CB 1000

23 October 2014
Obama Administration to Justify withholding Torture Photos.
by Kaja Berg
Obama Administration to Justify withholding Torture Photos.
Kaja Berg
Kaja is a freelance writer and journalist based in London, UK. She aims to discuss issues mainly concerning society and the people living in it, and present them to the public eye

This Tuesday a federal judge gave the Obama administration until December 12 to explain the withholding of more than 2,000 graphic photographs showing the US military torturing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who’ve seen the photos behind closed doors this august, have instructed lawyers that Justice Department attorneys will have to list each and every photograph and explain the reason behind keeping the photos unseen by the public. However, any public release of the photos will only come after the court’s been given the Obama administration’s reasoning and reviewed it.

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A Nobel Laureate

The American president, Barrack Obama, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, only nine months after becoming president of the powerful state.

“Compared to some of the giants of history who’ve received this prize – Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela – my accomplishments are slight,” Obama then said in his lecture after receiving the peace price.

The Nobel committee reasoned the decision with Obama’s campaign in nuclear non-proliferation and his work in international relations, especially in reaching out to the Muslim world. However, the committee have also explained the decision with “putting pressure” on the president to use his power and contribute to a more peaceful world.

“I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war. What I do know is that meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work, and persistence of those men and women who acted so boldly decades ago. And it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace,” the president also reflected upon in the Nobel lecture.

The withheld photos showing torture and abuse of detainees held by the US Military are said to be even more troubling than the scandalous Abu Ghraib photos from 2004 that forced the present US president George W. Bush into doing a public apology.

In 2009 current US Presedent Barrack Obama turned his position on the publically released Abu Dhaib photos by arguing against releasing new photos of detainees.

Obama Administration to Justify withholding Torture Photos.
A detainee handcuffed in the nude to a bed with a pair of underpants covering his face at Abu Ghraib. Image Source: Wiki Commons

“It’s my belief that the publication of these photos would not add any additional benefit to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals. In fact, the most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger,” it’s written in the 2009 press release.

Later that year the American congress passed a law allowing the government to keep images “placing the US army at risk” hidden from the public eye.

But after seeing the torture photos this fall Judge Hellerstein has concluded the government’s declaration was overbroad.
“Some photos are relatively innocuous while others need more serious consideration,” he said about the photos hidden by Obama and the government.


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