In a statement released to the press, Wikileaks has announced a new plan to publish over 100 classified documents relating to standard operating procedures (SOP) established by the Department of Defense pertaining to the treatment of detainees at military prisons. The New York Daily News reports that in the statement accompanying the latest document dump, “WikiLeaks criticized regulations it said had led to abuse and impunity.”
Wikileaks is calling the cache the “Detainee Policies,” and in the press release they claim the purpose of the publication of the documents is to aid human rights investigators in researching “policies of accountability” as set forth in the Defense Department directives included in the release.
The statement, attributed to Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, reads: “The 'Detainee Policies' show the anatomy of the beast that is post-9/11 detention, the carving out of a dark space where law and rights do not apply, where persons can be detained without a trace at the convenience of the U.S. Department of Defense.” And: “It shows the excesses of the early days of war against an unknown 'enemy' and how these policies matured and evolved” resulting in "the permanent state of exception that the United States now finds itself in, a decade later."
The documents will be released over the course of a month and will focus primarily on rules governing three prisons maintained by the U.S. armed forces: Camp Bucca (near Umm Qasar, Iraq), Abu Ghraib (also in Iraq), and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Among the information that will be released by Wikileaks is a 2005 document called “Policy on Assigning Detainee Internment Serial Numbers.” As described by Wikileaks, “This document is concerned with discreetly 'disappearing' detainees into the custody of other U.S. government agencies while keeping their names out of U.S. military central records — by systematically holding off from assigning a prisoner record number.” Although it isn’t explicit in the Wikileaks statement, this document seems to refer to the transfer of U.S. prisoners in and out of so-called “black site” prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, several civil liberties were effectively revoked purportedly as a response to the threat of terrorism. Due process — the right of an accused to face his accuser, know the charges placed against him, and to defend himself against those charges before an impartial judge — was among those abridged rights.
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Photo of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange