Friday, September 10, 2010

Another coverup on Abu Ghraib

Six years on, and it seems we still haven't seen the full horror of what the Americans did at Abu Ghraib. According to the Telegraph, there are more photos. And these ones are worse, much worse:

Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged.

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

The US government is refusing to release the photos, on the grounds that they might "endanger the troops". Which is an excuse worthy of the Catholic Church. These photos are evidence of serious crimes. Nothing can justify covering them up and preventing justice from being served.

In fact, I'm wondering why justice hasn't been served already. The US government has had these photos for years. They show "torture, abuse, rape and every indecency". So why haven't the perpetrators been prosecuted? Because it would be bad for the reputation of the US military? If so, how do they think collusion and complicity in those crimes by covering them up is going to look?

When crimes have been committed, the best response is openness. There are reasons to suppress information around a trial, but no trial seems to be being contemplated, and in any case those decisions are best made on a case-by-case basis by the presiding judge. What we have here is an institution engaged in a blanket coverup, in an effort to deny that a crime has been committed at all. And as the Catholic Church has found it, that's stupid as well as wrong.