The Abu Ghraib photo FOIA lawsuit continues to move slowly in the courts. As you recall, Judge Alvin Hellerstein in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled the DOD had to release the selected photos (from the 144 photos and 4 video tapes in question). These photos were part of a larger cache of hundreds turned in as a matter of conscience by Specialist Joseph M. Darby
, subsequent winner of a Special John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. The ones released to the press sparked the international Abu Ghraib abuse scandal last year while the still secret photos and the video images are said to show what a republican senator indicated was "rape and murder" and Donald Rumsfeld said they were "blatantly sadistic".
From the ruling:
Suppression of information is the surest way to cause its significance to grow and
persist. Clarity and openness are the best antidotes, either to dispel criticism if not merited or, if merited, to correct such errors as may be found. The fight to extend freedom has never been easy, and we are once again challenged, in Iraq and Afghanistan, by terrorists who engage in violence to intimidate our will and to force us to retreat. Our struggle to prevail must be without
sacrificing the transparency and accountability of government and military officials. These are the values FOIA was intended to advance, and they are at the very heart of the values for which we fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is a risk that the enemy will seize upon the publicity of the photographs and seek to use such publicity as a pretext for enlistments and violent acts. But the education and debate that such publicity will foster will strengthen our purpose and, by enabling such deficiencies as may be perceived to be debated and corrected, show our strength as a vibrant and functioning democracy to be emulated.
Judge Alvin Hellerstein
New York, New York
I talked with the press office at the ACLU New York Headquarters to find out where the legal case stands. There is deadline of midnight tonight to the second stay that was granted to the DOD providing enough time to file an appeal to the original order of Judge Hellerstein of September 29th, 2005