President Obama seeks to block release of abuse photos
Dear ACLU Supporter,
Hours ago, the Obama administration disappointingly reversed its promise to make public photos depicting detainee abuse by U.S. personnel overseas. The Department of Defense recently told a federal judge that it would release a “substantial number” of photos in response to a court ruling in an ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
There is no doubt that these photos would be disturbing. The day we are no longer upset by such repugnant acts would be a sad one. But, the outrage related to these photos shouldn’t be about their release. It should be about the horrific crimes that they depict. And, we must demand accountability for the widespread abuse they document.
The very fact that these photos exist only underscores the need for accountability and for a full investigation of crimes committed. As President Obama said on his first full day in office, “A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency.”
Tell President Obama you support transparency and accountability at the highest levels of government.
The ACLU pressed for the recent release of the long-secret Bush torture memos and is now calling for the release of the abuse photos because -- as painful as it is -- confronting the evidence of what was done is essential if we are to live by the law.
Those who turned a blind eye to abuse and those who put the despicable U.S. torture program in place had no right to ignore the rule of law.
And, no matter how hard some might try to turn us away from the facts, we also have no right to ignore the rule of law. We have to call to account those who did this and follow the evidence wherever it leads.
Please take a few moments to tell President Obama that you support transparency and accountability.
Sooner or later, these photos will come to light. And when they do, you and I will be heartbroken and sick to our stomachs to see so vividly what the U.S. torture program entailed.
But, the real heartbreak -- the real betrayal of our values and principles -- would come if we denied our moral and legal responsibility to bring to account those who involved our country in torture so horrid that we hesitate to even look it in the eye.
The President is listening to and weighing carefully the advice of those in his administration on these issues. But he also needs to hear from concerned citizens like you.
Tell President Obama you support transparency and accountability.
The debate about the release of these photos will continue in the courts, and the ACLU will be there to argue for transparency and to insist that a democracy thrives on the free flow of information.
I urge you to act on your deepest beliefs about what kind of country we are. Join the ACLU in calling on President Obama to put the full weight of his leadership behind our call for transparency and accountability.
Anthony D. Romero
P.S. We’re talking about issues of fundamental importance to our core beliefs. Please share this email with as many people as possib