Friday, 5 June 2009

Un-freedom of Information

What kind of a country passes a law that has no purpose other than to empower its leader to suppress evidence of the torture it inflicted on people? Read the language of the bill; it doesn't even hide the fact that its only objective is to empower the President to conceal evidence of war crimes.

 — Glenn Greenwald

The ACLU is currently trying to get the US government to release certain photographs allegedly depicting abuse of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

President Obama initially supported the release of the photographs, but has now changed his position, citing national security concerns. Which is perhaps questionable but within the provisions of how the Freedom of Information Act works.

But not content with this, the Senate has now voted to introduce new law, the "Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009". The law allows the Secretary of Defence to quash the disclosure of any photographs of US detainees taken between 9/11 and January 2009. It effectively guts the FOIA when it comes to photographs of US prisoners.

Why are those photographs so important? Simply put, if photographs of torture become public, then the torturers' crimes become visible and provable - and preventable. Make no mistake - waterboarding is torture, waterboarding was used at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, and there are plenty of suggestions that even worse happened.

The law was tacked onto the end of a spending bill, which so far has failed to pass the House of Representatives, thanks to a number of Democrats refusing to vote for it. Of course, said representatives are now being put under pressure to support their bill.

What can you do? Well, it obviously helps to be a US citizen for this one.
Even if you're not, please spread the word about this by social-bookmarking, linking to, or forwarding this blog post or this article.

If you are a US citizen, you can do the following:

No comments:

Post a Comment