On Wednesday, Obama said he “would try to block the court-ordered release of photos showing U.S. troops abusing prisoners.” The release, which was to be the result of a Freedom of Information Act request made by the ACLU, had been reasonable in the final weeks of April, but today, Obama chose to come out against the release.
According to the Associated Press, “out of concern [that] the pictures would “further inflame anti-American opinion” and endanger U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan” Obama planned to block them.
Obama intends to block the release of the photos because they may negatively impact American empire and American military adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gen. Ray Odierno, a prime architect of “the surge” in Iraq, and Gen. David Petraeus influenced Obama’s decision after informing the administration that they were afraid the photos will “cost American lives.”
Obama suggested that the “photos had already served their purpose in investigations of “a small number of individuals” and “the individuals who were involved have been identified, and appropriate actions have been taken.”
Also, Obama made the argument that “these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib.”
When choosing to make a “mockery” out of his “promise of transparency and accountability” (as one member of the ACLU put it), Obama is fine with contending that if information requested does not show something worse than said previous atrocity or does not show that something more inhumane happened the information should not be released.
Even if the information would give further credence to the argument that the Bush Administration tortured (which many in the corporate news media are still reluctant to outright accept as they continue to cling to the “enhanced interrogation technique” euphemism when discussing “torture”), the fact that it does not top the brutality of a batch of previous photos means that the ACLU’s FOIA request should not be fulfilled.
The ACLU released a response to Obama’s decision, which was written by Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU.