Why is Obama Administration Hiding Evidence of Torture?

I've been trying to figure out why the Obama administration has been working so hard to conceal the "torture" photos in contradiction to its vocal support of the Freedom of Information Act.

Until this evening, it never occurred to me the photos might include physical evidence of genital mutilation.

British High Court rejects U.S./British cover-up of torture evidence

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon, October 17, 2009

The High Court's original ruling in Mohamed's favor contained seven paragraphs which described the torture to which Mohamed was subjected. It has been previously reported that those paragraphs contain descriptions of abuse so brutal that not even our own American media could dispute that it constitutes "torture":

The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed's genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, "is very far down the list of things they did," the official said.

But before the decision was released, the Court decided to redact those seven paragraphs.

White House "Ordered" Lawmakers to Amend FOIA in Order to Conceal Torture Photos

By Jason Leopold, Truthout, October 17, 2009

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-New York) said in a floor statement that the provision [the Protected National Security Documents Act of 2009] to amend the Freedom of Information Act was stripped from an earlier version of the [42.8 billion spending bill], but the language was quietly reinserted in recent weeks, "apparently under direct orders from the administration."

On Thursday, the House approved a Department of Homeland Security spending bill that included a provision to amend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and grant Defense Secretary Robert Gates the authority to withhold "protected documents" that, if released, would endanger the lives of US soldiers or government employees deployed outside of the country.

According to the bill, the phrase "protected documents" refers to photographs taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009, and involves "the treatment of individuals engaged, captured or detained" in the so-called "war on terror." Photographs that Gates determines would endanger troops and government employees could be withheld for three years.

Is Defense Secretary Gates exaggerating? There's good reason to believe the answer is No. One only has to look at the ugly case of PFC Kristian Menchaca and PFC Thomas Tucker. The two Privates were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered in retaliation for the brutal rape and murder of a 14 year old Iraqi girl and her family. The crime is commonly referred to as the Mahmudiyah killings.

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...here goes:

1. Avoid setting precedent that the GOP will further use next time they're in power to undo Democratic gains,

2. Keep a slight degree of control of the stage, since there are so many things that have to be dealt with and this could scuttle any forward progress on all fronts once the depth and factual basis are established -- people will insist on trials and investigations, and the GOP may even support 'em to a point in order to derail the rest of the agenda, and

3. Allow more evidence and smaller investigations to proceed and "leak" in ways that allow the news to get out so that a real hard-to-scuttle accounting can occur (or begin) prior to the end of Obama's first term, in order to ensure that it happens and that the rest of the agenda has at least been initiated.

Remember that the Bush Admin and GOP purposely created as big a mess as they could as they prepped to leave, because they knew they'd broken the law (and the nation) in so many ways...they wanted the tasks ahead of a Dem administration to be daunting and well-nigh impossible, so that nothing could be done with any degree of success when compared to all the rest of the damage done.

They're planning to harp on what ~wasn't~ accomplished in order to hold the Dems to a one-term administration or at least minimize their losses.

And this must be countered both within by the Administration, and (ideally) with the help of the majority and independents in Congress, as well as by the People -- including citizen journalists like us.

Which means keep asking the questions, and keep pointing out the good, the bad and festering.

It is a hypocritical act in the face of the administration's public announcement that FOIA requests should be granted under transparency.

And I still can't get over that Obama is pushing for legal cover to allow preventative detention:

Preventative Detention - Glenn Greenwald has covered this issue extensively since its announcement.

"preventive detention" allows indefinite imprisonment not based on proven crimes or past violations of law, but of those deemed generally "dangerous" by the Government for various reasons

All of this makes me very uncomfortable. But that's an aside to what I wanted this commentary to address. Namely, what's so horrific in the photos that the Obama administration is seeking by any means possible to squelch the public release of the photos. And the only thing that really makes sense - that would outrage people around the world, even our closest allies - is genital mutilation.

Why else would both the Obama and the Bush administration actually threaten to cease sharing intelligence with the UK? That's not a casual threat. That's serious, they wouldn't pull out that kind of a threat unless they feel they have no choice.

Meanwhile, what I don't understand is why Obama didn't just publish the photos almost immediately after he was sworn in and publicly repudiate them - physically hold them up and say, "this is illegal and unacceptable and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law under my administration." Unfortunately, that's not what he's done to date. So now these photos, whatever they contain, is now joined to Obama whether he likes it or not.

It's against human rights and should be ended, imo.

However, I still think there are reasons that we'd recognize behind the current stance -- I'd give one more year (painfully given) to have current crises dealt with and the GOP's obstructionism beaten back a little more, then I'll likely be far more vocal.

I knew from the get-go that no matter what or how good Obama's intentions may have been, the mess left behind meant some truly heinous issues would have to be held off or they'd trip up any real change.

And that's what's so bloody infuriating to me, along with the continued shenanigans on both sides of the aisle but wholeheartedly endorsed and practiced by the GOP.