After fighting an American Civil Liberties Union Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for more than a decade, the Pentagon has finally released photos of Bush-era detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan. But only 198 photos were released on Friday, mainly showing bruises and scrapes, and the military is still blocking the release of around 1,800 other photos believed to show more serious abuse by Americans, the New York Times reports. The Pentagon says the photos come from criminal investigations that led to punishment for 65 service members ranging from life in prison to warning letters, reports CNN. Last year, a judge ordered the release of the photos, some of which were taken at Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib prison.
The Obama administration originally planned to release the cache of photos in 2009, but changed course amid a backlash and warnings that they could inspire attacks on American troops overseas. The ACLU says it plans to fight for the release of the rest of the photos, including some believed to show an Iraqi farmer executed with his hands tied behind his back. "It's most likely the case that these are the most innocuous of the photos, and if that's true, it's a shadow of meaningful transparency," ACLU attorney Alex Abdo tells the Guardian. He says the ACLU believes the photos can create change and accountability the way photos of police abuse have done—and "the Pentagon knows it, too." (Read more Pentagon stories.)