ONE OF THE PHOTOS THE PENTAGON RELUCTANTLY RELEASED
After all these years, the full extent of the Bush Torture Regime still is not known.
The cloak of secrecy thrown around the use of Nazi-like interrogation techniques during those dark days has not been lifted because of shameful foot dragging by the Obama administration and a woefully incomplete accounting by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Part of the problem is public indifference, as well as the lack of compelling visual evidence -- photographs and videos that capture the horror of the torture inflicted on terror suspects in the name of the world's greatest democracy in the years after the 9/11 attacks in violation of common sense and international law.
The leaked photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad in 2004, which triggered international outrage and prompted the Bush administration to disingenuously characterize the taunting of naked Iraqis by dogs and guards as an isolated incident, were bad enough. This begins to explain why the Pentagon has reluctantly released a mere 198 of 1,800 photographs gathered during criminal investigations into prisoner mistreatment by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan despite a longstanding lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Pentagon continues to argue, as it did when the suit was filed in 2004 and has since after court decisions validating their release, that dissemination of the photographs could put American troops at risk. But after so many years -- and so much obfuscation, denial of accountability and disinformation by the military and White House -- their release outweighs that concern.
The 198 photos released the other day mostly show close-ups of body parts, including arms, legs and heads with injuries, as well as wider shots of bound or blindfolded prisoners. Their selective release obviously was designed to mislead by blunting the impact of the full scope of the torture, which also was carried out by and in conjunction with the CIA and included waterboarding, imprisonment in small boxes, slapping and punching, sleep deprivation, threats that detainees' children would be killed and their mothers sexually assaulted, and forced rectal feeding.
The photographs -- all of them -- belong in the public domain.
"Perhaps the photos will reinvigorate the debate about who should be held accountable for the abuses, and in what way," says Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU's deputy legal director, who did not note that nary a person of consequence -- not one ranking official -- was been punished.
Nor will be.