Saturday, May 30, 2009

Update on the forbidden torture photos from Abu Ghuraib

I first mentioned in this post of 05/16/09 a set of photos in the Sydney Morning Herald which proported to be some of the photos that President Obama and the Pentagon didn't want to release on their previously scheduled date of 05/28/09. (More snaps from Abu Ghraib Sydney Morning Herald). That article identifies the 15 photos there as follows, "More snaps from Abu Ghraib[:] Some of the 60 previously unpublished photographs that the US Government has been fighting to keep secret in a court case with the American Civil Liberties Union."

It turns out that some of these photos had already been published by Salon as part of a large collection it released back on 03/14/06. Salon released some others on 02/16/06, noting that to their knowledge only one of that earlier set of photos had been previously released. See also "New" Abu Ghraib photos aren't new by Alex Koppelman Salon 05/30/09.

It's worth noting at this point that since we don't know what photos the Pentagon is withholding in that May 28 unreleased batch, it could be that already-published photographs are among them. But the Sydney Morning Herald also described them as unpublished photos. And that inevitably would make a careful reader wonder if they got the publicly-available information wrong whether they got the information on the photos being withheld correctly. And Koppelman reports that in fact those photos are not among those at issue with the unreleased May 28 batch:

But the photos that were published by Salon are not being withheld. In fact, since shortly after they first appeared on Salon, the pictures have not been part of the American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit that the Obama administration is fighting -- as a result of the images' publication, the government officially released them. A copy of the order outlining an agreement between the ACLU and the government to dismiss the government's appeal and release those photos can be downloaded in PDF form here.
I've made correction on previous posts in which I had assumed the photos were unpublished.


Among the Sydney Morning Herald photos that had been previously released by Salon are the following. This selection is based on my visual identification of them; it's possible that one or more of them are very similar photos of the same scene. Note: Some of these photos contain explicit nudity and gore so they may not be "workplace-friendly".

Detainee with bag overhead carrying an MRE box

Detainee died during an interrogation by OGA

CPL GRANER pulls a closed fist back, as he cradles a detainee in his left arm

CPL GRANER is in the process of having the detainee stand up to sit on the back of another detainee

CPL GRANER applies sutures to the chin of a detainee

Injured detainee

Detainees hand cuffed to each other or possibly the wall

Photo of unknown detainee

SSG FREDRICK back to camera as SGT SMTIH and SGT CORDONA stand at 45 angle on detainee. CPL GRANER between dog handlers

Photo of detainee

Possible wounds from less than lethal rounds fired at the detainee

This photo depicts a detainee hanging upside down from his bed

CPL GRANER is wrapping a foam pad around the detainee, and placed on a litter

Detainee hits head against door

In other words, by my observation reviewing the Salon gallery today, all but one of the 15 photos in the Sydney Morning Herald's "unpublished" set had been previously published in Salon. And that one didn't depict a detainee.

Salon's pictures are more complete; the Sydney Morning Herald had blacked out parts of some the photos they published that appear in the Salon versions.

I guess you can't always believe what you read in the newspaper. And "real journalists" say that we bloggers are sloppy!

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