Update 3/12/12: Juan Mendez officially condemns Manning’s treatment, Trevor Timm on secrecy hypocrisy, and Sunshine Week
UN torture chief declares Manning’s treatment cruel and inhuman. Expanding on comments he made last week, UN torture rapporteur Juan Mendez formally denounced the United States’ treatment of Bradley Manning at Quantico. As part of a lengthy report (PDF) on torture and otherwise abusive punishment around the world, and after a 14-month investigation into Manning’s treatment, Mendez writes:
The special rapporteur concludes that imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence.
Mendez details his efforts to hold an unmonitored visit with Pfc. Manning, and the U.S. government’s efforts to block such a meeting. The U.S. won’t allow the an unmonitored meeting because they allege his treatment “was not ‘solitary confinement’ but ‘prevention of harm watch’ but did not offer details about what harm was being prevented.” Mendez renewed his request for an official, private meeting with Pfc. Manning. (Read more…)
Trevor Timm breaks down the Obama administration’s secrecy hypocrisy. In an Op-Ed for Al Jazeera, Timm chronicles the Obama’s administration’s double standard on classified information – cracking down harshly on conscientious whistle-blowers while selectively leaking secret, sensitive information to the media as it chooses. Timm writes about the Washington Post article featuring a Top Secret cable, which we wrote about here.
Timm writes how dangerous such hypocrisy can be:
Whether it is Obama’s explicit intention or not, when only the government controls the information that enters the public sphere, the foreign policy decisions that result can be disastrous. Former President George W Bush’s administration famously leaked faulty classified information supporting his invasion of Iraq and kept contrary (and it turns out, truthful) intelligence out of the papers, leading to a decade-long war.
Referring to the chilling effect this crackdown on whistle-blowers has, Timm concludes, “But if whistleblowers are too afraid to come forward about current events, just like with Iraq, we may not know until it is too late.” (Read more…)
Kevin Gosztola is live-blogging Sunshine Week. At FireDogLake, civil liberties blogger Kevin Gosztola will cover various secrecy, transparency, and accountability issues throughout Sunshine Week, devoted to open, accountable governments. (Read more…)