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View Diary: Why they shouldn't release the photos (108 comments)

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  •  Can you elaborate on this oxymoronic statement? (10+ / 0-)

    The things depicted in these photographs are, until proven otherwise, examples of isolated, though apparently fairly widespread, abuses of a criminal nature.

    "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." - President Barack Obama, April 5, 2009

    by justmy2 on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:42:05 AM PDT

    •  I mean that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psychodrew

      While they apparently happened in discrete locations, that fact is not, until proven otherwise, evidence that they were the result of some sort of standing sanction or order to rape people.

      It was poorly worded, you're right.

      Dance like no one is watching with one fist in the air... We are stronger than everything they have taught us that we should fear.

      by Surly Cracker on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:45:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The wording was fine. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Surly Cracker

        I'm gay, I'm pissed, I'm not giving up, I'm not giving in, I'm not shutting up, and I'm not going away. Deal with it.

        by psychodrew on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:48:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  you're on a roll ! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify, The Raven, WattleBreakfast

        "facts, evidence, until proven otherwise" ... so, if presented as "evidence" in a court of law, then will it be proven that there are some "facts" to be had, so then can we lock the bastards up? Im not so sure it happens in that order or that way. You dont seem to believe the "evidence" is... uhm... evidence.

        Im lost. Dizzy.

        Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

        by Lady Libertine on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:51:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. (0+ / 0-)

          The photos are evidence of individual crimes, not of some greater plan. No one seems to be coming forward to say they were being ordered to commit these atrocities.

          Dance like no one is watching with one fist in the air... We are stronger than everything they have taught us that we should fear.

          by Surly Cracker on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:58:21 AM PDT

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          •  Rummy said (5+ / 0-)

            "Take the gloves off," and Takuba discovered that the Gitmo program was exported to Abu Ghraib. The trail is clear. You won't find written orders to rape (I'm betting) but you will find CIA interrogators taking over and going batshit crazy on the captives as a direct result of orders to increase the harshness of interrogations in a search for the smoking gun that would justify the invasion.

            We should release the photos in order to "get it out there" and stop people from fantasizing things that are worse. History has demonstrated that it's always better to release the evidence. It's always worse to suppress it.

            Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

            by The Raven on Thu May 28, 2009 at 10:02:37 AM PDT

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            •  I Think A Lot Of People Forget, Maybe More Than (5+ / 0-)

              any organization the military is based on rules and following orders. When you are told to do something by a superior, you do it. You don't debate the topic.

              I don't think for one second these folks were "freelancing." They were doing exactly what they were told to do.

              "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

              by webranding on Thu May 28, 2009 at 10:10:28 AM PDT

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              •  Basically yes (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                amazinggrace

                But also what we did in the torture program was to replicate the Stanford Prison Experiment.

                So yes there were orders, but also we know that this kind of general arrangement of roles and environment will tend to produce this kind of outcome. It takes a very great amount of discipline and control to avoid Stanford results and here we have prisons situated on the edge of nowhere that are run as little islands unto themselves.

                Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

                by The Raven on Thu May 28, 2009 at 10:33:32 AM PDT

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          •  well (5+ / 0-)

            an official Investigation would take care of that.

            A little bright, healthy sunshine and fresh air, so that an educated population knows what was done and how, can show where the tunnels were bored, when the truth was subordinated; what institutions were subverted; how our democracy was compromised; so this grim history is not condemned to repeat itself; so a knowing public in the clarity of day can say, "Never, never, never, again;" so we can keep that light - that light that is at once America's greatest gift and greatest strength - brightly shining. To do this, I submit, we must look back.
            ~Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

            We've heard from quite a few people on this. (Look over at the Rec List.)

            Fmr. Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski

            Olbermann: What does the Levin tell us about this prison and what happened there.

