A little-noticed provision in a homeland security funding bill could end efforts to make public photos of prisoners abused in US custody abroad, the American Civil Liberties Union stated on Wednesday.
Members of the House and Senate have added a provision proposed by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to the funding bill that would make such photos exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, meaning that, if the law is upheld, the Pentagon could continue to suppress the photos, the ACLU said.
The measure would strike at the heart of the civil liberties group’s efforts to make some two thousand photos of alleged abuse public. The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information request for the photos with the Department of Defense in 2003; they have been in court fighting for the photos’ release ever since.
In 2005, a US District Court judge in New York ordered the photos released, but the Bush administration appealed the ruling. In 2008, an appeals court upheld the ruling and again ordered the photos to be released.
Initially, the incoming Obama administration said it would comply with the ruling. But the administration reversed itself on the issue in May, and asked the Supreme Court to hear the case. The court is expected to decide on October 9 if it will hear the case.
But all efforts to make those photos public could be scuttled if a law exempting them from Freedom of Information requests is passed and upheld.
“Congress should not give the government the authority to hide evidence of its own misconduct, and if it does grant that authority, the Secretary of Defense should not invoke it,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s national security branch, in a statement released Wednesday. He added that “the suppression of these photos will ultimately be far more damaging to our national security than their disclosure would be.”
“We’re disappointed that conference committee members have approved this troubling legislation that will allow the government to withhold evidence of human rights abuses perpetrated by government personnel,” the ACLU’s head of national legislation, Michael Macleod-Ball, said. “Congress should not provide this authority.”
Here is the mega-list of the biggest promises Trump made — but never kept
President Donald Trump launched his 2020 campaign Tuesday, touting the campaign slogan "Promises Made, Promises Kept." Unfortunately, for the campaign, they'll likely spend a lot of time swearing that they've been able to accomplish things that quite simply haven't happened. Promises seemed easy for Trump make, but it likely won't be easy to convince Americans he's kept them.
Here's the list of Trump's "Promises Made, Promises Broken":
It's the one issue that Trump could actually get accomplished, but he's refusing to do it. While Americans grapple with tire-bursting potholes and crumbling bridges across the country, the president has put aside his plan to yell at Democrats. During the scheduled meeting, the president spent just three minutes reprimanding them before leaving the room and holding a press conference to tell Americans he’s on strike and nothing will move forward until investigations stop.
Angela Rye pounds CNN’s Steve Cortez for suggesting Ocasio-Cortez should resign
CNN turned into a shouting match on Tuesday after a Trump supporter attempted to defend the president's concentration camps along the southern border.
Conservatives panicked on Tuesday after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) referred to Trump's tent city detention centers as concentration camps.
Republican Steve Cortes argued against Ocasio-Cortez was wrong to correctly use the term concentration camps.
"AOC should apologize at least and probably resign," Cortez argued.
Progressive analyst Angela Rye shut down Cortez, explaining to viewers that Ocasio-Cortez was correctly using the term.
Rachel Maddow unleashes hellfire on Trump’s long history of appointing shady characters to his cabinet
On Tuesday, in response to the news that Defense Secretary nominee Patrick Shanahan is withdrawing over a domestic violence scandal, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow walked through President Donald Trump's catastrophically bad attempts to staff the top levels of the military system — attempts that led to a long parade of people withdrawing in disgrace.
First, Maddow noted, former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort unsuccessfully tried to get a bank CEO he struck a corrupt deal with to the Pentagon — only for that CEO to himself be arrested and charged with a federal crime.
"Don't worry, though, they had a plan 'B,'" said Maddow. "The president found another guy to nominate for that same job ... That announcement, Vinnie Viola, that plan "B" seemed to be going well until this part of that nominee's track record was released by the local police department in Saratoga Springs, New York. A police incident report about the new Trump Army Cecretary nominee punching a guy out at a high-end horse auction in Saratoga Springs ... less than six months before Trump announced him as his plan 'B' nominee to be Secretary of the Army. I guess they didn't Google him."