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Latin American Studies Association (LASA)

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Resolution on Wikileaks and Whistleblowers

Whereas: the United States government has sought to censor the website Wikileaks, a publisher of classified documents that are shedding unprecedented light on U.S. actions overseas;

Whereas: the U.S. government has begun criminal proceedings against accused Army whistleblower Private Bradley Manning, whom it has held in military detention since May 2010 under conditions condemned by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez;

Whereas: Wikileaks has made a strenuous effort to avoid endangering persons named within the released documents by offering to let the U.S. government redact individuals’ names, and has not released information such as nuclear weapons codes which, unlike the documents released, actually could endanger global security;

Whereas: the Obama administration has prosecuted more government whistleblowers than all previous U.S. administrations combined, sending an ominous signal for the future of academic and journalistic freedom;

Whereas: open access to information about government activities is essential to the functioning of a democratic society, the enforcement of international law, and the pursuit of scholarly knowledge;

Whereas: scholarly organizations have a special responsibility to defend the principles of government transparency and academic and journalistic freedom;

Whereas: the Latin American Studies Association is the world’s largest professional association devoted to the study of Latin America, a region that has been the target of frequent U.S. interventions and whose history is closely intertwined with that of the United States;

Therefore be it Resolved:

1.) The Latin American Studies Association calls upon the Obama administration to recognize Wikileaks’s right to publish information in the public interest;

2.) The Latin American Studies Association condemns the imprisonment and cruel treatment of Bradley Manning, including the period of over nine months in which Manning was kept in solitary confinement;

3.) The Latin American Studies Association calls upon the Obama administration to extend protection for Bradley Manning and other whistleblowers under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989.

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