               Karpinski: It basically says there's a direct line from these memorandum, the policies and the permissions and the directives included in those memorandum through Gen. Miller at Guantanamo Bay Cuba, migrated directly with Gen. Miller and his Tiger Team of about twenty four people who came to advise the military intelligence interrogators of these harsher interrogation techniques. Straight line.

            and

            She has a few words for Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush administration that let the soldiers take the fall for their decisions.

               Karpinski: This is one of the most shameful aspects of these memos and the knowledge that people at the highest levels of our government had about these memos, actually sat together and wrote them and rewrote them and crafted them to meet the requirements of these techniques they wanted to use.

               They were well aware, these people, Rumsfeld, Sanchez, all of them and were well aware of these policies and these memorandums while these soldiers were being accused....five years ago. And if it was okay Mr. Former Vice President, if you're saying that this was necessary today and that it produced good intelligence..where were you five years ago stepping up to the plate and saying hold on, we can't discuss this because this is classified information, but these soldiers did not design these techniques? Where were all of those heros then to step up to the plate and defend these soldiers and to defend me? These were soldiers that were serving in a combat zone that were good Americans and remain good Americans and that were so unfairly blamed. Five years this month to get these memos released, declassified and released and people still trying to say that what happened at Abu Ghraib was different than what these memorandums were directing. No! It is not!

            Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

            by Lady Libertine on Thu May 28, 2009 at 10:07:39 AM PDT

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      •  Consider (5+ / 0-)

        The fact they happened to be the inevitable result of a poorly run facility which also happened to have torture as an institutionalized policy.  The lack of integrity and accountability IS a "top-down" phenomenon.

      •  I don't agree that it was isolated incidents (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Surly Cracker, FreeStateDem

        But I do think that no one here, as of yet, has considered the victims of these crimes. Do they want the visual documentation of their greatest humiliation displayed around the world or do they want prosecution & punishment for their tormenters. We would be in jeopardy of re-victimizing these individuals in the name of a national awakening. In agreement with you, this evidence belongs in court.

        All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

        by amazinggrace on Thu May 28, 2009 at 10:39:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Given that almost all such (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          justmy2, skrekk

          photos could easily simply have faces blurred out on victims, just as crime shows do today when they've got people in video that haven't been charged, that's a very weak argument.

          Bah. Typoed during acct creation. It's Ezekiel 23:20

          by Ezekial 23 20 on Thu May 28, 2009 at 11:36:37 AM PDT

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        •  I have considered these victims, and the future (0+ / 0-)

          victims, including Americans. And I conclude that it is necessary to make sure everyone is aware of the actions taken in our name to stop future actions.  

          This must be brought into the sunlight.  

          Let me tell you about some past pictoral documentation of crimes.

          Lynchings
          Gas Chambers
          Tienamen Square
          Shooting a child in Vietnam War
          Katrina until Bush shown DVD
          Hosing of Civil Rights Activists
          Emmitt Till
          John Lewis being beaten
          Rwandan Genocide
          Dogs attacking civil rights leaders
          Rodney King being beaten

          So I reject your argument that pictures of victims necessarily being inconsequential.  On the contrary, in many cases, it is the very demonstration of photographic evidence that is the catalyst for governmental action.  We currently have psychopaths downgrading torture, making it more likely in the future.  It is critical that this view not take hold in the general public, and pictures, heavily redacted, or even vivid descriptions from a government source in special cases are likely critical in this case.

          Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

          "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." - President Barack Obama, April 5, 2009

          by justmy2 on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:17:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I lived through the history you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Robinswing

            have cited above except the WW11 era. Which is why I did not mention it in my comment. I can tell you, having been there, photos stopped none of it.

            All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

            by amazinggrace on Thu May 28, 2009 at 02:48:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Let's agree that the pictures did not (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              amazinggrace

              stop these crimes immediately.

              Would you agree that the pictures were catalyst for the eventual results?

              Could the Civil Rights Act been passed without the pictures?  Would the Vietnam War have stopped without public opinion changing (many state that was the key reason, do you disagree?)?  I am positive Bush would not have acted without video.

