Veterans Call For Release of Detainee Abuse Photos

CONTACT: Camilo Mejia, 786-302-8842
Paul Sullivan 202-558-4553
Mike Ferner 419-729-7273

Veterans Call For Release of Detainee Abuse Photos

Three Groups Urge Veterans to Sign Letter to President Obama

Philadelphia, PA – Three military veteran organizations are calling 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.

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.

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 a nation.”

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.”

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.”

The full text of the letter can be found at Iraq Veterans Against the War website,
Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is a national membership organization consisting of veterans and active duty service members who have served in the US military since September 11, 2001. IVAW currently has over 1,700 members spread throughout the 50 states as well as Canada, Europe, and Iraq, and has 54 active chapters, including six on military bases. To learn more about IVAW visit us at