These images are not all of the withheld photographs and videos that were ordered released in September 2005 by District Judge Alvin Hellerstein. The government has stalled by appealing that order. These photographs, a few of which reprinted in a diary at Daily Kos, are being published by an Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning-Herald.
The ACLU, the principal plaintiff in the suit, published this press release on September 29, 2005:
A federal judge has ordered the release of photos and videos of detainee abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, saying that the photos may answer important questions about government accountability. In seeking the release of the images, the American Civil Liberties Union and its allies said the images are a critical component in the quest for public accountability. …
“[T]he quest for public accountability. …” My, isn’t the ACLU quixotically “quaint” in its aspirations.
The photographs were somehow leaked to an Australian television program, then to the Sydney newspaper. SBS’s Dateline “plans to broadcast about 60 previously unpublished photographs that the US Government has been fighting to keep secret in a court case with the American Civil Liberties Union,” reports the SMH.
Some of the photos are similar to those published in 2004, others are different. They include photographs of six corpses, although the circumstances of their deaths are not clear. There are also pictures of what appear to be burns and wounds from shotgun pellets.
The executive producer of Dateline, Mike Carey, said he was showing the pictures leaked to his program because it was important people understood what had happened at Abu Ghraib.
Dateline airs on Wednesday evening in Australia, which is early Wednesday morning on the U.S. East Coast. Their website has one new picture up now, and presumably they will post more of them after the show airs. They say that the photos are among those that were shown privately to members of Congress shortly after the original Abu Ghraib story broke.
While I am glad these photos were leaked, it is vastly more important — in fact, mandatory — that the U.S. government comply with the judge’s order to release ALL PHOTOGRAPHS and videos. No more leaks. Let’s see them all, and then apologize to the world. Thanks to Man Eegee for the tip on the release of these photos.