You are browsing the archive for bradley manning.

U.S. Military, State Department and White House Trapped in Bradley Manning Quagmire

12:27 pm in Uncategorized by KevinZeese

Continued Prosecution of Manning Will Embarrass U.S. Foreign Policy Establishment

By Kevin Zeese

After months of pressure, the Obama administration is finally transferring PFC Bradley Manning to a military prison appropriately designed for pre-trial detention in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.  While the transfer of Manning away from the abusive Quantico Marine Corps Brig may be a positive step, the U.S. government remains trapped in a Manning Quagmire.  If they proceed their embarrassment will continue to grow as the truth about U.S. foreign policy is reviewed under a microscope.

The nine month-long abusive mistreatment of Manning in the brig at the Quantico Marine Corp. Base has put international attention on his case.  The prosecution of Manning will result in the videos and documents he is accused of releasing being more closely examined. The war crimes and other misdeeds of military and foreign policy personnel will be highlighted to the world.  People are already wondering why this young private has been so mistreated.  What did he do to aggravate the Obama administration, U.S. military and foreign policy establishment?

At every stage of the prosecution: pretrial hearing, motion hearings and trial, there will be more focus on what he is accused of doing and that will inevitably lead to the documents and videos he allegedly leaked being more closely examined. This attention will not be kind to the U.S. military and State Department as the documents show consistent illegal and unethical behavior by the U.S. government; support for dictators, oligarchs and royalists who work against their people’s interests; as well as U.S. foreign policy and war being a vehicle for big business interests.

In addition to the content of the materials he is accused of leaking, the trial of Bradley Manning will be closely watched. People are already wondering whether a fair trial in the U.S. military is possible.  If the Obama administration allowed nine months of abusive solitary confinement before trial how can they be expected to give Manning a fair trial?  The media and people concerned about this case will be watching closely to see if he gets a fair, fully open, public trial.

Rule for Courts-Martial 806(b) states that military courts are presumptively open to the public. In a series of cases military courts have found the media has a right to attend preliminary hearings and trials in military courts. This is consistent with a long-line of U.S. Supreme Court decisions beginning with Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 448 U.S. 555 (1980) where the court recognized that public access to criminal proceedings is a critical component of a fair justice system that inspires public confidence and integrity. In 1987 the Court of Military Appeals wrote: [W]e believe that public confidence in matters of military justice would quickly erode if courts-martial were arbitrarily closed to the public.”

There is keen public interest in the case of Bradley Manning as he is accused of leaking documents that provide evidence that U.S. foreign policy is not what Americans have been told.  The military has no basis for keeping the public from seeing all of Manning’s trial, but there was no basis for pre-trial mistreatment either. No doubt groups spearheaded by the Bradley Manning Support Network will be working to make sure the media and public has complete access to all hearings and documents related to Manning’s prosecution.

But, the focus will not be primarily on process but on content – what is Bradley Manning accused of leaking?  And, that is a question the U.S. military and foreign policy establishment does not want Americans or people around the world to look at.  It is not a pretty picture. Here are a few examples among many:

- That U.S. troops kill civilians without cause or concern and then cover it up (more examples of hiding civilian killings here, here and here) including killing reporters;

- The diplomatic cables also show that beyond the war fronts that Hillary Clinton has turned State Department Foreign Service officers into a nest of spies who violate laws to spy on diplomats all with marching orders drawn up by the CIA;

- The U.S. looks the other way when governments it puts in power torture;

- That Israel, with U.S. knowledge is preparing for a widespread war in the Middle East, keeping the Gaza economy at the brink of collapse and show widespread corruption at border checkpoints.

- The CIA is fighting an undeclared and unauthorized war in Pakistan with Blackwater mercenaries;

- The Collateral Murder video shows American soldiers in an Apache helicopter gunning down a group of innocent men, including two Reuters employees, a photojournalist and his driver, killing 16 and sending two children to the hospital. This one video describes multiple war crimes.

- Another document showed the 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan, in which as many as 140 civilians, including women and children, were killed in a U.S. attack, a fact disputed by the U.S. military.

It will not only be the American people who become more aware that the United States is not the “good cop” of the world but people and governments around the world will also more clearly see it.

The U.S. is in a Bradley Manning quagmire that is going to undermine its reputation in the world unless they find a way out of this case quickly.  President Obama still has an opportunity to do the right thing – acknowledge the reality of the history and current make-up of U.S. foreign policy and begin a discussion within government and among the people about radically altering the direction, strategies and tactics of the U.S. around the world.  If he shows this kind of leadership a quagmire could turn into positive change for the United States and the world.

Kevin Zeese directs Come Home America and is on the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Mistreatment of Manning Criticized by UN Torture Investigator, Hundreds of Legal Academics and Hundreds of Thousands; Colonel: “Obama Could End Torture with One Phone Call”

10:43 am in Uncategorized by KevinZeese

For Immediate Release

For Further Information
Jeff Paterson
Kevin Zeese
Bradley Manning Support Network
press@bradleymanning.org
1-202-640-4388

Mistreatment of Manning Criticized by Leading Law Professors & UN Torture Investigator

Hundreds of Thousands Write Obama Urging End to Manning Abuse

Retired Colonel: “Obama Could End Torture of Manning
With One Phone Call”

Washington, DC:  The eight months of solitary confinement of Bradley Manning at Quantico has drawn national and international criticism in the last week.  Support is growing for him around the world with 500,000 writing President Obama in the last few days and with hundreds of top U.S. legal scholars criticizing his conditions of confinement.

Lawyers representing every leading law school in the United States have written an open letter to President Obama criticizing the conditions of Manning. Among the law professors is Lawrence Tribe who was President Obama’s law professor at Harvard and served in his administration until recently. The letter, Private Manning’s Humiliation, raises questions about President Obama saying: “President Obama was once a professor of constitutional law, and entered the national stage as an eloquent moral leader. The question now, however, is whether his conduct as commander in chief meets fundamental standards of decency.”

Col. Ann Wright (ret) who served 29 years in the military noted that “President Obama could end the treatment of Manning with one phone call.  As Commander-In-Chief he is responsible for the actions of the Marines at Quantico.  Certainly he understands the constitutional right to be convicted before punished and that the condition of Manning violates protection from cruel and unusual punishment.”

The UN Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez reprimanded the United States for blocking an official visit with Manning to investigate his treatment.  The UN torture investigator has been reviewing Manning’s case since December but the United States will not allow a private meeting with no tape recording.  The military has also refused a U.S. Congressman’s request for an official visit to Manning, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, as well as a visit from Amnesty International.

Daniel Ellsberg, a veteran who graduated from Quantico and is noted for leaking the Pentagon Papers  commented: “It seems likely that the Pentagon’s refusal to allow Amnesty International and the UN Rapporteur on Torture to hold unmonitored discussion with Bradley Manning (as the UN mandate demands) reflects well-founded fear that such experts on abusive conditions and torture could conclude that Manning’s treatment is not only ‘ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid’ — as State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley was forced to resign for saying– but criminal.”

This comes at a time when the U.S. and China are challenging each other on human rights.  China issued a lengthy report regarding human rights violations in the United States this week. As PJ Crowley, former Assistant Secretary of State said when he resigned the Manning case would be an embarrassment to the U.S. internationally, highlighting “the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership. The exercise of power in today’s challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values.”

Around the world there is growing anger at the treatment of Manning.  Five hundred thousand people have sent letters to President Obama urging him to “immediately end the torture, isolation and public humiliation of Bradley Manning.”  The petition was put out by Azaaz.org and is addressed to President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Gates.

“A half million people have taken a stand in support of Bradley Manning. It’s certainly a challenge to President Obama to get on the right side of history here and finally put an end to the extreme and illegal pre-trial punishment,” said Jeff Paterson, a veteran speaking on behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network. “After he ends the mistreatment of Manning, he could then ensure that Bradley receives the fair and public trial that is guaranteed under the Constitution.”

#   #   #

Call the White House and tell President Obama end the torture of Bradley Manning: Comments: 202-456-1111. Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Shock Troops Used to Prevent Vet-Led Flower Laying Ceremony at War Memorial

11:45 am in Uncategorized by KevinZeese

Right to Peaceably Assemble to Redress Grievances Undermined by Quantico Marine Command that Violates Soldier’s Oath

By Kevin Zeese

“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

Soldiers Oath

On March 20th, Americans, in a vet led assembly, gathered to support PFC Bradley Manning who is accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks and who has been held in solitary confinement at the Quantico Marine Base for 7 months.  We worked successfully with the Prince William County Police for a safe and peaceful event, but one aspect of the event was in dispute – a veteran led flower laying ceremony.

It seemed like something that should not have been controversial – a ceremony to remember the war dead at a replica of the Iwo Jima Monument.  The monument is open to the public every day of the year, but the Marines insisted on closing it to prevent a flower laying ceremony by veterans.  We wanted to remember the war dead and emphasize that transparency saves lives as deception has been the basis of so many wars.

The Iwo Jima Memorial, also known as the U. S. Marine Corps War Memorial, is dedicated to all personnel of the Marines who have died defending the United States since 1775.  The saying “Uncommon Valor Was a Common Virtue” is on the memorial and refers to the strength of mind and spirit that was shown by Marines in World War II who encountered danger with firmness.  Bradley Manning, if he is guilty of what he is accused, has shown uncommon valor by sharing documents that show crimes and other misdeeds by the U.S. military and State Department. The inhumane treatment he is receiving is proof of the courage he has shown.

I wrote two memoranda to Colonel Daniel J. Choike, the Quantico Base Commander prior to March 20th.  In them I explained our intent, the constitutional rights we were exercising and offered to find a way to exercise our rights safely.  I concluded both memos saying “We ask you to please work with us in good faith and dignity to make this event work as it should under the Constitution, statutes and laws we all honor and respect. I stand ready and willing to work with you or your representatives, to make this work appropriately, and may be contacted for this purpose at any time, day or night, in furtherance of that goal.”  We received no response from the Marine Command. The one time I called the Marines, I was told the monument is open every day of the year but would be closed because of our presence.

On the morning of the assembly, the Prince William police offered a compromise: we could send five people to the monument to lay flowers on the memorial.  While some among the Bradley Manning supporters were unhappy with this compromise, we decided to accept it in order to have a peaceful event that allowed us to show our respect for those who have died in war.  In the end, the police allowed six people to approach the monument with flowers.

Among the six were two who had been awarded the Purple Heart, one from World War II and the other from Iraq.  Jay Wenk, an army veteran received the Purple Heart when he was a member of the 90th Infantry Division, part of Patton’s 3rd Army in Germany. His company got into a firefight in a heavily wooded area, a grenade fragment clipped his right shin, and the medic cleaned and bandaged it. The next morning after sleeping outside Wenk was in great pain, he’d contracted pneumonia and pleurisy. He was sent to a hospital west of the Rhine and rejoined his detail three weeks later. Most of his comrades had been killed while he was away when they were caught in the open by two German planes.

Zack Choate served as a scout with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in southern Baghdad. He received a Purple Heart after being wounded by a roadside bomb in October 2006. He was riding in his vehicle on a combat patrol when a roadside bomb detonated, ejecting him from the gunner’s turret. After returning to the U.S. for treatment, he was awarded the Purple Heart. He was also diagnosed with PTSD. Out of a sense of “guilt” and other institutional pressures, he returned for a second tour.

Others in the flower laying group included: Retired Colonel Ann Wright who had a 29 year career in the U.S. military and also served 16 years in the Foreign Service. She served as Deputy Chief of Mission of US Embassies in Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Afghanistan and resigned in 2003 when the Iraq War began.  There was also retired Marine Captain David C. MacMichael, the former commander of Headquarters Company at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia, a counter-insurgency expert in South-East Asia for four years who went to the CIA after his military career.  Daniel Ellsberg left Harvard in 1954 to join the Marines and graduated first in a class of almost 1,100 lieutenants at the Marine School in Quantico. He served as a platoon leader and company commander in the Marine 2nd Infantry Division. In 1959 he began work at RAND, a private military think tank. He served in the Pentagon and reported the Gulf of Tonkin incident to Secretary Robert McNamara. He then served two years in Vietnam as a civilian working for General Lansdale.  Ellsberg is most known for leaking the Pentagon Papers which undermined the rationale for the Vietnam War. The final member of the group was Elaine Brower, the mother of a Marine recently returned from his third deployment, 1 in Afghanistan and 2 in Iraq. She is an activist against the war with the National Steering Committee of World Can’t Wait and a member of Military Families Speak Out.

As the flower laying delegation approached the monument they were told to stop at a police barrier 20 feet from the memorial.  The memorial was too far away to even throw the flowers on to it. The delegation was disappointed.  Jay Wenk told me that “when we came up to the barriers and were told to put our flowers on the ground, that we could go no further because ‘that’s Federal land’ I felt shocked, angry and despairing of what our government is.” Zach Choate said he “was furious and hurt” Ann Wright decided to sit down on the road in protest, Daniel Ellsberg joined her.  Then people came out from behind the police barricade and into the streets.

Police showed how much force they were willing to use to prevent vets from laying flowers on a war memorial.  Riot police started to march down the hill.  Dressed like Imperial Guards in Star Wars, 30 of them stood shoulder-to-shoulder covering the width of a four-lane road carrying large shields, wearing black helmets with plastic over their face in most cases only the eyes could be seen and many of them were covered by sun glasses, body armor covering their chest and arms, knee pads, shin guards and heavy boots.  Behind them were an equal number of riot police without shields but similarly dressed. There were about a dozen SWAT team troops with large assault rifles, wearing green military-like clothing and also helmets with masks that hid their faces. There were eight police on horseback, the horses also wearing riot gear covering their face with plastic and the police troops riding them were wearing helmets and riot gear as well.  They were accompanied by police with police dogs, two buses and an armored vehicle.  There were numerous other police from Prince William County, Manassas and Quantico.

Five different police forces were involved in responding to the flower laying threat. Quite a show of paramilitary force to stop a flower laying ceremony by five vets and a military mom!

There was no violence from the peace protesters who had all pledged to be non-violent at the event. Some of the protesters were treated roughly by the paramilitary police.

What was the root cause of this expensive and unnecessary show of force?  The Marine Command insisting that vets could not lay flowers at a public war memorial.  Did they forget their oath? Perhaps the most important part of the U.S. Constitution is the First Amendment which protects Freedom of Speech, Assembly and Petitioning the government.  The language is clear: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . .; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  Rather than defending the Constitution, the actions of the Quantico Marine Command are undermining critical constitutional guarantees and violating the soldier’s oath.

As a result of the events on the 20th, 32 people have been arrested.  Daniel Ellsberg said when the magistrate told him the charge was “unlawful assembly” he thought:  “Unlawful assembly? I thought of that as a pre-Revolutionary charge: ‘Disperse, ye rabble!  Go to your homes!’ I was under the belief that the First Amendment—protecting the right ‘peaceably to assemble to petition for redress of grievances’ was supposed to ‘change all that.’  Could there be a clearer description of what we were doing—right at the immediate site of one of the grievances?  Granted, we were in a highway: but the State Police had blocked off that road themselves, for the period of our assembly: we weren’t even ‘disrupting traffic.’”

Now, it goes to the Prince William Courts.  It will be an opportunity for the courts to enforce and protect the most basic constitutional rights of Americans, or an opportunity to turn those guarantees into a farce.  Let’s hope the courts side with the people and the Constitution or the shock troops at Quantico could become a model seen in other parts of the country.

Videos of the Events on March 20th Outside the Quantico Marine Base

Symptoms of a Police State?

Police brutality against Col. Ann Wright and Daniel Ellsberg at Free Bradley Manning Protest

The Uncommon Valor of Bradley Manning

Hundreds Rally for Bradley Manning at White House, Dozens Arrested for Free Speech

Kevin Zeese is on the Steering Committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network and directs Come Home America.

President Obama: Step In to Protect the Constitutional Rights of Veterans and Citizens

8:56 am in Uncategorized by KevinZeese

Drop “Aiding the Enemy” Charges Against Manning

Add your name to our letter urging Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to drop the “aiding the enemy” charges against Bradley Manning.

The Quantico Command Has Shown It Does Not Respect the Constitution Now They Are Denying Our Freedom of Speech

By Kevin Zeese

As one of the organizers of the non-violent event this Sunday at Quantico in support of Bradley Manning I have been negotiating in good faith with the Marines at Quantico to allow a veteran led flower laying ceremony at the Iwo Jima Monument at the edge of the Marine Base. The monument is open every day of the year except for this Sunday. The Marines are closing it to prevent a veteran led flower laying ceremony.

The disgraceful treatment of Bradley Manning is violating his constitutional rights to Due Process of Law and the Eighth Amendment which forbids cruel and unusual punishment. This young man has not been convicted of anything. He is accused of leaking documents that exposed crimes or misdeeds by the U.S. military and State Department. He was acting as the Constitution urges – to seek a “More Perfect Union.” He should not be prosecuted for this action. President Obama should use this as an opportunity to reconsider the direction of U.S. foreign policy.

Now the Quantico command is showing further disrespect for the Constitution by threatening to deny a veteran led flower laying ceremony to remember the war dead. I have written two memoranda to the Commander at Quantico (see below). In my one conversation with base officials the position of the base was their property rights trump the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution clearly states that our rights should not be abridged.

President Obama needs to step in and correct the command at Quantico. As Commander-in-chief, the President should tell them that the Constitution comes first and order them to allow the flower laying ceremony. Further, Bradley Manning should be removed from Quantico. To begin with, why is a member of the Army at a Marine brig? The Quantico command has shown themselves to be unable to stop torturing Manning and cannot be trusted to properly detain him. His conditions of confinement need to be normalized and his rights protected.
Read the rest of this entry →

Manning Must be Tortured to Make an Example of Him and to Intimidate his Supporters

6:38 pm in Uncategorized by KevinZeese

Stand With Brad, We Are All Bradley Manning

WikiLeaks threatens corporate media control over information, the government’s need to mislead to the public

The article below is from a speech given by Kevin Zeese in support of Bradley Manning at Bus Boys and Poets in Washington, DC on March 13, 2011.
His cell is six feet wide and twelve feet in length.

It has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet.

At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up. He will not be allowed to sleep again until 8:00 p.m. If he attempts to sleep at any time from 5 AM to 8 PM he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards.

He will not be allowed to exercise in his cell, not even pushups – for his own protection, too dangerous, say his jailers.  If he tries guards stop him.

He has no clothes as they were taken away the night before.  He is forced to sleep naked with a scratchy smock over him that itches throughout the night. He tried not to use the smock because it was so uncomfortable but was forced to do so.

A voice asks through the door: Are you alright? I need a verbal response. “Yes, I’m alright.” Five minutes later: Are you alright? I need a verbal response. “Yes, I’m alright.” Every five minutes, every day for 7 months he is asked: Are you alright? I need a verbal response.

A voice through the door orders: Get out of your bed for the morning Duty Brig Supervisor inspection.

Still no clothes.

He gets out of the bed, shivering from being naked all night in a cold cell.

He walks toward the front of the cell with his hands in front covering his genitals.

A guard orders: Stand at parade rest.

He puts his hands behind his back, with legs spaced shoulder width apart. He stands at ‘parade rest’ waiting and waiting until the Brig Supervisor arrives. Everyone is called to attention.

Brig supervisor and the other guards walk past the cell. They stop, look as he stands naked. Stare at him. Look at the room. Stare at him some more.  Then they move on to the next cell. He stands waiting for the inspection of all the cells to end.  When completed a guard orders – go sit on your bed.  Sitting naked, waiting, waiting, waiting ten minutes later, finally, clothes arrive and he can dress.  The shiver from the cold night stays with him.

This is how Bradley Manning’s day begins.  The nudity has been required for more than a week with no end in sight, but he has been in solitary in Quantico for 7 months, in total for 10 months.

Charles Dickens, who spent months at a time living with the general populations of prisons and mental hospitals throughout America in the 1800’s, wrote about solitary confinement: “I believe it to be cruel and wrong…I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.”

It is torture.  They are torturing him.  We should call it nothing else.  Long-term solitary confinement is torture.  Research shows previously healthy prisoners have “develop[ed] clinical symptoms usually associated with psychosis or severe affective disorders” including “all types of psychiatric morbidity.” Many have committed suicide.

The spokesperson for the State Department, PJ Crowley, put his career on the line to speak with disfavor against the treatment of Manning.  He described Manning’s confinement as “counterproductive and stupid.” Crowley resigned today and it has been reported in the media that Obama administration did not want the division of Manning known to the public.  Our pressure forced the president to call the Pentagon about Manning’s treatment.  Our work getting Manning’s message out resulted in PJ Crowley giving up his job as spokesperson for U.S. foreign policy.  We are having an impact.

In our Big Brother security state the military says they do it for Manning’s own protection.  It’s a lie that does not pass the straight face test.  Once again lies become truth as a compliant press writes it down and reports it as fact. The president re-enforces the lie, telling America he has talked to the Pentagon and they have said it is for his own protection. The president says this with a straight face.

Does anyone believe the president anymore? This is the president that told us – America doesn’t torture.  This is the president who said that Raymond Davis was a diplomat who deserved diplomatic immunity.  In fact he was a Blackwater mercenary working for the CIA who allegedly killed two Pakistanis. The president’s comments to the press were dutifully reported “he is a diplomat who deserves diplomatic immunity” when the press knew he was working for the CIA. The press had been told to lie to us, not tell us the truth and they did as the government demanded until a foreign newspaper told the truth. The president and the press need to lie to us; because the truth is terrifying.

Friends – we are here today because we know – we are all Bradley Manning.  That a crime against one of us, is a crime against all of us.  We need to stand together, to Stand with Brad, because this is much bigger than Bradley Manning.

We are living through a time of revolutionary change.  We see it around the world and we see it around the nation.  The corporate-government-media does not report the resistance occurring throughout the nation because if Americans knew that their fellow Americans were standing up against corporate-government, real change, shifting power to the people, would be more likely.

And, the corporate media is threatened by what Bradley Manning is accused of.  They are losing hold of their monopoly on information as WikiLeaks shows the way to the democratization of the media.  We are living through the birth of a new media that will shift the power of information control from the few to the many.  Information is a commodity that the corporate-government has sought to control because they know information is power.  But in this new media age we can all be reporters, writers, commentators.  Through email, blogs, websites and social media each of us can share information.  We all can become part of the new media.

And through encryption technology those who work inside corrupt governments including our own and abusive big businesses can provide media outlets – new and old – anonymously with information that increases transparency of these powers that control our lives.  They are scared of Bradley Manning, scared of WikiLeaks but prosecuting Manning or Assange will not stop this revolution.

If in 1450 Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press were prosecuted, the revolution of printing would have occurred any way. The information revolution has progressed too far to be stopped.  Information will flow, transparency will increase and media will be democratized.

And, Bradley Manning is paying a price because the security state is not secure.  The people already know too much of the truth and they fear us knowing more.  They know control can be lost.  The rigged system is falling apart and they are doing all they can to hold power.  Bradley Manning must be tortured to force him to testify against Assange.  Manning must be made an example of.  The revolutionary’s must be punished.

The treatment of Bradley Manning is about intimidating all of us. They know, as WikiLeaks says, courage is contagious. By standing together we respond to their intimidation with strength, joy and resolve.

For all these reasons we must Stand with Brad.  We are all Bradley Manning.

If what he is accused of is true, Manning has exposed abusive governments throughout the world.  The documents published by WikiLeaks worked hand and hand with democracy activists in Tunisia and Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia and so many more. The documents have shown the lie of Swedish claims of neutrality. In fact, Sweden’s Minister of Justice participated in the rendition of two innocent men from Sweden to Egypt via the CIA, where that regime tortured them. Sweden later awarded them damages for their torture. The now former Minister of Justice who handed these innocent people to the CIA for torture in Egypt, Thomas Bodstrom, is the law partner of the lawyer representing Assange’s accusers.

And, the documents have shown the truth of the largest and most powerful empire in world history – the American Empire. They have confirmed so much that we already suspected or knew is in fact true — the U.S. is a rogue superpower that bullies, threatens and blackmails to get its way.  That works with dictators and security state regimes – many of whom are now being deposed by their people. That supports coup d’état’s of democratically elected governments then tries to hide it.  It shows the most powerful military in world history, a military that has failed to win a major war since World War II, kills civilians wantonly and then covers it up, that arrests people without cause and violates the law by using torture. And, it shows a State Department whose diplomats are required by the order of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to illegally spy on other diplomats. No wonder, just before the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables were published Secretary Clinton said she would never run for office again. The threat of democratized information – the transparency of truth – is occurring at a time when the empire is faltering and behind its bluster, the empire is afraid.

If what Bradley is accused of is true, he was trying to start a debate on the abusive U.S. foreign policy and create a more perfect union.  That is in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution that we seek to form a “more perfect union” and Bradley is being tortured for doing what the Constitution demands of us.

The treatment of Bradley Manning shows their fear.  They know they have been exposed, that the truth of their crimes is becoming known to all.  Even the corporate-government-media cannot hold the truth back in a time when the media is being democratized.

But, even though Manning stands for a bigger issue – a revolution of truth – he is an individual human who is suffering at the hands of abusive jailers.  We are here today to work together to end his suffering and free Bradley Manning.

This week Brad’s father, Brian spoke for the first time.  He said his son was innocent.  He said his son was being abused.  He stood by, Brad.  When I saw him, and saw he was 55 years old – my age, and looked again at Brad, the age of my youngest son, it pierced my heart even deeper.  It made Bradley even more human, more fragile, more vulnerable to their abuse.

Many people are coming to Brad’s aid.  At the Bradley Manning Support Network, www.BradleyManning.org, thousands have donated to Bradley’s legal defense and enabled our advocacy for him.  People are also donating to the Bradley Manning Advocacy Fund which is making sure Bradley’s side of the story is told. In addition to making donations tonight, bidding on the many items here today, please sign up and stay involved.  It is Bradley Manning vs. the U.S. government – a desperate dying empire that wants someone to blame.

Manning is now facing the potential of capital punishment or life in prison, not for selling secrets to U.S. enemies, but for allegedly sharing information about war crimes as well as other criminal and unethical behavior to the media. The double standard of this potential punishment is seen clearly when compared to sentences of other soldiers.  Retired Col. Ann Wright highlighted the sad absurdity when she pointed to the sentence given to a U.S. soldier convicted of mutilating Afghan civilians.  That soldier received 9 months of work detail at his base, not even in prison.  What is the message – the message is murder, mutilation and rape are less serious offenses than allegedly providing documents that show crimes and misdeeds of government officials.

The hypocrisy does not end there.  Secretary Clinton has been lecturing the world about the need for freedom of speech, press and association in the Internet age.  At her second speech on the subject as she was talking about freedom of speech being essential to democracy, our colleague Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for the CIA for 27 years as well as a military veteran stood in silence to protest the U.S. wars and the treatment of Bradley Manning.  He was brutally arrested, thrown to the floor and then thrown into jail where he was left bleeding.  Secretary Clinton kept talking about the importance of freedom of speech as freedom of speech was thrown to the ground before her.

Both Secretary Clinton and President Obama have praised people in foreign governments who have exposed the corruption of their governments, but both have criticized WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning for allegedly doing the same here.  The hypocrisy is so evident it is impossible to miss – but the corporate-government-media does not even report it.

As I was thinking about Bradley Manning for this speech, my mind wandered to another injustice.  The prosecution of Tim DeChristoher for boldly trying to stop or delay the sale of oil leases in Utah as Bidder 70, bidding on the lands to raise their price. Tim saw the sales as illegal and wanted to raise awareness about aggressive drilling in pristine western areas. Even though a federal judge later blocked many of the leases from being issued, on March 3, 2011 Tim was convicted and now faces up to ten years in jail when he is sentenced on June 23rd.  After his conviction, he came outside the courthouse and said:

“You’ve shown that your power will not be intimidated by any power that they have, and that’s the most important thing that has happened here this week.

“Everything that went on inside that building tried to convince me that I was alone, and that I was weak. Inside that building, they tried to convince me that I was a little finger out there on my own that could easily be broken. All of you out here were the reminder, for all of us, that I wasn’t just a finger all alone in there, but that I was connected to a hand, with many fingers that can unite as one fist, and that fist cannot be broken by the power that they have in there.

“That fist is not a symbol of violence. That fist is a symbol that we will not be misled into thinking that we are alone. We will not be lied to and told we are weak. We will not be divided, and we will not back down. That fist is a symbol that we are connected, and that we are powerful. It is a symbol that we hold true to our vision of a healthy and just world and we are building the self-empowering movement to make it happen. All the authorities in there wanted me to think like a finger, but our children are calling to us to think like a fist.”

So, we must Stand with Brad.  Bradley is not a finger. Bradley is part of a hand that connects all of us into a self-empowering movement for peace and justice.

To emphasize the point a large group of supporters from Peaceful Uprising stood outside, standing in unity, they said “We are all Bidder 70” and as Tim walked through the crowd hugging each of them, they sang:

I will stand with you – Will you stand with me

We will be the change that we hope to see

In the name of love – in the name of peace

Will you stand, will you stand with me

When injustice raises up its fist

And fights to stop us in our tracks

We will rise and as one resist

No fear nor sorrow can turn us back

I will stand with you – Will you stand with me

We will be the change that we hope to see

In the name of love – in the name of peace

Will you stand, will you stand with me

Let us show Bradley Manning that he is not alone.  That we are standing with him. We are all Bradley Manning.  Bid tonight.  Donate to his legal and advocacy funds.  And, join us next week in Quantico as we stand at the Marine Base where he is being illegally tortured.

Stand with Bradley Manning

Thank you all for being here

Information for Quantico, Virginia on March 20th rally is here; and information for the End These Wars, Expose the Lies and Free Bradley Manning civil resistance on March 19th at the White House is here.

Kevin Zeese is director of ComeHomeAmerica.US and a member of the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Stand With Brad, We Are All Bradley Manning

WikiLeaks threatens corporate media control over information, the government’s need to mislead to the public

Manning must be tortured to make an example of him and to intimidate his supporters

The article below is from a speech given by Kevin Zeese in support of Bradley Manning at Bus Boys and Poets in Washington, DC on March 13, 2011.
His cell is six feet wide and twelve feet in length.

It has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet.

At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up. He will not be allowed to sleep again until 8:00 p.m. If he attempts to sleep at any time from 5 AM to 8 PM he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards.

He will not be allowed to exercise in his cell, not even pushups – for his own protection, too dangerous, say his jailers.  If he tries guards stop him.

He has no clothes as they were taken away the night before.  He is forced to sleep naked with a scratchy smock over him that itches throughout the night. He tried not to use the smock because it was so uncomfortable but was forced to do so.

A voice asks through the door: Are you alright? I need a verbal response. “Yes, I’m alright.” Five minutes later: Are you alright? I need a verbal response. “Yes, I’m alright.” Every five minutes, every day for 7 months he is asked: Are you alright? I need a verbal response.

A voice through the door orders: Get out of your bed for the morning Duty Brig Supervisor inspection.

Still no clothes.

He gets out of the bed, shivering from being naked all night in a cold cell.

He walks toward the front of the cell with his hands in front covering his genitals.

A guard orders: Stand at parade rest.

He puts his hands behind his back, with legs spaced shoulder width apart. He stands at ‘parade rest’ waiting and waiting until the Brig Supervisor arrives. Everyone is called to attention.

Brig supervisor and the other guards walk past the cell. They stop, look as he stands naked. Stare at him. Look at the room. Stare at him some more.  Then they move on to the next cell. He stands waiting for the inspection of all the cells to end.  When completed a guard orders – go sit on your bed.  Sitting naked, waiting, waiting, waiting ten minutes later, finally, clothes arrive and he can dress.  The shiver from the cold night stays with him.

This is how Bradley Manning’s day begins.  The nudity has been required for more than a week with no end in sight, but he has been in solitary in Quantico for 7 months, in total for 10 months.

Charles Dickens, who spent months at a time living with the general populations of prisons and mental hospitals throughout America in the 1800’s, wrote about solitary confinement: “I believe it to be cruel and wrong…I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.”

It is torture.  They are torturing him.  We should call it nothing else.  Long-term solitary confinement is torture.  Research shows previously healthy prisoners have “develop[ed] clinical symptoms usually associated with psychosis or severe affective disorders” including “all types of psychiatric morbidity.” Many have committed suicide.

The spokesperson for the State Department, PJ Crowley, put his career on the line to speak with disfavor against the treatment of Manning.  He described Manning’s confinement as “counterproductive and stupid.” Crowley resigned today and it has been reported in the media that Obama administration did not want the division of Manning known to the public.  Our pressure forced the president to call the Pentagon about Manning’s treatment.  Our work getting Manning’s message out resulted in PJ Crowley giving up his job as spokesperson for U.S. foreign policy.  We are having an impact.

In our Big Brother security state the military says they do it for Manning’s own protection.  It’s a lie that does not pass the straight face test.  Once again lies become truth as a compliant press writes it down and reports it as fact. The president re-enforces the lie, telling America he has talked to the Pentagon and they have said it is for his own protection. The president says this with a straight face.

Does anyone believe the president anymore? This is the president that told us – America doesn’t torture.  This is the president who said that Raymond Davis was a diplomat who deserved diplomatic immunity.  In fact he was a Blackwater mercenary working for the CIA who allegedly killed two Pakistanis. The president’s comments to the press were dutifully reported “he is a diplomat who deserves diplomatic immunity” when the press knew he was working for the CIA. The press had been told to lie to us, not tell us the truth and they did as the government demanded until a foreign newspaper told the truth. The president and the press need to lie to us; because the truth is terrifying.

Friends – we are here today because we know – we are all Bradley Manning.  That a crime against one of us, is a crime against all of us.  We need to stand together, to Stand with Brad, because this is much bigger than Bradley Manning.

We are living through a time of revolutionary change.  We see it around the world and we see it around the nation.  The corporate-government-media does not report the resistance occurring throughout the nation because if Americans knew that their fellow Americans were standing up against corporate-government, real change, shifting power to the people, would be more likely.

And, the corporate media is threatened by what Bradley Manning is accused of.  They are losing hold of their monopoly on information as WikiLeaks shows the way to the democratization of the media.  We are living through the birth of a new media that will shift the power of information control from the few to the many.  Information is a commodity that the corporate-government has sought to control because they know information is power.  But in this new media age we can all be reporters, writers, commentators.  Through email, blogs, websites and social media each of us can share information.  We all can become part of the new media.

And through encryption technology those who work inside corrupt governments including our own and abusive big businesses can provide media outlets – new and old – anonymously with information that increases transparency of these powers that control our lives.  They are scared of Bradley Manning, scared of WikiLeaks but prosecuting Manning or Assange will not stop this revolution.

If in 1450 Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press were prosecuted, the revolution of printing would have occurred any way. The information revolution has progressed too far to be stopped.  Information will flow, transparency will increase and media will be democratized.

And, Bradley Manning is paying a price because the security state is not secure.  The people already know too much of the truth and they fear us knowing more.  They know control can be lost.  The rigged system is falling apart and they are doing all they can to hold power.  Bradley Manning must be tortured to force him to testify against Assange.  Manning must be made an example of.  The revolutionary’s must be punished.

The treatment of Bradley Manning is about intimidating all of us. They know, as WikiLeaks says, courage is contagious. By standing together we respond to their intimidation with strength, joy and resolve.

For all these reasons we must Stand with Brad.  We are all Bradley Manning.

If what he is accused of is true, Manning has exposed abusive governments throughout the world.  The documents published by WikiLeaks worked hand and hand with democracy activists in Tunisia and Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia and so many more. The documents have shown the lie of Swedish claims of neutrality. In fact, Sweden’s Minister of Justice participated in the rendition of two innocent men from Sweden to Egypt via the CIA, where that regime tortured them. Sweden later awarded them damages for their torture. The now former Minister of Justice who handed these innocent people to the CIA for torture in Egypt, Thomas Bodstrom, is the law partner of the lawyer representing Assange’s accusers.

And, the documents have shown the truth of the largest and most powerful empire in world history – the American Empire. They have confirmed so much that we already suspected or knew is in fact true — the U.S. is a rogue superpower that bullies, threatens and blackmails to get its way.  That works with dictators and security state regimes – many of whom are now being deposed by their people. That supports coup d’état’s of democratically elected governments then tries to hide it.  It shows the most powerful military in world history, a military that has failed to win a major war since World War II, kills civilians wantonly and then covers it up, that arrests people without cause and violates the law by using torture. And, it shows a State Department whose diplomats are required by the order of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to illegally spy on other diplomats. No wonder, just before the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables were published Secretary Clinton said she would never run for office again. The threat of democratized information – the transparency of truth – is occurring at a time when the empire is faltering and behind its bluster, the empire is afraid.

If what Bradley is accused of is true, he was trying to start a debate on the abusive U.S. foreign policy and create a more perfect union.  That is in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution that we seek to form a “more perfect union” and Bradley is being tortured for doing what the Constitution demands of us.

The treatment of Bradley Manning shows their fear.  They know they have been exposed, that the truth of their crimes is becoming known to all.  Even the corporate-government-media cannot hold the truth back in a time when the media is being democratized.

But, even though Manning stands for a bigger issue – a revolution of truth – he is an individual human who is suffering at the hands of abusive jailers.  We are here today to work together to end his suffering and free Bradley Manning.

This week Brad’s father, Brian spoke for the first time.  He said his son was innocent.  He said his son was being abused.  He stood by, Brad.  When I saw him, and saw he was 55 years old – my age, and looked again at Brad, the age of my youngest son, it pierced my heart even deeper.  It made Bradley even more human, more fragile, more vulnerable to their abuse.

Many people are coming to Brad’s aid.  At the Bradley Manning Support Network, www.BradleyManning.org, thousands have donated to Bradley’s legal defense and enabled our advocacy for him.  People are also donating to the Bradley Manning Advocacy Fund which is making sure Bradley’s side of the story is told. In addition to making donations tonight, bidding on the many items here today, please sign up and stay involved.  It is Bradley Manning vs. the U.S. government – a desperate dying empire that wants someone to blame.

Manning is now facing the potential of capital punishment or life in prison, not for selling secrets to U.S. enemies, but for allegedly sharing information about war crimes as well as other criminal and unethical behavior to the media. The double standard of this potential punishment is seen clearly when compared to sentences of other soldiers.  Retired Col. Ann Wright highlighted the sad absurdity when she pointed to the sentence given to a U.S. soldier convicted of mutilating Afghan civilians.  That soldier received 9 months of work detail at his base, not even in prison.  What is the message – the message is murder, mutilation and rape are less serious offenses than allegedly providing documents that show crimes and misdeeds of government officials.

The hypocrisy does not end there.  Secretary Clinton has been lecturing the world about the need for freedom of speech, press and association in the Internet age.  At her second speech on the subject as she was talking about freedom of speech being essential to democracy, our colleague Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for the CIA for 27 years as well as a military veteran stood in silence to protest the U.S. wars and the treatment of Bradley Manning.  He was brutally arrested, thrown to the floor and then thrown into jail where he was left bleeding.  Secretary Clinton kept talking about the importance of freedom of speech as freedom of speech was thrown to the ground before her.

Both Secretary Clinton and President Obama have praised people in foreign governments who have exposed the corruption of their governments, but both have criticized WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning for allegedly doing the same here.  The hypocrisy is so evident it is impossible to miss – but the corporate-government-media does not even report it.

As I was thinking about Bradley Manning for this speech, my mind wandered to another injustice.  The prosecution of Tim DeChristoher for boldly trying to stop or delay the sale of oil leases in Utah as Bidder 70, bidding on the lands to raise their price. Tim saw the sales as illegal and wanted to raise awareness about aggressive drilling in pristine western areas. Even though a federal judge later blocked many of the leases from being issued, on March 3, 2011 Tim was convicted and now faces up to ten years in jail when he is sentenced on June 23rd.  After his conviction, he came outside the courthouse and said:

“You’ve shown that your power will not be intimidated by any power that they have, and that’s the most important thing that has happened here this week.

“Everything that went on inside that building tried to convince me that I was alone, and that I was weak. Inside that building, they tried to convince me that I was a little finger out there on my own that could easily be broken. All of you out here were the reminder, for all of us, that I wasn’t just a finger all alone in there, but that I was connected to a hand, with many fingers that can unite as one fist, and that fist cannot be broken by the power that they have in there.

“That fist is not a symbol of violence. That fist is a symbol that we will not be misled into thinking that we are alone. We will not be lied to and told we are weak. We will not be divided, and we will not back down. That fist is a symbol that we are connected, and that we are powerful. It is a symbol that we hold true to our vision of a healthy and just world and we are building the self-empowering movement to make it happen. All the authorities in there wanted me to think like a finger, but our children are calling to us to think like a fist.”

So, we must Stand with Brad.  Bradley is not a finger. Bradley is part of a hand that connects all of us into a self-empowering movement for peace and justice.

To emphasize the point a large group of supporters from Peaceful Uprising stood outside, standing in unity, they said “We are all Bidder 70” and as Tim walked through the crowd hugging each of them, they sang:

I will stand with you – Will you stand with me

We will be the change that we hope to see

In the name of love – in the name of peace

Will you stand, will you stand with me

When injustice raises up its fist

And fights to stop us in our tracks

We will rise and as one resist

No fear nor sorrow can turn us back

I will stand with you – Will you stand with me

We will be the change that we hope to see

In the name of love – in the name of peace

Will you stand, will you stand with me

Let us show Bradley Manning that he is not alone.  That we are standing with him. We are all Bradley Manning.  Bid tonight.  Donate to his legal and advocacy funds.  And, join us next week in Quantico as we stand at the Marine Base where he is being illegally tortured.

Stand with Bradley Manning

Thank you all for being here

Information for Quantico, Virginia on March 20th rally is here; and information for the End These Wars, Expose the Lies and Free Bradley Manning civil resistance on March 19th at the White House is here.

Kevin Zeese is director of ComeHomeAmerica.US and a member of the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Bradley Manning Is Punished for Seeking a More Perfect Union

2:23 pm in Uncategorized by KevinZeese

He’s Accused of Telling the Truth in a Time of Lies

By Kevin Zeese

Reports that Bradley Manning is being held nude every night at the Quantico Brig, then forced to stand naked in the hallway while he waits for his clothes, shows the inconsistency of the treatment of Manning with basic American values of due process, fair trial and human dignity.

Here is how his lawyer David Coombs describes his treatment:

“The Brig has stripped PFC Manning of all of his clothing for the past three nights, and they intend to continue this practice indefinitely.  Each night, Brig guards force PFC Manning to relinquish all of his clothing.  He then lies in a cold jail cell naked until the following morning, when he is required to endure the humiliation of standing naked at attention for the morning roll call.  According to Marine spokesperson, First Lieutenant Brian Villiard, the decision to strip him naked every night is for PFC Manning’s own protection.  Villiard stated that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to explain what prompted these actions ‘because to discuss the details would be a violation of PFC Manning’s privacy.’”

Manning, who has not been convicted of anything, has been held in virtual solitary confinement for ten months. David House who has visited him since September described him as “emotionally exhausted” and “catatonic.”  The Constitution declares a right to bail, yet Manning who is not a risk of flight is denied bail.  Americans are required to be provided due process of law and a trial before a jury of their peers before being punished.   There is no provision in the Constitution allowing punishment before trial yet Manning is being punished.

Why is Manning being treated this way?  Because this young American allegedly saw crimes being committed in U.S. foreign policy and after trying to report them to his commander, with no good result, supposedly realized he had to get the information to the public. We are living in a time of myths and lies, and, as George Orwell aptly wrote: “In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”  Manning allegedly let out the truth and is now paying the price.

Manning shows the true meaning of patriotism. Patriotism is not blind nationalism.  If Manning is guilty of what he is accused of, he sought to make the country more fair and just in the best traditions of America. He sought to make us a “more perfect union,” a concept enshrined in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution.  The idea of creating a better country is sung about in “America the Beautiful:”

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

Manning is now being punished for allegedly disclosing the flaws of U.S. foreign policy in order to mend them.  He is a young man from Oklahoma who voluntarily joined the U.S. Army.  Manning believed the United States played a positive role in the world and was not anti-military.  He volunteered to serve his country, in doing so he saw how the U.S. conducts its military and foreign policy. He saw war crimes, violations of law and constant deception.   Manning is a principled American who wants his country to be all it promises to be but is not.

Manning was ordered “to round up and hand over Iraqi civilians” to the government the United State put in power and he saw they “were then torturing them with electrical drills and other implements.”  He examined what 15 Iraqi prisoners who were being tortured had done and found they were accused of printing “anti-Iraqi literature.” In fact, the literature was merely a scholarly critique of corruption in the government that asked “Where did the money go?”  He brought his concerns to the chain of command and was told to “shut up” and find more detainees. Evidently, Manning realized he “was actively involved in something that I was completely against…”

According to the unverified chat logs with the informant Adrian Lamo, Manning said that he hoped the publication of the documents and videos would spur “worldwide discussion, debates, and reform.” He went on to say, “I want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” He had already learned that the command structure would not listen, so Manning went beyond them to the people who are supposed to control the military in our democratic republic. He wanted Americans to know the truth.

The WikiLeaks documents that Manning allegedly released did help spur dramatic change by providing much-needed information about abusive security-state governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain among others.  It is disgraceful that America – which constantly proclaims itself as supporting democracy around the world – is now punishing Manning without trial for allegedly providing information that did so much for democracy and ending security state regimes around the world.

Manning now faces charges that include the potential of capital punishment.  He was charged with 22 additional counts for his alleged role in a massive leak of classified information to WikiLeaks, including a charge of “aiding the enemy” that can result in the death penalty.  This charge is particularly disturbing as Glenn Greenwald points out: “This prosecution theory would convert acts of whistle-blowing into a hanging offense.”

This is particularly ironic since the former constitutional law professor who is now the U.S.  president, said in 2008 when he was running for office “Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal.”  Further, as Secretary of State Clinton reminded us during a speech on Internet freedom, when President Obama spoke in China, “he spoke about how access to information helps citizens hold their own governments accountable. . . .”

Indeed, Hillary Clinton is lecturing the world on the importance of freedom of speech and press in the Internet age saying these are “values etched in stone” that “every generation of Americans has worked to protect.”  Last month, in her second speech on freedom in the 21st Century she stated “We govern with the consent of the people, and that consent must be informed to be meaningful.” She applauded people around the world who used the Internet to “expose public corruption” and criticized countries that attempt to restrict the free flow of information. She proclaimed “Governments have to choose to live up to their commitments to protect free expression, assembly, and association.”

How are the statements of President Obama and Secretary Clinton consistent with charging Manning with a death penalty offense based on allegations of leaking documents that showed war crimes as well as crimes by U.S. diplomats?  How is it consistent with the rule of law to punish Manning before he is convicted and hold him in solitary confinement with forced nudity? Doesn’t the United States like other countries need informed citizens who can hold their government accountable?

The president and secretary of state should apply the standards they tell the rest of the world to live up to, to the United States and in particular to Bradley Manning.  If they did, not only would he be released on bail but the charges against him would be dropped and he would be proclaimed a hero for living up to the greatest ideals of patriotic Americans, generations of whom have worked to create a more perfect union.

Kevin Zeese serves on the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Hillary Hypocrisy? While the Secretary Calls for Free Speech, Veteran is Arrested and Abused Before Her Eyes for Exercising Free Speech

7:16 am in Uncategorized by KevinZeese

By Kevin Zeese

On Tuesday, February 15th Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech on the importance of Freedom of Speech in the Internet age. She focused her attention on foreign countries and chided them for curtailing the speech of their citizens.

During that speech Ray McGovern, a veteran who also served for 27 years as a CIA analyst, exercised his freedom of speech by standing and silently turning his back on Secretary Clinton. He was protesting the ongoing wars, the treatment of Bradley Manning and the militarism of U.S. foreign policy. He did not shout at the Secretary of State or interrupt her speech. He merely stood in silence.

McGovern’s action was a powerful one and it threatened the Secretary of State. Two police officers roughed him up, pulled him from the audience and arrested him. As you can see from the pictures, the 71 year old McGovern, was battered and bruised, indeed his attorney reports he was left in jail bleeding.

McGovern is not just a former CIA analyst. He did the daily intelligence briefing for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He also briefed the National Security Advisor, Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Cabinet on security matters. He has come to see that the current U.S. wars are about controlling natural resources, especially oil, positioning U.S. military bases in key areas and protecting the unusual alliance between the U.S. and Israel. So, when he stood silently his speech was being heard.

And, when Secretary of Clinton kept speaking about the importance of freedom of speech, as if nothing was occurring before her eyes, Ray McGovern’s voice became even louder. The hypocrisy of the United States became thunderous. Free speech was being snuffed out right before her eyes but she kept talking about freedom of speech, doing nothing to protect it while criticizing other countries, U.S. client states like Egypt and those enemies like Iran, for their failure to allow their people to speak freely.

On the same day that McGovern was roughed up and left bleeding by the police, independent journalist Brandon Jourdan returned from Haiti after being on assignment documenting the rebuilding of schools. When he returned to the United States, he was immediately detained, questioned about his travels and had all of his documents, computer, phone and camera flash drives searched and copied. This is the seventh time Jourdan says he has been subjected to lengthy searches in five years, and has been told by officials that he is “on a list.” Freedom of speech? Freedom of the press? Did Secretary of State Clinton say anything? No. She remained silent.

And, on that same day, as he has for the last 8 months, Pfc Bradley Manning sits in solitary confinement, pre-trial torture, for the alleged crime of sharing with the media evidence of war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as crimes committed by agents of U.S. foreign policy. Included in the documents he is accused of leaking are diplomatic cables that show Secretary of State Clinton issuing a memorandum directing U.S. diplomats to spy, including illegally spying on UN diplomats. During his long pre-trial punishment has Secretary of State Clinton said anything about Pfc Manning’s illegal punishment before trial? No, she has remained silent.

Finally, a last example of many all of which I will not describe here, while Secretary of State Clinton was speaking, agents of the U.S. Department of Justice were trying to find a way to prosecute Julian Assange, the editor in chief of WikiLeaks. They claim this super-journalist, whose publication has released more classified documents than the Washington Post has in decades, is not a journalist. Some of the most recent publications of WikiLeaks helped to spark the revolution in Tunisia. And, during the revolt in Egypt, WikiLeaks documents showing that Mubarak’s newly appointed Vice President, Omar Suleiman was the choice of Israel to be Mubarak’s successor. This U.S. trained military and intelligence officer tortured people at the request of the United States. While Secretary of State Clinton has remained silent about the trumped up investigation of Assange, she did not remain silent about Suleiman. She made it clear, he was America’s choice as Mubarak’s successor.

Please write Secretary of State Clinton and urge her to put actions to her words. Urge her to stand up for freedom of speech in the United States. First, she should apologize for the treatment of Ray McGovern and seek to have the charges against him dropped. But, more importantly, she should ask that Bradley Manning be released for prison and the charges against him be dropped. His patriotic act of exposing war crimes and other criminal activity deserves plaudits from free speech loving Americans. Similarly, she should tell Attorney General Holder that the abusive investigation of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks should be halted. Secretary Clinton is at the center of numerous challenges to free speech in the United States. She could become a leader in reviving this first and foremost freedom in America, or she could remain silent. Click here to urge her to put actions to her words.

Finally, Ray McGovern wrote me a day after his brutal ordeal saying: “The painful bruises are those for our country and its erstwhile ideals physically I hurt, but no broken bones, dislocated shoulders, or anything else that will not heal please pass word around.” If you share Ray’s concern for the direction of the United States, write Hillary Clinton and support efforts to change the direction of the country

Kevin Zeese is executive director of Voters For Peace (www.VotersForPeace.US) and an editor of ComeHomeAmerica.US (visit http://ComeHomeAmerica.US).

Bradley Manning White House Call-In Day This Thursday

7:22 am in Uncategorized by KevinZeese

The United States is torturing an american soldier-citizen who has not been convicted of any crime. Pfc Bradley Manning is accused of leaking a video to WikiLeaks that shows the wanton killing of civilians by Amercian soldiers and is being investigated of leaking the Iraq and Afghanistan war diaries as well as a trove of diplomatic cables. VotersForPeace.US is working with the Bradley Manning Support Network (www.BradleyManning.org) to organize a show of suport for Manning and make sure the commander-in-chief takes responsibility for the actions of the military. Please join us in calling the White House this Thursday.


PLEASE JOIN US – PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY – SPREAD THE WORD – STAND WITH BRAD

http://votersforpeace.us/press/index.php?itemid=4663

National White House Call-in Day to Support Bradley Manning

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
Whitehouse switchboard: 202-456-1414
(or Whitehouse comments: 202-456-1111)

Call the White House Thursday to voice your support for accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower US Army PFC Bradley Manning, specifically that his human rights be respected by the Quantico, Virginia, brig authorities. Bradley has been held in solitary confinement-like conditions for over eight months, and his trial is still months away. This American citizen-soldier has been convicted of no crime, yet continues to endure inhumane conditions of pre-trial confinement like no other inmate at the Quantico brig. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs recently stated that the White House was not paying attention to Bradley Manning’s extreme confinement conditions, or the fact that recent pre-approved visitors of Bradley’s have been detained and interrogated by military police in order to block their scheduled visit. It is critical that we educate the White House of this ongoing injustice!

Recommended points to make:

- US Army PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower being held at the Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, is an American citizen who is innocent until proven otherwise. Yet, he has been subjected to continuous illegal pre-trial punishment since his arrest in May 2010. Based on these abuses alone, Manning should be freed pending court martial.

- Military pre-trial confinement is supposed to be about ensuring a soldier’s presence at court martial, yet for eight months now Manning has been subjected to extreme pre-trial punishment through the arbitrary use of rarely applied regulations–specifically the “maximum security classification” and the “prevention of injury” order. If he is not freed pending court martial, then at the very least, Manning’s human rights need to be respected, and the illegal pre-trial punishment must end.

- The arbitrary restrictions placed on Manning, and no other inmates at Quantico, mean that: Manning is allowed no meaningful physical exercise, he is allowed no social interaction with other inmates, he is kept in his cell at least 23 hours per day, and he is not allowed out of his cell without restraints.

- If the charges against him are true, they actually show that Manning is a patriot acting to advance an informed democracy. There is no allegation that Manning did anything but share truthful information with the American public regarding the realities of our nation’s ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with absolutely no benefit to himself, in order to spark public debate regarding foreign policy.

The Bradley Manning Support Network: www.bradleymanning.org
Sign-up and join us: www.standwithbrad.org

http://votersforpeace.us/press/index.php?itemid=4663

Bradley Manning and the Rule of Law

8:10 am in Government by KevinZeese

Pvt. Bradley Manning

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?

A high point in the application of the rule of law to war came in the Nuremberg trials where leaders in Germany were held accountable for World War II atrocities. Justice Robert Jackson, who served as the chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials while on leave from the U.S. Supreme Court, said “If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”

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?”  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

How Deceit and Truth Are Feeding Resistance to U.S. Militarism

8:59 am in Uncategorized by KevinZeese

Vets Plant Seeds of Mass Action Against U.S. Wars Watered by Obama’s Deceit and WikiLaks Truth

By Kevin Zeese

Mike Ferner, the president of Veterans for Peace, was speaking outside the White House calling for a “culture of resistance” against U.S. wars. His organization was leading a protest outside the White House at the same moment that President Obama was inside announcing the continuation of the Afghanistan War.

Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent and author Chris Hedges, who has seen more war than most vets, joined in the call for action. He adapted President Obama’s campaign of hope and change, urging everyone not to wait for Obama, but to take action: “Hope will only come now when we physically defy the violence of the state. All who resist, all who are here today keep hope alive. All who succumb to fear, despair and apathy become an enemy of hope. They become in their passivity agencies of injustice.” Hedges urged actions, large and small, against the corporate-government’s militarism.

As Obama spoke inside the warm White House, outside in the snow 131 veterans and their supporters defied authorities, some chained themselves to the White House fence, others refused to leave when ordered by police. They were arrested. Many promised continued acts of resistance. Some, from other movements, like Margaret Flowers, MD of the single payer health care movement, urged solidarity as resistance is needed on many issues mishandled by corporate-government. The seeds of resistance had been planted.

The watering of that seed was coming from Obama’s false words and the truth escaping from his government’s secrecy. He proclaimed progress in the Afghanistan War. But, the front page of the New York Times, the day before his speech, reported “two new classified intelligence reports offer a more negative assessment and say there is a limited chance of success.” These reports (not released by WikiLeaks, but by the traditional leaking in DC) were from the National Intelligence Estimates which brings together the findings of 16 intelligence agencies and showed a conflict with the DoD’s more rosy picture.

President Obama then went on to talk about how the U.S. could begin withdrawing troops as the Afghan police were trained and took their place. But, just four days before the president spoke, The Guardian described how “more than 20,000 officers from the Afghan National Police (ANP), the country’s main law enforcement agency, have left over the past year.”

President Obama promised to persist until the United States achieved victory, but as Daniel Ellsberg, a veteran and former military analyst for the Pentagon pointed out, General Patraeus has told the president there will be no victory. Ellsberg, reading from Bob Woodward’s “Obama’s War” quotes Patraeus saying: “You have to recognize also that I don’t think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. . . You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.” Again, the quote from behind the closed doors of the Oval Office came from the traditional leaking in the capitol, not from WikiLeaks.

If Obama’s inaccurate statements to the American people about a war costing $5.7 billion per month are not enough, you can look to the documentation of failure and potential war crimes in the WikiLeaks reports, the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs and the diplomatic cables. They show, among other things, that that U.S. troops kill civilians without cause or concern and then cover it up (more examples of hiding civilian killings here, here and here) including killing reporters, and that the CIA is fighting an undeclared and unauthorized war in Pakistan with Blackwater mercenaries, the President of Afghanistan is not trustworthy, that Afghanistan is rife with corruption and drug dealing, the Pakistan military and intelligence agencies aid Al Qaeda and the Taliban and that the U.S. looks the other way when government’s it controls torture. The cables also show that beyond the war fronts that Hillary Clinton has turned State Department Foreign Service officers into a nest of spies who violate laws to spy on diplomats all with marching orders drawn up by the CIA. All of this has the world looking at the United States with new eyes.

WikiLeaks, the Abu Ghraib prison photos, the reports from Guantanamo Bay, Red Cross reports of secret prisons, intelligence reports and so many other sources of information show Americans what their government is doing.

Now that we know what the government is doing in our name, Americans must take action to stop it. Knowing the truth and not acting is complicity in their actions. More and more Americans are acting. It is not only the arrest of 131 vets and their supporters that show a rising tide of resistance. We see it in the publishing of documents by WikiLeaks and major media outlets as well as in the independent media around the globe. In the more than 1,000 mirror sites of WikiLeaks set up as the original site was under attack, we see resistance. When more than 100,000 people downloaded the WikiLeaks “insurance policy” and were prepared to release documents if Assange was harmed, it was an act of resistance. It is seen in intelligence officials leaking documents to the New York Times the day before the president spoke on Afghanistan, showing the country that the war is failing despite what the president says. It is seen in Americans organizing for their right to know, and to re-affirm Freedom of the Press, under the banner WikiLeaksIsDemocracy.org. It is also seen in those standing up for Bradley Manning in the Bradley Manning Support Network. Join us.

Do not feel powerless in the face of the American superpower and the manipulated U.S. democracy that prevents real change. It has always been small things that people do that leads to massive change. Everyone reading this can take action to challenge U.S. foreign policy, to help develop the culture of resistance that is essential to change. While the government has a lot of weapons at its disposal, its insecurity is evident in its reaction to the truth. The government shows more than embarrassment, it shows fear – fear of their own words being exposed and people knowing what they do. Everyday that a truth is revealed, the government looses power and influence. It is a problem of its own making, do not blame the messengers.

And, while the U.S. military is the most powerful in the world, and the U.S. taxpayer spends as much as the whole world combined on weapons and war, everyone knows this truth – it has not won a significant war in more than 50 years. Now, all this so-called superpower rests on a fragile economy that is in deep collapse and showing no signs of real recovery with a ship of state too dysfunctional to respond to multiple crisis facing the nation and world. The superpower is strong, but weak at the same time. These seem to be the signs of an empire that could collapse at anytime.

As you act, and see others act, more will be emboldened. As Julian Assange said – “courage is contagious.” Be part of spreading courage. Join or organize actions of resistance wherever there is injustice in your workplace, your school or your town. Speak out against war and militarism. Join Operation LeakSpin, review a WikiLeak cable and write about it wherever you can. Join the Bradley Manning Support Network and WikiLeaksIsDemocracy.org. Help build the tidal wave or resistance that will demand real change the change the nation urgently needs.

Kevin Zeese serves on the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network and Voters For Peace, the organization he directs, is the initiator of WikiLeaksIsDemocracy.org.