Monday, March 21, 2011

Bradley Manning Round-Up

The Washington Post furnishes as good a report as any I've read, so I shall post just the Post's story in its entirety, followed by other relative, but not necessarily directly related articles to the protest outside the Marine Corps Base at Quantico.

Click for larger and title.

Protesters arrested near Quantico as rally for alleged WikiLeaks source turns tense
By Darryl Fears,
Sunday, March 20

As many as 30 protesters were arrested near Quantico Marine Corps Base on Sunday while calling for the release of Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of sharing a large cache of classified military intelligence with the Web site WikiLeaks.

The arrests of the protesters came at the end of a largely peaceful demonstration of about 400 people at Quantico, near Manassas. Among those arrested was Daniel Ellsberg, 72, a former military analyst who became nationally known after releasing the top-secret government documents called the Pentagon Papers to newspapers during the Vietnam War.

Before the arrests, protesters had arranged, as a gesture to Manning, to place flowers at a memorial statue that commemorates the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima in World War II. But police tightly choreographed the protesters movements and, in the end, asked them to toss the flowers through a gate at the statue.

“They wouldn’t even let us get up to the memorial,” said former Army colonel and State Department official Ann Wright. Saying she was fed up, Wright sat in the middle of Jefferson Davis Highway, as did Ellsberg and 28 others.

“It was disrespectful,” Wright said of the police.

The impromptu sit-in led to a tense standoff between the demonstrators and Manassas, Prince William County and Virginia state police, who were in riot gear and on horseback, with some carrying automatic assault weapons. They advanced on the squatters and took them away one by one.

“I thought we had to do this, to show we had some fortitude,” said Ann Wilcox, an attorney for the demonstrators. “If we had quietly gone back, we wouldn’t have made the statement that we made.”

The demonstrators had made noise for two hours, shouting “Free Bradley Manning!” and carrying signs denouncing the Obama administration and the military for his treatment in the brig at the base.

Manning, 23, is accused of downloading tens of thousands of secret documents and at least one video onto his computer while stationed with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, in Iraq. The video taken by cameras on U.S. helicopters showed a military strike that killed civilians, including two news agency workers.

The soldier was initially charged with two offenses, detained and taken to Kuwait in May. He was eventually brought to Quantico, where officials levied 22 additional charges, one of which, “aiding the enemy,” could bring the death penalty.

A network of supporters sprang up, and Sunday’s demonstration was aimed at expressing dismay at Manning’s treatment. There were at least eight other demonstrations around the world, including in London, Sydney and Berlin.

Manning has been confined to a small cell for 23 hours a day and forced to strip naked for inspection each night after he quipped — innocently, his attorney said — about suicide. Prison psychiatrists have said Manning does not represent a danger to himself.

Ellsberg, who was branded as a traitor for releasing the Pentagon Papers and was later widely embraced by those who opposed the war in Vietnam, said he has supported Manning since his arrest.

“I identify with him more than anyone else I’ve seen in the last 40 years,” Ellsberg said. When he released the Pentagon Papers, he said, “I was willing to go to prison and give my life and be executed.”

Jules Orkin, 72, drove from Bergenfield, N.J., to support Manning. He sat on the edge of Jefferson Davis Highway in prisonlike orange garb and with a black bag over his head to demonstrate his belief that Manning is suffering a form of torture.

“I think he served a higher honor to expose things we’re doing wrong,” said Orkin, who described himself as an Army veteran.

Lisa Cantoni, 43, of Woodbridge said the protests were a disgrace. “We are Americans, and he’s supposed to be on our side,” she said of Manning. “He should be punished. He should not be freed. . . . That’s preposterous.”

As demonstrators marched from a muddy staging area, passengers in a car gestured out the window and shouted, “Traitors!” But far more drivers sounded their horns in support.

A police officer shouted directions to the marchers like a broadway director: “Okay, move to your right. . . . Now people with flowers, move this way. . . . Members of the media, you should step to your left.”

The instructions infuriated the demonstrators.

One protester started the “Free Bradley Manning” chant, and soon the 400 protesters roared back. When Wright, Ellsberg and the other demonstrators sat sown, police lost control and declared the protest unlawful.

The demonstrators were becoming more emboldened when an announcement that their transportation was about to depart quieted much of the protest.

“The buses back to Union Station will leave for Washington in 20 minutes,” said a voice over a megaphone. “They’ll start boarding in five minutes.” WaPo

Next up, Paul Dacre's shitty little rag, shill for the establishment, the transparently obvious, Daily Mail.

Trying so hard to be full of moral indignation over America's treatment of Manning, but failing miserably in its attempt to do so, because, just as surely as the shackles that restrict Bradley Manning's movements, the Mail is equally fettered in presenting an unbiased report by its hatred of Julian Assange. Stopping just, but only just, short of blaming Assange directly for the treatment meted out to Manning by the guardians of, the home of brave land of the free.

Hero or villain? The shackled and naked U.S. soldier in WikiLeaks freedom of speech row as Julian Assange preens himself in UK

By Tom Leonard
19th March 2011

This weekend, demonstrators will take to the streets of cities across the world, including London, to protest against America’s treatment of the man it holds responsible for the WikiLeaks debacle — the release of 250,000 confidential U.S. embassy cables last November that revealed devastatingly damaging details of what the diplomats really thought about everybody else.

Protesters in America will gather outside the razor-wire gates of the U.S. marine corps base at Quantico, Virginia.

Inside a tiny cell in the base’s prison block languishes the object of their mission — a slightly-built, fresh-faced young man held in conditions that have been compared to those at the notorious detention camps Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

But he won’t hear them, no matter how loudly they shout. His cell does not have a window and on the rare occasions he is allowed out, the clanking of the chains that shackle his hands and feet tend to drown out other sounds.

We are not, of course, talking about Julian Assange. The white-haired WikiLeaks supremo will be spending his weekend pottering around the 600-acre grounds of his current billet, Ellingham Hall in Suffolk, basking in warm reflections over his speech last Tuesday to 700 wide-eyed students at Cambridge University Union.

He might face rape charges in Sweden but, pursued by plaudits and feted by celebrities such as socialites Jemima Khan and Bianca Jagger, Assange is on something of a high at the moment.

But Bradley Manning — who is being held on remand at Quantico as the Army Private First Class who allegedly leaked the cables and gave Assange his biggest scoop — is most definitely on a low........

........‘He’s a guy who had no active service experience. Conditions in Iraq were very difficult. The people who should answer for what happened are the military leaders who put him in that position,’ she said.
Manning’s prison visitors say they studiously avoid discussing anything to do with WikiLeaks because there are always three Marines standing in earshot and he has never admitted being its source.

But perhaps it’s just as well he doesn’t hear too much about the swollen-headed Assange and the deification of his website.

Every week seems to bring a new pompous, self-glorifying pronouncement from the 39-year-old Australian. He has taken credit for the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, and told the Cambridge Union that ‘history will judge him’. His planned autobiography, he says modestly, will ‘become one of the unifying documents of our generation’.

It doesn’t seem to occur to Assange that every criticism he throws at the U.S. hardly helps matters for Manning. Meanwhile, a Manning camp insider said there was anger that WikiLeaks did not honour a pledge to donate to his legal fund until January, and then gave the paltry sum of £9,000. More The Mail, Out-Foxing Fox News

It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, (The treatment of Bradley Manning) that might be applicable to Gary McKinnon, but Julian Assange? as the Gruniad tries to make a case a permanent refusal allowing McKinnon to be extradited to the US. But as you will note from another Wikileaked doc, the US isn't very forgiving of some bloke sat in his bedroom that drives a train through the Pentagon's super duper computer security. Either that, or it was McKinnon, taking the electronic equivalent of a dump on the doorstep, on the way through. Leaving such messages as: Your security sucks, and in light of this week's carryings on, with just a touch of the ironic: "US foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days."

Dead or alive lad, you'll do either way.

Refuse this extradition
by Duncan Campbell
16 March 2011

Extradition, extradition, extradition. The attention being paid to the attempts made by the Swedish government to extradite Julian Assange and what is happening to Bradley Manning in Virginia has inevitably obscured another battle being fought out behind the scenes, that of Gary McKinnon, (webpage) the hacker with Asperger's syndrome who left rude messages in the Pentagon's computer system a decade ago.....

.......Thanks to WikiLeaks, it has emerged that Gordon Brown, when prime minister, approached the US ambassador in the UK, Louis Susman, on McKinnon's behalf. Brown's reasonable suggestion – that McKinnon would plead guilty to hacking offences but would serve any sentence in the UK – was then snubbed by a secretary of state who this week has been lecturing Middle Eastern countries on tolerance and humanity. more gruniad

No intro required.

Review: Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's War On Secrecy
by David Leigh and Luke Harding
March 19 2011

It was after midnight and Julian Assange hadn't eaten. Sitting in a London café, he hungrily tucked into 12 oysters and a piece of cheese.

A strange meal for a man who lives in the shadows, but then Assange is also a man who likes to stand out.

As well as buying the man's supper, Guardian reporter David Leigh was keeping the restless, chameleonic Australian on board.

After all he was the man with access to over 250,000 classified US cables and files in what would become the biggest leak in history.

The Guardian, left trailing in 2010 by the rival Daily Telegraph's litany of scoops on politicians' expenses, wanted this one badly. When a promised feature film is made about this affair (the rights were signed up by DreamWorks just last week) the casting directors are going to have their work cut out.

For one of the most astonishing stories of the decade will require actors with egos comparable to those of the key players in this drama, including some of the journalists involved.

Central, of course, will be Assange, the 39-year-old snow-haired Australian hacker, publisher and leaker extraordinaire with a taste for the theatrical.

Now facing extradition from the UK to Sweden on rape charges, he, with some justification, believes the US is conspiring to punish him for leaking their secrets.

WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy is the account of what happened from the perspective of the Guardian. The other newspapers involved were Der Spiegel and The New York Times.

In unravelling the murky details, the book has also provided a rip-roaring narrative of secrets, tantrums, technological wizardry, personal betrayal and vengeance. At its heart is the secrecy surrounding seismic events inside Iraq and Afghanistan, the twin wars which have had such brutalising effects on all involved.

A brief outline of what we know: in July, October and November last year WikiLeaks, set up by Assange and others in 2006, laid the classified American government documents before a shocked world.

Of course, there was no paper trail but an immaculately choreographed publication on WikiLeaks' own website and in the three printed publications.

Some scenes would fold neatly inside any modern spy thriller one cares to think of: Assange scrawling a secret password on a napkin at a Brussels hotel and a journalist holed up at a remote Scottish cottage, feverishly scrolling through the devastating cache. More Irish Indepndent

Although dated today, this essay has been doing the rounds for a few days now, it is in fact the second time that I am featuring it. No harm in that.

John Pilger: Corporate media attacks WikiLeaks
Monday, March 21, 2011
By John Pilger

As the United States and Britain look for an excuse to invade another oil-rich Arab country, the hypocrisy is familiar.

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is “delusional” and “blood-drenched”, while the authors of an invasion that killed a million Iraqis, who have kidnapped and tortured in our name, are entirely sane, never blood-drenched and once again the arbiters of “stability”.

But something has changed. Reality is no longer what the powerful say it is.

Of all the spectacular revolts across the world, the most exciting is the insurrection of knowledge sparked by WikiLeaks.

This is not a new idea. In 1792, the revolutionary Tom Paine warned his readers in England that their government believed that “people must be hoodwinked and held in superstitious ignorance by some bugbear or other”.

Paine’s The Rights of Man was considered such a threat to elite control that a secret grand jury was ordered to charge him with “a dangerous and treasonable conspiracy”.

Wisely, he sought refuge in France.

The ordeal and courage of Tom Paine was cited by the Sydney Peace Foundation in its award of Australia’s human rights Gold Medal to Julian Assange.

Like Paine, Assange is a maverick who serves no system and is threatened by a secret grand jury, a malicious device long abandoned in England but not in the US.

If extradited to the US, he is likely to disappear into the Kafkaesque world that produced the Guantanamo Bay nightmare and now accuses Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks’ alleged whistleblower, of a capital crime.

Should Assange’s British appeal fail against his extradition to Sweden, he will probably, once charged, be denied bail and held incommunicado until his trial in secret.

The case against him has already been dismissed by a senior prosecutor in Stockholm and given new life only when a right-wing politician, Claes Borgstrom, intervened and made public statements about Assange’s “guilt”.

Borgstrom, a lawyer, now represents the two women involved. His law partner is Thomas Bodstrom, who as Sweden’s minister for justice in 2001, was implicated in the handover of two innocent Egyptian refugees to a CIA kidnap squad at Stockholm airport.

Sweden later awarded them damages for their torture.

These facts were documented in an Australian parliamentary briefing in Canberra on March 2.

Outlining an epic miscarriage of justice threatening Assange, the enquiry heard expert evidence that, under international standards of justice, the behavior of certain officials in Sweden would be considered “highly improper and reprehensible [and] preclude a fair trial”.

A former senior Australian diplomat, Tony Kevin, described the close ties between the Swedish prime minister Frederic Reinheldt, and the Republican right in the US.

“Reinfeldt and [George W.] Bush are friends,” he said.

Reinhaldt has attacked Assange publicly and hired Karl Rove, the former Bush crony, to advise him. The implications for Assange’s extradition to the US from Sweden are dire.

The Australian enquiry was ignored in Britain, where black farce is preferred. more

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Update: John Pilger tribute.

John Pilger: Battling the Media Beast From Within
By orwellwasright

You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that the mainstream media doesn’t have the general public’s best interests – or the truth – at heart. A quick perusal of the financial news, where the current economic collapse is portrayed akin to a force of nature rather than the deliberate, planned destruction of the economic system by banking oligarchs, intended to pave the way for a new global currency in which central bank domination will be exacerbated, tells you that the media is siding with the fraudsters not the victims. Institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are lauded by the press as the saviours of nations, but the real horrors of IMF structural readjustment vehicles and their predatory, loan shark influence on impoverished countries, forced into debt then stripped of their resources by international corporations, is kept out of the front pages and news bulletins. The press, after all, is corporate, and in no hurry to expose the crimes of its shareholders.

The current Libya crisis is a classic example of how the media colludes with belligerent Western nations and shares their aims. With echoes of the Iraq War build up combined with the intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s, once again we’re witness to the same tried and trusted propaganda methods: consistent demonization of Gaddafi including comparisons to Hitler with little to no background on his long-standing ties to Western arms dealers and the very nations now seeking to depose him; a persistent campaign to drum up support for military intervention based on a “humanitarian mandate” to combat an increasing in violence and hostilities, conflict secretly stoked by the very powers that claim to be standing by to intervene to prevent more bloodshed. Few who rely solely on the likes of the BBC, for instance, will be aware of the capture of SAS soldiers by Libyan rebels – even fewer will be aware of the broader strategic imperatives characterised by covert subversion and military build up; cold, calculated realpolitik masked by the call for military intervention on humanitarian grounds. After all, the media’s role is to make imperialism respectable, to hide the drive for resources and maintaining spheres of influence in a cloud of fake honourable intentions and empty, repetitive rhetoric about spreading freedom and democracy to the world. more orwellwasright


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

For the inspiration of future truth-tellers belongs to Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and the remarkable young people of WikiLeaks, whose achievements are unparalleled. Snowden’s rescue is largely a WikiLeaks triumph – a thriller too good for Hollywood, because its heroes are real.

Himself said...

I read this a while ago.

My first reaction, to the headline, was: I think you're being a tad philosophical there Mister Pilger.

That said, did you read where Snowden's encrypted email provider, shut up shop, rather than cave to US gov's data demand?

But exception I think, rather than the rule.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Bradley Manning, the Nuremberg Charter and Refusing to Collaborate