from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2008, Issue No. 16
February 13, 2008
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
- ARMY BLOCKS PUBLIC ACCESS TO DIGITAL LIBRARY
- INTERDICTION OF AIRCRAFT INVOLVED IN DRUG SMUGGLING
- IRANIAN NUCLEAR SCIENCE RESEARCH
- THE RUIN OF J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER
- DOD ON DETAINEE OPERATIONS
ARMY BLOCKS PUBLIC ACCESS TO DIGITAL LIBRARY
Public access to the Reimer Digital Library, which is the largest online collection of U.S. Army doctrinal publications, has been blocked by the Army, which last week moved the collection behind a password-protected firewall.
But today the Federation of American Scientists filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking the Army to provide a copy of the entire unclassified Library so that it could be posted on the FAS web site.
The Army move on February 6 marks the latest step in an ongoing withdrawal of government records from the public domain.
"It was a policy decision to put it behind the AKO [Army Knowledge Online] firewall and to restrict public access," said Don Gough of the system development division at the Army Training Support Center at Fort Eustis, Virginia, which operates the Reimer Digital Library.
The move came as a surprise since only unclassified and non-sensitive records had ever been made available at the Library site.
Isn't it true, Secrecy News asked, that the only documents that had been accessible to the public were those that had been specifically... "'Approved for public release,' yes," said Mr. Gough, completing our sentence. "I understand your concern," he added.
The FAS Freedom of Information Act request is intended to reverse the Army action.
"We hope to restore public access to the Reimer Digital Library by obtaining all of its publicly releasable contents and posting that material on our own website," the FAS request explained. "Furthermore, in order to preserve the status quo, we expect to file regular FOIA requests for updates to the RDL two or three times a month, so that we may add them to our mirror site."
"Alternatively, if the Army were to restore the prior level of public access to the RDL, that would fulfill this request and make future requests unnecessary," the FAS request stated.
Among the many thousands of documents that were formerly available to the public on the Reimer Digital Library, two of the latest additions are these.
"The Modular Force," Field Manual Interim FMI 3-0.1, January 2008:
"Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High Yield Explosives Operational Headquarters," Field Manual Interim FMI 3-90.10, January 2008:
INTERDICTION OF AIRCRAFT INVOLVED IN DRUG SMUGGLING
The U.S. Government supported the interdiction of over 80 flights over Colombia last year as well as an undisclosed number of other flights over Brazil that were suspected of involvement in drug trafficking, according to a new White House report to Congress.
The report describes the procedures used, and the results that followed.
See "Report Relating to the Interdiction of Aircraft Involved in Illicit Drug Trafficking," communication from the President of the United States, February 6:
IRANIAN NUCLEAR SCIENCE RESEARCH
The scale of Iranian research in nuclear science and technology is evident from a new bibliography of published research by Iranian scientists.
The bibliography, prepared by Mark Gorwitz, a private nonproliferation researcher, includes titles on nuclear physics, reactor safety, isotope separation and more.
See "Iranian Nuclear Science Bibliography: Open Literature References," by Mark Gorwitz, February 2008:
THE RUIN OF J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER
Priscilla J. McMillan, author of the well-received 2006 book "The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Birth of the Modern Arms Race," has opened up some of her personal archives relating to Oppenheimer and posted them online.
Dozens of primary source documents that were uncovered by Ms. McMillan in the course of her research on Oppenheimer, along with related resources, can now be found on this site:
The author has a new blog here:
DOD ON DETAINEE OPERATIONS
The Department of Defense has released the final version of its controversial doctrine on "detainee operations," which defines the class of unlawful enemy combatants and prescribes their treatment.
"US forces must be prepared to properly control, maintain, protect, and account for all categories of detainees in accordance with applicable domestic law, international law, and policy," the new publication explains.
Among the categories of detainees are those designated as "unlawful enemy combatants" who, the DoD states, do not enjoy the ordinary protections of lawful combatants.
"Unlawful ECs are persons not entitled to combatant immunity, who engage in acts against the United States or its coalition partners in violation of the laws and customs of war during an armed conflict or who support such acts. For purposes of the war on terrorism, the term unlawful EC is defined to include, but is not limited to, an individual who is or was part of or supporting Taliban or al Qaeda forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners."
At the same time, however, even unlawful enemy combatants must be treated humanely, the document says, and to do otherwise is a war crime.
"Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as construed and applied by US law, establishes minimum standards for the humane treatment of all persons detained by the United States and coalition and allied forces. It is a war crime to undercut or violate these standards. Common Article 3 prohibits at any time and in any place: 'violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; taking of hostages; outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples'."
See "Detainee Operations," Joint Publication JP 3-63, February 6, 2008:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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