Wednesday, July 25, 2012

UK Judge OKs Wikileaks Cables in Chagos Islanders' Investigation

The other day, Marcy Wheeler took Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to task for upholding "the government’s right to withhold cables already released via WikiLeaks under FOIA." She quotes the judge's ruling in the ACLU lawsuit to obtain via FOIA the State Department cables released by Wikileaks (and for which Bradley Manning has falsely been indicted for espionage):
"No matter how extensive, the WikiLeaks disclosure is no substitute for an official acknowledgement and the ACLU has not shown that the Executive has officially acknowledged that the specific information at issue was a part of the WikiLeaks disclosure."
Wheeler has been following the case for some time, noting how the government is withholding already publicly released (but not officially released!) documents that point to the government's torture cover-up, not to mention "admissions of crime, including murder, torture, and kidnapping."

What I wanted to point out is a recent news article which shows how different is Judge Kollar-Kotelly's ruling from that of UK High Justice Stanley Burton. Burton, according to a Press Association (PA) article published July 25 at Huffington Post, in a ruling regarding claims by expelled Chagos Islanders against the UK government, specifically allowed the use of Wikileaks cables by the claimants. The expulsion was, as I pointed out in an article on the subject some months back, to allow for the presence of the huge U.S. Diego Garcia naval base (where prisoners have reported to have been disappeared or tortured).

PA reported the situation:
They say their case is supported by a cable obtained by WikiLeaks, sent by the US embassy in London to the US State Department in Washington in May 2009....

The judge said: "I understand why it is the policy of HM Government neither to confirm nor deny the genuineness of leaked documents, save in exceptional circumstances, particularly where, as here, the documents in question are not those produced or received by the UK Government.

"However, the documents have been leaked and indeed widely published.

He ruled: "I do not see how the present claim can be fairly or justly determined without resolving the allegation made by the claimant, based on the WikiLeaks documents."
I hope ACLU will add this fact to any appeal they make in their FOIA. But the larger issue is how craven the U.S. judiciary has become after ten years of heightened "war against terror," having lost all common sense in the drive to protect U.S. power, no matter how brutally applied.

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