A former Guantanamo Bay detainee alleges in a federal court filing that videos and still pictures taken while he was incarcerated document abuse he suffered at the hands of U.S. military personnel.
Binyam Mohamed, who has since been released to the UK, asks that the court order that the evidence be preserved. He says his attorney has some of the images and that they show him being severely beaten.
The government has been trying to keep additional evidence of prisoner abuse from being publicly released on the grounds that to do so would inflame some in the Muslim world to attack Americans and U.S. interests around the world. The administration has real cause for concern if the images are as graphic as Mohamed alleges.
The real question here is, were these cases of alleged prisoner abuse simply cases of overzealous members of the armed forces ignoring policy and taking matters into their own hands? That alone would be bad enough. It would indicate a breakdown of discipline and chain of command at Gitmo. But an even worse-case scenario would be that the alleged abuse of detainees was tacitly approved by the command chain.
Whether a court rules the images should be released or, in the name of national security, suppressed, a thorough investigation into these allegations must be undertaken. Beating and humiliating prisoners is not the American way.
If they prove to be true, then those involved and responsible need to be prosecuted. And steps must be taken to ensure that this doesn't ever happen again.