For Immediate Release
Mike Ferner 419-729-7273
Paul Sullivan 202-558-4553
Camilo Mejia 786-302-8842
Veterans Call For Release of Detainee Abuse Photos
Three Groups Urge Veterans to Sign Letter to President Obama
WASHINGTON - Three military veteran organizations
call on the Obama Administration to release photographs depicting abuse
of detainees in U.S. custody. Veterans For Peace, Iraq Veterans Against
the War and Veterans for Common Sense wrote a joint letter to President
Obama describing how releasing the pictures is crucial to U.S. national
security, upholding international law and safe guarding democracy at
home. The organizations published the joint letter and asked veterans
to co-sign before it is sent to the President. Read the letter to President Obama here.
The veterans' letter rejects the premise that the release will do more
harm than good. The letter quotes Harith al Obaidi, the head of the
largest Sunni Muslim bloc in Iraq's Parliament and the deputy chairman
of the Committee on Human Rights, saying "The people who want to
express their opinions through violence are already trying their best
to do so. Showing them a few pictures wouldn't make them any more able
to do it." He added that keeping the pictures secret will only bolster
suspicions that the American government is trying to suppress evidence
of more widespread abuse.
President of Veterans For Peace and former Navy Corpsman, Mike Ferner
said, "The biggest threat to our service members and our Republic is
that we forget what has happened and do it again," He continued,
"Withholding these photographs makes it more likely that the people of
our country can push these horrendous acts to the edge of our
collective memory. This will not serve our nation well."
Veterans for Common Sense Executive and Gulf War veteran Director Paul
Sullivan stated, "These documents must be made public and they must be
turned over to a special war crimes prosecutor. Never again should our
nation's leaders order torture with impunity."
Iraq War veteran and Board Chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War
Camilo Mejia stated, "Being open about our mistakes by releasing these
pictures is not only a way to ensure this dark episode in our history
will not be repeated, but also a crucial step in our healing process as
As part of their efforts to have the photos released Veterans For Peace has launched www.picturenomoretorure.org.
The organization is asking the public to take photos of themselves with
messages supporting the end of torture and the release of the
photographs. The pictures will later be taken to the White House.
The full text of the letter can be found at Veterans For Peace website, www.veteransforpeace.org.
Veterans For Peace is a national organization founded in 1985. It is structured around a national office in Saint Louis, MO and comprised of members across the country organized in chapters or as at-large members. The organization includes men and women veterans of all eras and duty stations including from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and current Iraq wars as well as other conflicts. Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary.