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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).