The US government is trying to stop fresh images of prisoner abuse in
Iraq being made public, claiming they will aid the insurgency, court
US civil liberties groups have launched a lawsuit to force the release
of 87 pictures and four videos showing abuse at Abu Ghraib jail in
Earlier images sparked worldwide condemnation and resulted in charges
against a number of soldiers.
The US argues the rest should stay hidden to avoid helping the
It is “probable that al-Qaeda and other groups will seize upon these
images and videos as grist for their propaganda mill,” the chairman of
the joint chiefs of staff, Gen Richard Myers, argues in court papers.
Releasing the images could also incite violence against US troops, he
And he says the images would be detrimental to the governments of Iraq
Gen Myers’ arguments were contained in court documents filed on 21 July
but only recently unsealed.
The Pentagon stepped up its campaign with a later request, submitted on
Friday, for certain material to be kept from the public domain.
The civil liberties groups have submitted counter-arguments by a
retired US army colonel, Michael Pheneger, who insists the public good would
be served by publication of the images.
“The first step to abandoning practices that are repugnant to our laws
and national ideals is to bring them into the sunshine and assign
accountability,” he wrote.
He also argued that the Iraqi insurgency would continue regardless of
whether or not the pictures were published.
A district judge, Alvin Hellerstein, will decide whether the images
should be released.
The photographs released last year showed Iraqi prisoners being
physically and sexually abused or humiliated.
The images at the centre of the fresh legal battle are believed to have
been taken by the same soldier as the original set.
All senior US commanders have so far been cleared of any crime.