Coalition Wants Full Disclosure on Torture


A coalition of 25 regional and national organizations on Tuesday called on the Obama administration to reconsider its decision not to disclose evidence of torture of detainees held by the United States.

The coalition sent a letter to the president asking specifically that he direct the Defense Department to comply with court orders requiring disclosure of photos documenting detainee abuse.

“While Congress has authorized your administration to disregard court orders to disclose photos documenting abuse, the Department of Defense retains—and we request that you exercise—the authority to declassify and release the photos,” the letter reads. “Torture apologists have concocted the self-serving ruse that releasing the photos would undermine the safety of U.S. troops deployed abroad, ignoring the sad reality that any potential harm to our troops inheres in the criminal conduct depicted in the photos, not their potential disclosure.”

The letter connects the decision to hold the photos to the recent resignation of the White House counsel.

“Your administration reversed an earlier decision to disclose evidence of torture, and lobbied Congress to secure a legislative exemption entitling the Defense Department to keep that evidence secret,” the letter reads. “Secretary of Defense Robert Gates executed that authority just last week, as former White House Counsel Greg Craig (the senior official reportedly most responsible for what little progress your administration has made towards accountability) announced his resignation.”

Groups who signed on to the letter include: the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), the Alliance for Justice, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, Code Pink: Women for Peace, Progressive Christians Uniting, Veterans for Peace, and Witness Against Torture.

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