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Wikileaks Reader: Pushback part 1

2:33 pm in Uncategorized by fiver2011

Obama officials caught deceiving about WikiLeaks by Glenn Greenwald (1/19/11)

Whenever the U.S. Government wants to demonize a person or group in order to justify attacks on them, it follows the same playbook: it manufactures falsehoods about them, baselessly warns that they pose Grave Dangers and are severely harming our National Security, peppers all that with personality smears to render the targeted individuals repellent on a personal level, and feeds it all to the establishment American media, which then dutifully amplifies and mindlessly disseminates it all.

When WikiLeaks in mid-2010 published documents detailing the brutality and corruption at the heart of the war in Afghanistan, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, held a Press Conference and said of WikiLeaks (and then re-affirmed it on his Twitter account) that they “might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.” This denunciation predictably caused the phrase “blood on their hands” to be attached to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, in thousands of media accounts around the world. But two weeks later, the Pentagon’s spokesman, when pressed, was forced to admit that there was no evidence whatsoever for that accusation: “we have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the WikiLeaks documents,” he admitted.

Since then, it has become clear how scrupulously careful WikiLeaks has been in releasing these cables in order to avoid unnecessary harm to innocent people, as the Associated Press reported how closely WikiLeaks was collaborating with its newspaper partners in deciding which cables to release and what redactions were necessary. Indeed, one of the very few documents which anyone has been able to claim has produced any harm — one revealing that the leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition privately urged U.S. officials to continue imposing sanctions on his country — was actually released by The Guardian, not by WikiLeaks.

How propaganda poisons the mind – and our discourse by Glenn Greenwald (1/12/11)

In The Wall Street Journal, Jamie Kirchick — the long-time assistant of The New Republic’s Marty Peretz — wrote under this headline: “Julian Assange’s reckless behavior could cost Zimbabwe’s leading democrat his life.” Kirchick explained that “the crusading ‘anti-secrecy’ website released a diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Harare” which exposed Tsvangirai’s support for sanctions. As “a result of the WikiLeaks revelations,” Kirchick wrote, the reform leader would likely be charged with treason, and “Mr. Tsvangirai will have someone additional to blame: Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.” The Atlantic’s Chris Albon, in his piece entitled “How WikiLeaks Just Set Back Democracy in Zimbabwe,” echoed the same accusation, claiming “WikiLeaks released [this cable] to the world” and that Assange has thus “provided a tyrant with the ammunition to wound, and perhaps kill, any chance for multiparty democracy.” Numerous other outlets predictably mimicked these claims.

There was just one small problem with all of this: it was totally false. It wasn’t WikiLeaks which chose that cable to be placed into the public domain, nor was it WikiLeaks which first published it. It was The Guardian that did that. In early December, that newspaper — not WikiLeaks — selected and then published the cable in question.

Greg Mitchell on the Guardian’s smear of Wikileaks (1/10/11)

6:15 FInally. In one of the most shameful journalistic episodes in recent days of WikiLeaks action, The Guardian published a piece by James Richardson that charged WL with “collateral murder” in Zimbadwe and earning “the ignominy of Robert Mugabe’s gratitude.” Even though many bloggers, including yours truly, quickly pointed out that, in fact, it was The Guardian itself that first published the fateful cable, the paper did nothing to revise or amend or correct the article — for eight days. Finally, today, it happened with a rewritten photo caption, a slight edit, and this at the end of the piece: “This article was amended on 11 January 2011 to clarify the fact that the 2009 cable referred to in this article was placed in the public domain by the Guardian, and not as originally implied by WikiLeaks. The photo caption was also amended to reflect this fact.”

WikiLeaks, Morgan Tsvangirai and the Guardian – an explanation by Ian Katz (1/13/11)

They had a point. On Tuesday, the piece was amended to reflect the Guardian’s role in putting the document into the public domain, and an explanatory note added. We should have done that quicker but the readers’ editor, our usual channel for corrections, had not received any complaint. Some critics saw malice in the publication of the Richardson piece in the first place: why would the Guardian point the finger at WikiLeaks knowing it had published the cable? In fact, neither Richardson, a first-time contributor to our comment website, nor the US-based editor who handled it, were aware of the somewhat complicated process through which (most) cables were published. The piece was posted on the bank holiday after Christmas. The Guardian’s WikiLeaks editing team was not around. They were taking a well-earned break after months of working on the documents.

Officials may be overstating the danger from WikiLeaks by Nancy Youseff (11/28/10)

American officials in recent days have warned repeatedly that the release of documents by WikiLeaks could put people’s lives in danger.

But despite similar warnings ahead of the previous two massive releases of classified U.S. intelligence reports by the website, U.S. officials concede that they have no evidence to date that the documents led to anyone’s death.

Before Sunday’s release, news organizations given access to the documents and WikiLeaks took the greatest care to date to ensure no one would be put in danger. In statements accompanying stories about the documents, several newspapers said they voluntarily withheld information and that they cooperated with the State Department and the Obama administration to ensure nothing released could endanger lives or national security.

The newspapers “established lists in common of people to protect, notably in countries ruled by dictators, controlled by criminals or at war,” according to an account by Le Monde, a French newspaper that was among the five news organizations that were given access to the documents. “All the identities of people the journalists believed would be threatened were redacted,” the newspaper said in what would be an unprecedented act of self censorship by journalists toward government documents.

The newspapers also communicated U.S. government concerns to WikiLeaks to ensure sensitive data didn’t appear on the organization’s website.

Nobody sums it up better than David Mizner in Top 5 Lies About Wikileaks (12/9/10)

Lie 1. Wikileaks is “indiscriminately” posting material.
Fact: It’s published less than one percent of the State Department cables it possesses, 1203 out of 251,287. What’s more, it makes an effort to redact info that could harm innocent people, an effort appears to be growing more comprehensive. And it’s asked the U.S. government to help redact information from each collection of documents. The U.S. government refuses to help.

Lie 2. People have been killed as a result of Wikileaks’ actions.
Fact: There’s no evidence that anyone’s been killed. (If there were, we’d never stop hearing about it.) In fact, there’s no evidence that anyone’s received so much as a wedgie as a result of these releases.

Lie 3. The information released by Wikileaks is “nothing new.”
Fact: The documents contain dozens of major scoops — not just support for things we already knew but brand new, important stories that could be and should be front page news. For example, we’ve learned that the U.S. military had an explicit policy of ignoring torture by Iraqi troops and that Hillary Clinton ordered diplomats to spy on U.N. officials, a blatant violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention, and that the United States supported the coup in Honduras.

Lie 4. Wikileaks aren’t journalists.
Fact: First, the charge — made by people attempting to distinguish Wikileaks from “reputable” outlets — is irrelevant. You don’t need credentials to be a journalist, and you don’t have to be considered “reputable” by “reputable” people to be entitled to First Amendment protections. Second, the notion that all Wikileaks does is post documents is simply false; it posts news stories and analysis based on the documents. In terms of function, there’s no meaningful difference between Wikileaks and conventional news outlets.

Lie 5. Julian Assange is threatening to release info to protect himself from a rape prosecution.
Fact: the “poison pill” he’s threatening to release has nothing to do with the rape charge. He’s using it to protect himself from the U.S. government and other governments, which could arrest him, or worse, in retaliation for releasing the documents. This isn’t a far-fetched possibility, what with Ameri can politicians calling for his arrest and with the frontunner for the GOP nomination (and possible future president) saying he should be “pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.”

The crux of the WikiLeaks debate by Glenn Greenwald (12/8/10)

Worse, the Time article then refers to “a distinction between WikiLeaks’ indiscriminate posting of the cables — which [Nicholas] Burns called ‘nihilistic’ — and the more careful vetting evidenced by The New York Times.” This is a “distinction” that exists only in the minds of establishment-serving, falsehood-spewing “journalists.”

Obviously, releasing 1/2 of 1% of the documents one possesses is not “indiscriminate” under any recognized meaning of that word. More to the point, the overwhelming majority of cables posted thus far by WikiLeaks were first published by one of its partner newspapers, and contains the redactions applied by those papers.

The WikiLeaks Revolution Will be Twittered by Brad Friedman (12/10/10)

For the record, to date, WikiLeaks has released just 1,295 out of the 251,287 leaked diplomatic cables they purportedly have so far. That’s about “0.5% down, 99.5% to go” as they tweeted today. That, despite the inaccuracies you’ll continue to hear and read in the media about the organization “causing havoc” and being “anarchists” by “indiscriminately dumping 250,000 classified documents!” It should be noted that almost all of the cable documents released to date have been published first by WikiLeaks’ media partners such as the UK’s Guardian, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Spain’s El Pais and the New York Times.

Never mind the very serious substance of the cables themselves — it’s not simply “embarrassing gossip” and “nothing new” as many in the media are shamefully downplaying it, perhaps because they didn’t report it first!

NPR Apologizes for WikiLeaks Mistake (1/3/11):

Thanks to one persistent listener, NPR published a correction admitting that it has mistakenly – and more than once – inflated the number of State Department diplomatic cables released recently by WikiLeaks.

“Do you guys just make stuff up and present it as fact?” Norr asked in an email. “You begin your ‘review’ of this story by saying ‘First, the website released thousands of confidential U.S. documents.’ That’s simply not true. All you have to do is go to the website in question and you’ll see that it has thus far released precisely 1,344 of the documents in question – less than one percent of the 251,287 apparently in their possession. 1,344 is not ‘thousands’!”

I admit it. I let it go. But that didn’t stop Norr, and for that I thank him. A week later, he emailed: “So… my message from last Tuesday didn’t convince you there’s been a problem with NPR’s reporting?”

Woodward and Wikileaks by Digby (12/24/10)

People have varying beliefs about Wikileaks, obviously, and it’s fair that your mileage may vary. But it’s unacceptable that we still have people out there spreading falsehoods about it as Jeffrey Toobin did on last night’s Spitzer Parker (with Naomi Wolf and Clay Shirky.)

TOOBIN: If you intend to simply blow out 250,000 documents that are at tremendous — putting individuals at risk, the United States government employees at risk, people who cooperate with the United States government at risk, that is not up to Julian Assange. That is up to the United States government.

WOLF: Scooter Libby did that.

SHIRKY: But Assange went with — went with “Guardian,” went through “Spiegel.” In this case, the “Times” by proxy and they redacted some of the documents and held some of the documents back.

TOOBIN: Some of it. They redacted some of it.

I don’t know why people persist in saying this, but it reveals either bad faith or just sheer journalistic malpractice at this point. And I think it’s at the heart of much of the dispute because it seems to have been believed quite widely at the time the diplomatic cables were first released, and it has colored the reaction to it.

Cable Access: Once again: WikiLeaks did not publicly release 250,000 diplomatic cables by Craig Silverman:

One obvious concern about the prevalence of this mistaken number is that it could cloud the way people view WikiLeaks. If you’re under the impression that WikiLeaks indiscriminately dumped 250,000 diplomatic cables online without any kind of control or vetting on its part or that of its media partners, then you’ll probably have a different view than if you’re aware that it has publicly released roughly 2,000 cables, many of which have been vetted (and had parts redacted) by established media partners.

The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange by David Samuels (12/13/10)

Coll’s invective is hardly unique, In fact, it was only a pale echo of the language used earlier this year by a columnist at his former employer, The Washington Post. In a column titled “WikiLeaks Must Be Stopped,” Mark Thiessen wrote that “WikiLeaks is not a news organization; it is a criminal enterprise,” and urged that the site should be shut down “and its leadership brought to justice.” The dean of American foreign correspondents, John Burns of The New York Times, with two Pulitzer Prizes to his credit, contributed a profile of Assange which used terms like “nearly delusional grandeur” to describe Wikileaks’ founder. The Times’ normally mild-mannered David Brooks asserted in his column this week that “Assange seems to be an old-fashioned anarchist” and worried that Wikileaks will “damage the global conversation.”

The State Dept’s Bizarre Logic Regarding Wikileaks by ukit (12/13/10):

Reporters questioned Mr. Crowley on a number of issues regarding the organization. Interestingly, he gave something of a non-denial denial as to whether anyone in the U.S. government had pressured Amazon to kick the organization off their servers. The most troubling comments, however, came in response to questions over Wikileaks’ status, and whether or not what they were doing qualified as journalism.
QUESTION: Some of the governments that have been mentioned in these cables are heavily censoring press in terms of releasing some of this information. How do you feel about that? (Laughter.)

MR. CROWLEY: The official position of the United States Government and the State Department has not changed. We value a vibrant, active, aggressive media. It is important to the development of civil society in this country and around the world. Our views have not changed, even if occasionally there are activities which we think are unhelpful and potentially harmful.

QUESTION: Do you know if the State Department regards WikiLeaks as a media organization?

MR. CROWLEY: No. We do not.

QUESTION: And why not?

MR. CROWLEY: WikiLeaks is not a media organization. That is our view.

To their credit, the reporters at the briefing didn’t accept this “because we say so” explanation, and continued pressing Crowley on this issue.

QUESTION: From your perspective, what is WikiLeaks? How do you define them, if it is not a media organization, then?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as the Secretary said earlier this week, it is – one might infer it has many characteristics of some internet sites. Not every internet site you would call a media organization or a news organization.

Beneath Crowley’s jumbled logic (if we take Wikileaks to mean the Wikileaks website, after all, it IS an internet site, but this is like saying it has “many characteristics of a newspaper”) is a more sinister implication.

If Wikileaks publishing relevant news information via the web does not qualify it as a media organization, what does that say about anyone who starts a blog or political news site? Is some sort of nonexistent “certificate of respectability,” the sort that presumably shields the New York Times, Guardian, Le Monde and Der Spiegel from being charged by the U.S., the only differentiating factor here?

Government-created climate of fear by Glenn Greenwald (1/10/11)

One of the more eye-opening events for me of 2010 occurred in March, when I first wrote about WikiLeaks and the war the Pentagon was waging on it (as evidenced by its classified 2008 report branding the website an enemy and planning how to destroy it). At the time, few had heard of the group — it was before it had released the video of the Apache helicopter attack — but I nonetheless believed it could perform vitally important functions and thus encouraged readers to donate to it and otherwise support it. In response, there were numerous people — via email, comments, and other means — who expressed a serious fear of doing so: they were worried that donating money to a group so disliked by the government would cause them to be placed on various lists or, worse, incur criminal liability for materially supporting a Terrorist organization.

At the time, I dismissed those concerns as both ill-founded and even slightly paranoid. From a strictly legal standpoint, those concerns were and are ill-founded: WikiLeaks has never even been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime, nor does it do anything different than what major newspapers around the world routinely do, nor has it been formally designated a Terrorist organization, nor — I believed at the time — could it ever be so designated. There is not — and cannot remotely be — anything illegal about donating to it. Any efforts to retroactively criminalize such donations would be a classic case of an “ex post facto” law unquestionably barred by the Constitution. But from a political perspective, the crux of the fear was probably more prescient than paranoid: within a matter of months, leading right-wing figures were equating WikiLeaks to Al Qaeda, while the Vice President of the U.S. went on Meet the Press and disgustingly called Julian Assange a “terrorist.”

To Tell the Truth by Matthew Dowd (12/2/10)

Judging by the press accounts, Washington is still buzzing over WikiLeaks’ release of classified U.S. government information, with both Republicans and Democrats expressing outrage over the disclosures. Meanwhile, many media outlets seem to be practically mute on the subject, avoiding comment on whether WikiLeaks provided a public service or disservice.
Let me offer one man’s perspective on the controversy, from an apartment in Austin, Texas.

As I was sitting with my three grown sons over the post-Thanksgiving weekend watching football at their place (where they have lived together for nearly a year without a major fight, the place burning down, or the police showing up), my oldest son, who served in the Army for five years and was deployed in Iraq for nearly a year and half, turned to me and asked, “When as a country did we become a place where the government gets upset when its secrets are evealed but has no problem knowing all our secrets and invading our privacy?”

WikiLeaks and Democracy by Vincent Warren (1/6/11)

It is disappointing to see the same president who ran on his constitutional law professor bona fides devote so much time and effort to discrediting WikiLeaks and working up charges against its founder, Julian Assange. WikiLeaks, like the New York Times before it with the publication of the Pentagon Papers, has committed no crime. If the law of the land holds true, the administration will get nowhere with the foolish notion that Assange can be tried for conspiracy under the Espionage Act for doing what major media outlets do every day: publishing classified information about the government. The claim that somehow WikiLeaks is different because it allegedly encouraged sources to come forward is a red herring: even if the charge proves true, this is what journalists at every major media outlet in the country do every day.

Still, we wonder at those who assert that the cables “demonstrate no misconduct by the U.S.” (Floyd Abrams) or “provide very little evidence of double-dealing or bad faith in U.S. foreign policy” (Gideon Rachman). In fact, the U.S. Embassy cables, like the Pentagon Papers, show our government involved in systemic wrongdoing and wide scale deception. They present irrefutable evidence that this administration and its predecessor have been tampering with other countries’ legal systems to prevent prosecutions against government employees for committing human rights abuses and transgressing international law under often-secret post 9/11 policies.

WikiLeaks And The Double Edge Of “Internet Freedom” by Andy Greenberg (1/21/11)

One year ago today, Hillary Clinton gave a landmark speech at the Newseum journalism museum in Washington D.C., extolling the power of unfettered digital information to change the world. “Information has never been so free,” the Secretary of State gushed. “There are more ways to spread more ideas to more people than at any moment in history. And even in authoritarian countries, information networks are helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable.”

Those new facts and accountability, as driven home by WikiLeaks’ information bombshells from the Afghan War Diaries to Cablegate over the past year, cut both ways. And no one has felt those cuts more strongly than the State Department itself.

That paradox of U.S. Internet freedom policy has long been on the radar of Evgeny Morozov, the visiting scholar in the Liberation Technology Program at Stanford University. His new book The Net Delusion, published this month, takes on the State Department’s simplistic rhetoric on the Internet and authoritarianism, arguing that dismantling dictatorships around the world is a far more complex affair than piping in uncensored bandwidth.

In one sense, WikiLeaks seems to prove the State Department’s argument that the Internet can empower the individuals over governments and corporations. But Morozov argues that the effects of that freedom of information have mostly played out where the State Department least expected it, in the democratic world.

Bipartisanship pop quiz by Glenn Greenwald (1/26/11)

One of the most striking aspects of the WikiLeaks debate from the start has been the identical mindset of political and media figures and the full consensus among them in condemning that group; in almost every debate I did on television, radio and everywhere else, it was impossible to distinguish between the views on these leaks from politicians and journalists, as they read from the same anti-WikiLeaks script. With a few exceptions, exactly the same has been true of Democrats and Republicans: there has been full-scale bipartisan consensus such that it’s impossible to distinguish between the “two sides” on this issue.

Mukasey: Prosecute Assange because it’s ‘easier’ than prosecuting New York Times by David Edwards and Daniel Tencer (12/12/10)

But for Michael Mukasey, President George W. Bush’s last attorney general, the matter is clear cut: The US should prosecute Assange because it’s “easier” than prosecuting a major news outlet.

Pressed by the Wall Street Journal’s Paul Gigot to explain how the US could prosecute Assange and not the Times — the first US news source to publish the State Department cables — Mukasey said, “The distinction I’m drawing is that it is easier, from a policy standpoint, to prosecute Assange. There’s a clearer case with respect to Assange. With regard to the Times, I think, just as a matter of discretion, I would hold back.”

The argument that only prosecutorial “discretion” stands in the way of journalists being arrested for publishing the WikiLeaks documents will surely add fuel to the fire of critics who say that an Assange prosecution would be an attack on freedom of the press.

Issa: Why haven’t we prosecuted WikiLeaks under our nonexistent laws? by Joshua Keating (1/3/11)

he topic of whether the U.S. can prosecute WikiLeaks has been up for debate since the Afghan war logs came out in July, and no action has been taken despite numerous reports that the Justice Department was investigating the matter. Since the Espionage Act is rarely applied to outlets who receive classified information (evidently, there isn’t sufficient evidence to prove that Julian Assange actively abetted the leaks) and laws against trafficking in stolen government property were never set up to deal with computer files that are still in the government’s possession, it’s an awfully hard case to prosecute.

List of people calling for the criminalization of Julian Assange and Wikileaks including:

1. Rep. Candice Miller
2. Jonah Goldberg, Journalist
3. Christian Whiton, Journalist
4. Bill O’Reilly, Fox News Journalist
5. Sarah Palin, Member of the Republican Party, former VP candidate
6. Mike Huckabee, Politician
8. Prof. Tom Flanagan
9. Rep. Peter King
10. Tony Shaffer
11. Rick Santorum
12. Rep. Dan Lugren
13. Jeffrey T. Kuhner, Journalist The Washington Times
14. Rep. Virginia Foxx
15. Sen. Kit Bond, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
16. Sen. Joe Liberman
17. Sen. Charles Schumer
18. Marc Thiessen, Columnist

WikiLeaks cables: Julian Assange says his life is ‘under threat’ by David Batty (12/18/10)

Julian Assange said today his life and the lives of his colleagues at the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks are under threat.

Speaking to reporters outside Ellingham Hall, the Norfolk house at which he is staying following his release on bail from prison, Assange said: “There is a threat to my life. There is a threat to my staff. There are significant risks facing us.”

Death Threat Domain Names: Registrar Says Killjulianassange.com Will Not Be Removed (1/14/11)

According to vivantleakers.org — a new site created to track “cyber-bullying domain names of wikileaks associates” — multiple death-threat domain names have been registered going after Wikileaks director Julian Assange. Killjulianassange.com and julianassangemustdie.com are recently registered examples, although they have no content on them at this time.

Go Daddy, the site which registered both killjulianassange.com and julianassangemustdie.com said there is nothing that can be done about either site while they are contentless. Go Daddy registers a domain name every .8 seconds — any domain name can be registered and there is no human intervention.

“Unless and until there is content associated with killjulianassange.com there is no way for us to know what that means,” said Christine Jones, Go Daddy’s General Counsel. “There’s no way to judge whether there’s going to be something done with that domain name or if it is going to be violating any rule.”

Palin to be prosecuted for inciting violence if she visits Australia, attorney says by Stephen Webster (1/21/11)

Under Australian law, inciting violence is a serious crime: an offense which could even trigger the prosecution of members of the US political class and mainstream media who called for the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to his attorney.

“Our main concern is really the possible extradition to the US,” he said. “We’ve been troubled by the sort of rhetoric that has come out of various commentators and principally Republican politicians — Sarah Palin and the like — saying Mr. Assange should be executed, assassinated.”

Chomsky, Singer declare support for WikiLeaks’ Assange (12/7/10):

The letter notes that numerous conservatives in the US have dubbed Assange a terrorist and have even called for his death.

“We should treat Mr. Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him,” conservative columnist Jeffrey T. Kuhner wrote in the Washington Times.

When asked about Congressman Peter King’s (R-NY) recommendation that WikiLeaks be designated a foreign terrorist organization, Chomsky responded that King’s suggestion was “outlandish.”

“The materials—we should understand—and the Pentagon Papers is another case in point—that one of the major reasons for government secrecy is to protect the government from its own population,” Chomsky said in an interview with the Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman. “In the Pentagon Papers, for example, there was one volume, the negotiations volume, which might have had bearing on ongoing activities, and Dan Ellsberg withheld that. That came out a little bit later.”

Daniel Ellsberg: “I Am WikiLeaks!” by Robert Naiman (12/13/10)

A striking example was noted by Sam Husseini on December 5, citing an appearance by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin on CBS’ “Face the Nation”:

Bob Schieffer: Do you think [Assange has] damaged national security?

Senator Richard Durbin: I do.

Bob Schieffer: You do?

Senator Richard Durbin: I do. And I’ll tell you I come from an era where I think [the] Daniel Ellsberg situation with the Pentagon papers was a clear contrast. Here was the disclosure of classified information in the midst of a war that brought out some things that were not well known, not public and might have changed I think the course of history.

But Durbin overlooked a key consideration best kept in mind by those who wish to re-write history when the history is fairly recent: Daniel Ellsberg must have eaten his vegetables, because he is still alive and breathing fire, and isn’t having any of Durbin’s good leaker/bad leaker dichotomy. As Husseini noted on December 5:

If you go to Daniel Ellsberg’s web page or his Twitter feed it is virtually wall-to-wall an ardent defense of WikiLeaks, most recently ditching and attacking Amazon following their pulling the plug on WikiLeaks.

Julian Assange like a hi-tech terrorist, says Joe Biden by Ewen MacAskill (12/19/10)

The US vice-president, Joe Biden, today likened the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, to a “hi-tech terrorist”, the strongest criticism yet from the Obama administration.

Biden claimed that by leaking diplomatic cables Assange had put lives at risk and made it more difficult for the US to conduct its business around the world.

His description of Assange shows a level of irritation that contrasts with more sanguine comments from other senior figures in the White House, who said the leak had not done serious damage.

Joe Biden v. Joe Biden on WikiLeaks by Glenn Greenwald (12/18/10)

It’s really not an overstatement to say that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are the new Iraqi WMDs because the government and establishment media are jointly manufacturing and disseminating an endless stream of fear-mongering falsehoods designed to depict them as scary villains threatening the security of The American People and who must therefore be stopped at any cost

But this new example from Joe Biden is extraordinary, and reveals how government officials are willing to say absolutely anything — even things they know are false — to demonize WikiLeaks.

The government’s one-way mirror by Glenn Greenwald (12/20/10)

It’s crystal clear that the Justice Department is engaged in an all-out crusade to figure out how to shut down WikiLeaks and imprison Julian Assange. It is subjecting Bradley Manning to unbelievably inhumane conditions in order to manipulate him into providing needed testimony to prosecute Assange. Recall that in 2008 — long before anyone even knew what WikiLeaks was — the Pentagon secretly plotted on how to destroy the organization. On Meet the Press yesterday, Joe Biden was asked whether he agreed more with Mitch McConnell’s statement that Assange is a “high-tech terrorist” than with those comparing WikiLeaks to Daniel Ellsberg, and the Vice President replied: “I would argue that it’s closer to being a high tech terrorist. . . .” “A high-tech terrorist.” And consider this pernicious little essay from Eric Fiterman — a former FBI special agent and founder of Methodvue, “a consultancy that provides cybersecurity and computer forensics services to the federal government and private businesses” — that clearly reflects the Government’s view of WikiLeaks:

In the WikiLeaks case, a fringe group led primarily by foreign nationals operating abroad is illegally obtaining, reviewing and disseminating American intelligence information with the stated intent of hurting the United States (WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange himself made this declaration). That not only meets the definition of aggressive, hostile and war-like activity, but squarely targets America’s diplomatic positions and intelligence interests while inflicting collateral damage against our financial institutions and service providers who cut-off their relationship with WikiLeaks. This, folks, is war.

High-Tech Terrorism or Low-Tech Fear Mongering by Gabor Rona (12/21/10)

We may already have gone beyond a point of no return by irrationally equating all terrorism with war and describing all terrorists as enemy combatants — a clearly foolish thing to do since terrorists crave nothing more than to be seen as warriors rather than war criminals, or what is more typically the case, just plain old mass murderers.

By calling a guy who publishes classified documents a terrorist Biden dilutes the meaning of the term. By the same token, absent evidence that Assange somehow participated in the initial leak of classified documents, every news organization, web site and dinner conversationalist who publishes or cites these materials is also now a terrorist.

What’s worse, this dilution diverts our attention from the task of fighting the true phenomenon that is terrorism.

Finally A Line Obama Won’t Cross by Robert Weller (1/14/11)

It seemed there was nothing the Obama administration wouldn’t do to shut down WikiLeaks and shut up Julian Assange.

Today we found out there is. In a somewhat curious move, the Treasury Department declined a right-wing congressman’s request to blacklist WikiLeaks.

There already is a grand jury investigating Assange and the government has put pressure on financial institutions and Internet providers not to do business with the whistleblowers. A U.S. Army private has been held in solitary for seven months in a bid critics say is to force him to implicate Assange in the leak of military documents alleged to show war crimes.

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange: ‘Anarchist,’ ‘agitator,’ ‘arrogant’ and a journalist by Adam Peneberg (1/28/11)

Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, wrote in a new Times Magazine article that, in working with Assange to publish revelations from WikiLeaks’ cache of documents, he always considered him a source, not a collaborator – or a journalist. But there is no clear definition of the terms “journalist” or “journalism.” The best we have comes from laws and proposed legislation which protect reporters from being forced to divulge confidential sources in court. In crafting those shield laws, legislators have had to grapple with the nebulousness of the profession to determine who and what must be protected, and why.

Based on the wording of many of these statutes, Assange fits the definition of a journalist, and what WikiLeaks does qualifies as journalism. This presents a significant challenge for Holder, who has launched a criminal probe and “personally authorized” a number of steps “to hold people accountable” for the document leaks.

WaPo denies allegation it sat on WikiLeaks video by Clint Hendler (6/7/10)

But the WikiLeaks Twitter account (and by the way, mark me down as saying it’s a safe bet that Julian Assange is its primary scribe) also let loose this officious-looking tweet earlier today:

Statement: Washington Post had Collateral murder video for over a year but DID NOT RELEASE IT it to the public.

Curious. I asked Kris Coratti, the Washington Post’s communications director, what was up. She emailed me this flat denial:

The Washington Post did not have the video, nor did we sit on anything.

There is a wrinkle to this tale. David Finkel, a Washington Post reporter, did elaborately describe the events of the day partially captured by the video in “Good Soldiers,” his book published in September 2009, based on his time embedded with an infantry battalion on the ground near the shootings. (WikiLeaks published its version of the video in April 2010.)

Finkel’s book describes the existence of an audio and video record of the day. The book directly quotes the pilots’ cockpit dialogue, and accurately describes their view from above in exquisite and at times nearly moment by moment detail. But in a brief interview with CJR, Finkel declined to say whether he saw the video before WikiLeaks’s release, or whether he ever possessed a copy.

The Coming Media Convergence by Rory O’Connor (2/11/11)

Following Bill Keller’s catty account in the New York Times, in which Assange was judged to be “alert but disheveled, like a bag lady walking in off the street,” Katz found Assange “ferociously intelligent, with a control freak’s mastery of detail and an infectious enthusiasm.” This despite the fact that the Guardian’s “pioneering WikiLeaks collaboration,” ended like that of the New York Times before it, “in distrust and legal threats,” as the headline on Katz’s article explained.

Biting the source that feeds you by Edward Wasserman (2/14/11)

But what really happens when you’re a major league whistleblower? Say you’ve acquired sensitive documents of huge public importance, very hush-hush. Although it’s bound to annoy powerful people and may expose you to reprisal, you deliver them to the world’s mightiest news media, including The New York Times, which use them in sensational articles that have worldwide impact.

And know this: That every conversation you have with the reporters you’re working with, every snarky comment they make about you, every detail of your collaboration, may be used in a high-profile account of the whole affair that will portray you as a peevish, contemptuous, slouching, disheveled, foul-smelling, paranoid, self-serving, manipulative, volatile ideologue.

Le Monde chose Julian Assange as their man of the year.

Julian Assange: Readers’ Choice for TIME’s Person of the Year 2010 by Megan Friedman (12/13/10)

The man behind WikiLeaks has won the most votes in this year’s Person of the Year poll.
Readers voted a total of 1,249,425 times, and the favorite was clear. Julian Assange raked in 382,020 votes, giving him an easy first place. He was 148,383 votes over the silver medalist, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey.

TIME Editor: “I think Assange Will Be a Footnote Five Years from Now” by Robert Quigley (12/16/10)

When TIME Magazine named Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg its 2010 Person of the Year, the reaction among many (including myself) was one of puzzlement: Yes, Facebook is a huge phenomenon and has arguably had a bigger impact on the day-to-day lives of many people than many a more ’serious’ technology or political movement, but why now? As John Hodgman bitingly put it, “Time Magazine just named its Person of the Year 2007.”

NYTimes Editor: Reporters Covering WikiLeaks Had Email Hacked by Andy Greenberg (1/26/11)

More substantive is that Keller joins the recent string of accusers who claim (or at least, imply) that WikiLeaks staffers are active hackers:

When I left New York for two weeks to visit bureaus in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where we assume that communications may be monitored, I was not to be copied on message traffic about the project. I never imagined that any of this would defeat a curious snoop from the National Security Agency or Pakistani intelligence. And I was never entirely sure whether that prospect made me more nervous than the cyberwiles of WikiLeaks itself. At a point when relations between the news organizations and WikiLeaks were rocky, at least three people associated with this project had inexplicable activity in their e-mail that suggested someone was hacking into their accounts.

Keller offers no further information on the suspected hack. And though he suggests that WikiLeaks was intruding on the email accounts of its “media partners,” it’s just as likely that the Times’ hackers were U.S. or foreign government agents, who saw the Times as an easier entry point into the Cablegate data than the more security-savvy WikiLeaks staffers.

Greg Mitchell Explains Why The Mainstream Press Is So Threatened By WikiLeaks by Ujala Sehgal (2/8/11)

In an excerpt from your book you discuss the feud between the New York Times and Julian Assange. Where do you stand with regards to Bill Keller’s recent controversial piece for the Times Magazine?

What you have to keep in mind with the Times is that Keller says over and over again that the Times was not partners with Assange, and kept its distance, and he rejects Assange’s saying that he could play these newspapers like puppets and that he was a puppet master. Keller can swear up and down that that is not true, but in reality, the Times was collaborating with Assange for massive coverage, from the war logs to cablegate. He can say they weren’t partners but in reality the Times was very happy to take the lead on covering and publishing Wikileaks stuff all year.

For Keller to turn around and completely dump on Assange, in the language he used, I think, has drawn him scorn from a lot of quarters — not so much for the facts in the piece, or in his opinion, which he has a right to obviously, but in the way he expressed it. It has really brought criticism from so many people.

Then, in addition, he revealed — beyond what anyone knew — the extent to which the Times showed the cables to the State department, and then managed to kill some of them [on account of that.] Guardian said they didn’t show anything to the State department, so it showed maybe a little too much New York Times cooperation with the State department to not run certain things.

NYT’s Keller Disparages Assange by Coleen Rowley (2/7/11)

Removing all the irrelevant belittlement, Keller apparently views Assange as little more than a difficult “source,” not someone engaged in “real” journalism. Keller’s long-winded article reads like a sadly typical maneuver common among Establishment journalists who try to place themselves under the safe umbrella of the First Amendment while leaving “whistleblowers” out in the stinging rain.

In doing so, Keller reveals how dismissive he is about factual correctness (truth), which depends on such “sources,” knowledgeable insiders or others with access to sensitive information who have the courage to share it with the press and the public. (I get a little sensitive about this after having my own “whistleblowing” once lumped in with FBI spy Robert Hanssen’s selling secrets to the Soviet Union.)

8 Smears and Misconceptions About WikiLeaks Spread By the Media at Alternet (12/31/10)

1. Fearmongering that WikiLeaks revelations will result in deaths. So far there’s no evidence that WikiLeaks’ revelations have cost lives. In fact, right before the cables were released, Pentagon officials admitted there were no documented instances of people being killed because of information exposed by WikiLeaks’ previous document releases (and unlike the diplomatic cables, the Afghanistan files were unredacted).

That’s not to say that the exposure of secret government files can’t somehow lead to someone, somewhere, someday, being hurt. But that’s a pretty high bar to set, especially by a government engaged in multiple military operations — many of them secret — that lead to untold civilian casualties.

WikiLeaks locked in war of words by Peter Wilson (1/20/11)

It was The Guardian that convinced Assange to join forces in an old media-new media collaboration to publish its enormous caches of leaked US government cables, and even though the partnership grew to include The New York Times and three other European publications – Der Spiegel, El Pais and Le Monde – the British newspaper has remained its driving force.

The partnership between one of old media’s grandest names and the world’s leading “information libertarian” website is important, not just because it was the first such collaboration but because new versions of WikiLeaks are springing up and it is not yet clear whether the old and new media models will co-operate or compete, and strengthen or undermine each other.

The merger of journalists and government officials by Glenn Greenwald (12/28/10)

What an astounding feat to train a nation’s journalist class to despise above all else those who shine a light on what the most powerful factions do in the dark and who expose their corruption and deceit, and to have journalists — of all people — lead the way in calling for the head of anyone who exposes the secrets of the powerful. Most ruling classes — from all eras and all cultures — could only fantasize about having a journalist class that thinks that way, but most political leaders would have to dismiss that fantasy as too extreme, too implausible, to pursue. After all, how could you ever get journalists — of all people — to loathe those who bring about transparency and disclosure of secrets? But, with a few noble exceptions, that’s exactly the journalist class we have.

(3) It’s extraordinary how — even a full month into the uproar over the diplomatic cable release — extreme misinformation still pervades these discussions, usually without challenge. It’s understandable that on the first day or in the first week of a controversy, there would be some confusion; but a full month into it, the most basic facts are still being wildly distorted. Thus, there was Fran Townsend spouting the cannot-be-killed lie that WikiLeaks indiscriminately dumped all the cables. And I’m absolutely certain that had I not objected, that absolute falsehood would have been unchallenged by Yellin and allowed to be transmitted to CNN viewers as Truth. The same is true for the casual assertion — as though it’s the clearest, most obvious fact in the world — that Assange “committed crimes” by publishing classified information or that what he’s doing is so obviously different than what investigative journalists routinely do. These are the unchallenged falsehoods transmitted over and over, day after day, to the American viewing audience.

A collection of varying opinion on Wikileaks can be found in How to Think About WikiLeaks by Alexis Madrigal (12/8/10) including this doosey:

I don’t deny for a moment that many of the “wikicables” are intensely embarrassing, but the sum total of the output I have read is actually quite reassuring about the way Washington — or at least the State Department — works. First, there is little deception. These leaks have been compared to the Pentagon papers. Which they are not. The Pentagon papers revealed that the U.S. engaged in a systematic campaign to deceive the world and the American people and that its private actions were often the opposite of its stated public policy. The WikiLeaks documents, by contrast, show Washington pursuing privately pretty much the policies it has articulated publicly. Whether on Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan or North Korea, the cables confirm what we know to be U.S. foreign policy. And often this foreign policy is concerned with broader regional security, not narrow American interests. Ambassadors are not caught pushing other countries in order to make deals secretly to strengthen the U.S., but rather to solve festering problems. (Added 12/13/2010, 10:18am)

Wow is that really the conclusion anyone who wasn’t a puppet would come to?

WikiLeaks’ Most Terrifying Revelation: Just How Much Our Government Lies to Us by Fred Branfman (1/3/11)

Do you believe that it is in Americans’ interest to allow a small group of U.S. leaders to unilaterally murder, maim, imprison and/or torture anyone they choose anywhere in the world, without the knowledge let alone oversight of their citizens or the international community? And, despite their proven record of failure to protect America — from Indochina to Iran to Iraq — do you believe they should be permitted to clandestinely expand their war-making without informed public debate? If so, you are betraying the principles upon which America was founded, endangering your nation, and displaying a distinctly “unamerican” subservience to unaccountable authority. But if you oppose autocratic power, you are called to support Wikileaks and others trying to limit U.S. Executive Branch mass murder abroad and failure to protect Americans at home.

These two issues became officially linked for the first time when former U.S. Afghan commander General Stanley McChrystal explicitly stated that the murder of civilians increases rather than decreases the numbers of those committed to killing Americans, and actually implemented policies — since reversed by General Petraeus — to reduce U.S. murder of civilians. McChrystal said that “for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.” By so doing he made it clear that killing civilians is not only a moral and war crimes issue, but — in today’s interdependent world — also threatens U.S. national security.

As important as is the issue of free speech, it is the question of whether the U.S. Executive is in fact protecting the American people through its mass murder abroad that really lies at the heart of the Wikileaks controversy. Executive Branch officials justify persecuting and threatening to murder Assange on the grounds that he has damaged U.S. “national security.” If McChrystal is right, however, it is the past decade of U.S. Executive mass murder in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, now revealed beyond any doubt by Wikileaks, that is the real threat to U.S. national security.

Manning And Assange Did Not Commit A Crime by Masoninblue (12/31/10)

Although Daniel Ellsberg was indicted and prosecuted for theft, conspiracy, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917, for releasing the Pentagon Papers to 18 newspapers, including the New York Times, the trial judge dismissed the case against him in mid-trial on May 11, 1973, for governmental misconduct after the government claimed it had “lost” records of unauthorized and unlawful FBI wiretapping of Ellsberg’s conversations with a colleague named Morton Halperin. According to Wikipedia, the trial judge also revealed that he met twice during the trial with John Ehrlichman, who offered him the directorship of the FBI. Ehrlichman was Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs.

Prior to Ellsberg’s trial, the SCOTUS upheld the right of the New York Times to publish the Pentagon Papers that Ellsberg had given them. New York Times vs. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971). By a 6-3 majority, the Court rejected the Government’s argument that it had met its “heavy burden” of proving that the publication of the Pentagon Papers would likely cause a “grave and irreparable” danger to the United States and the American public such that it was entitled to an order prohibiting the New York Times from publishing the documents, notwithstanding that such an order would ordinarily be prohibited by the First Amendment as a prior restraint on the freedom of the press to publish information that the public had a right to know.

New York Times Co. v. United States

New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), was a United States Supreme Court per curiam decision. The ruling made it possible for the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers to publish the then-classified Pentagon Papers without risk of government censure.

President Richard Nixon had claimed executive authority to force the Times to suspend publication of classified information in its possession. The question before the court was whether the constitutional freedom of the press under the First Amendment was subordinate to a claimed Executive need to maintain the secrecy of information. The Supreme Court ruled that First Amendment did protect the New York Times’ right to print said materials.

Near v. Minnesota

Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (1931), was a United States Supreme Court decision that recognized the freedom of the press by roundly rejecting prior restraints on publication, a principle that was applied to free speech generally in subsequent jurisprudence. The Court ruled that a Minnesota law that targeted publishers of “malicious” or “scandalous” newspapers violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (as applied through the Fourteenth Amendment). Legal scholar and columnist Anthony Lewis called Near the Court’s “first great press case.”[1]

It was later a key precedent in New York Times Co. v. United States (1971), in which the Court ruled against the Nixon administration’s attempt to enjoin publication of the Pentagon Papers.

A threat to press and academic freedom by Mark Prendergast (2/16/11)

In December, as part of a White House effort to tighten data security after the WikiLeaks disclosures, federal agencies and the military issued advisories on the handling of classified information. The Pentagon entity that incorporates Stars and Stripes, Defense Media Activity, did so on Dec. 10.

But after this column pointed out conflicts with the guarantees of editorial independence and press freedoms in Stars and Stripes’ charter, Department of Defense Directive 5122.11, the DMA withdrew it.

Now, the Pentagon has issued new restrictions more troubling in some respects than those they replaced.

The DoD should have tailored a policy to Stars and Stripes’ unique standing as a government-owned news organization that is nonetheless guaranteed the right to operate free of official influence or interference. Instead, the Pentagon took a one-size-fits-all approach and applied department-wide guidelines to the newspaper.

And those go beyond the concerns raised by WikiLeaks, effectively threatening punitive action against anyone who is in or aspires to federal service and lacks clearance to “access classified information” in the public domain in any form.

Editor expounds on WikiLeaks access (1/4/11)

David Leigh, another editor at The Guardian, told Journalisten on Tuesday that his paper has all the cables as do the other newspapers in the original agreement with WikiLeaks. Leigh told Journalisten that the papers themselves have decided what they will publish, and when. After writing their stories, he said, edited copies of the relevant cables are sent to WikiLeaks (with some identities deleted, for example, for security reasons) so that WikiLeaks can publish the documents at the same time.

Leigh said the other papers in the so-called “consortium” follow the same practice but they all had their own diverse interests in the documents. The practice was followed from November 29, but the papers otherwise operated as completely independent editorial staffs. He said they always had full and independent control over their own publication decisions.

WikiLeaks Joins Forces With Lebedev’s Moscow-Based Newspaper Novaya Gazeta (12/22/10)

Novaya Gazeta, the Moscow newspaper controlled by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and billionaire Alexander Lebedev, said it agreed to join forces with WikiLeaks to expose corruption in Russia.

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, which publishes secret government and corporate documents online, has materials specifically about Russia that haven’t been published yet and Novaya Gazeta will help make them public, the newspaper said on its website today.

“Assange said that Russians will soon find out a lot about their country and he wasn’t bluffing,” Novaya Gazeta said. “Our collaboration will expose corruption at the top tiers of political power. No one is protected from the truth.”

Wikileaks and the Classification Follies by Julian Hattern (12/22/10)

Tangible and intangible costs, including loss of confidence in the system, can add up if valuable messages are released, said William Bosanko, the oversight office’s director.

“Over-classification is not in the interest of the government,” said Bosanko. “Finite resources are best deployed when they are focused on the information that truly requires protection.”

The cables published by WikiLeaks span multiple presidential administrations. Typical is one sent in March 2008, reporting on a meeting the previous month between a top U.S. military official, William Fallon, and the Sultan of Oman at one of the Arabian leader’s castles.

The admiral, then head of U.S Central Command, found Qaboos bin Said al Said “in good health.” Qaboos was “cheerful,” reported a diligent diplomatic correspondent in an official State Department cable to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The sultan was too busy “to do all the things he wanted to do, such as reading more books” – though he always found some time to “watch the news.” The cable was marked “secret.”

Had such documents not been disclosed on WikiLeaks in November, the world would have had to wait decades. Under classification rules for the cable on Fallon’s meeting with the sultan, it would remain secret until 2018.

Let’s hope the WikiLeaks cables move us closer to open diplomacy by Peter Singer (12/18/10)

At Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, who was president of the university before he became president of the United States, is never far away. His larger-than-life image looks out across the dining hall at Wilson College, where I am a fellow, and Prospect House, the dining facility for academic staff, was his family home when he led the university.

So when the furore erupted over WikiLeaks’ recent release of a quarter-million diplomatic cables, I was reminded of Wilson’s 1918 speech in which he put forward “Fourteen Points” for a just peace to end the first world war. The first of those 14 points reads: “Open covenants of peace must be arrived at, after which there will surely be no private international action or rulings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.”

Cover-ups, coups, and drones – A Holiday Sampler of What Wikileaks Reveals about US by Bill Quigley (12/19/10)

When it comes to revealing evidence of illegal acts by the US government it seeks the most severe sanctions against any transparency.

The most glaring example of the twisted logic is on display within the US Department of Justice. DOJ is searching for creative ways to criminally sanction Wikileaks for publishing US secrets. But the same Department of Justice solemnly decided it should not prosecute the government officials who brazenly destroyed dozens of tapes of water-boarding and torture by US officials. So, DOJ, destruction of evidence of crimes is OK and revealing the evidence of crimes is bad?

What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010 by Glenn Greenwald (12/24/10)

As revealing as the disclosures themselves are, the reactions to them have been equally revealing. The vast bulk of the outrage has been devoted not to the crimes that have been exposed but rather to those who exposed them: WikiLeaks and (allegedly) Bradley Manning. A consensus quickly emerged in the political and media class that they are Evil Villains who must be severely punished, while those responsible for the acts they revealed are guilty of nothing. That reaction has not been weakened at all even by the Pentagon’s own admission that, in stark contrast to its own actions, there is no evidence — zero — that any of WikiLeaks’ actions has caused even a single death. Meanwhile, the American establishment media — even in the face of all these revelations — continues to insist on the contradictory, Orwellian platitudes that (a) there is Nothing New™ in anything disclosed by WikiLeaks and (b) WikiLeaks has done Grave Harm to American National Security™ through its disclosures.

WikiLeaks being ‘exploited to spread conspiracy theories,’ Jewish group claims by (12/29/10)

The release of thousands of US diplomatic cables by the secrets outlet WikiLeaks has unintentionally led to the proliferation of anti-Israel conspiracy theories, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The ADL said that conspiracy theories linking Israel to WikiLeaks have circulated through online publications, where it has been suggested that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange struck a secret deal with Israeli officials over the leak of diplomatic cables; or that Assange actually works for Israel.

However, there’s no evidence to support such an extraordinary claim.

Now WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange is plunged into anti-Semitic row as he accuses journalists of ‘Jewish conspiracy’ (3/2/11)

Julian Assange has been caught up in an anti-Semitism row after allegedly accusing a group of journalists of a ‘Jewish conspiracy’ against his website WikiLeaks.

In the current edition of satirical magazine Private Eye, editor Ian Hislop wrote that Assange called him to complain about a previous piece on WikiLeaks contributor Israel Shamir.

In response to article in the latest Private Eye magazine, Assange called the accusations ‘serious and upsetting’ and released a denial which read: ‘Hislop has distorted, invented or misremembered almost every significant claim and phrase.

‘In particular, “Jewish conspiracy” is completely false, in spirit and in word.

‘We treasure our strong Jewish support and staff, just as we treasure the support from pan-Arab democracy activists and others who share our hope for a just world.’

Wikileaks Reader: Bradley Manning

5:53 am in Uncategorized by fiver2011

These four articles are essential reading to really understanding the case against Bradley Manning, I recommend reading them in whole:

How to Contribute to Bradley Manning’s Legal Defense:

If you would like to ensure that a 100% of your donation goes directly to costs associated with the legal defense, the best way to do so is by making a contribution to legal trust account. In order to do this, please mail a check or money order to “IOLTA/Manning” and mail to Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave. #41, Oakland, CA 94610.

Alternatively, you can make a donation to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund through “Courage to Resist” here. A portion of this donation will go toward the legal defense effort. The remainder will go towards public education and support activities.

Bradley Manning‘s Wikipedia entry.

Hacker turns in soldier in Iraq airstrike video leak by Elinor Mills (6/7/10)

“I turned him in to protect lives and to protect information that’s essential for the U.S. to be able to effectively carry out foreign policy abroad,” Adrian Lamo, once busted for breaking into computer networks of high-profile companies, told CNET in a phone interview on Monday. “He was not at all being mindful about what he was leaking. He was basically acting as a vacuum cleaner.”

In addition to the airstrike shooting video, Manning told Lamo he had leaked video footage showing a 2009 air strike in Afghanistan that killed nearly 200 civilians, including many children; a classified Army document assessing Wikileaks as a security threat; and 260,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables showing what Manning said were “almost criminal political back dealings,” according to Wired.

“If it was just the video, I would have left the issue alone, and frankly, he would have had my kudos–and he still does,” Lamo said. “But it wasn’t just the video. It was a lot of information that was unrelated to our activities in Iraq and Afghanistan or the war on terror at all, including information about some of our major trading partners.”

With Friends Like This by George Hulme (7/8/02)

Meet Adrian Lamo. At 21 years old, Lamo is clean-cut and soft-spoken, his deliberate speech marked by a slight stutter. A short, thinly built, former vegetarian, he takes a seat facing the door at the South Street Diner in Philadelphia, picking at his chicken Caesar salad and keenly eying his surroundings as he explains why and how he does what he does. And that’s hack into a business’ network, alert the company to his actions, offer to help fix the problem for free, and, once the holes are patched, go public with the breach.

Why he does this is a little less clear. “I’ve never made an argument that there’s any particular right or moral principle that makes the exploration of private domains OK,” he says. “I’m not saying it’s right. It’s what I do.”

Boing Boing commentator wonders how long Manning was being worked by agents (6/13/10)

How sad it is to see the climate in the United States today — the majority is still lock-step in line with the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about so many decades ago. I want to make the following points:

1) First and foremost, there needs to be more discussion about the potentially enormous ethics violations that seem to have been committed at Wired Magazine. Everyone knows Kevin Poulsen & Adrian Lamo are friends. It is obvious they worked their target, Bradley Manning, for days — in co-operation with the FBI and US Army CID. This hearkens back to COINTELPRO tactics. How likely is it that Lamo worked entirely on his own with no involvement from Poulsen, who only found out about it all after-the-fact, in time to “break the story” for Wired? There is no disclosure provided in the original article and it is written as if Poulsen wasn’t involved at all. Could it really be that, in pursuit of breaking a big story, Wired magazine staff helped set up a situation where the FBI/USACID got to use proxy interrogators, who misled a suspect into believing that he was only answering questions from someone he could trust, instead of federal/military law enforcement, without any Constitutional protections in place? This needs to be more critically examined.

Did Adrian Lamo Have Two Days Worth of IM’s with Bradley Manning on May 25? by Marcy Wheeler (7/7/10)

As I noted in my earlier post on Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning’s charging document, there’s an apparent discrepancy between the timing Wired gives for Manning’s arrest and what the charging document shows. Wired said that the FBI told Adrian Lamo on May 27 that Manning had been arrested the previous day–that is, May 26.

At their second meeting with Lamo on May 27, FBI agents from the Oakland Field Office told the hacker that Manning had been arrested the day before in Iraq by Army CID investigators.

But the charging documents actually says Manning’s alleged activities continued until “on or about 27 May 2010,” and it says his pretrial detention started on May 29 (though see scribe’s comments on a possible explanation).
And as I pointed out in comments, there’s also a problem with the story Lamo gave Wired as to why he turned in Manning. He claimed he turned in Manning because he had told him he had already leaked 260,000 cables to Wikileaks.

Lamo decided to turn in Manning after the soldier told him that he leaked a quarter-million classified embassy cables. Lamo contacted the Army, and then met with Army CID investigators and the FBI to pass the agents a copy of the chat logs from his conversations with Manning.

But the charging document only accuses Manning of leaking [more than] 50 cables; it alleges he got information from [more than] 150,000 cables, but did not even load the cables onto his own computer. Now, Wired has repeatedly published a quote from Manning telling Lamo that he had leaked the quarter-million cables.

When Did Adrian Lamo Start Working with Federal Investigators? by Marcy Wheeler (12/26/11)

The first suspicious moment in the chats between Adrian Lamo and Bradley Manning occurred at 12:54 on May 22–ostensibly the second day of chat communication between them (though Manning had sent Lamo encrypted emails for an unspecified period of time before that point). The BoingBoing version of the logs shows that Manning had just referenced 260,000 cables that, he went on to say, would give Hillary Clinton and other diplomats a heart attack when they were released. The chat was seemingly plagued by 3 minute delays in message transmission, with Lamo’s side reporting resource issues. Lamo tells Manning he’s going for a cigarette–”brb”–but that he should “keep typing.”

(12:54:47 PM) Adrian: What sort of content?
(12:56:36 PM) Adrian: brb cigarette
(12:56:43 PM) Adrian: keep typing <3

It is over 45 minutes before Lamo returns from his “cigarette” at 1:43:51. In the meantime, Manning did as he was told, typing out agonized confessions about how isolated he was. After Lamo returned from his “cigarette,” all the resource issues appear to be fixed and the delay in transmission appears to be gone, with response time in the 9 to 20 second range. It seems likely that Lamo did something other than smoke a cigarette in those 45 minutes. It appears he altered something technical on his side of the chat, chats that Lamo had directed Manning to use instead of encrypted emails.

Despite Death Threats, Adrian Lamo Maintains Resolve to Testify in Wikileaks / Bradley Manning Case If Needed (6/28/10)

Lamo continued to call for the resignation of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, citing Assange’s loss of moral authority to lead after Lamo was identified as the source of incriminating Manning-related logs submitted to Wikileaks – a seemingly agenda-driven breach of the site’s policy of anonymity.

Uhh, the Wired story itself named you as the source of the chat logs…Notice Lamo’s fears of harrasment while the US Government openly does so to supporters of Manning:

Government harassing and intimidating Bradley Manning supporters by Glenn Greenwald (11/9/10)

That campaign of intimidation is now clearly spreading to supporters of Bradley Manning. Last Wednesday, November 3, David House, a 23-year-old researcher who works at MIT, was returning to the U.S. from a short vacation with his girlfriend in Mexico, and was subjected to similar and even worse treatment. House’s crime: he did work in helping set up the Bradley Manning Support Network, an organization created to raise money for Manning’s legal defense fund, and he has now visited Manning three times in Quantico, Virginia, where the accused WikiLeaks leaker is currently being detained (all those visits are fully monitored by government agents). Like Appelbaum, House has never been accused of any crime, never been advised that he’s under investigation, and was never told by any federal agents that he’s suspected of any wrongdoing at all.

Last Wednesday, House arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, and his flight was met in the concourse by customs agents, who examined the passports of all deplaning passengers until they saw House’s, at which point they stopped. He was then directed to Customs, where his and his girlfriend’s bags were extensively searched. After the search was complete, two men identifying themselves as Homeland Security officials told House and his girlfriend they were being detained for questioning and would miss their connecting flight. House was told that he was required to relinquish all of his electronic products, and thus gave them his laptop, cellphone, digital camera and UBS flash drive. The document he received itemizing his seized property is here. He was also told to give the agents all of his passwords and encryption keys, which he refused to do.

House was then taken to a detention room by two armed agents and on his way there, he passed by a room in which several individuals were plugging various instruments into his laptop and cellphone. The two agents, Marcial Santiago and Darin Louck, proceeded to question him for 90 minutes about why he was visiting Manning in prison, what work he did to support the Manning campaign, who else was involved in the Manning support group, and what his views were on WikiLeaks. He was told that he would not receive his laptop or camera back, and the agents kept it. To date, he has not received them back and very well may never. When he told them that he had roughly 20 hours of source code work in his laptop and would like to save it or email it to a saved site, they told him he could not do that. He subsequently learned from Agent Santiago that although Agent Louck identified himself as a Homeland Security agent, he is, in fact, with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The Pentagon’s WikiLeaks Breakthrough by Philip Shenon (7/29/10)

Lamo tells The Daily Beast that, when he called the investigators on Monday, they seemed unaware of the importance of the markings and how they might be used to identify the leaker.

With the information, Lamo said, the investigators had apparently been able to quickly review Defense Department computer records and show conclusively that Manning, the troubled young analyst from Potomac, Maryland, leaked the Afghan war logs to WikiLeaks.

Lamo said that he and a group of electronics-savvy contacts, including veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, determined that the Afghan logs could only have come from a small number of government computer databases—databases that Manning had almost certainly tried to access in gathering information to leak to WikiLeaks. “I believe you wouldn’t even need to see Manning’s computer to figure it out,” Lamo said.

A Pentagon spokesman, Marine Colonel David Lapan, said Thursday he could not comment on Lamo’s remarks, citing the need for confidentiality in an ongoing criminal investigation.

If any of Lamo’s claims was true, why can’t they link Manning with Wikileaks?

NBC: U.S. can’t link accused Army private to Assange by Jim Miklaszewski (1/24/11)

U.S. military officials tell NBC News that investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between a jailed army private suspected with leaking secret documents and Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The officials say that while investigators have determined that Manning had allegedly unlawfully downloaded tens of thousands of documents onto his own computer and passed them to an unauthorized person, there is apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure.

The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks by Glenn Greenwald (6/18/10)

On June 6, Kevin Poulsen and Kim Zetter of Wired reported that a 22-year-old U.S. Army Private in Iraq, Bradley Manning, had been detained after he “boasted” in an Internet chat — with convicted computer hacker Adrian Lamo — of leaking to WikiLeaks the now famous Apache Helicopter attack video, a yet-to-be-published video of a civilian-killing air attack in Afghanistan, and “hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records.” Lamo, who holds himself out as a “journalist” and told Manning he was one, acted instead as government informant, notifying federal authorities of what Manning allegedly told him, and then proceeded to question Manning for days as he met with federal agents, leading to Manning’s detention.

From the start, this whole story was quite strange for numerous reasons. In an attempt to obtain greater clarity about what really happened here, I’ve spent the last week reviewing everything I could related to this case and speaking with several of the key participants (including Lamo, with whom I had a one-hour interview last night that can be heard on the recorder below, and Poulsen, with whom I had a lengthy email exchange, which is published in full here). A definitive understanding of what really happened is virtually impossible to acquire, largely because almost everything that is known comes from a single, extremely untrustworthy source: Lamo himself. Compounding that is the fact that most of what came from Lamo has been filtered through a single journalist — Poulsen — who has a long and strange history with Lamo, who continues to possess but not disclose key evidence, and who has been only marginally transparent about what actually happened here (I say that as someone who admires Poulsen’s work as Editor of Wired’s Threat Level blog).

The worsening journalistic disgrace at Wired by Glenn Greenwald (12/27/10)

For more than six months, Wired’s Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen has possessed — but refuses to publish — the key evidence in one of the year’s most significant political stories: the arrest of U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning for allegedly acting as WikiLeaks’ source. In late May, Adrian Lamo — at the same time he was working with the FBI as a government informant against Manning — gave Poulsen what he purported to be the full chat logs between Manning and Lamo in which the Army Private allegedly confessed to having been the source for the various cables, documents and video that WikiLeaks released throughout this year. In interviews with me in June, both Poulsen and Lamo confirmed that Lamo placed no substantive restrictions on Poulsen with regard to the chat logs: Wired was and remains free to publish the logs in their entirety.

But this matter needs to be revisited now for three reasons:

(1) For the last six months, Adrian Lamo has been allowed to run around making increasingly sensationalistic claims about what Manning told him; journalists then prominently print Lamo’s assertions, but Poulsen’s refusal to release the logs or even verify Lamo’s statements prevents anyone from knowing whether Lamo’s claims about what Manning said are actually true.

(2) There are new, previously undisclosed facts about the long relationship between Wired/Poulsen and a key figure in Manning’s arrest — facts that Poulsen inexcusably concealed.

(3) Subsequent events gut Poulsen’s rationale for concealing the logs and, in some cases, prove that his claims are false.

Response to Wired’s accusations by Glenn Greenwald (12/29/10)

As noted above, the principal tactic of Wired.com Editor-in-Chief Evan Hansen and Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen in responding to my criticisms is to hurl a variety of accusations at me as a means of distracting attention from the issue that matters. Between my June article and the one on Sunday, I’ve now written more than 9,000 words about Wired’s role in the Manning/Lamo case. To accuse me of “a breathtaking mix of sophistry, hypocrisy and journalistic laziness,” they raise a handful of alleged inaccuracies (a) for which there is ample evidence and (b) which are entirely ancillary to the issues I raised.

Even Greenwald believes this … sometimes. When The New York Times ran an entirely appropriate and well reported profile of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — discussing his personality and his contentious leadership style — Greenwald railed against the newspaper, terming the reporters “Nixonian henchmen.”

This claim is designed to accuse me of hypocrisy for simultaneously arguing that Assange should not be subjected to scrutiny while demanding full disclosure of the chats. That accusation is made only by wildly distorting what I wrote in the very piece Hansen cites. My objection to The New York Times smear job on Assange was that by prominently featuring gossipy, personality issues about him on the very day the Iraq War documents were released, the paper distracted attention from what actually mattered: what the documents showed about American behavior in the war (the same reason why Nixon wanted dirt about Ellberg’s psychiatric state: to impugn the source of the Pentagon Papers). In fact, I argued the opposite of what Hansen suggests: “None of this is to say that WikiLeaks and Assange shouldn’t be subject to scrutiny. Anyone playing a significant role in political life should be, including them.”

Just watch Adrian Lamo on TV and decide for yourself whether this is a reliable government informant:

Transcript of Glenn Greenwald’s interview with Lamo here. (12/28/10)
CBC’s radio interview with Adrian Lamo here (6/7/10).

A Typical Day for PFC Bradley Manning by David Coombs (12/18/10)

PFC Manning is currently being held in maximum custody. Since arriving at the Quantico Confinement Facility in July of 2010, he has been held under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch.

His cell is approximately six feet wide and twelve feet in length.

At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up (on weekends, he is allowed to sleep until 7:00 a.m.). Under the rules for the confinement facility, he is not allowed to sleep at anytime between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. If he attempts to sleep during those hours, he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards.

He is allowed to watch television during the day. The television stations are limited to the basic local stations. His access to the television ranges from 1 to 3 hours on weekdays to 3 to 6 hours on weekends.

He cannot see other inmates from his cell. He can occasionally hear other inmates talk. Due to being a pretrial confinement facility, inmates rarely stay at the facility for any length of time. Currently, there are no other inmates near his cell.

From 7:00 p.m. to 9:20 p.m., he is given correspondence time. He is given access to a pen and paper. He is allowed to write letters to family, friends, and his attorneys.

Each night, during his correspondence time, he is allowed to take a 15 to 20 minute shower.

On weekends and holidays, he is allowed to have approved visitors see him from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.

He is allowed to receive letters from those on his approved list and from his legal counsel. If he receives a letter from someone not on his approved list, he must sign a rejection form. The letter is then either returned to the sender or destroyed.

He is allowed to have any combination of up to 15 books or magazines. He must request the book or magazine by name. Once the book or magazine has been reviewed by the literary board at the confinement facility, and approved, he is allowed to have someone on his approved list send it to him. The person sending the book or magazine to him must do so through a publisher or an approved distributor such as Amazon. They are not allowed to mail the book or magazine directly to PFC Manning.

Due to being held on Prevention of Injury (POI) watch:

PFC Manning is held in his cell for approximately 23 hours a day.

The guards are required to check on PFC Manning every five minutes by asking him if he is okay. PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner. At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay.

He receives each of his meals in his cell.

He is not allowed to have a pillow or sheets. However, he is given access to two blankets and has recently been given a new mattress that has a built-in pillow.

He is not allowed to have any personal items in his cell.

He is only allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read in his cell. The book or magazine is taken away from him at the end of the day before he goes to sleep.

He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop.

He does receive one hour of “exercise” outside of his cell daily. He is taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk. PFC Manning normally just walks figure eights in the room for the entire hour. If he indicates that he no long feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell.

When PFC Manning goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his boxer shorts and surrender his clothing to the guards. His clothing is returned to him the next morning.

Article 13 and PFC Bradley Manning by David Coombs (12/21/10)

PFC Bradley Manning, unlike his civilian counterpart, is afforded no civil remedy for illegal restraint under either the Federal Civil Rights Act or the Federal Tort Claims Act. Similarly, the protection from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment and Article 55 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) does not generally apply prior to a court-martial. Thus, the only judicial recourse that is available is under Article 13 of the UCMJ.

Article 13 safeguards against unlawful pretrial punishment and embodies the precept that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Article 13 provides that:

No person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence, but he may be subjected to minor punishment during that period for infractions of discipline.

Military courts have consistently asserted Article 13 protection broadly to protect servicemembers awaiting trial. Illegal pretrial punishment can take many forms. The most common examples are unreasonable or harassing restraint that creates an appearance that the servicemember is guilty and onerous pretrial confinement conditions. Article 13 provides that pretrial confinement should not be “more rigorous than the circumstances require to insure” the servicemember’s presence at court.

Bradley Manning and the Torture That Is Solitary Confinement by Jeff Kaye (12/22/10)

Indeed, the conditions of solitary confinement are so onerous it led the International Committee of the Red Cross in a 2004 report to state, in regards to the CIA’s detention of so-called high-value detainees, that “strict solitary confinement in cells devoid of sunlight for nearly 23 hours a day constituted a serious violation of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions.” While Bradley Manning is not being held as an “enemy combatant,” the conditions under which he is being held are redolent of the torture inflicted upon U.S. “war on terror” detainees, or suffered under the terms of the military’s Army Field Manual Appendix M, where such detainees are held in conditions of isolation, including significant limitations on sleep and certain forms of overt sensory deprivation.

The deleterious effects of solitary confinement have been copiously documented. A literature review on the subject, and an excellent discussion of the effects of isolation can be found in a 2003 article by psychology expert Craig Haney.

Solitary confinement is an assault on the body and psyche of an individual. It deprives him of species-specific forms of physical, sensory and social interaction with the environment and other human beings. Manning reported last weekend he had not seen sunlight in four weeks, nor does he interact with other people but a few hours on the weekend. The human nervous system needs a certain amount of sensory and social stimulation to retain normal brain functioning. The effects of this deprivation on individuals varies, and some people are affected more severely or quickly, while others hold out longer against the boredom and daily grind of dullness that never seems to end.

Hellhole: The United States holds tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement. Is this torture? by Atul Gawade (3/30/09)

Human beings are social creatures. We are social not just in the trivial sense that we like company, and not just in the obvious sense that we each depend on others. We are social in a more elemental way: simply to exist as a normal human being requires interaction with other people.

Ohio Prisoners Begin Hunger Strike After 17 Years in Solitary Confinement by Wendy Jason (1/6/11)

January 3, four prisoners who were sentenced to death after being wrongfully convicted of crimes following a 1993 prison uprising in Lucasville, Ohio, started a “rolling” hunger strike to protest the conditions of their confinement.

The prisoners, unlike the 125 death row inmates being housed at Ohio State Penitentiary, are kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours every day, completely isolated from contact with others and prevented from ordering necessary goods such as clothing to keep them warm in their cold cells. They are aslo denied medical treatment and access to computer databases necessary for preparing their appeals, and despite their ongoing cooperation with prison programs, they have been refused privileges typically granted to prisoners for good behavior.

This treatment has been ongoing for over 17 years.

If moved from solitary confinement to death row, the prisoners would be able to have semi-contact visits from their families and interact with other inmates. But they have been told that they will remain in isolation, locked behind a solid cell door, until they are put to death.

Playing God with Bradley Manning by Marcy Wheeler (3/10/11)

Back in 2002, Gitmo’s Standard Operating Procedures advocated stripping detainees of clothing as a way of demonstrating the omnipotence of the captors.

In addition to degradation of the detainee, stripping can be used to demonstrate the omnipotence of the captor or to debilitate the detainee.

With Abu Zubaydah–as Jane Mayer has written–they explicitly tied this to becoming his “God.”

… the CIA interrogators also announced they planned to become Zubaydah’s “God.” They reportedly took his clothing as punishment, and reduced his human interaction to a single daily visit in which they would say simply, “You know what I want,” and then leave.

That’s striking given that–according to Bradley Manning’s Article 138 complaint, written in his own voice–Commander James Averhart put Manning on suicide watch on January 18 to demonstrate that he was, for all practical purposes, God.

After being returned to my cell, I started to read a book. About 30 minutes later, the PCF Commander, CWO4 James Averhart, came to my cell. He asked me what had happened during my recreation call. As I tried to explain to him what had occurred, CWO4 Averhart stopped me and said “I am the commander” and that “no one could tell him what to do.” He also said that he was, for all practical purposes, “God.” I responded by saying “you still have to follow Brig procedures.” I also said “everyone has a boss that they have to answer to.” As soon as I said this, CWO4 Averhart ordered that I be placed in Suicide Risk Status.

Army board to evaluate WikiLeaks suspect (1/4/11)

A soldier suspected of providing classified documents to the Web site WikiLeaks will be evaluated by a mental health panel, a U.S. Army spokesman said.

The spokesman, Lt. Col. Robert Manning, said the Army is assembling a special “706 board” to decide whether Pfc. Bradley Manning is fit to stand trial, The Washington Times reported Tuesday.

Bradley Manning’s Rebuttal to Article 138 Complaint Denial by Quantico (1/10/11)

Article 138 Complaint by David Coombs (3/10/11)

On March 1, 2011, the Quantico Base Commander, Colonel Daniel J. Choike, denied PFC Manning’s request to be removed from Prevention of Injury Watch and to have his custody classification reduced from Maximum to Medium Detention-In. The defense filed the following rebuttal to Colonel Choike’s response. Colonel Choike will now complete his action on the Article 138 complaint, and then forward the proceedings to the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, for his final review. If Secretary Mabus denies PFC Manning’s requested relief, the defense will file a Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.

WikiLeaker in Solitary by Ta-Nehisi Coates (12/15/10)

I think the worse part, is that very few people care what kind of condition the incarcerated endure. We have essentially accepted prison-rape. The New Yorker piece asks is solitary confinement torture? I’d ask, even if it is torture, whether we even care?

The Suggestibility Of Bradley Manning by Digby (12/21/10)

As we well know by now, the line between interrogation and torture has become indistinguishable among far too many people and many of these more suspect interrogation techniques are likely to produce the same kind of false information you get from torture. So one aspect of the Manning story stuck out at me as being pretty damning evidence and that’s the fact that he’s being awakened every five minutes during the day and if the guards “need” to assure themselves that he’s ok, they wake him up at night. Keep in mind that this is a guy who’s completely isolated and has no access to anything unauthorized, not even a real blanket and pillow. (Apparently, he’s got some strange device that makes him miserable.)

Sleep deprivation is well known to enhance “suggestibility” and is commonly used in interrogations:

A person’s suggestibility is how willing they are to accept and act on suggestions by others. Interrogators seek to increase a subject’s suggestibility. Methods used to increase suggestibility may include moderate sleep deprivation, exposure to constant white noise, and using GABAergic drugs such as sodium amytal or sodium thiopental.

There’s no evidence that they are using white noise or the drugs mentioned, but it sure sounds as if they employing moderate sleep deprivation to increase “suggestibility.” And we know what they are suggesting, don’t we?

Months and months of sleep deprivation and isolation cannot be justified for security reasons. This fellow isn’t a commando. He isn’t a professional spy. He’s just some grunt who uploaded some electronic files. The only reasonable explanation for his treatment is that they are trying to get him to implicate someone else in his alleged a crime. And that’s the oldest reason for torture in the books. In the old days, they wanted their subjects to implicate Satan. Today it’s Julian Assange.

Bradley Manning Speaks About His Conditions by David House (12/23/10)

In my visit to see Bradley at the Quantico brig, it became clear that the Pentagon’s public spin from last week sharply contradicts the reality of Bradley Manning’s detainment. In his five months of detention, it has become obvious to me that Manning’s physical and mental well-being are deteriorating. What Manning needs, and what his attorney has already urged, is to have the unnecessary “Prevention of Injury” order lifted that severely restricts his ability to exercise, communicate, and sleep.

The lonely battle against solitary confinement by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella (1/19/11)

For the past few weeks, progressive commentators have been burning with outrage over the prison conditions endured by accused WikiLeaks source, Private Bradley Manning. For more than seven months, Manning has been held in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement at a Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, denied sunlight, exercise, possessions, and all but the most limited contact with family and friends. The conditions of his detention are being discussed, lamented and protested throughout the left-leaning blogosphere, and few of those taking part in the conversation hesitate to describe Manning’s situation as “torture”.

Bradley Manning’s treatment undeniably deserves this attention. But while Manning’s punishment is cruel, it is far from unusual. According to available data, there are some 25,000 inmates in long-term isolation in America’s supermax prisons, and as many as 80,000 more in solitary confinement in other facilities. Where is the outrage – even among progressives – for these forgotten souls? Where, for that matter, is some acknowledgment of their existence?

Glenn Greenwald responds to the absurd suggestion he only cares about Manning (1/25/11)

There’s an emerging theme circulating in some precincts that those protesting the conditions of Manning’s detention are somehow acting improperly because they ignore — and even implicitly endorse — all the other cases of prisoners in the U.S. being held in prolonged isolation. This claim was first concocted by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella in a recent Op-Ed in The Guardian, in which they glaringly fail to identify a single person guilty of these accusations, opting instead for the consummately cowardly and slimy reliance on the “some say” strawmen tactic favored by mendacious politicians.

Second, in March, 2009, Sen. Jim Webb introduced legislation to fundamentally reform America’s Prison State and prison conditions in the U.S.; I publicized that bill and hailed Webb’s focus on what I called “disgustingly harsh conditions inside prisons” as “genuinely courageous and principled.” Third, both before I ever heard of Manning and every time I’ve written about him, I’ve denounced prolonged isolation in general as not only inhumane, but torture. In June, 2009 — roughly a year before I ever heard the name “Bradley Manning” — here’s what I wrote:

Prolonged solitary confinement is absolutely a form of torture, and while it’s unknown whether Shalit was subjected to that, extreme isolation and prolonged solitary confinement are prominents features of America’s prisoner system — not only as part of the “War on Terror,” but our domestic prison system as well.

Tortured Until Proven Guilty: Bradley Manning and the Case Against Solitary Confinement by Lynn Parramore (12/31/10)

In the earliest days of our Republic, a group of well-meaning Philadelphia Quakers set out to reform the prison system. The idea was to remove convicts from the mayhem and corruption of overcrowded jails to solitary cells where sinners would return to mental and spiritual health through reflection. In the Walnut Street Jail, no windows would distract the prisoners with street life; no conversation would disturb their penitence. Alone with God, they would be rehabilitated.

There was a small problem. Many of the prisoners went insane. The Walnut Street Jail was shut down in 1835.

But the word penitentiary became part of the language, and the idea of placing prisoners in solitary confinement did not die. It seemed so reasonable — so much better than chain gangs or public stocks. New prisons opened to test the theory that solitude might bring salvation to criminals.

Former Commander of Headquarters Company at Quantico Objects to Treatment of Bradley Manning by David MacMichael

As a former regular Marine Corps captain, a Korean War combat veteran, now retired on Veterans Administration disability due to wounds suffered during that conflict, I write you to protest and express concern about the confinement in the Quantico Marine Corps Base brig of US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.

What concerns me here, and I hasten to admit that I respect Manning’s motives, is the manner in which the legal action against him is being conducted. I wonder, in the first place, why an Army enlisted man is being held in a Marine Corps installation. Second, I question the length of confinement prior to conduct of court-martial. The sixth amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing to the accused in all criminal prosecutions the right to a speedy and public trial, extends to those being prosecuted in the military justice system. Third, I seriously doubt that the conditions of his confinement—solitary confinement, sleep interruption, denial of all but minimal physical exercise, etc.—are necessary, customary, or in accordance with law, US or international.

Captain David Price, retired JAG (1/27/11)

I turned on the Dylan Ratigan Show this afternoon somewhat in the middle of the discussions concerning PFC Bradley Manning focused on the length and conditions of his confinement at the Consolidated Brig, Marine Corps Development Command, Quantico, Virginia. While I do not have sufficient personal knowledge of either the allegations or the facts concerning his treatment to be able to respond to those concerns, for the purposes of this note I will accept as accurate what has been reported concerning unauthorized actions on the part of the command operating the brig. My response is not focused towards the specific facts of his case; but, rather, are in response to comments made on the show that there is “no due process in the military” or similar comments that when a person joins the military they surrender all legal rights and protections under the U.S. Constitution.

Throughout history are instances where individuals have abused their authority. No law or regulation will ever prevent misconduct from occurring. What laws can do, however, is provide a mechanism for holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions, whether it be PFC Manning as concerns the allegations against him; or Brig Commander James Averhart and the accusations being made against him. What is essential is responsible leadership, at all levels in the military chain of command, up to the President, as Commander-in-Chief, if necessary; and through oversight responsibilities of the Congress to ensure that military personnel suspected of offenses are not being abused and that their rights are being protected.

David P. Price
CAPT, JAGC, USN (Retired)
JAG Defense

If you’d like to hear an ex-JAG with a very different and callous opinion than Capt. Price, listen to this exchange with Glenn Greenwald.

Amnesty International (1/19/11)

Dear Secretary of Defense
I am writing to express concern about the conditions under which Private First Class (PFC) Bradley Manning is detained at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia. We are informed that, since July 2010, PFC Manning has been confined for 23 hours a day to a single cell, measuring around 72 square feet (6.7 square metres) and equipped only with a bed, toilet and sink. There is no window to the outside, the only view being on to a corridor through the barred doors of his cell. All meals are taken in his cell, which we are told has no chair or table. He has no association or contact with other pre-trial detainees and he is allowed to exercise, alone, for just one hour a day, in a day-room or outside. He has access to a television which is placed in the corridor for limited periods of the day. However, he is reportedly not permitted to keep personal possessions in his cell, apart from one book and magazine at a time. Although he may write and receive correspondence, writing is allowed only at an allotted time during the day and he is not allowed to keep such materials in his cell.

We understand that PFC Manning’s restrictive conditions of confinement are due to his classification as a maximum custody detainee. This classification also means that – unlike medium security detainees –- he is shackled at the hands and legs during approved social and family visits, despite all such visits at the facility being non-contact. He is also shackled during attorney visits at the facility. We further understand that PFC Manning, as a maximum custody detainee, is denied the opportunity for a work assignment which would allow him to be out of his cell for most of the day. The United Nations (UN) Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR), which are internationally recognized guiding principles, provide inter alia that “Untried prisoners shall always be offered opportunity to work” should they wish to undertake such activity (SMR Section C, rule 89).

WikiLeaks probe: Army commanders were told not to send Manning to Iraq by Nancy Yossef (1/27/11)

Investigators have concluded that Army commanders ignored advice not to send to Iraq an Army private who’s now accused of downloading hundreds of thousands of sensitive reports and diplomatic cables that ended up on the WikiLeaks website in the largest single security breach in American history, McClatchy has learned.

Pfc. Bradley Manning’s direct supervisor warned that Manning had thrown chairs at colleagues and shouted at higher ranking soldiers in the year he was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., and advised that Manning shouldn’t be sent to Iraq, where his job would entail accessing classified documents through the Defense Department’s computer system.

But superior officers decided to ignore the advice because the unit was short of intelligence analysts and needed Manning’s skills, two military officials familiar with the investigation told McClatchy.

The commanders hoped they could address Manning’s discipline problems in Iraq, the officials told McClatchy, but then never properly monitored him. The result was a “comedy of errors” as one commander after another assumed someone else was addressing Manning’s problems, one official said. Both officials spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation.

Bradley Manning, who allegedly leaked hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, turns 23 in jail Friday by David Nicks (12/17/10)

The last time Bradley Manning saw the world outside of a jail, most Americans had never heard of WikiLeaks. On Friday, Manning, the man whose alleged unauthorized release of hundreds of thousands of classified documents put the website and its controversial leader, Julian Assange, on the map, turns 23 behind bars. Since his arrest in May, Manning has spent most of his 200-plus days in solitary confinement. Other than receiving a card and some books from his family, his birthday will be no different. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, his attorney, David Coombs, revealed key details about Manning’s imprisonment and kind gestures from his family that provided a bit of comfort in the inmate’s otherwise extremely harsh incarceration.

Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Speedy Trial by David Coombs (1/3/11)

The Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial is applied to military jurisprudence through two separate and distinct provisions– Rule for Court-Martial (R.C.M.) 707 and Article 10 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) (10 U.S.C. § 810). While both provisions seek to protect the same constitutional right, and while there is considerable overlap between the two, each provision has separate rules regarding when the protections attach and when they are breached.

Whether stemming from R.C.M. 707 or from Article 10 UCMJ, a motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial must be raised before the court-martial is adjourned, and it is waived by a guilty plea, as provided in R.C.M. 907(b)(2)(A) and 905(e). Once the issue is raised, the burden of persuasion rests with the government. R.C.M. 905(c)(2)(B). Before hearing on the motion, the parties may stipulate as to undisputed facts and dates of relevant pretrial events. The stipulation will provide the court a chronology detailing the processing of the case. R.C.M. 707(c)(2).

Speedy Trial Update by David Coombs (1/13/11)

On 9 January 2011, the defense filed a demand for speedy trial with the Government. PFC Manning has been in pretrial confinement since 29 May 2010. Since 12 July 2010, the case has been on Government requested excludable delay under R.C.M. 707(c). This delay request by the Government was approved by the court-martial convening authority.

The case is currently awaiting the start of a Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M) 706 Board. This board will likely begin its work in February.

WikiLeaks: Bradley Manning To Receive $15,000 For Defense (1/13/11)

Supporters of the Army private suspected in one of the biggest security breaches in U.S. history say WikiLeaks has fulfilled its pledge to aid in his defense by contributing $15,100.

DOD Press Office Scrambling to Explain Bradley Manning’s Treatment by Marcy Wheeler (1/27/11)

Something is badly amiss in DOD’s efforts to tell its side of how it is treating Bradley Manning.

Miklaszewski reports what appears to be limited hangout push-back against allegations that Manning was “tortured” (but not “abused”). While Manning was not tortured, Miklaszewski’s sources say, he was improperly put on suicide watch for two days last week.

On Monday, U.S. military officials also strongly denied allegations that Manning, being held in connection with the WikiLeaks’ release of classified documents, has been “tortured” and held in “solitary confinement” without due process.The officials told NBC News, however, that a U.S. Marine commander did violate procedure when he placed Manning on “suicide watch” last week.

Note that both of these scoops were attributed to “US military officials,” though a later reference refers to “official,” singular. Later in the article, he cites, “U.S. Marine and Army officials” stating that Manning “is being treated like any other maximum security prisoner.” If I had to guess, I’d say Miklaszewski was protecting whatever officials gave him the scoop, while more clearly identifying those who pushed back on it.

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Bradley Manning’s Confinement Conditions are ‘Not Customary’ by Daphne Eviatar (12/23/10)

Marines Replace Commander in Charge of Detention of Bradley Manning, Accused WikiLeaker by Joshua Norman (1/26/11)

One week ago, David Coombs, the main lawyer for accused WikiLeaks document leaker Bradley Manning, filed a complaint with military officials against Quantico Base Commander James Averhart.

On Wednesday, the Marines replaced Averhart as Quantico’s commander with Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes, CNN reports.

A base spokesman claims the complaint and Averhart’s removal are not related, and that the decision to replace Averhart was made back in October, CNN reports.

Bradley Manning and the Rule of Law by Kevin Zeese (1/17/11)

The case of Private Bradley Manning raises legal issues about his pre-trial detention, freedom of speech and the press, as well as proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Putting aside Manning’s guilt or innocence, if Bradley Manning saw the Afghan and Iraq war diaries as well as the diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, what should he have done? And, what should be the proper response of government to their publication?

One of the key outcomes of the Nuremberg trials was that people who commit war crimes or crimes against humanity will be held accountable even if they were following orders. This is known as Nuremberg Principle IV which 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.” The Nuremberg principles were enshrined in a series of treaties.

How do the Nuremberg Principles and other laws of war apply to Bradley Manning?

What is a person who does not want to participate in war crimes or hiding war crimes supposed to do when he sees evidence of them? If Manning hid the evidence would he not be complicit in the crimes he was covering up and potentially liable as a co-conspirator? These were questions that Bradley Manning allegedly wrestled with. According to unverified chat logs Manning, talking with Adrian Lamo on email, asks: “Hypothetical question, if you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time… say, 8-9 months… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

On Manning by Sady (1/4/11)

It’s hard to write about Bradley Manning. I’ve composed more than one lengthy, impassioned post about Manning, and deleted it; we’ve heard things about or from Manning that we weren’t supposed to hear, and we’ve heard lots of things about Manning that may or may not be the truth, and addressing those things publicly “in any of the various ways that they are actually being construed” may actually put Manning in danger.

But let’s start with the most important thing, something simple: Bradley Manning is accused of trying really, really hard to do the right thing.

Bradley Manning is nobody special. He was an ordinary, unexceptional person, enlisted in the US Military, as many people are, and he allegedly found out that the military was doing something which, though we all might have suspected or feared or heard about it, betrayed its most basic promise.

Soldier’s inhumane imprisonment by LA Times (1/10/11)

Pfc. Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst suspected of providing documents to WikiLeaks, can’t reasonably complain that the military has him in custody. But the conditions under which he is being held at the Marine detention center at Quantico, Va., are so harsh as to suggest he is being punished for conduct of which he hasn’t been convicted.

President should heed own words on Bradley Manning by San Francisco Chronicle (3/17/11)

President Obama made things worse by insisting that Manning’s treatment was “legal.” In the past decade this country has insisted that many horrible imprisonment procedures were legal. Obama campaigned on the promise that just because some things were “legal” didn’t mean that they were right.

He should heed his own words on the Manning case.

The Abuse of Private Manning by New York Times (3/14/11)

Pfc. Bradley Manning, who has been imprisoned for nine months on charges of handing government files to WikiLeaks, has not even been tried let alone convicted. Yet the military has been treating him abusively, in a way that conjures creepy memories of how the Bush administration used to treat terror suspects. Inexplicably, it appears to have President Obama’s support to do so.

Private Manning is in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va. For one hour a day, he is allowed to walk around a room in shackles. He is forced to remove all his clothes every night. And every morning he is required to stand outside his cell, naked, until he passes inspection and is given his clothes back.

Military officials say, without explanation, that these precautions are necessary to prevent Private Manning from injuring himself. They have put him on “prevention of injury” watch, yet his lawyers say there is no indication that he is suicidal and the military has not placed him on a suicide watch. (He apparently made a sarcastic comment about suicide.)

Forced nudity is a classic humiliation technique. During the early years of the Bush administration’s war on terror, C.I.A. interrogators regularly stripped prisoners to break down barriers of resistance, increase compliance and extract information. One C.I.A. report from 2004 said that nudity, along with sleep deprivation and dietary manipulation, was used to create a mind-set in which the prisoner “learns to perceive and value his personal welfare, comfort and immediate needs more than the information he is protecting.”

US treatment of Manning shows nation’s hypocrisy by Jason Campbell (3/22/11)

For nearly 300 days, Pfc. Bradley Manning has experienced every horror the United States government is able to place on a human being with its newly designed “no-touch torture” policy.

Inauguration Day 2009 was, for many people, the day in which the despicable crimes against humanity conducted by the Bush regime came to an end. After taking the oath of office, President Obama signed one of his first executive orders which allowed for the closing of the U.S. gulag at Guantanamo Bay.

With jubilance and wonder, the American people felt a wave of pride pour back over themselves as once again, for the first time in eight years, honor and respect for human value returned to the White House. Now, after having wasted away the first half of his administration with failed programs and pitiful reactions to crises, President Obama has proven The Who’s brilliant maxim, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

The ability of many people in this country to hypocritically bask in their false assumption of being the “land of the free” is remarkable to me. While Manning is rotting in a small cell, reduced to a horrifying figure of his once healthy and robust 23-year-old self, the American people are praising the rebels in foreign lands who have finally thrown the shackles of tyrants and despots off themselves.

The Truth Behind Quantico Brig’s Decision to Strip PFC Manning by David Coombs (3/5/11)

As even Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell has stated, PFC Manning has been nothing short of “exemplary” as a detainee. Additionally, Brig forensic psychiatrists have consistently maintained that there is no mental health justification for the POI Watch imposed on PFC Manning. In response to PFC Manning’s question, he was told that there was nothing he could do to downgrade his detainee status and that the Brig simply considered him a risk of self-harm. PFC Manning then remarked that the POI restrictions were “absurd” and sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops.

Without consulting any Brig mental health provider, Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes used PFC’s Manning’s sarcastic quip as justification to increase the restrictions imposed upon him under the guise of being concerned that PFC Manning was a suicide risk. PFC Manning was not, however, placed under the designation of Suicide Risk Watch. This is because Suicide Risk Watch would have required a Brig mental health provider’s recommendation, which the Brig commander did not have. In response to this specific incident, the Brig psychiatrist assessed PFC Manning as “low risk and requiring only routine outpatient followup [with] no need for … closer clinical observation.” In particular, he indicated that PFC Manning’s statement about the waist band of his underwear was in no way prompted by “a psychiatric condition.”

While the commander needed the Brig psychiatrist’s recommendation to place PFC Manning on Suicide Risk Watch, no such recommendation was needed in order to increase his restrictions under POI Watch. The conditions of POI Watch require only psychiatric input, but ultimately remain the decision of the commander.

Given these circumstances, the decision to strip PFC Manning of his clothing every night for an indefinite period of time is clearly punitive in nature. There is no mental health justification for the decision. There is no basis in logic for this decision. PFC Manning is under 24 hour surveillance, with guards never being more than a few feet away from his cell. PFC Manning is permitted to have his underwear and clothing during the day, with no apparent concern that he will harm himself during this time period. Moreover, if Brig officials were genuinely concerned about PFC Manning using either his underwear or flip-flops to harm himself (despite the recommendation of the Brig’s psychiatrist) they could undoubtedly provide him with clothing that would not, in their view, present a risk of self-harm. Indeed, Brig officials have provided him other items such as tear-resistant blankets and a mattress with a built-in pillow due to their purported concerns.

Just to get a sense of how prevalent the disinformation against Manning is, watch this clip, thankfully Jane and David are there to set the record straight(er):

Bradley Manning comment costs State Department spokesman his job by Brad Knickerbocker (3/13/11)

Debate over the controversial treatment of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning apparently has cost State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley his job.

Speaking at a seminar at M.I.T. last week, he described Manning’s treatment as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid,” although he added “nonetheless, Bradley Manning is in the right place.”

At his press conference Friday, Obama was asked about Crowley’s sharp criticism of Manning’s treatment.

“I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards,” he replied. “They assured me that they are.”

In other words, Obama – who campaigned against the mistreatment of Iraq War prisoners and who pledged to close the military prison at Guantánamo Bay – was put in the position of having to take the Pentagon’s word for it, despite continuing criticism from domestic and international human rights organizations.

In his statement regarding his resignation, Crowley acknowledged that.

“My recent comments regarding the conditions of the pre-trial detention of Private First Class Bradley Manning were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership,” he wrote. “Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Spokesman for the Department of State.”

Protesters refuse to leave intersection at Quanitco by Daniel Carawan (3/23/11)

Outside of the Virginia Marine Corps base at Quantico, nearly 30 protesters were arrested after refusing to leave the intersection located at the base entrance.

It is still unclear what evidence has been assembled that points to Bradley Manning as the guilty party in the Wikileaks case.

Leaving the moral implications of the case aside, forcing an individual to strip naked and spend 23 hours of every day in solitary confinement is not morally sound itself.

Dylan Ratigan, Law Professors and I All Agree: Obama Needs to Explain or End Manning’s Treatment by Marcy Wheeler (3/16/11)

On Friday, Dylan Ratigan and I had a podcast chat about the treatment of Bradley Manning. Among other things, we talked about the “Constitutional Law Professor” President’s rather bizarre response when DOD told him it was standard procedure to strip an Army man of his clothes because of a trumped up claim that his underwear was a terrible threat to him.

DYLAN: And what does that say to you about our President that he endorses such a ridiculous point of view?

MARCY: I mean for starters it says he’s giving the military way too much leeway. They said, “Well, this is standard operating procedure.” And as I pointed out today in my blog, what they’re doing to Manning, the forced nudity, goes right back to Gitmo and goes right back to the treatment they used with Abu Zubaydah. So him giving — he came in to office and on day 2 said, “We’re going to close Gitmo. We’re going to end these abusive techniques,” and yet when DOD came to him and said, well, you know, it’s all standard procedure to take away a man’s underwear. The President just said, “Oh, okay.”

Bradley Manning: FireDogLake’s Marcy Wheeler on Radio Free Dylan (3/15/11)