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Thread: Stand for Bradley Manning this Saturday at Fort Meade!

  1. #21

    Default What Manning Revealed a recap.

    What Manning Revealed

    The debate in the media, and in political, circles over Edward Snowden--Right or Wrong--often doubles back on references to Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison this morning. Too often (that is, most of the time), the value and import of the Manning/WikiLeaks disclosures are ignored or dismissed, just as Snowden's NSA scoops often derided as "nothing new."

    So for those who either suffer from memory loss or ignorance on this particular score, here is a partial accounting of some of the important revelations in the Manning leak, drawn from my book (with Kevin Gosztola) on the Manning case, Truth and Consequences. The book was updated to this past June but the revelations below all came before March 2011--many others followed.

    First, just a very partial list from "Cablegate" (excluding many other bombshells that caused a stir in smaller nations abroad):

    -U.S. pressured the European Union to accept GM — genetic modification, that is.

    -Yemeni president lied to his own people, claiming his military carried out air strikes on militants actually done by U.S. All part of giving U.S. full rein in country against terrorists.

    -U.S. tried to get Spain to curb its probes of Gitmo torture and rendition.

    -Egyptian torturers trained by FBI—although allegedly to teach the human rights issues.

    -State Dept memo: U.S.-backed 2009 coup in Honduras was 'illegal and unconstitutional.'”

    -Cables on Tunisia appear to help spark revolt in that country. The country's ruling elite described as “The Family,” with Mafia-like skimming throughout the economy. The country's First Lady may have made massive profits off a private school.

    -U.S. knew all about massive corruption in Tunisia back in 2006 but went on supporting the government anyway, making it the pillar of its North Africa policy.

    -Cables showed the UK promised in 2009 to protect U.S interests in the official Chilcot inquiry on the start of the Iraq war.

    -Washington was misled by our own diplomats on Russia-Georgia showdown.

    -Extremely important historical document finally released in full: Ambassador April Glaspie's cable from Iraq in 1990 on meeting with Saddam Hussein before Kuwait invasion.

    -The UK sidestepped a ban on housing cluster bombs. Officials concealed from Parliament how the U.S. is allowed to bring weapons on to British soil in defiance of treaty.

    -New York Times: “From hundreds of diplomatic cables, Afghanistan emerges as a looking-glass land where bribery, extortion and embezzlement are the norm and the honest man is a distinct outlier.”

    -Afghan vice president left country with $52 million “in cash.”

    -Shocking levels of U.S. spying at the United Nations (beyond what was commonly assumed) and intense use of diplomats abroad in intelligence-gathering roles.

    -Potential environmental disaster kept secret by the US when a large consignment of highly enriched uranium in Libya came close to cracking open and leaking radioactive material into the atmosphere.

    -U.S. used threats, spying, and more to try to get its way at last year's crucial climate conference in Copenhagen.

    -Details on Vatican hiding big sex abuse cases in Ireland.

    -Hundreds of cables detail U.S. use of diplomats as “sales” agents, more than previously thought, centering on jet rivalry of Boeing vs. Airbus. Hints of corruption and bribes.

    -Millions in U.S. military aid for fighting Pakistani insurgents went to other gov't uses (or stolen) instead.

    -Israel wanted to bring Gaza to the ”brink of collapse.”

    -The U.S. secret services used Turkey as a base to transport terrorism suspects as part of its extraordinary rendition program.

    -As protests spread in Egypt, cables revealed that strong man Suleiman was at center of government's torture programs, causing severe backlash for Mubarak after he named Suleiman vice president during the revolt. Other cables revealed or confirmed widespread Mubarak regime corruption, police abuses and torture, and claims of massive Mubarak famiiy fortune, significantly influencing media coverage and U.S. response.

    Now, an excerpt from our book on just small aspect of the Iraq war cables. This doesn't even include the release of the "Collateral Murder" video earlier.
    Al Jazeera suggested that the real bombshell was the U.S. allowing Iraqis to torture detainees. Documents revealed that U.S. soldiers sent 1300 reports to headquarters with graphic accounts, including a few about detainees beaten to death. Some U.S. generals wanted our troops to intervene, but Pentagon chiefs disagreed, saying these assaults should only be reported, not stopped. At a time the U.S. was declaring that no torture was going on, there were 41 reports of such abuse still happening “and yet the U.S. chose to turn its back.”
    The New York Times report on the torture angle included this: “The six years of reports include references to the deaths of at least six prisoners in Iraqi custody, most of them in recent years. Beatings, burnings and lashings surfaced in hundreds of reports, giving the impression that such treatment was not an exception. In one case, Americans suspected Iraqi Army officers of cutting off a detainee’s fingers and burning him with acid. Two other cases produced accounts of the executions of bound detainees.
    “And while some abuse cases were investigated by the Americans, most noted in the archive seemed to have been ignored, with the equivalent of an institutional shrug: soldiers told their officers and asked the Iraqis to investigate….That policy was made official in a report dated May 16, 2005, saying that ‘if US forces were not involved in the detainee abuse, no further investigation will be conducted until directed by HHQ.’ In many cases, the order appeared to allow American soldiers to turn a blind eye to abuse of Iraqis on Iraqis.”
    Amnesty International quickly called on the U.S. to investigate how much our commanders knew about Iraqi torture.
    A top story at the Guardian, meanwhile, opened: “Leaked Pentagon files obtained by the Guardian contain details of more than 100,000 people killed in Iraq following the US-led invasion, including more than 15,000 deaths that were previously unrecorded.
    “British ministers have repeatedly refused to concede the existence of any official statistics on Iraqi deaths. U.S. General Tommy Franks claimed 'We don't do body counts.' The mass of leaked documents provides the first detailed tally by the U.S. military of Iraqi fatalities. Troops on the ground filed secret field reports over six years of the occupation, purporting to tote up every casualty, military and civilian.
    “Iraq Body Count, a London-based group that monitors civilian casualties, told the Guardian: 'These logs contain a huge amount of entirely new information regarding casualties. Our analysis so far indicates that they will add 15,000 or more previously unrecorded deaths to the current IBC total. This data should never have been withheld from the public”’ The logs recorded a total of 109,032 violent deaths between 2004 and 2009.
    Citing a new document, the Times reported: “According to one particularly painful entry from 2006, an Iraqi wearing a tracksuit was killed by an American sniper who later discovered that the victim was the platoon’s interpreter….The documents...reveal many previously unreported instances in which American soldiers killed civilians—at checkpoints, from helicopters, in operations. Such killings are a central reason Iraqis turned against the American presence in their country, a situation that is now being repeated in Afghanistan.”
    And now, re: the Afghanistan war logs:
    The Times highlighted it as “The War Logs” with the subhed, “A six-year archive of classified military documents offers an unvarnished and grim picture of the Afghan war.” Explicitly, or by extension, the release also raised questions about the media coverage of the war to date.
    The Guardian carried a tough editorial on its web site, calling the picture “disturbing” and raising doubts about ever winning this war, adding: “These war logs—written in the heat of engagement—show a conflict that is brutally messy, confused and immediate. It is in some contrast with the tidied-up and sanitized 'public' war, as glimpsed through official communiques as well as the necessarily limited snapshots of embedded reporting.”
    Elsewhere, the paper traced the CIA and paramilitary roles in the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan, many cases hidden until now. In one incident, a U.S. patrol machine-gunned a bus, wounding or killing 15. David Leigh wrote, “They range from the shootings of individual innocents to the often massive loss of life from air strikes, which eventually led President Hamid Karzai to protest publicly that the US was treating Afghan lives as ‘cheap’.”
    The paper said the logs also detailed “how the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.” Previously unknown friendly fire incidents also surfaced.
    The White House, which knew what was coming, quickly slammed the release of classified reports -– most labeled “secret” — and pointed out the documents ended in 2009, just before the president set a new policy in the war; and claimed that the whole episode was suspect because WikiLeaks was against the war. Still, it was hard to dismiss official internal memos such as: “The general view of Afghans is that current gov't is worse than the Taliban.”
    Among the revelations that gained prime real estate from The New York Times: “The documents… suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders.” The Guardian, however, found no “smoking gun” on this matter. The Times also reported that the U.S. had given Afghans credit for missions carried out by our own Special Ops teams.
    Obviously much more in our book.
    http://gregmitchellwriter.blogspot.c...t-manning.html
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  2. #22

    Default

    Just after Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday — and before Manning’s announcement of a gender transition earlier today — independent journalist Alexa O’Brien sat down with Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, for his first interview about the case. O’Brien was one of only a handful of journalists to cover the entire Manning trial and was the first to make transcripts of the proceedings publicly available. We air the interview in a Democracy Now! exclusive. Coombs talks about the government’s use of classified evidence, Manning’s reaction to the sentence and how much of the court record was hidden from the public. "I can’t believe that was actually the sentence he received," Coombs tells O’Brien. "Anyone who sat through the hearing and heard all the evidence, even in the closed sessions, there is not evidence there where you would think 35 years would be the appropriate sentence. I wonder now if there had actually been damaged or if he had really intended to harm the United States or wanted to obtain personal gain from selling classified information, just what the sentence would have been. Because this was a person who had true intentions. He wanted to help America. He wanted to get people to think about what was going on in Iraq. He didn’t have an evil motive in what he did."


    Transcript

    This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

    AMY GOODMAN: Now, today, in breaking news, Manning released another statement to the public announcing plans to live as a woman under the name Chelsea Manning. Just after the sentencing on Wednesday, before this latest announcement, independent journalist Alexa O’Brien sat down with Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, for Coombs’ first interview about the case. Alexa O’Brien was one of only a handful of journalists to cover the entire Manning trial, there every single day. She was the first to make transcripts of the proceedings publicly available. We’ll spend the rest of the hour airing this exclusive interview.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: Mr. Coombs, Bradley Manning was convicted of 20 offenses and just sentenced to 35 years. What is your reaction?
    DAVID COOMBS: Well, I look at the sentence, and I can’t believe that that was actually the sentence he received. Anyone who sat through the hearing, heard all the evidence, even in the closed sessions, there is not evidence there where you would think 35 years would be the appropriate sentence. I wonder now, if there had actually been damage, or if he had really intended to harm the United States, or if he wanted to obtain personal gain from selling classified information, just what the sentence would have been, because this was a person who had true intentions. He wanted to help America. He wanted to get people to think about what was going on in Iraq. And he didn’t have an evil motive in what he did. You heard from the sentencing his background, his story. And yet, that was the sentence he received.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: And how is Bradley Manning?
    DAVID COOMBS: Interestingly, he was the person who had probably the most cheerful mood afterwards. There were a lot of people who were very upset. He said, "Hey, it’s OK. It’s all right. I know you did everything you could for me. Don’t cry. Be happy. It’s fine. This is just a stage of my life. I’m moving forward. I will recover from this." So it was odd that I wasn’t the person who was trying to comfort him. It was just—just the opposite.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: My sense—I don’t know Bradley Manning, but my sense is that he has grown up through his court-martial process. He is actually quite a strong character in the courtroom. And he is—and I’ve described him as being incredibly earnest. I really think, you know, it’s the best way I can describe the sort of sense of sincerity that I get from hearing him testify. What’s your sense of Bradley Manning? How have you seen him grow through this process? Or—
    DAVID COOMBS: Oh, he definitely has matured. When I first met him three years ago, it was a young man who—still very idealistic, but, you know, when he had to explain certain things of what his thought process was, he had sometimes trouble articulating how he was feeling. It was clear he had these feelings, and it was clear he was sincere, but he couldn’t really talk about it. He also wasn’t a person who really knew how to connect with others, because he was so used to being judged. So, even though very caring, he would have difficulty whenever you got onto a personal level with them. I think over the years, the three years that I represented him, I’ve seen all those barriers break down. He is not just a client, he is a friend. And to see him mature over the last three years gives me great hope for him in the future. And that’s really why I believed an appropriate sentence would have been one that got him back to society sooner rather than later, because he has so much to offer. He is really somebody who in life didn’t have a lot of opportunities, didn’t have a lot going for him, and in spite of that, he turned out to be the type of person that he is, somebody who puts people first, who cares about people—even when these people don’t care about him. And that’s the amazing thing when you see what he does. His conduct really does back up his beliefs.
    AMY GOODMAN: Bradley Manning’s attorney David Coombs, being interviewed by journalist Alexa O’Brien. We’ll be back in 30 seconds.
    [break]
    AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to this exclusive interview with Bradley Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, just after the verdict was read, conducted by independent journalist Alexa O’Brien.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: Let’s talk about what 35 years means, the sentence, because a lot of people are talking about mitigating factors like, for example, the Clemency and Parole Board. In realistic terms, what does a 35-year sentence look like to you?
    DAVID COOMBS: Well, he’ll have several opportunities to lessen that time. Because it’s more than 30 years, he’ll be eligible for parole after 10. And so, that will be the first time they’ll look at him for parole. And then every year thereafter he’ll get a look. From my perspective, he would be an excellent candidate for parole, because he’s not a risk of recidivism. He’s not going to have access to classified information, clearly. His crime was not violent. It was not for personal gain. He has no anti-person—antisocial personality problems. So, this is a person who could be put in society today and be fine. So, my hope is that at the 10-year mark, which he gets time—credit for the time that he’s served, so really that’s seven years from now, roughly—that he would be somebody who is paroled. Every year thereafter, if he’s not granted parole, then he has another hearing. Although that’s not my specialty, I’m going to make it my specialty, and I’ll be there in 10 years.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: Great.
    DAVID COOMBS: Or, actually, seven.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: Yeah. And this would be part of time off for good behavior? Is that what you’re talking about? Or separate from parole?
    DAVID COOMBS: Separate from that. So when he goes into confinement, he will get two dates. They will figure out his maximum release date and his minimum release date. So the 35 number really doesn’t mean that’s the number you serve. You’ll get two different dates. And he’ll find that out within the first week that he’s there. He’ll convey that to me. I’ll make sure that that’s accurate. And then I can give some more information as to the possible release dates for him.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: I really want to talk to you about this case, because this case has been obscured from the public, from closed sessions, not having a public access to court documents. And before we get into sort of aspects of the case, I want to ask you how has the way the government has prosecuted this case or Manning’s conviction been unprecedented.
    DAVID COOMBS: Well, I think that, for starters, you go with an offense of aiding the enemy, and that offense really is unprecedented. When you look at how that was used in the past and how the government tried to use it in this case, they had to go back to an 1800s case to even make an argument, a colorable argument, as to why you would go after somebody who gave information to a journalist and say that they aided the enemy. That is an unprecedented aspect of this case. Not only there, but in every other charging decision that they made, they pushed the envelope of, and even strained, any realistic reading of what the law is. And yet, they seemed to not have a problem with that. It was almost a win-at-all-costs mentality. And I think that ultimately will be something on appeal that will get reviewed, and perhaps at that point Brad will get some relief, even on appeal.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: Now, Manning wasn’t convicted of aiding the enemy. Do you think that the fact that it stood up as long as it did in the prosecution sets any kind of precedent?
    DAVID COOMBS: I do. I mean, I think, if I were a journalist, or, for that matter, somebody who is a concerned citizen who has access to information, is considering being a whistleblower, I think this sends a chilling message. And that message is one in which, even when your theory is you had no intent to get this information to the enemy, it was not your belief, there’s no evidence to show that you would have actual knowledge—and that was the key aspect there—that the enemy would receive this information, and yet you’re going to be charged with this, it’s going to survive motions to dismiss, even after the government’s presentation of the evidence, which then it became clear they had no evidence. It survived a 917 motion, which is a motion to dismiss based upon a failure of proof. That, to me, was amazing. I could not believe that the offense survived that long. And it does send a chilling effect and chilling message to anyone who may think about releasing information for the betterment of America, or any journalist who might think about receiving that information, because it’s not a far step to go from the person who gave it to the person that received it, the journalist. And I think, recently, with Glenn Greenwald’s significant other being stopped—I think if Glenn was with him, he would have been stopped, as well—I think that is an indicator that just because you’re a journalist, the government is not going to turn a blind eye to the fact that you’re part of that process.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: I want to talk to you about the espionage charges, because a lot of the press focused on aiding the enemy, because it was such a grave charge, but here we have Manning convicted on six espionage offenses, or Espionage Act offenses. Manning was convicted on probable harm at trial, and it wasn’t really until the sentencing phase that we got to really discuss if there was any damage at all. So, I wanted to ask you just sort of point-blankly: Did these disclosures damage national security?
    DAVID COOMBS: Not from my perspective, no. And that’s the other difficult aspect of this case. We would expect to see some damage that they could articulate, given the amount of information. Understanding the type of information—and that information usually would not have something in there that would be harmful, given that most of it’s dated. It’s looking backwards instead of forwards. The one exception might be the diplomatic cables. So, I fully anticipated seeing something that even I, from my perspective, would have to say, "Yes, that is damage," and that’s going to affect his sentence. But we didn’t see that, and didn’t see that in the open session, did not see that in the closed session. And so, because of that, that’s another reason why I have difficulty accepting the outcome in this case.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: How would you characterize the evidence that the government presented at sentencing, the aggravation evidence? How would you describe—
    DAVID COOMBS: Speculative. I’d say it’s pure speculation. They got individuals to come up who were so-called subject matter experts in their field to essentially espouse their personal opinion as to some potential harm in the future. When asked to give concrete, you know, specific examples, something where we could say, OK, this person was hurt, or this person was harmed, or, God forbid, this person was killed, none of that came out from any of these witnesses. And because of that, that really kind of changed our position on what we wanted to try to do in our sentencing case. Initially, we were thinking on offering the damage assessments from the respective agencies. And our thought process behind that was, when you read the damage assessments, you get a sense of some potential harm at a particular time, but the long-term harm, when they’re looking at this from the damage assessment standpoint, is even in there speculative. And they start to say there’s a potential for this, but it’s remote, or it’s unlikely. And so we initially thought those damage assessments would be vital in order to impeach the witnesses that the government would call. At the end of the day, we saw that the witnesses that they called gave even worse testimony than what was in the damage assessments, from the standpoint of harming. And so, what looked initially to be our—one of our better mitigating circumstances, the damage assessments, actually would have been harmful, so we decided not to offer that. And I fully expected that the government then would offer the damage assessments, because it actually did a better job of capturing speculative damage in a more convincing manner than their witnesses did.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: I want to talk to you about the closed sessions. I mean, you know, I’ve sort of graphed out all the critical evidence as it relates to certain elements, for the espionage charges, for aiding the enemy, and into sentencing. And most of the critical evidence in this trial is classified. And, you know, we got into the sentencing phase, and the public sort of wanted to know: You know, was there any damage? And most of these sessions were closed, especially in the sentencing phase. So I want to talk to you about how the prosecutors may have used classification. Do you think that they used classification to hide their case from public scrutiny?
    DAVID COOMBS: I don’t think so. And that might be a surprising answer. I don’t think they used classification to hid their case from the public. I think they used classification to try to convince the public that there was something in there that was harmful, so harmful that you, the public, could not hear it. But reality, there wasn’t.
    Classification in this case was really used to hide information from the defense. The fact that it was a classified evidence case really hurt our ability to discover information that in any other case I would be able to have access to. When you have to rely upon the government—and this is the government counsel—to look through evidence and determine what information should the defense receive in their preparation of their defense, you have a problem. I had a security clearance. I had the ability to see any of the information. I should have had equal access to everything the government looked at. And then I could make an intelligent argument at that point why I needed certain classified information. Instead, I had to rely upon a trial counsel, whose job obviously is not to look after the best interests of Pfc. Manning, to look through information and say, "No, you don’t need to know this; this is not going to be helpful to your defense." I am certain that there was classified information that would have been helpful to the defense that we did not receive.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: Throughout the beginning of the discovery process, in the motions part of the trial, you know, there was an attempt by defense to get communications between Russell Travers, who was a senior official at the National Counterterrorism Center, who was picked essentially to be the National Security Staff’s senior adviser for information access and security—and the White House Press Secretary called the investigation of WikiLeaks and Manning administration-wide. So, I really want to talk to you about this case in a larger context. And have you found any evidence that the investigation or the prosecution of Manning or WikiLeaks was being coordinated by the National Security Council or the White House?
    DAVID COOMBS: I haven’t, but I would have no doubt that multiple agencies, certainly Department of State, FBI and other agencies of the alphabet soup-type example, would have some involvement in this case. It was clear that every day we had a group of people behind the prosecution, that just sat there. Occasionally they would pass notes to the trial counsel. Obviously I don’t know what was on those notes. During some of the breaks, I would walk up and introduce myself, say, "Hi, I’m David Coombs. How are you? And what do you do for a living?" And they would never answer that question. So, from my perspective, clearly there were outside influences. And it would explain why the government did take the position that it did of essentially win at all cost. They never deviated from pushing the envelope, where I would think a trial counsel who’s really kind of concerned about not only getting a just outcome, but having that outcome stand up on appeal, take certain steps to eliminate appellate issues. In this case, the government was never concerned about any of those.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: Let’s talk about what—what you just said in terms of you said that there were definitely other interests around this prosecution. Can you—can you tell me what you think those are, or what purpose the trial counsel’s case or objective was in this military prosecution beyond punishing Bradley Manning or deterring other people from following in his footsteps?
    DAVID COOMBS: Sure. I think you don’t really have to look any further than the 2008 ACIC, the Army counterintelligence report, to get the answer to that. It was important that once the government found a whistleblower, somebody who was leaking information to a journalist, to make an example of them. It was important that that example be a very loud message to show that you couldn’t have the belief of safe disclosures, even to an organization like WikiLeaks. And that goal was to destroy that mentality of I can give stuff in an anonymous fashion that I think is beneficial for the world to know without risk to myself. Manning’s case is the case that tries to destroy that belief in order to essentially deter any other person from ever following in his footsteps.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: Do you still believe that the way in which the government has prosecuted this case, in addition to deterring whistleblowers and destroying any kind of sense of trust between a media organization and a whistleblower—do you think that the way in which the military prosecuted this was to actually plea your client out?
    DAVID COOMBS: I don’t know if it was necessarily to plead my client out. You would expect, if that were the goal, that you would have a reasonable government on the opposite side offering a reasonable outcome to the case. When I first came on to this case back in 2010, I knew many of the key players from the government side. And at that point, rather foolishly, I had the optimistic belief that I could obtain a very favorable outcome for Bradley. Reality, though, set in pretty quickly after that. They were not interested in pleading the case, certainly not when they made the offers to us of what they would support. Those offers were so far out in the stratosphere that even today’s outcome looks outstanding compared to what they were offering us. So, from my perspective, I don’t believe they ever wanted to plead this case. I believe they wanted to make an example of Pfc. Manning.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: How important was it to defend Bradley Manning against the Garani airstrike video, which was a video of a May 2009 airstrike or cluster bomb bombing in the Farah province of Afghanistan? Manning was found not guilty of this charge. The government came forward with trying to assert a November transmission date.
    DAVID COOMBS: That was—it was pivotal to our defense that the judge did not believe that Pfc. Manning was working for WikiLeaks, because he wasn’t. It was pivotal for our defense that the judge did not believe that he started to do his leaks in November of 2009, because he didn’t. The government wanted to show that he started at that timeframe for their argument that within two weeks of coming to Iraq he turned his back on his soldiers, his fellow soldiers, and went to work for WikiLeaks. That could not be further from the truth.
    The reality of the situation was, nothing happened in November. He did find out about WikiLeaks, like a lot of other people, when they released the 9/11 pager messages, and he paid attention to WikiLeaks at that point. He did go on to IRC chats and spoke with other people both working for and with WikiLeaks and other people who were just interested in WikiLeaks. And he found fellow like-minded people there that could talk about issues of not only computers and programming, but also important issues that are important for the world to be discussing. And that’s the December time frame.
    So, in January is the first time that he actually discloses anything, and that’s the SIGACTs, the significant activity reports. From our perspective, it was pivotal that the judge believe that, because had the judge believed that he went to work for WikiLeaks in November 2009, I think the chances of being found guilty of aiding the enemy would have been significantly higher.
    AMY GOODMAN: Bradley Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, being interviewed by journalist Alexa O’Brien. We’ll be back with the conclusion of the interview in 30 seconds.
    [break]
    AMY GOODMAN: We return now to the conclusion of the first interview with Bradley Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, done after the judge sentenced Manning to 35 years in jail. The interview was conducted by independent journalist Alexa O’Brien.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: What issues are going to come up on appeal, as you see them? What are the sort of major mistakes of fact or legal understanding that are going to come up on appeal?
    DAVID COOMBS: I think the biggest one is speedy trial. The fact that we demanded speedy trial relatively early on in the case and yet still had to wait well over a year to get Pfc. Manning to his day in court, I think will be one of the bigger issues.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: And Manning was held longer than any accused awaiting court-martial.
    DAVID COOMBS: To my knowledge, yes. And, you know, when you look at the speedy trial issue, the government avoided that problem by just simply going to their—the first-level commander and asking for him to just say, "I’m going to exclude this time. This time will not count against you for any future speedy trial issues," and did that time and time again. And when you think about that, if that’s all it takes to wipe the slate clean for the clock, the speedy trial clock, then there is no speedy trial clock. And in this instance, that’s all the government really had, and yet it was condoned. So I think speedy trial will be a huge issue.
    I think the unlawful pretrial punishment will be a big issue. I think the judge’s rulings on the 1030 offense, the exceeding authorized access on a computer, will be a huge issue. Her last-minute allowing the government to change the larceny offenses, the 641 offenses—
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: To change the charge sheet.
    DAVID COOMBS: To change the charge sheet—
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: After the closing of it.
    DAVID COOMBS: —to change the nature of the offense, to change what was charged, after the close of evidence, will be a huge appellate issue. So there are several issues that I think will give the potential for relief on appeal.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: What’s your sense—I mean, in the middle of this trial or towards the end of it, Colonel Denise Lind, the military—the presiding military judge, was promoted to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, which will be the court of appeals that this case will go to. What’s your sense of that?
    DAVID COOMBS: Well, it is a promotion from the standpoint of going from a trial level to the appellate level, although it’s not atypical. So, I’ll say that in the past judges have gone from the trial level to the appellate level, and then they go even back down to the trial level. So, she wasn’t promoted from the standpoint of rank. I don’t think it had really any bearing on the case. She certainly won’t be the appellate judge listening to the case. So I’m hopeful that the other judges that are on the Army Court of Criminal Appeals will look at the issues and see what we litigated and hopefully come to a different conclusion.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: Was Manning scapegoated for any kind of leadership or policy failures within either his 2nd Brigade Combat Team or within the Department of Defense or even the U.S. government?
    DAVID COOMBS: I don’t know about scapegoated, but he was a—and in my opinion, when I argued, also in sentencing, he was a victim of a very poor chain of command. One of the things that you would expect from a chain of command, especially from the non-commissioned officer side, is that they take care of soldiers. That is the very first thing that any NCO learns, and that’s the first thing that they think of every given day that they get up, put the uniform on: How do I take care of my soldiers? In this case, Pfc. Manning was not taken care of by his unit. Had they taken care of him, they would have realized that he was struggling with something, struggling with issues, and they would have addressed those issues. I’m not to say—and that’s not to say that this wouldn’t have happened still, but it’s certainly, if he had a caring command, if he had an NCO leadership that looked out for him, they would have recognized, at least in December of 2009, that there were some issues with what—his behavior and what he was struggling with.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: I want to talk to you about your client. Your client has—you know, in the court record, has had personal issues that they have struggled with that are a part of this case. They’ve also had gender identity issues or—that have come up at the sort of the climax of the sentencing case. And Bradley Manning came forward and offered an apology to the presiding military judge. Could you give the public a context for all of those issues and how you saw they fit into the case, and your concerns as a defense attorney as to how you were going to handle those issues?
    DAVID COOMBS: Sure. I mean, I think to minimize Brad and say he is one thing and only one thing is not to do justice to him and how complex he is as a person. I think, from the defense’s perspective, we had to look at the entire picture of why he did certain things. And it was clear—and you can see that from the Lamo chats—why he would leak certain information, believing that this information was important for the public to know, believing that it might spark reforms, it might spark debate, it might make a difference in the world. Those are firmly held beliefs that we embraced, obviously, as part of his defense. But you wouldn’t do justice to what he was going through without recognizing that he had those beliefs at the same time that he was struggling with a very, very personal issue that was really at the center and core of who he was and who he hoped to be. And he was in a position now of dealing with that in a deployed environment, where he couldn’t reach out for help, where he couldn’t turn to the next person and say, "Hey, I’m struggling with this issue. Can you help me?" because if he did that, he would no longer be in the military. So, early on, we had to address that issue. And even though it was uncomfortable for him, and even though at the time he didn’t want it to come to the forefront, I told him that we needed to embrace that part, because that was part of the narrative, that was part of what was happening, and that was the truth, and we needed to bring it out.
    But at the same time, we also really wanted to make sure that people knew that we weren’t offering that as an excuse. We weren’t saying that because of the struggles, he chose to leak this information; because of his personal issues, that that led him to share information with WikiLeaks. The two are not related. But because they happened at the same time, it’s important to understand that, because that provides context. And certainly, as we all know, when you’re under a lot of stress, and when you’re under a lot of pressure, and when you’re dealing with personal issues, that does affect your judgment. That does affect how you might internalize things. And so I think it had an impact on him. It didn’t cause him to do his actions. But it was important, from the defense’s perspective, that the military judge got that full picture. And our hope was, if she got that full picture, she would understand that who she was sentencing was a good young man, a moral young man, a man with probably one of the stronger moral compasses of what is right and wrong. And he has that compass in spite of his childhood, in spite of his upbringing, in spite of how other people treat him. And this is the type of person that you have in front of you.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: How did other people treat him?
    DAVID COOMBS: Well, you have people treating him as essentially a pariah, as an outcast. They recognized from the beginning he doesn’t fit the typical mold. And so he has very little friends. And one of the aspects that came out, through some of the people who would talk about him, was even those people who were rude to him, even those people who belittled him, made fun of him, he was still kind to, he was still respectful to. So, you see a person like him, and you think, you know, if only he had somebody who was a strong leader, if only he had somebody that he could go to and talk to, things might have been different.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: Do you think things might have been different meaning that these would not be released as they were released?
    DAVID COOMBS: I don’t know. I mean, I think even if Brad didn’t have these issues, I think when he deployed and he started to see the things he was seeing, and when he started to read about the things that were being done, I think, from a moral standpoint, he would have had that problem and still would have had that issue. And I think that’s where we get to the apology, where he says, "Look, you know, I could have done other things." I think if he had a strong leadership, he would have explored other options. He would have explored what the mainstream would say you would need to do: go through your traditional channels, through your elected leaders, through your internal inspector general who would investigate anything that you believed was unethical or illegal. He would have at least explored those. I don’t know if he would have gotten any relief going through that, and so ultimately he might have done the same thing. But it would have maybe delayed his actions.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: What was the most damage done in this case?
    DAVID COOMBS: I—personally, I think the most damage done in this case was the sentence that my client received. If you’re talking about damage from a standpoint of what he released, embarrassment. Embarrassment was the most damage. It’s not—when you look at the SIGACTs, when you look at the other charge documents, all that stuff is, as I said before, something that looks to past acts. It’s kind of an historical record. I don’t believe any of that gave away anything that was sensitive.
    The diplomatic cables, on the other hand, I think the damage there was an embarrassment of having other people see that we don’t always do the right thing for the right reasons as the United States, which might come as a surprise to some people. You would think that when we deal with other countries, when we deal with people who are less fortunate than our country, that we’re doing so in a way that helps everybody, that’s in everyone’s best interest. But that’s not always the case. And, in fact, frequently we do things that are in our own national interests, and sometimes that is to the detriment of people who are struggling to have what we have here in America—a democracy, a free and open press. And that’s a little disheartening when you see that. And I think that’s probably the biggest damage, because if people actually look to these documents, they will see that we don’t always do what we should do, and we are not always the country that we should strive to be.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: What drove Manning to release these documents?
    DAVID COOMBS: I think what he was seeing, and the amount of time that he had to deal with this. If you’re in a deployed environment, which I have been several times, you have nothing else but your job, and perhaps going to the gym to work out, to eat, to sleep, then you go back to your job. And for him, I think what probably caused this to accelerate was that’s all he had to think about. And because of his moral compass, because of what he was hoping to achieve when he went there—you look back at the Laura McNamara chats, the now—back then she was called Zachary Antolak—you look at those chats, and you see a young man hoping that when he gets there, he can make a difference, he could hopefully save lives, hopefully get people back safely. How disheartening it must have been when he got there to see that that really wasn’t always the mission. And we didn’t always just kill bad people. Sometimes we just killed people because they were in the wrong place. And no one asks questions. And no one investigated to see did we do something wrong. And when we did do something wrong, we didn’t come forward with that information. We didn’t readily admit the mistake, say we’re sorry, and show how we’re going to prevent this from happening again in the future. We owe that to American public. We owe that to the publics that we go to protect and to help them build a good country. And yet we didn’t do that. And so, for Brad to see that, I think that probably is what accelerated his belief that the public needed to see this information.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: This is my last question for you. You have said in the past that a court-martial is the best, most fairest courtroom for Bradley Manning. Has this trial, in your experience through it, changed your perspective on the military justice system?
    DAVID COOMBS: It hasn’t changed my perspective on the justice system, but what it has done is it has brought to the forefront—for me, at least—problems with our justice system, things that need to change. And the first thing that needs to change is Rule for Court-Martial 806. That’s the rule that prevents cameras from coming into the courtroom. We need to change that rule. We need to have cameras in the courtroom. We need to have the media have access to see what happens at every moment inside the courtroom. Hopefully this could be aired on C-SPAN or some other network where the average public person could tune in and see what is going on in a court-martial. And the reason why I think that’s important is, majority of the things that happened in this trial I don’t think would have happened if you had the eyes of the public firmly fixed on it. And in this case especially, if you had cameras in the courtroom, you would have had more media. You would have had journalists there. You would have had Nancy Grace, I’m sure, would have been live from Fort Meade every day talking about this case. It would have been on the front page of newspapers.
    And people would then see for themselves what I know, and that is there is a good young man who received 35 years, and he didn’t need to receive 35 years. There’s a good young man who did what he thought was morally right, and for the right reasons, and he was sentenced the way we would sentence somebody who committed murder, the way we would sentence somebody who molested a child. That’s the sentence he received. So, yes, I still believe military justice is fair. I still am very proud to be a member of the military. But I can recognize where there are problems. And cameras in the courtroom, we need to have that. We need to change that aspect of the system.
    And then, secondly, classified evidence cases—the rules are not balanced. The government has too much power over what is discoverable, over what will be shared, over how things are given to the court and not to the defense. Those rules need to change. Also in this case, you get a situation where I’m asking for witnesses that are clearly relevant. I’m asking for people to come testify that would be beneficial to my client, and yet I have to go through the government to ask for that. I have to get their permission. And when they deny it, then I have to go seek relief from the judge. That’s wrong. We shouldn’t have that aspect of the system. We should have equal access to witnesses, the ability to bring them in without having a trial counsel say yes.
    ALEXA O’BRIEN: Did Bradley Manning receive a fair trial?
    DAVID COOMBS: I think Bradley Manning received a trial in which people will look at it and say, "I don’t think so." And that’s really the question that people should be asking now: Did he receive a fair trial? In my perspective from his legal representation, I would like to think he received a fair trial. But I have to admit, when you look at this and you see the outcome and you see what came out, it would be hard for somebody to say that this was fair. And at the end of the day, whether or not it’s fair, perception is what matters. And the perception is, no, he didn’t receive a fair trial. And that should be problematic for people. That should be problematic for our military, and hopefully that will be problematic for the president of the United States, and he’ll do something about it.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

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    "Bradley Manning Has Become a Martyr"–WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on Guilty Verdict


    The sentencing hearing for Army whistleblower Bradley Manning begins today following his acquittal on the most serious charge he faced, aiding the enemy, but conviction on 20 other counts. On Tuesday, Manning was found guilty of violating the Espionage Act and other charges for leaking hundreds of thousands of government documents to WikiLeaks. In beating the "aiding the enemy" charge, Manning avoids an automatic life sentence, but he still faces a maximum of 136 years in prison on the remaining counts. In his first U.S. television interview since the verdict, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses the Manning "show trial," the plight of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, and the verdict’s impact on WikiLeaks. "Bradley Manning is now a martyr," Assange says. "He didn’t choose to be a martyr. I don’t think it’s a proper way for activists to behave to choose to be martyrs, but these young men — allegedly in the case of Bradley Manning and clearly in the case of Edward Snowden — have risked their freedom, risked their lives, for all of us. That makes them heroes." According to numerous press reports, the conviction of Manning makes it increasingly likely that the U.S. will prosecute Assange as a co-conspirator. During the trial, military prosecutors portrayed Assange as an "information anarchist" who encouraged Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents.


    Transcript

    This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

    NERMEEN SHAIKH: The sentencing hearing for jailed Army Private Bradley Manning begins today, one day after he was convicted of six counts of violating the Espionage Act and over a dozen other charges for giving WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables, raw intelligence reports and videos from the Iraqi and Afghan battlefields and elsewhere. Military judge Colonel Denise Lind found Manning not guilty on the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, which carried a potential life sentence without parole. Reporters who were in the courtroom say Manning showed no emotion as he stood to hear Judge Lind read the verdict. The sentencing phase of his trial is expected to last at least a week with more than 20 witnesses set to appear. The 25-year-old Manning faces a maximum of 136 years in prison.
    AMY GOODMAN: In a statement to The Guardian, Manning’s family expressed thanks to his civilian lawyer, David Coombs, who worked on the case, which has now lasted three years. An unnamed aunt of Manning said, quote, "While we’re obviously disappointed in today’s verdicts, we’re happy that Judge Lind agreed with us that Brad never intended to help America’s enemies in any way. Brad loves his country and was proud to wear its uniform," she wrote.
    Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, responded to the verdict Tuesday saying, quote, "It seems clear that the government was seeking to intimidate anyone who might consider revealing valuable information in the future."
    Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers and Democratic Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger issued a joint statement that, quote, "justice has been served," adding, "There is still much work to be done to reduce the ability of criminals like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden to harm our national security."
    Well, today we spend the hour on the Manning verdict and its implications. We begin with Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, which published the secret cables obtained by Bradley Manning. According to numerous press reports, the conviction of Manning makes it increasingly likely that the United States will prosecute Assange as a co-conspirator. During the trial, military prosecutors portrayed Assange as an information anarchist who encouraged Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents.
    Julian Assange joins us via Democracy Now! video stream from the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He took refugee in the embassy in June of 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he’s wanted for questioning around sex assault allegations but has never been charged. He remains in the embassy there because the British government promises to arrest him if he steps foot on British soil. This is his first interview with a U.S. TV show since the Manning verdict.
    We welcome you back to Democracy Now!, Julian Assange. What is your response to the verdict?
    JULIAN ASSANGE: Thank you, Amy. First of all, I must correct you. I have been given political asylum in this embassy in relationship to the case that is in progress in the United States. It’s a common media myth that’s put about that my asylum here is in relation to Sweden. It is not. Here I am.
    My reaction to the verdict yesterday, well, first of all, really one of surprise in relation to the timing. This is a case that has been going for three years, two months at trial, over 18 months of interlocutory motions, at least 40,000 pages of judgments and evidence that the judge was required to read. But she has made her decision on 21 separate counts over the weekend. We said at the very beginning of this process that this was a show trial. This is not a trial where any justice can come about, because the framing of what was possible to debate was set from the very beginning. It was not possible for Bradley Manning’s team to say that he was well-intentioned. Motive was taken out of the case. The prosecution has not alleged that a single person came to harm as a result of Bradley Manning’s alleged actions, not a single person. And, in fact, no evidence was presented that anyone was indeed harmed. The defense is not allowed to argue that that means that these charges should be thrown out.
    And so what we are left with here is 20 convictions for Bradley Manning. Five of those are for espionage. This is a case where everyone agrees that Bradley Manning provided the media information about war crimes and politics, some of which was published by the media. There is no allegation that he worked with a foreign power, that he accepted any personal benefit for the disclosures that he engaged in. And yet, we see him being convicted for five charges of espionage. It is completely absurd. It cannot possibly be the case that a journalistic source, who is not communicating with a foreign power, who is simply working for the American public, can be convicted of five counts of espionage. That is a abuse, not merely of Bradley Manning’s human rights, but it is an abuse of language, it’s abuse of the U.S. Constitution, which says very clearly the Congress will make no law abridging the freedom of the press or of the right to speech. That’s clearly been subjugated here.
    NERMEEN SHAIKH: Julian Assange, you said yesterday that the aiding the enemy charge for which Bradley Manning was acquitted was absurd, and it was put forward, quote, "as a red herring," you said. Could you explain what you mean by that?
    JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, you will have seen the way WikiLeaks has made its statements today. We have Bradley Manning, right now, despite having been acquitted of effectively being a traitor, aiding the enemy—he was acquitted of that—but he faces 136 years in prison, which is more than a life sentence. So, this aiding the enemy charge, while it has attracted a lot of people’s attention, because it has a possible life sentence or death penalty, really, it was just part of the extent of overcharging in this case. You know, at the very minimum, perhaps Bradley Manning could have been charged, say, with mishandling classified information. Of course, I think he should be acquitted of such a charge, because under the First Amendment and a number of other obligations we all have, he should be free to break one obligation to fulfill another: the higher obligations of exposing crimes and satisfying the Constitution. But where we have a aiding the enemy charge soaking up our public attention and many people going, "Oh, well, look, the justice system is just, because it’s taken this one out," actually, this is one charge out of 21 different offenses. He’s still up for 136 years. The substantive aspect that a alleged journalistic source, pure in their motives, as far as there are any allegations for, and who received no financial payment, has been now convicted of five counts of espionage, that is absurd.
    AMY GOODMAN: We have to break, but we’re going to come back to this discussion. We’re speaking to Julian Assange, our exclusive interview with him inside the Ecuadorean embassy. He’s been granted political asylum by the country of Ecuador but can’t leave the embassy for fear of the British government arresting him. Julian Assange is the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. We’ll continue with him in a moment.
    [break]
    AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. This is the broadcast on the day after the Bradley Manning verdict was announced, that he was acquitted of aiding the enemy but found guilty on a number of espionage-related and other charges. He faces 136 years in prison. The sentencing phase of the trial begins today 9:30 Eastern time at Fort Meade, where the court-martial has taken place. Just after the Bradley Manning verdict was announced Tuesday, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki to comment on the verdict. Let’s go to a clip of their exchange.
    MATTHEW LEE: What is the State Department’s reaction to the verdict in the Manning trial?
    JEN PSAKI: Well, Matt, we have seen the verdict, which I know just came out right before I stepped out here. I would—beyond that, I would refer you to the Department of Defense.
    MATTHEW LEE: Well, for the—
    JEN PSAKI: No further comment from here.
    MATTHEW LEE: For the entire trial, this building had said that it wouldn’t comment because it was pending, it was a pending case. And now that it’s over, you say you’re still not going to comment?
    JEN PSAKI: That’s correct. I would refer you to the Department of Defense.
    MATTHEW LEE: Can I—OK, can I just ask why?
    JEN PSAKI: Because the Department of Defense has been the point agency through this process.
    MATTHEW LEE: Well, these were State Department cables, exactly. They were your property.
    UNIDENTIFIED: State Department employees were [inaudible].
    JEN PSAKI: We don’t—we just don’t have any further comment. I know the verdict just came out. I don’t have anything more for you at the time.
    MATTHEW LEE: Well, does that mean—are you working on a comment?
    JEN PSAKI: I don’t—
    MATTHEW LEE: Are you gratified that this theft of your material was—
    JEN PSAKI: I don’t expect so, Matt, but if we have anything more to say, I promise everybody in this room and then some will have it.
    MATTHEW LEE: OK. I’m a little bit surprised that you don’t have any comment, considering the amount of energy and time this building expended on assisting the prosecution.
    AMY GOODMAN: That’s Associated Press reporter Matt Lee questioning State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki right after the verdict came down. Our interview continues with Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. Your response to the government’s, U.S. government’s, lack of response and what this means also, Julian, in your own case?
    JULIAN ASSANGE: It’s quite interesting to see the State Department doing that. The State Department has made many comments about this affair over the past three years, saying—Secretary Clinton, for example, saying that this was—once again, an absurd piece of rhetoric—an attack on the entire international community by our publishing organization and, I assume, by proxy, by our source, she would say.
    Well, look, this investigation against our organization is the largest investigation and prosecution against a publisher in United States history and, arguably, anywhere in—anywhere in the world. It involves over a dozen different government departments. The tender for the DOJ to manage the documents related to the prosecution—the broader prosecution against WikiLeaks and myself, and not just the Manning case—is $1 [million] to $2 million per year just to maintain the computer system that manages the prosecution’s documents. So I assume those sort of statements by the State Department are a mechanism to reduce the perception of their involvement, which has been extensive over the last three years.
