Johnson won the right to burn the flag against enforced patriotism in the U.S. Supreme Court's 1989 landmark decision, Texas v. Johnson. For the police to effectively nullify this right in actual practice undermines this decision at a time when it is more imperative than ever to protect the right to dissent.
Comes now a Defense Department spokesperson, anonymously speaking to Salon’s Mark Benjamin in a June 2, 2009 article entitled “Suppressed images don't show rape, official says: The Pentagon says no sexual abuse, no Abu Ghraib photos among those held back in ACLU suit.”
Benjamin writes: “[T]he Defense Department is not withholding any additional images or video of apparent detainee abuse from the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Salon published all of that material back in 2006, which included images of prisoners being forced to masturbate and to simulate oral sex. The Pentagon is not aware of any other images of abuse from the prison. ‘You have the whole set of Abu Ghraib,’ the official said. ‘There are no 'X Files' of images sitting somewhere else of Abu Ghraib.’"
This flatly contradicts two credible sources. It also contradicts commonsense. First, as to the sources: In the May 30, 2009 edition of Salon, Benjamin quotes Lt. General Antonio Taguba who was tasked by the DOD under Rumsfeld to investigate the Abu Ghraib scandal when it broke in 2004: "'The photographs in that lawsuit, I have not seen,' Taguba told Salon Friday night. The actual quote in the Telegraph was accurate ["These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency"], Taguba said -- but he was referring to the hundreds of images he reviewed as an investigator of the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq -- not the photos of abuse that Obama is seeking to suppress."
After having appointed him to look into the torture scandal and Taguba making the mistake of taking his job seriously and actually making a candid report on the scandal, and as a result of this the DOD declined to promote him, which in the military means that you must leave active duty, the DOD (and the Obama Administration more generally) is now adding insult to injury and calling him a liar.
Second, the DOD spokesperson’s claim that there are no further “smoking gun” photos from Abu Ghraib is demonstrably false because we know that there are other Abu Ghraib photos beyond those that Salon published back in 2006 because some of them have been released by Dr. Philip Zimbardo. One of these photos leads my article here.
Zimbardo was the director of the famous “Stanford Prison Experiment.” The Stanford Prison Experiment showed that anyone, in this case, psychologically sound Stanford undergraduates, put into the right setting, would readily and quickly adopt the role of callous/vicious prison guard or resentful/rebellious prisoner.
Zimbardo was brought in as an expert consultant after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke and released at least some of the photos he was given in that capacity at his presentation at the TED conference (Technology, Entertainment and Design) in early 2008, in Monterey, California. Some of those photos can be viewed here.
Further, someone who I know who, like Taguba, has seen the full hard drive of photographs from Lt. Charles Graner’s computer from Abu Ghraib, told me that as bad as the photos that have been released from Abu Ghraib are, the ones that have not been publicly released are “far, far worse.”
But let us assume that we didn’t know any of the preceding and that all we had to rely on was what the DOD spokesperson said and what Obama has said – that the photos reveal nothing new and aren’t particularly dramatic. First, if they aren’t dramatic and damaging, then why not release them to show the world that the US will no longer carry out torture? This would go a very long way in promoting goodwill for the US in the world’s and Americans’ eyes and reducing what Alberto Mora, Former Navy General Counsel (2001-2006) said when he testified before Congress on June 17, 2008:
“[T]here are serving U.S. flag-rank officers who maintain that the first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq -- as judged by their effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat -- are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.”
Second, does anyone who can think their way through a paper bag believe that the photos that have so far been publicly released could possibly be the entire record of photos? This violates common sense. But then again, we are daily being asked to overrule commonsense, the law, and morality, in order to believe and go along with what the government is telling us.
"'At the prison where I conducted interrogations,' responded Alexander, 'we heard day in and day out, foreign fighters who had been captured state that the number one reason that they had come to fight in Iraq was because of torture and abuse, what had happened at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.'
"Alexander put the number making this claim at 90 percent."
Who's endangering Americans' lives and those of non-Americans: those who ordered torture, carried out torture, and are trying to conceal these deeds from revelation, investigation, and prosecution, or those who demand that the truth come out?
World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.