsing today, and has been endorsing since January 20.

    (2) How can anyone who supports what Obama is doing here complain about the CIA's destruction of their torture videos? The torture videos, like the torture photos, would, if released, generate anti-American sentiment and make us look bad. By Obama's reasoning, didn't the CIA do exactly the right thing by destroying them?

    (3) This is just another manifestation of the generalized Beltway religion that we should suppress and ignore the heinous acts our government committed and to which we acquiesced, because if we just agree to forget about all of it, then we can blissfully pretend that it never happened and avoid doing anything about it.

    (4) Obama's claim that he has to hide this evidence to protect our soldiers is the sort of crass, self-serving exploitation of "The Troops" which was the rancid hallmark of Bush/Cheney rhetoric. Everyone knows what the real effect of these photographs would be: they would highlight just how brutal and criminal was our treatment of detainees in our custody, and further underscore how amoral and lawless are Obama's calls that we Look To the Future, Not the Past. Manifestly, that is why they're being suppressed.

    (5) For all of you defend-Obama-at-all-cost cheerleaders who are about to descend into my comment section and other online venues to explain how Obama did the right thing because of National Security, I have this question: if you actually want to argue that concealing these photographs is the right thing to do, then you must have been criticizing Obama when, two weeks ago, he announced that he would release them. Otherwise, it's pretty clear that you don't have any actual beliefs other than: "I support what Obama does because it's Obama who does it." So for those arguing today that concealing these photographs is the right thing to do: were you criticizing Obama two weeks ago for announcing he would release these photographs?

    Also, the OLC torture memos released several weeks ago surely increased anti-American sentiment. Indeed, those on the Right who objected to the release of those memos cited exactly that argument. How can anyone cheer on Obama's decision today to conceal these photographs while also cheering on his decision to release the OLC memos? Those who have any intellectual coherence would have to oppose both or support both. Those two decisions only have one fact in common: Obama made them. Thus, the only way to cheer on both decisions is to be guided by the modified Nixonian mantra: what Obama does is right because Obama does it.

    Also, during the Bush years, were you -- along with Bill Kristol and National Review -- attacking the ACLU and Congressional Democrats for demanding that the Bush administration stop concealing evidence of its torture, on the ground that disclosure of such evidence would harm America's national security? Were you defending Bush then for doing what Obama is doing now?

    (6) If these photographs don't shed any new light on what our Government did -- if all they do is replicate what we already know from the Abu Ghraib photographs -- then how can it possibly be the case that they will do any damage? To argue that they will harm how we are perceived is, necessarily, to acknowledge that they reveal new information that is not already widely known.

    (7) We are supposed to have what is called Open Government in the United States. The actions of our government -- and the evidence documenting it -- is presumptively available to the public. Only an authoritarian would argue that evidence of government actions should be kept secret in the absence of a compelling reason to release it.

    The presumption is the opposite: documents in the government's possession relating to what it does is presumptively public in the absence of compelling reasons to keep it concealed. That the documents reflect poorly on the government is not such a reason to keep them concealed. If it were, then it would always be preferable to have political leaders cover-up their crimes on the ground that disclosing them would reflect poorly on the U.S. and spur anti-American sentiment. Open government is necessary precisely because only transparency deters political leaders from doing heinous acts in the first place.

    UPDATE: Here (.pdf) is the letter the DOJ sent to the court this afternoon, advising the judge that they changed their minds "at the highest levels of Government" and would not, as previously promised, release the photographs, but instead would attempt to appeal the Second Circuit's decision compelling their release to the Roberts Supreme Court.


    UPDATE II: In comments, Paul Daniel Ash addresses the Obama supporters who are defending Obama's decision to keep these photograhps concealed on the ground that "no good would come" from disclosure:
    I'm pretty jaded, but even I'm outraged and saddened by the number of voices being raised in this comment thread supporting the decision to conceal these photos.

    "No good will come?" Would we even have had an Abu Ghraib scandal without the pictures of bloody prisoners and men cowering in front of dogs? "No good?" Is there or is there not an active debate in this country about whether or not torture is acceptable? "No good?" Did a United States Senator not say just today, in the Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, that torture techniques have been used for the past five centuries because "apparently they work?"

    "No good will come?"
    Indeed, it's pretty hard to believe that the people who are arguing that "no good will come" from release of these photos either (a) lived through the impact of the Abu Ghraib photos and/or (b) are living through the "torture debate" we are now having.

    Photographs convey the reality of things in a way that mere words cannot. They prevent people who want to deny what was done the ability to do so. They force citizens to face what their country did and what they are now justifying and advocating. They impede the ability of political leaders to use euphemisms to obscure the truth. They show in graphic detail what the effects are of sanctioning torture policies. They prove that this was about more than "dunking three terrorists into water." They highlight the fact that no decent person believes that this should all just be forgotten and its victims told that they have no right to have accountability. That's precisely why the photographs are being suppressed: because of how much good they would do.

    UPDATE III: For more on the claim that release of the photos will "inflame anti-American sentiment," see here.

    Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
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