              If your argument is that pictures have no impact, we will have to agree to disagree.  However, I think you severly underestimate their impact, or you do not want to disagree with the Administration which is understandable in a sense.  If pictures are meaningless, I would ask you why pictures of coffins coming into Dover were not allowed for 5 years?

              "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." - President Barack Obama, April 5, 2009

              by justmy2 on Thu May 28, 2009 at 03:04:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I appreciated your well thought out (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                justmy2

                well documented comments enough to leave my office computer & crank up my home computer to reply to you. I do not underestimate the impact of these images. On the contrary I understand quite well. The photographic documentation of the atricities, mistakes & inequities perpetrated throughout the history of this country have value in historical context. Did they bend the arch of justice at the time? It is my contention, as well as experience they did not. The photos of Emmett Till's broken & beaten body was diplayed in white barber shops & watering holes throughout the south. Civil rights workers being knocked down by fire hoses & chased by dogs were laughted at & derided.The trajectory was changed by the active participation of African Americans against the inequities of this society. I applaud your optimism that the publication of these photos will bring about the neccessary public outcry, but I am more jaded & less sure of the outcome. This is the experience of my generation, but it warms my heart that your generation feels otherwise. My generation has had to rely upon the law for any justice.I think here at Kos we feel that all citizens of this country possess a sense of right & wrong, a moral imperitive that will lead them to do the right thing. My experience tells me not. I ask that you be a little patient with our President to do the right thing & prosecute these offenders within the law. If the pictures are ever published, in retrospect they will add to the documentation of crimes punished, inequeties righted,& the moral imperitive restored. Thank you for this discusson & keep fighting the good fight.

                 

                All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

                by amazinggrace on Thu May 28, 2009 at 03:45:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  A very thoughtful response...thanks (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  amazinggrace

                  Well, you assumed that I was not part of my generation, but I will give you that one (but not as far removed as you may think ;).  It is nice to see the broad diversity of demographics on the site though.

                  Did they bend the arch of justice at the time? It is my contention, as well as experience they did not.

                  I can honestly state that this is a point of view that I have not been exposed to.  It is interesting to read how these media events affected you and your perception of their ultimate impact.  

                  Do you think that your view is the minority view, or due you think that the impact of those pictures were overstated once they were documented?  If so, what do you think was the reason?

                  I will admit that I do believe that transparency is the cure, but not a vaccine, to address these issues.  But there is no doubt the vigilance is incredibly important.  We can never let our guards down.  It is the reason that you see the jewish community fight so hard at even the hint of antisemitism.  There is no gray.

                  My generation has had to rely upon the law for any justice.I think here at Kos we feel that all citizens of this country possess a sense of right & wrong, a moral imperitive that will lead them to do the right thing. My experience tells me not. I ask that you be a little patient with our President to do the right thing & prosecute these offenders within the law.

                  I plead guilty.  I do believe that given the opportunity the majority of people will reach the appropriate moral conclusions, but it is not automatic.  I will also tell you that the vast, vast majority of us pushing back on this in contrast to the President's current position still strongly approve of the President in the aggregate.  As a matter of fact, I was polled by Gallup last Friday and I couldn't have been more positive (granted, they didn't ask any torture questions).  

                  Many of us, including myself, are willing to be patient.  However, we are concerned that there will be no prosecutions.  The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  Obama compromised on FISA.  He has shown deference to Joe Lieberman.  He has stated that now is the time for reflection not retribution.  All of these lead me to believe that a prosecution is not currently in the offing. (not to mention the lack of leaks and the infinite blabbering by potential defendants which is unusual if you think an investigation is possible).  Do we really think Obama is ready to take on the Conservative and Washington establishment.  It is political suicide.  

                  However, I do believe that he is willing to change course, if we the people provide him with the appropriate political cover.  

