SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 78
September 1, 2004

A TALE OF TWO INTERROGATION MANUALS

Some of the abuses that were committed against prisoners detained by U.S. forces in Iraq may have derived from conflicting guidance and from improper reliance on an outdated interrogation manual, the Washington Post reported this week.

The manual that was supposed to be in effect was U.S. Army Field Manual 34-52 of 28 September 1992. A copy of this document is now available here in a very large 14.5 MB PDF file (thanks to S):

But instead, Army officials issued guidance based on an earlier and in some ways more permissive edition of the same manual, dated 8 May 1987, the Post reported. That edition is available from GlobalSecurity.org here:

For the context, see "Documents Helped Sow Abuse, Army Report Finds" by R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post, August 30:

By classifying certain portions of its investigation, the Defense Department may have improperly shielded some high-level officials from scrutiny, Human Rights First charged in a news release this week. See:


CRUISE MISSILE DEFENSE (CRS)

The status of Defense Department efforts to develop defenses against cruise missiles is addressed in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

"Congress directed DOD to undertake BMD [ballistic missile defense] and CMD [cruise missile defense] efforts in a mutually supportive fashion," the CRS notes.

But "Some argue that Pentagon efforts on CMD have taken a back seat to BMD efforts," the report says understatedly.

See "Cruise Missile Defense," updated August 27, 2004:


EMP AND MICROWAVE WEAPONS (CRS)

The military threat posed by microwave weapons is often presented without a careful examination of its plausibility, feasibility and likelihood.

A recent commission report to Congress may have encouraged such credulousness, and it is reflected in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

The CRS relies in part on a highly speculative article on non-nuclear microwave weapons by one Carlo Kopp which, observes George Smith of GlobalSecurity.org, is open to question.

"There is absolutely no evidence that such a weapon works or that it even can be built the way the [Kopp] piece implies that it can," Dr. Smith said. "No such e-bomb has ever been demonstrated in over eleven years, which is when this article was first published."

See "High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and High Power Microwave (HPM) Devices: Threat Assessments," Congressional Research Service, August 20, 2004:


MORE CRS PRODUCTS

Direct public access to Congressional Research Service reports is not permitted by the current congressional leadership. But the following reports are newly available nevertheless.

"9/11 Commission Recommendations: Joint Committee on Atomic Energy -- A Model for Congressional Oversight?" August 20, 2004:

"The Multi-State Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX) Pilot Project," August 18, 2004:

"Aviation Security-Related Findings and Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission," August 24, 2004:

"Emergency Communications: The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings," August 13, 2004:

"9/11 Commission Recommendations: A Civil Liberties Oversight Board," August 9, 2004:

"The Information Quality Act: OMB's Guidance and Initial Implementation," August 19, 2004:


OPEN ACCESS TO GOVT HEALTH RESEARCH URGED

In an open letter to Congress last week, two dozen Nobel laureates called for free, online public access to the results of government-funded research in health and medicine.

"There is widespread acknowledgement that the current model for scientific publishing is failing us," the Nobelists wrote. "An increase in the volume of research output, rising prices and static library budgets mean that libraries are struggling to purchase subscriptions to all the scientific journals needed."

"As scientists and taxpayers too, we ... object to barriers that hinder, delay or block the spread of scientific knowledge supported by federal tax dollars -- including our own works."

See their August 26 letter here:

A new coalition of scientists, researchers, and others such as the Association of Research Libraries has formed to advance the cause of open access to government-funded research. For more information, see:

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Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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