    NERMEEN SHAIKH: I want to turn to comments made by Trevor Timm, who’s the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, regarding your likely prosecutions or the consequences of Manning’s verdict for you. He said—although he agreed that the verdict brings the government closer to prosecuting you, he said, quote, "Charging a publisher of information under the Espionage Act would be completely unprecedented and put every decent national security reporter in America at risk of jail, because they also regularly publish national security information." Julian Assange, your response?
    JULIAN ASSANGE: Yeah, I agree. We’ve been saying this for three years now. It’s nice to see, finally, that in the past three months or so the mainstream press in the United States, at least McClatchy and The New York TimesWashington Post has been a bit more problematic—have woken up to the reality of what this case means for all national security reporters and, even more broadly, for publishers.
    You know, the approach here has been to smash the insider and the outsider, as it was only one name on the table for an insider, and that was Bradley Manning; it was only one organization as the publisher, the outside force, that’s WikiLeaks, and most prominently represented by me. So in order to regain a sense of authority, the United States government has tried to, rather conspicuously, smash Bradley Manning and also the WikiLeaks organization. At least for WikiLeaks, the organization, it has not succeeded. It will not succeed. It is bringing great discredit on itself. Its desire for authority or perception of authority is such that it is willing to be seen as an immoral actor that breaches the rule of law, that breaches its own laws, that engages in torture against its youngest and brightest. In the case of Bradley Manning, the U.N. formally found against the United States, special rapporteur formally finding that the United States government had engaged in cruel and abusive treatment—cruel and inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning.
    AMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange, I also want to ask you about BSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who remains, as you know, at the Moscow airport, who you’re deeply involved with helping to try to find a place of asylum. In a letter sent last week to the Russian minister of justice, the U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder, assured Russia that Snowden will not be executed or tortured if he’s sent back to the United States. Holder wrote, quote, "Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States." He went on to say, "If he returns to the United States, Mr. Snowden would promptly be brought before a civilian court convened under Article III of the United States Constitution and supervised by a United States District Judge." Holder also added, quote, "We believe [that] these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden’s claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise." Can you tell us what you understand to be the latest situation for Snowden and what your involvement with Edward Snowden is, why he is so significant to you, what his actions have been?
    JULIAN ASSANGE: Edward Snowden’s freedom is a very important symbol. Bradley Manning’s incarceration is also an important symbol. Bradley Manning is now a martyr. He didn’t choose to be a martyr. I don’t think it’s a proper way for activists to behave, to choose to be martyrs. But these young men—allegedly in the case of Bradley Manning and clearly in the case of Edward Snowden—have risked their freedom, risked their lives for all of us. That makes them heroes. Now, Bradley Manning has been put into a position, quite unjustly, where he is facing 136 years. That brings disrepute upon the United States government and upon its system of justice. Edward Snowden has seen what has happened to Bradley Manning. The Ecuadorean government, in their asylum assessment of me, looked at what happened to Bradley Manning.
    U.S. guarantees about torture mean nothing. We all know that the United States government simply redefines its torturous and abusive treatment of prisoners—stress positions, restriction on diet, extreme heat, extreme cold, deprivation of basic things needed for living like glasses or the company of others—it simply redefines that as not being torture. So, its word is worth nothing, in this particular case. In relation to the death penalty, guarantees about the death penalty have more credence, but we wouldn’t want Edward Snowden to be in a Jack Ruby-type situation. That’s quite a possibility for him, that if he ended up in the United States prison system, that given the level of vitriol that exists against him by the administration, that he would not be safe from police, he would not be safe from prison guards, and he would not be safe from other prisoners. There’s no question that he would not—there’s no question that he would not receive a fair trial.
    Similarly, the charges against him are political. There’s only allegations on the table at the moment that he acted for a political purpose: to educate all of us. Those are the only allegations that exist. It is incorrect that extraditions should take place for a political purpose. He’s clearly been exercising his political opinion. But we have seen amazing statements by the White House in relation to Edward Snowden’s meeting with Human Rights Watch, based in New York, Amnesty International, based in London, that that should not have happened, that that was a propaganda platform for Edward Snowden. I mean, this is incredible to see Jay Carney, a White House spokesperson, denouncing Edward Snowden for speaking to human rights groups. Edward Snowden cannot possibly receive a fair judicial process in the United States. Under that basis, he has applied for asylum in a number of different countries. I believe that Russia will afford him asylum in this case, or at least on a temporary or interim basis. And a number of other countries have offered him asylum.
    AMY GOODMAN: Julian, what—Julian, what is the problem? Last week, there was breaking news that the Russian—that Russia had granted him temporary asylum, but now it is said that he has never been given those papers, so he can’t leave the—what, the airport lounge.
    JULIAN ASSANGE: This is just the media. This is a case where there’s a lot of demand for information, so people just invent it, or they amplify some particular rumor.
    NERMEEN SHAIKH: Julian Assange, very quickly, before we conclude, the U.S. government now classifies 92 million documents a year—this is an unprecedented number—with over four million people cleared for security clearance. Can you explain what you think the significance of this is and has been for whistleblowers, and what the Manning verdict says to future potential whistleblowers?
    JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, the verdict is clearly an attempt to crush whistleblowers. It’s not going to crush whistleblowers. The problems that exist in the security state in the West, and a few other countries, as well, as bad as they have ever been, they’re rapidly accelerating. We now have a state within a state in the United States. There are more than five million people with security clearances, more than one million people with top-secret security clearances. The majority of those one million people with top-secret security clearances work for firms like Booz Allen Hamilton and so on, where they are out of the Freedom of Information Act, where they are out of the inspector general of intelligence’s eye. That is creating a new system, a new system of information apartheid, a new asymmetry of information between different groups of people. That’s relating to extensive power inequalities with the—if you like, the essence of the state, the deep state, the intelligence community, lifting off from the rest of the population, developing its own society and going its own way.
    And we have a situation now where young people, like Edward Snowden, who have been exposed to the Internet, who have seen the world, who have a perspective, who have seen our work, the work of—allegedly of Bradley Manning and others, don’t like that. They do not accept that. They do not accept that the U.S. Constitution can be violated, that international human rights law norms can be conspicuously violated, that this information apartheid exists. That system cannot continue. We even saw Michael Hayden acknowledge that in an interview in Australia recently, that in order to function, the National Security Agency, the CIA, and so on, has to recruit people between the ages of 20 and 30. Those people, if they’re technical and they’re exposed to the Internet, they have a certain view about what is just. And they find that they’re—in their jobs, the agencies that they work for do not behave in a legal, ethical or moral manner. So the writing is on the wall for these agencies.
    AMY GOODMAN: Julian, I know you have to go, but I want to quickly ask one more time: What does the verdict in the Bradley Manning case—faces 136 years in prison—mean for you? Your name and WikiLeaks came up repeatedly throughout the trial. We know of a grand jury investigation of you and WikiLeaks in Virginia. Do you in fact know that there is a sealed indictment for you? And what does this mean for your time at the Ecuadorean embassy and your chance of getting out?
    JULIAN ASSANGE: Based on conversations with the DOJ between my U.S. lawyers and the DOJ spokespersons, we know a lot. We know that Neil MacBride, the Virginia DA, has the grand jury process. My U.S. lawyers believe that it is more probable than not that there is a sealed indictment. It’s the only explanation for the DA behavior. The DOJ has admitted that the investigation against me and WikiLeaks proceeds.
    In relation to the Manning verdict, we will continue to fight that. We have a lot of people now in his coalition. Bradley Manning’s support team has been great. The Center for Constitutional Rights also have been excellent, Michael Ratner, who’s been on your own program. That team understands what is going on; has been deployed, to a degree, to defend Mr. Snowden in public; and presumably, when the time comes, will also defend us. I am completely confident that the U.S. will not succeed in extraditing me, because I have asylum at this embassy. In relation to the broader attack on the rest of our staff, that’s still very much in the fight, but we’re not going to go down easy.
    AMY GOODMAN: We just have this breaking news, which says that the Obama administration will make public a previously classified order that directed Verizon Communications to turn over a vast number of Americans’ phone records, according to senior U.S. officials. The formerly secret order will be unveiled before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that’s scheduled to begin in 20 minutes from our broadcast time right now. The order was issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to a subsidiary of Verizon in April. Your response to that, finally, Julian? And then we’ll let you go.
    JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, Edward Snowden already made the order public, so, I mean, this is absurd. This is like our release of Guantánamo Bay documents and other documents. These have already been made public, and now the administration is going to apparently wave some magical pixie dust to remove the contaminant of it being formerly classified by the administration. So, I mean, here we have an example that there’s actually no disclosure before the public, until there is unauthorized disclosure before the public. If I’m incorrect, and this is not the document that Snowden has already revealed—
    AMY GOODMAN: It is. It is the document.
    JULIAN ASSANGE: Yeah, so, I mean, it’s—there’s some magical-like process going on here where there’s holy documents and unholy documents. Holy documents are documents that this classification state within a state, five million people with security clearances, have somehow done something, to sprinkle some absurd holy water on. These are just pieces of paper with bits of information on them and bureaucrats putting a stamp on them. That’s the reality. We’ve got to remove this religious national security extremism. It is a new religion in the United States and in some other countries. It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous. It needs to go.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  4. #24

