Friday, August 14, 2009
Attorney General Holder: Look at the torture photos by Daphne Eviatar
"The cornerstone of modern international humanitarian law -- the Geneva Conventions of 1949 -- was adopted after the release of vivid images of Nazi concentration camp survivors. And it was the United States and General Dwight D. Eisenhower himself who insisted on distributing huge volumes of these photos to the media. The images of corpses, prisoner remains and emaciated survivors helped persuade nations around the world to develop and adopt new universal humanitarian norms."
"It's because images can be so powerful and can motivate action that the Obama administration now wants to suppress them."
".. After all, the Freedom of Information Act does include an exception to releasing information if it would reasonably be expected to "endanger the life or physical safety of any individual." The photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib were certainly alarming. And who would want to endanger the lives of U.S. troops?
"Meanwhile, the Justice department had collected sworn statements from top military generals -- including General Richard Myers, then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Nation's highest ranking military officer -- saying that releasing the photos would do just that. Who are we to question the top brass?" "
"Amrit Singh, an ACLU lawyer handling the case, answered that for me yesterday. "The argument the government has put forward is unacceptable because it would afford the greatest protection from disclosure to records that depict the worst kind of government misconduct. That is fundamentally inconsistent with FOIA. And it's fundamentally inconsistent with democracy." "