Friday, June 17, 2011

Bradley Manning Supporter Takes The Fifth + Update

WikiLeaks grand jury witness David House refuses to testify, invokes Fifth Amendment
June 15th, 2011

WASHINGTON — A friend of Bradley Manning, the American soldier accused of leaking classified files to WikiLeaks, said he declined to answer questions at a grand jury hearing.

Prosecutors, who have not given up bringing charges against the whistle-blower website's founder Julian Assange, had subpoenaed David House to testify before the grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia.

But House said that during the closed-door hearing he invoked the constitution's Fifth Amendment, which protects him from self-incrimination, offering only his name and address and refusing to answer the prosecutors other questions.

"The show trial that is now under way in Alexandria, Virginia has the potential to set a dangerous precedent for regulating the media," House said in a statement issued by Manning's support network.

"Using Nixonian fear tactics that were honed during the Pentagon Papers investigation, the DoJ (Department of Justice) is attempting to dismantle a major media organization -- WikiLeaks -- and indict its editor, Julian Assange," he said.

"The DoJ's ever-widening net has now come to encompass academics, students, and journalists in the Cambridge (Boston) area," he said.

President Barack Obama's administration is seeking to force these individuals to testify "against this media organization in an attempt to cast its publications and those of its media partners -- the New York Times, the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, and El Pais -- as acts of espionage."

Grand juries, which are empanelled to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring charges in a case, typically meet in secret unless a witness discloses that he or she has been summoned to testify.

Although the hearing does not mean that charges against Assange are imminent, it is a strong indication that the US administration, as promised, continues to pursue that goal.

It opened a criminal investigation against Assange in July 2010, following a massive document dump by his website that continues to roil US relations with countries around the world.

One possible avenue open to prosecutors is to show that Assange personally asked Manning, a US army private, to obtain confidential documents.

Manning is awaiting a possible court martial on charges that include "aiding the enemy," which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Assange, 39, is under house arrest in Britain, awaiting trial on sexual assault and molestation charges in Sweden.

He has denied knowing the source of the leaks, but has defended Manning as a victim of US government mistreatment. Raw Story

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Bradley Manning supporters rally at WikiLeaks federal grand jury
June 15th, 2011

Supporters of Army Private Bradley Manning rallied outside the courthouse where a federal grand jury has convened to investigate WikiLeaks.

The Associated Press reported that supporters of the Army private, who is accused of supplying classified documents to WikiLeaks, gathered outside the courthouse in northern Virginia on Wednesday.

Activist David House, one of the founders of the Bradley Manning Support Network, was subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury this morning. Manning's ex-boyfriend Tyler Watkins and cryptography expert Nadia Heninger have also received subpoenas.

The grand jury is investigating the publication of classified government documents by WikiLeaks and violations of the 1917 Espionage Act and other laws.

"This harassment only increases our resolve to defend our fundamental constitutional freedoms," said Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network. "By conducting the people’s business in secret and persecuting transparency advocates, government decision-makers have abandoned core American values."

One witness who previously appeared before the grand jury invoked their Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer any questions beyond basic biographical ones, Salon's Glenn Greenwald reported.

“It is heartening to see that some witnesses are refusing to cooperate with this campaign to conceal the truth," Kevin Zeese, an attorney with the Bradley Manning Support Network who attended the rally, said.

Last month, House filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government over the seizure of his laptop and other electronic equipment by federal agents. He was returning to the U.S. on Nov. 23, 2010, after a vacation to Mexico, when all of his electronics were seized by agents acting without a warrant.

House claimed they questioned him for hours about Manning and WikiLeaks, then refused to return his equipment.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in December 2010 that the Department of Justice would take "significant" actions related to a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks, but would not elaborate. Raw Story
Related, and what it is really all about, including the treatment of Manning: "Did Manning jump, or was he pushed?" Much Lies In The Answer

And if you think it can't happen, think again and think Jose Padilla.

Psychiatrist says US terror suspect has Stockholm syndrome

A psychiatrist told a court in Miami US terror suspect Jose Padilla is unable to assist in his defense as he identifies with the military captors who held him for more than three years.

Speaking at a hearing held to determine whether Padilla is fit to face trial on charges of aiding Al-Qaeda, forensic neuropsychiatrist Angela Hagerty said Padilla suffers from symptoms of the Stockholm syndrome, in which captives identify with their captors.

"He's constantly advocating for the position of the government," said Hagerty, who examined Padilla between February and June 2006 and was called to the witness stand by the defense lawyers.

"He lacks the capacity to assist the counsel in his case," she said. "His reasoning is impaired."

Padilla was held for three and a half years without charges at a navy prison before he was allowed to go on trial.

His lawyers claim Padilla developed severe mental health problems while he was held by the military, and that he was unable to understand the legal proceedings.more informationliberation

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