Thursday, December 23, 2010

UN's top torture investigator will probe conditions of Bradley Manning's confinement in Marine jail

David House, now being harassed by
the Department of Homeland Security
Glen Greenwald reports in Salon that both The Guardian and the Associated Press are telling their readers that the U.N.'s top official in charge of torture is now formally investigating the conditions under which the U.S. is detaining accused WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning.

Greenwald notes that supporters of Manning are being subjected to government abuse as well.. 
Last...  November 3, David House, a 23-year-old researcher who works at MIT, was returning to the U.S. from a short vacation with his girlfriend in Mexico, and was subjected to similar and even worse treatment. House's crime: he did work in helping set up the Bradley Manning Support Network, an organization created to raise money for Manning's legal defense fund, and he has now visited Manning three times in Quantico, Virginia, where the accused WikiLeaks leaker is currently being detained (all those visits are fully monitored by government agents).  Like Appelbaum, House has never been accused of any crime, never been advised that he's under investigation, and was never told by any federal agents that he's suspected of any wrongdoing at all.

At Chicago's O'Hare Airport, he was met in the concourse by customs agents, who examined the passports of all deplaning passengers until they saw House's, at which point they stopped... House was told that he was required to relinquish all of his electronic products, and thus gave them his laptop, cellphone, digital camera and UBS flash drive.  He was also told to give the agents all of his passwords and encryption keys, which he refused to do.

House was then taken to a detention room by two armed agents and on his way there, he passed by a room in which several individuals were plugging various instruments into his laptop and cellphone... He was told that he would not receive his laptop or camera back, and the agents kept it.  To date, he has not received them back and very well may never.  When he told them that he had roughly 20 hours of source code work in his laptop and would like to save it or email it to a saved site, they told him he could not do that.  He subsequently learned from Agent Santiago that although Agent Louck identified himself as a Homeland Security agent, he is, in fact, with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

What's going on is here obvious.  The Federal Government has the authority to conduct border searches of people entering the country that are far broader than for those inside the country, and such searches require no search warrant.  The Government has that power in order to prevent security threats from entering the country, but here, they are clearly exploiting and abusing it in order to conduct investigative searches which would ordinarily require a search warrant but for which they have no basis to obtain one.

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