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The Neverending Story of the Abu Ghraib Photos

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Why does the story about photographs documenting abuse at Abu Ghraib go on and on? There’s one quick answer: because the U.S. government keeps dissembling and covering it up. The last exercise came yesterday, when the Daily Telegraph secured a description of some of the withheld photos from Major General Antonio Taguba. Pentagon spokesman Bryan G. Whitman responded with a harsh attack on the reputation of Britain’s principal conservative quality paper, and the White House chimed in. But they have a problem: the Daily Telegraph report is correct. I secured specific corroboration of the Telegraph report and further details on the photos in a story in the Daily Beast, just up.

What’s this storm all about? Remember that Barack Obama announced his about-face decision to withhold the photos with a carefully worded statement that “the people who appeared in those photographs” had been investigated and prosecuted. That’s true. But there has been no investigation of responsibility up the chain of command for the decisions that produced these abuses, and that’s just what Obama appears intent on blocking. He fully appreciates that disclosure of the photos would fuel demands for appointment of a special prosecutor and a criminal investigation of the torture regime.

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