The Intercept reports on a federal judge rejecting the pretexts the government has been using to fight the release of photos of detainee abuse and demanding that they justify withholding each photo on an individual basis or comply with his order to release them:
A federal judge is demanding that the government explain, photo-by-photo, why it can’t release hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of pictures showing detainee abuse by U.S. forces at military prison sites in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a courtroom in the Southern District of New York yesterday, Judge Alvin Hellerstein appeared skeptical of the government’s argument, which asserted that the threat of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda exploiting the images for propaganda should override the public’s right to see any of the photos.
He was “highly suspicious” of the government’s attempt to declare the whole lot of the photos dangerous. “It’s too easy and too meaningless,” he said.
…“We’re at a line in the sand,” Hellerstein declared. “I’m not changing my view.”
He gave the government a week to decide what it wants to do: appeal the order, or put forward a plan to comply with it. He suggested that the government could present the photos to him, in a closed session, and explain their rationale for keeping them secret. He also advised the government not to try to delay “the day of reckoning” by drawing the case out on appeal.