Civil-rights and veterans groups have filed a complaint against the U.S. for information on the abuses at Abu Ghraib and other foreign military prisons where abuse may have occured. The groups — The American Civil Liberties Union, The Center For Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans for Peace — claim that U.S. departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State (the CIA and FBI are also named) have failed to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the groups last year. Reuters has the details in “U.S. is sued over records of military prisoner abuse”:
They said that the only information that has been released since their FOIA request was a set of guidelines that State Department employees are to use when answering questions from reporters about the treatment of detainees. An ACLU lawyers said the guidelines emphasized that prisoners were being treated humanely.
The groups are asking the court to order the immediate release of records about the abuse of prisoners held at Abu Ghraib and other overseas detention facilities, the deaths of detainees in United States custody and the policies governing the interrogation of detainees in United States custody.
“The administration’s refusal to release these records in light of all we now know about rampant abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and elsewhere is simply outrageous,” said Jeffrey Fogel, director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “The American public has a right to know what was condoned, by whom, and how far up the chain of command it went.”
I doubt that any Federal judge is going to have much sympathy for agencies that appear to be trying to cover information up, but I also doubt that Powell and the State Dept are complicit in any of this. Remember that he handed in his resignation (pre-resignation, he won’t be returning in 2005 if Bush does) very close to the time that memos were being passed around that warned of war crimes, presidential culpability and the obsolecence of Geneva Conventions.
Memo Shows Hypocrisy on International Law
Fresh Calls for War-Crime Exemption from U.S.
Visual of Abu Ghraib Chain of Command
Smells like a Cover-Up
Torture Roundup: Rumsfeld knew; Bush Sidestepped Geneva; Libelous Backlash