This has been one of the biggest obstacles in the war on terrorism. The ACLU, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have been filing lawsuits ever since the first detainees have been captured. Much of this centers around claims of torture and abuse. While there have been incidents of abuse, they have been investigated and dealt with. Most recently, American soldier Lynndie England was convicted for her part in the Abu Ghraib scandal, given a dishonorable discharge, and sentenced to three years in prison, for her role in detainee abuse.
The real risk of these lawsuits is that the documents turned over will end up in reports published. These will likely divulge things like interrogation methods and evidence about other sources of intelligence that will either alert al Qaeda about how the United States is gathering information or will enable them to resist interrogation in the future. The ACLU and other human-rights groups will publicize these reports through press conferences that will get widespread and sympathetic coverage from the news media. This will be picked up by al Jazeera and other Arab media outlets, much like the comparison of American interrogation techniques to actions by Nazi Germany and the Khmer Rouge by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois did in July.
The resulting coverage will give al Qaeda’s recruiting efforts a boost, and will fire up those currently fighting. It will also dry up intelligence sources as some people will be upset over this. The release of these photos could lead to a military and intelligence disaster for the United States. – Harold C. Hutchison (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the United States, a federal judge has ruled that the Pentagon must release 74 photographs and three videotapes relating to the Abu Ghraib scandal. The order is a result of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in October of 2003, which has been waging this level of lawfare against the Pentagon over a variety of projects.