Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Obama seeking to block Gitmo interrogation photos

I am 50/50 on this.

For one, the photos should be released, a lawsuit was won to have these photos released. On the other, it is these images that have killed our standing internationally. In the end, it is about transparency and the photos will eventually be released, I believe.

Defense and military officials tell NBC News that President Obama will seek to delay the release of hundreds of photos which reportedly depict the abuse of prisoners by U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is expected to announce Obama's decision.

The Pentagon has said it will release the pictures this month.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq met with Obama at the White House Tuesday to ask the administration not to release the photos. Defense officials say Odierno is "vehemently opposed" to the release because he fears it could create a widespread "backlash" against military forces in both war zones.

According to one official, "It would put a bullseye on the backs of our forces."

According to military officials many of the photos are similar to the infamous prisoner abuse photos out of Abu Ghraib prison, but some of these photos reportedly include mug shots of prisoners who appear to have been badly beaten during their capture or interrogation.

The photos were gathered in the course of dozens of military investigations of prisoner abuse between 2001 and 2006. Pentagon officials say 400 individual servicemembers have faced disciplinary action, either criminal convictions or non-judicial punishment as a result of the investigations.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sought the release of the photos and won a lawsuit against the U.S. government before the federal appeals court in New York. The only legal option left to the government was to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Instead the Obama administration had earlier made the decision to end the appeals and release the photos.

Washington Post

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