Yesterday, a US District Judge refused to release death photos of Osamabin Laden. Conservative watchdog organization Judicial Watch hadfiled a Freedom of Information Act request for the photos, but Judge JamesBoasberg denied their request, saying:
A picture may be worth a thousand words. And perhaps movingpictures bear an even higher value. Yet, in this case, verbal descriptionsof the death and burial of Osama bin Laden will have to suffice, for thiscourt will not order the release of anything more.
The photos, which were taken nearly a year ago after the successful raidon bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, reportedly show the dead AlQaeda leader with bullet wounds to his face and chest. President Obamarefused to release the photos on grounds that their publication might incitebin Laden’s followers to attempt retaliatory attacks against the US.
The media was far less concerned about potential incitement of ourenemies in 2004 when 60 Minutes II and the New Yorkerpublished the Abu Ghraib photos. Salon returned to publish more photos in2006 on the grounds that they were too important to be forgotten. If theywere concerned about a potential backlash against the US, theirself-justification for publishing the photos forgot tomention it.