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The ACLU has recently obtained some 800 pages of documents from the Defense Department via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Among the documents are newly-released annexes to the Pentagon’s Fay-Jones inquiry into the abuses at Abu Ghraib. The new documents reveal extensive testimony of widespread and systematic abuse on a scale not fully portrayed by the original report. There is no way the administration can use the “few bad apples” line any longer.

The ACLU also obtained documentation of a formal agreement between the Army and the CIA to hide “ghost detainees.” These were prisoners who were kept “off the records” so that the CIA could interrogate them without any oversight. Other documents verified that these “ghost detainees” were hidden from Red Cross monitoring.

Also revealed was evidence of a phenomenon that Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the head of a Military Police unit at Abu Ghraib, once called “releaseaphobia”—or fear that releasing an innocent detainee who was abused would not please higher-ups and may lead to the detainee joining insurgent forces. According to one contractor’s testimony,

 

It became obvious to me that the majority of our detainees were detained as a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and were swept up by Coalition Forces as peripheral bystanders during raids. It appeared that there was an extreme reluctance to release these low value inmates because of the fear that one of them might return to attack Coalition Forces.

 

The administration is trying to dampen the shock value of the newly-uncovered abuses by releasing these documents bit by bit. The hope here is that the media, seeing the Fay-Jones report as last year’s news, won’t see a new story in old documents. But it would be unfortunate, indeed dangerous, if the public assumes that they have already seen all this. As new documents come out, it becomes obvious that there is much more to the story that we have yet to see.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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