    Default

    "Call me Chelsea", eh?

    Remember "Call me Delores"?

    A familiar trick from the psyops playbook to discredit an "insider threat".

    Call me Delores, says MI5 whistleblower David Shayler

    Former spy David Shayler now dresses as a transvestite with the name Delores Kane and thinks he is Christ who 'was a transvestite'

    A little over a decade ago David Shayler was a renegade MI5 agent turned whistleblower who was facing prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.
    Today the 43-year-old has become a squatter - and yesterday showed off his 'alter ego' as he dressed as a transvestite complete with false breasts, mini-skirt and ginger wig.
    In recent weeks friends and family of the former spy believe he has suffered a 'severe breakdown' after first calling himself 'The Messiah' and moving into an empty farmhouse in the Surrey countryside.
    He now sees nothing wrong in dressing as a woman whom he calls 'Delores Kane' and declares that the 'world will end in 2012'.
    Last night his former partner and fellow spy Annie Machon spoke of her sadness at Mr Shayler's plight as she maintained he had suffered a breakdown.
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Klimkowski View Post
    "Call me Chelsea", eh?

    Remember "Call me Delores"?

    A familiar trick from the psyops playbook to discredit an "insider threat".

    Call me Delores, says MI5 whistleblower David Shayler

    Former spy David Shayler now dresses as a transvestite with the name Delores Kane and thinks he is Christ who 'was a transvestite'

    A little over a decade ago David Shayler was a renegade MI5 agent turned whistleblower who was facing prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.
    Today the 43-year-old has become a squatter - and yesterday showed off his 'alter ego' as he dressed as a transvestite complete with false breasts, mini-skirt and ginger wig.
    In recent weeks friends and family of the former spy believe he has suffered a 'severe breakdown' after first calling himself 'The Messiah' and moving into an empty farmhouse in the Surrey countryside.
    He now sees nothing wrong in dressing as a woman whom he calls 'Delores Kane' and declares that the 'world will end in 2012'.
    Last night his former partner and fellow spy Annie Machon spoke of her sadness at Mr Shayler's plight as she maintained he had suffered a breakdown.
    Yep. First thing I thought of when I read it. Manning had gender identity issues prior to falling into the clutches of the military shrinks during his incarceration but there is no doubt that he has been subjected to their probings and the trauma and torture he has been subjected to would make most people break down. Makes me wonder how much Manning knows of Shayler too? Women in general are discredited by patriarchial institutions like the MIC. Men who chose to identify as women even more so.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  6. #26

    Default Thoughts and Comments by Brigitta Jonsdottir

    As of today, Wednesday 21 August 2013, Bradley Manning has served 1,182 days in prison. He should be released with a sentence of time served. Instead, the judge in his court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland has handed down a sentence of 35 years.


    Of course, a humane, reasonable sentence of time served was never going to happen. This trial has, since day one, been held in a kangaroo court. That is not angry rhetoric; the reason I am forced to frame it in that way is because President Obama made the following statements on record, before the trial even started:

    President Obama: We're a nation of laws. We don't individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate … He broke the law.

    Logan Price: Well, you can make the law harder to break, but what he did was tell us the truth.

    President Obama: Well, what he did was he dumped …

    Logan Price: But Nixon tried to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg for the same thing and he is a … [hero]

    President Obama: No, it isn't the same thing … What Ellsberg released wasn't classified in the same way.

    When the president says that the Ellsberg's material was classified in a different way, he seems to be unaware that there was a higher classification on the documents Ellsberg leaked.

    A fair trial, then, has never been part of the picture. Despite being a professor in constitutional law, the president as commander-in-chief of the US military – and Manning has been tried in a court martial – declared Manning's guilt pre-emptively. Here is what the Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg had to say about this, in an interview with Amy Goodman at DemocracyNow! in 2011:

    Well, nearly everything the president has said represents a confusion about the state of the law and his own responsibilities. Everyone is focused, I think, on the fact that his commander-in-chief has virtually given a directed verdict to his subsequent jurors, who will all be his subordinates in deciding the guilt in the trial of Bradley Manning. He's told them already that their commander, on whom their whole career depends, regards him [Manning] as guilty and that they can disagree with that only at their peril. In career terms, it's clearly enough grounds for a dismissal of the charges, just as my trial was dismissed eventually for governmental misconduct.

    But what people haven't really focused on, I think, is another problematic aspect of what he said. He not only was identifying Bradley Manning as the source of the crime, but he was assuming, without any question, that a crime has been committed.

    This alone should have been cause for the judge in the case to rethink prosecutors' demand for 60 years in prison. Manning himself has shown throughout the trial both that he is a humanitarian and that he is willing to serve time for his actions. We have to look at his acts in light of his moral compass, not any political agenda.

    Manning intentions were never to hurt anyone; in fact, his motivation – as was the case for Ellsberg – was to inform the American public about what their government was doing in their name. A defense forensic psychiatrist testified to Manning's motives:

    Well, Pfc Manning was under the impression that his leaked information was going to really change how the world views the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and future wars, actually. This was an attempt to crowdsource an analysis of the war, and it was his opinion that if … through crowdsourcing, enough analysis was done on these documents, which he felt to be very important, that it would lead to a greater good … that society as a whole would come to the conclusion that the war wasn't worth it … that really no wars are worth it.

    I admit that I share the same hopes that drove Manning to share with the rest of the world the crimes of war he witnessed. I am deeply disappointed that no one has been held accountable for the criminality exposed in the documents for which Manning is standing trial – except him. It shows so clearly that our justice systems are not working as intended to protect the general public and to hold accountable those responsible for unspeakable crimes.

    I want to thank Bradley Manning for the service he has done for humanity with his courage and compassionate action to inform us, so that we have the means to transform and change our societies for the better. I want to thank him for shining light into the shadows. It is up to each and everyone of us to use the information he provided for the greater good. I want to thank him for making our world a little better. This is why I nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, for there are very few individuals who have ever brought about the kind of social change Manning has put in motion.

