Saturday, July 23, 2005

So much to cover about we start with Abu Ghraib?

So if you haven't been following this story, the ACLU won a case against the Government forcing the release of the remaining Abu Ghraib photos and videos, around 113 or so in total, back on June 5th, with the provision that they had to be released within 45 days or so, which would have put the release this week. These photos supposedly show graphic acts, rape, etc. (Please notice in one of the articles they mention that they had to blank out the faces of men, women, and children). Well, guess what? The Bush Administration, never one to hide from looking like complete and utter douchebags, made themselves look like...well, complete and utter douchebags.

Bush Administration Files 11th Hour Papers Blocking the Release of Darby CD Photos and Video Of Abu Ghraib Torture

On July 22, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) denounced the latest efforts of the Bush Administration to block the release of the Darby photos and videos depicting torture at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison facility. On June 2, 2004, CCR, along with the ACLU, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense, and Veterans for Peace filed papers with the U.S. District Court, charging the Department of Defense and other government agencies with illegally withholding records concerning the abuse of detainees in American military custody. Since then, the organizations have been repeatedly rebuffed in their efforts to investigate what happened at the prison.

In June, the government requested and received an extension from the judge stating that they needed time in order to redact the faces of the men, women and children believed to be shown in the photographs and videos. They were given until today to produce the images, but at the eleventh hour filed a motion to oppose the release of the photos and videos, based on an entirely new argument: they are now requesting a 7(F) exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act to withhold law enforcement-related information in order to protect the physical safety of individuals. Today’s move is the latest in a series of attempts by the government to keep the images from being made public and to cover up the torture of detainees in U.S. custody around the world.

Right. So to protect the physical safety of individuals they're suppressing photos which show...violations of the...physical safety of individuals. I'm not even trying to joke about it anymore, the jokes write themselves. The stupidest thing about all this is that, by trying to cover it up, you make it look even worse than it does, as if you're condoning what was done. But that's not all! Now the White House is holding the veto over Congress as a threat to let them continue to do whatever the hell they want, making them look like even bigger douchebags.

White House threatens veto on detainee policies

By Vicki Allen
Thu Jul 21, 7:45 PM ET

The White House on Thursday threatened to veto a massive Senate bill for $442 billion in next year's defense programs if it moves to regulate the Pentagon's treatment of detainees or sets up a commission to investigate operations at Guantanamo Bay prison and elsewhere

The Bush administration, under fire for the indefinite detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and questions over whether its policies led to horrendous abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, put lawmakers on notice it did not want them legislating on the matter.

In a statement, the White House said such amendments would "interfere with the protection of Americans from terrorism by diverting resources from the war."

"If legislation is presented that would restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice," the bill could be vetoed, the statement said.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, who endured torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said after meeting at the Capitol with Vice President Dick Cheney that he still intended to offer amendments next week "on the standard of treatment of prisoners."

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was working on legislation defining the legal status of enemy combatants being held in Guantanamo, also said he would offer an amendment.

They were working with Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner of Virginia on amendments intended to prevent further abuses in the wake of the scandal over sexual abuse and mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison and harsh, degrading interrogations at Guantanamo.

Possible measures included barring the holding of "ghost" detainees whose names are not disclosed, codifying a ban against cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and using the Army manual as a basis for all interrogations.

Democrats on Thursday said they would push an amendment to establish an independent national commission to investigate policies that led to abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and elsewhere.

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the Armed Services Committee's top Democrat, said the commission on detainee abuses was needed because "the most serious scandal in recent military history needs an objective investigation."

Levin said the commission should be modeled on the bipartisan commission that probed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said the Pentagon's own investigations into detainee abuses left "huge gaps. ... The military reviewing itself, that's not good enough."

Pentagon "talking points" against the special detainee commission circulating around the Capitol said the issue had been "thoroughly investigated" and "a new open-ended investigation" would add "nothing but political theater."

The talking points said reforms were under way, and the Pentagon "has the matter well in hand. The department and the services are doing everything possible to address this challenge."

At this point, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. What is wrong with the people who voted for this administration? How can you condone this behavior? I just don't get it. God bless America, we fucking need it.

Posted by crimnos @ 1:50 PM