                  Put simply, I think not pushing back when appropriate against the President goes against his wishes.  I distinctly remember him saying that "we are the ones we are waiting for".  He needs us in some cases to "allow" him to do the right thing.  I have no illusion that he is not getting an all out assault from the right and many career military and intelligence professional against prosecutions, primarily to protect themselves.  I strongly believe we have to push from the left (although I don't think war crimes prosecution is a liberal issue, but that is another story) to provide him with political cover.  He wants it.  He has made this clear.  He even reversed himself.  It couldn't be clearer.  Let's make him do it. Now is not the time to let off of the gas, in deference to the President.  We all know what the right thing to do is.  Let's do it.

                  In any event, I appreciate your the eloquent response.  We may not fully agree on the path forward, but at least we can agree on our ultimate destination.

                  "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." - President Barack Obama, April 5, 2009

                  by justmy2 on Thu May 28, 2009 at 04:18:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hindsight is 20/20 (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    justmy2

                    I cannot speak for a majority, I can only state opinion based on what I know & disussions with my peers, anything else is purely conjecture.This nation has come along way, but we still have along way to go. I know that when a group of people are villified in this country, when they are portrayed to be less than human, any injustice, indignities, or breech of the law is considered justified. After 9/11 the Muslim community as a whole was portrayed as such.They were considered different, less God like, a threat to both the American way of life, as well as an abomination against God. I have seen African Americans, Vietnamese& with the nomination of Sonia Sotemayer, Hispanics portrayed as a threat to the American culture & way of life. The "Other".When you represent any group of people as less than human, the outcome is always the same, humiliation, degredation & yes torture. Years of witnessing this behavior in this country has shaped & molded my views.I believe that as a Black man, in this country Barack Obama understands this better than many may think. I am also aware that after 8 years of the Bush administation there is question as to how thing should be conducted & in what jurisdiction these issues fall. In my mind this is a Justice Dept. issue, to be investigated & litigated within the legal system. We all recognize the right thing to do, however I believe the pressure should be on the judicial system. Barack Obama is cleaning up a lot of shit since the circus left town & I beleive he has left this issue in the hands of Eric Holder.It has been four months to address & correct what has happened over 8 years.I am willing to allow the strategy to play out. If we do not see either action or results in the immediate future I will be right there with you when we make our voices heard in Washington. Look for me, I'll be the attractive black lady with the gray hair. Peace be with you,take care.

                     

                    i  

                    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

                    by amazinggrace on Thu May 28, 2009 at 06:09:09 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  The evidence is that much of the abuse was both (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        justmy2, dconrad

        formal and informal policy - first by stating that Geneva didn't apply and that "the gloves are off", second by having "IRF squads" whose task was to brutally subdue prisoners for the slightest infraction (and sometimes for no reason at all...just to maintain fear).

        Documentaries like "Taxi to the Dark Side" have interviews with guards at Baghram who indicate that abuse was standard operating procedure.  In fact, I'm unaware of any evidence indicating that humiliation, forced nudity, physical and mental abuse, and torture methods like sleep deprivation were not the norm.  You can argue that certain tactics like water torture may not have been widely employed (although DoD autopsy reports show that some of the prisoners murdered by the military had water in their lungs, indicating use of that tactic beyond the CIA), but other tactics like sleep deprivation, forced nudity and physical abuse were widely practiced.  The point is that prior to Hamdan, the US routinely violated the Geneva Conventions, and there is ample evidence of widespread violations of the CAT.  Remember the CAT does not prohibit just torture - it also prohibits "Other Cruel, Inhuman
        or Degrading Treatment or Punishment".

        You simply cannot argue that violations of the CAT and of Geneva were not routine as a matter of policy.  Prosecutions have only occurred after events like Abu Ghraib became public...even though the DoD had been aware of what was going on.  That reveals policy.

    •  Damn, I posted with almost the exact same starter (0+ / 0-)

      comment before reading down far enough in the comments, heh.

      Bah. Typoed during acct creation. It's Ezekiel 23:20

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Thu May 28, 2009 at 11:35:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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