    The wave of demands for greater transparency, more accountability, and democratic reform originate with Manning's lonely act in the barracks in Iraq. He has given others – such as Edward Snowden – the courage to do the right thing for the rest of us. The heavy hand dealt Bradley Manning today is a massive blow against everything many of us hold sacred – at a time when we have been shown how fragile and weak our democracies are by the revelations of, first, Manning, and now, Snowden.

    There is no such thing as privacy anymore; nor is there such a thing as accountability among our public servants. Our governments do not function for the benefit of the 99%. If Manning had received a fair sentence that was in proportion to his supposed crime – which was to expose us to the truth – then there would have been hope.

    Instead, we are seeing the state acting like a wounded tiger, cornered and lashing out in rage – attacking the person who speaks the truth in order to frighten the rest of us into silence. But to that, I have only one answer: it won't work.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  7. #27

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    If you see something, say something. Unless it’s US war crimes. - Bill Blum

    “When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.” – Steven Bucci, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, speaking of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley) 13
    Really? No matter what an individual with security clearance is asked to do? No matter what he sees and knows of, he still has to ignore his conscience and follow orders? But Steven, my lad, you must know that following World War II many Germans of course used “following orders” as an excuse. The victorious Allies of course executed many of them.
    Their death sentences were laid down by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, which declared that “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”
    Nuremberg Principle IV moreover states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”
    Manning, and Edward Snowden as well, did have moral choices, and they chose them.
    It should be noted that Barack Obama has refused to prosecute those under the Bush administration involved in torture specifically – he declares – because they were following orders. Has this “educated” man never heard of the Nuremberg Tribunal? Why isn’t he embarrassed to make this argument again and again?
    I imagine that in the past three years that Manning has had to live with solitary confinement, torture and humiliation, adding mightily to her already existing personal difficulties, the thought of suicide has crossed her mind on a number of occasions. It certainly would have with me if I had been in her position. In the coming thousands and thousands of days and long nights of incarceration such thoughts may be Manning’s frequent companion. If the thoughts become desire, and the desire becomes unbearable, I hope the brave young woman can find a way to carry it out. Every person has that right, including heroes.
    The United States and its European poodles may have gone too far for their own good in their attempts to control all dissenting communication – demanding total information from companies engaged in encrypted messaging, forcing the closure of several such firms, obliging the plane carrying the Bolivian president to land, smashing the computers at a leading newspaper, holding a whistle-blowing journalist’s partner in custody for nine hours at an airport, seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists, threatening to send a New York Times reporter to jail if he doesn’t disclose the source of a leak, shameless lying at high levels, bugging the European Union and the United Nations, surveillance without known limits … Where will it end? Will it backfire at some point and allow America to return to its normal level of police state? On July 24, a bill that would have curtailed the power of the NSA was only narrowly defeated by 217 to 205 votes in the US House of Representatives.
    And how long will Amnesty International continue to tarnish its image by refusing to state the obvious? That Cheleas Manning is a Prisoner of Conscience. If you go to Amnesty’s website and search “prisoner of conscience” you’ll find many names given, including several Cubans prominently featured. Can there be any connection to Manning’s omission with the fact that the executive director of Amnesty International USA, Suzanne Nossel, came to her position from the US Department of State, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations?
    A phone call to Amnesty’s office in New York was unable to provide me with any explanation for Manning’s omission. I suggest that those of you living in the UK try the AI headquarters in London.
    Meanwhile, at the other pre-eminent international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinowski, the director of HRW’s Washington office, has been nominated by Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Is it really expecting too much that a high official of a human rights organization should not go to work for a government that has been the world’s leading violator of human rights for more than half a century? And if that designation is too much for you to swallow just consider torture, the worst example of mankind’s inhumanity to man. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of torture centers in much of the world, kidnaping people to these places (“rendition”), solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  8. #28

    Default Manning acceptance statement of Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence

    Chelsea Manning acceptance statement of Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence



    Reprinted with permission from Private Manning Support Network

    Aaron Kirkhouse (left), a childhood friend of Chelsea Manning, accepting the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence on her behalf. Also in photo: US Army Col. Ann Wright (ret.), Craig Murray, and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
    (image by Manning Support Network)


    By Chelsea Manning via Aaron Kirkhouse. February 19, 2014
    The founders of America -- fresh from a war of independence from King George lll -- were particularly fearful of concentrating power. James Madison wrote that "the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."(1)
    To address these concerns, the founders of America actively took steps when drafting the Constitution and ratifying a Bill of Rights -- including protections echoing the Libertarianism of John Locke -- to ensure that no person be "deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
    More recently, though, since the rise of the national security apparatus -- after a brief hiatus between the fall of the Soviet Union and the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center -- the American government has been pursuing an unprecedented amount of secrecy and power consolidation in the Executive branch, under the President and the Cabinet.
    When drafting Article III of the American Constitution, the founders were rather leery of accusations of treason, and accorded special protections for those accused of such a capital offense, providing that "[n]o person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

    For those of you familiar with the American Constitution, you may notice that this provision is under the Article concerning the Judiciary, Article III, and not the Legislative or Executive Articles, I and II respectively. And, historically, when the American government accuses an American of such crimes, it has prosecuted them in a federal criminal court.
    In a recent Freedom of Information Act case(2) -- a seemingly Orwellian "newspeak" name for a statute that actually exempts categories of documents from release to the public -- a federal district court judge ruled against the New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union. The Times and the ACLU argued that documents regarding the practice of "targeted killing" of American citizens, such as the radical Sunni cleric Anwar Nasser al-Aulaqi were in the public's interest and were being withheld improperly.
    The government first refused to acknowledge the existence of the documents, but later argued that their release could harm national security and were therefore exempt from disclosure. The court, however, felt constrained by the law and "conclud[ed] that the Government [had] not violated the FOIA by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and [could not] be compelled . . . to explain in detail the reasons why [the Government's] actions do not violate the Constitution and laws of the United States."
    However, the judge also wrote candidly about her frustration with her sense that the request "implicate[d] serious issues about the limits on the power of the Executive Branch under the Constitution and laws of the United States," and that the Presidential "Administration ha[d] engaged in public discussion of the legality of targeted killing, even of [American] citizens, but in cryptic and imprecise ways." In other words, it wasn't that she didn't think that the public didn't have a right to know -- it was that she didn't feel that she had the "legal" authority to compel disclosure.
    This case, like too many others, presents a critical problem that can also be seen in several recent cases, including my court-martial. For instance, I was accused by the Executive branch, and particularly the Department of Defense, of aiding the enemy -- a treasonable offense covered under Article III of the Constitution.
    Granted, I received due process. I received charges, was arraigned before a military judge for trial, and eventually acquitted. But, the al-Aulaqi case raises a fundamental question: did the American government, and particularly the same President and Department, have the power to unilaterally determine my guilt of such an offense, and execute me at the will of the pilot of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle?
    Until documents held by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel were released after significant political pressure in mid-2013, I could not tell you. And, very likely, I do not believe I could speak intelligently of the Administration's policy on "targeted killing" today either.
    There is a problem with this level of secrecy, obfuscation, and classification or protective marking, in that they supposedly protect citizens of their nation; yet, it also breeds a unilateralism that the founders feared, and deliberately tried to prevent when drafting the American Constitution. Now, we have a "disposition matrix," classified military commissions, and foreign intelligence and surveillance courts -- modern Star Chamber equivalents.
    I am now accepting this award, through my friend, former school peer, and former small business partner, Aaron, for the release of a video and documents that "sparked a worldwide dialogue about the importance of government accountability for human rights abuses." It is becoming increasingly clear to me that the dangers of withholding documents, legal interpretations, and court jurisprudence from the public that pertain to the right to "life, liberty, and property" of a state's citizens is as fundamental and important to protecting against such human rights abuses.
    When the public lacks the ability to access what its government is doing, it ceases to be involved in the governing process. There is a distinct difference between citizens, in which people are entitled to rights and privileges protected by and from the state, and subjects, in which people are placed under the absolute authority and control of the state. In essence, this is the difference between tyranny and freedom. To echo a maxim from Milton and Foes Friedman: a society that puts secrecy -- in the sense of state secrecy -- ahead of transparency and accountability will end up neither secure nor free.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  9. #29

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    Chelsea Manning was just pardoned by President Obama. Under the pardon she will be released in May of this year. I assume that Trumpf can not countermand this in any way [though he will try]. A small victory for whistleblowers. The outrage against Obama is quite intense in Congress and the media, various other right-wing forces.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  10. #30

    Default

    Technically "commuted", which means the remaining jail time is dropped.

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