ALA Annual – Anaheim proposed Resolution #2


WHEREAS, WikiLeaks is a non-profit organization that publishes submissions of secret documents from anonymous sources and news leaks; and
WHEREAS, WikiLeaks has made available thousands of important documents concerning United States foreign and military policy; and
WHEREAS, WikiLeaks is performing a vital watchdog role by expanding citizens’ knowledge on matters of vital public concern, following in the steps of the newspapers that published the Pentagon Papers, courageously supplied by Daniel Ellsberg; and
WHEREAS, Support for WikiLeaks should be a concern for all those who believe in the right to know and intellectual freedom, and most especially librarians; and
WHEREAS, WikiLeaks is under tremendous pressure from many governments, elected officials, and prominent personalities to stop publishing leaked documents; and
WHEREAS, The American Library Association has signed a joint letter with many other organizations asking the United States government to reverse its order to US government agencies blocking access to WikiLeaks, in support of publishers’ and citizens’ first amendment rights, and against the possible application of the Espionage Act against WikiLeaks; therefore be it
RESOLVED that the American Library Association
1. Supports the rights of WikiLeaks to publish leaked government documents;
2. Commends the efforts of WikiLeaks to expunge from documents names and other material deemed potentially harmful to innocent people;
3. Commends WikiLeaks for performing a public service by making available important documents related to foreign and military policy;
4. Recommends that libraries consider linking their websites to the WikiLeaks website where appropriate; and
5. Condemns any harassment of WikiLeaks.

Supporting document:

Policy Manual 53.1 Library Bill of Rights:
1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

ALA Annual – Anaheim Resolutions proposed #1

I’m starting to see resolutions for ALA come through. I’ll pass them along as they arise.
The Wikileaks resolutions were presented last year and were basically defeated. I don’t have a sense of the response this year.


Resolution in Support of Whistleblower Bradley Manning

WHEREAS, in May 2010 Pfc. Bradley Manning of the U.S. Army was arrested for allegedly leaking classified materials to the anti-secrecy website, WikiLeaks; and
WHEREAS, for these alleged actions Bradley Manning now faces numerous charges, including “aiding the enemy by indirect means,” punishable by the death penalty or life in prison; and
WHEREAS, the materials Bradley Manning is charged with releasing contained important revelations related to U.S. foreign and military policy, including the fact that the U.S. military withheld important information about the killing of journalists and innocent civilians in Iraq; the fact that, contrary to assertions by both the Bush and Obama administrations, there is an official tally of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan; the fact that it was official U.S. policy to ignore torture in Iraq; the fact that U.S. civilian contractors were complicit in child trafficking activities in Afghanistan; the fact that known Egyptian torturers have received training from the FBI in Quantico, Virginia; and the fact that the State Department authorized the theft of the UN Secretary General’s DNA; and
WHEREAS, Daniel Ellsberg has compared the actions of which Manning is accused to the release of the Pentagon Papers; and

WHEREAS, the American Library Association has strongly supported the principle of government accountability and the protection of whistleblowers; and

WHEREAS, Bradley Manning was detained for eight months on the Quantico Marine Corps Base under conditions described by Amnesty International as “unnecessarily severe” and “inhumane”, denounced by more than 300 legal scholars in the United States as “a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against punishment without trial”, and characterized by the United Nations special rapporteur on torture as “cruel, inhuman, and degrading”; and
WHEREAS, public statements by both President Obama and by Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that Manning broke the law may have prejudiced his right to a fair trial; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association calls upon the Secretary of the Army, the Honorable John M. McHugh, and the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General Raymond T. Odierno, to release Pfc. Bradley Manning from pre-trial confinement and drop the charges against him.

Supporting documents

“Resolution on Securing Government Accountability through Whistleblower Protection,” 2004 ALA Annual Conference CD# 20.7.
“Resolution Commending the FBI Whistleblower Who Exposed Abuses on the Use of Exigent National Security Letters,” 2007-2008 CD#20.5.