You are browsing the archive for wikileaks.

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

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.

Julian Assange: At the Forefront of 21st Century Journalism

8:02 am in Uncategorized by KevinZeese

How WikiLeaks is democratizing journalism, redistributing power and increasing transparency

By Kevin Zeese

If there were ever a doubt about whether the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is a journalist, recent events erase all those doubts and put him at the forefront of a movement to democratize journalism and empower people.

The U.S. Department of Justice is still trying to find a way to prosecute Assange and others associated with WikiLeaks.  A key to their prosecution is claiming he is not a journalist, but that weak premise has been made laughable by recent events.

The list of WikiLeaks revelations has become astounding. During the North African and Middle East revolts WikiLeaks published documents that provided people with critical information. The traditional media has relied on WikiLeaks publications and is now also emulating WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks has been credited by many with helping to spark the Tunisian Revolution because they provided information about the widespread corruption of the 23 year rule of the Ben Ali regime.  PBS pointed to ten cables dating from 2006 to 2009 published by WikiLeaks in November that were translated and shared widely in Tunisia detailing the corruption and authoritarian rule of Ben Ali who lived in opulent luxury while Tunisians struggled.  Foreign Policy reported that “the candor of the cables released by WikiLeaks did more for Arab democracy than decades of backstage U.S. diplomacy.”

In Egypt, WikiLeaks publications provided democracy activists with the information needed to spark protests, provided background that explained the Egyptian uprising, described the suppression of opinions critical of the regime by arrest and harassment of journalists, bloggers and a poet; showed the common use of police brutality and torture; the abuse of the 1967 emergency law to arrest and indefinitely detain journalists, activists, labor leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood; as well as how rivals were removed to ensure Gamal Mubarak succeeded his father.  Traditional media publications like the New York Times relied on WikiLeaks to analyze the causes of the uprising.

Another set of documents described how Israel and the U.S. wanted Omar Suleiman to replace Mubarak.  Suleiman, a military intelligence officer for three decades, was described by Secretary of State Clinton, as the preferred successor. WikiLeaks wrote an article describing Suleiman’s close relationship with the United States. Suleimen described Egypt as “a partner” with the U.S. and the U.S. described him as “the most successful element of the relationship” with Egypt. The long history of Suleiman working with Israel to suppress democracy in Gaza, keeping the people of Gaza hungry and being in constant contact with Israel through a hotline was revealed. WikiLeaks also showed that Suleiman shared U.S. and Israeli concern over Iran, and was disdainful of Muslims in politics as well as the Muslim Brotherhood.  All of this made Suleiman very popular with Israel and the U.S., but unacceptable to democracy advocates.

The United States used some WikiLeaks publications to show that it had been critical of Egypt and exerted private pressure, as well as support for democracy activists like Mohammad ElBaradei. Despite what has been portrayed in the traditional media, WikiLeaks published materials with an agenda for transparency and an informed public, not an intent to harm the U.S.

WikiLeaks informed the Bahrain public about their government’s cozy relationship with the U.S. It described a $5 billion joint-venture with Occidental Petroleum, and $300 million in U.S. military sales. ABC reported on WikiLeaks documents that described the close relationship between U.S. and Bahrain intelligence agencies and how the U.S. Navy is the foundation of Bahrain’s national security. This was emphasized to General Patraeus along with their common opposition to Iran, Al Qaeda in Iraq and their desire for U.S. troops to stay in Iraq.

WikiLeaks has been criticized by U.S. enemies.  Iranian President, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, described WikiLeaks as U.S. “intelligence warfare” saying: “These documents are prepared and released by the U.S. government in a planned manner and in pursuance of a goal.” WikiLeaks was criticized by Libya’s Ghaddafi who shut down Facebook in Tripoli and sporadically shut off the Internet to prevent Libyan’s from knowing the truth.  No doubt WikiLeaks publications embarrassed Ghaddafi adding fuel to internal opposition to his regime.

WikiLeaks is filling a void with traditional media as the level of distrust of the mass media is now at record highs. A recent Gallup Poll found 57% of Americans do not trust the media and a Pew Poll found a record low 29% trust the media.  There is good reason for distrust. The New York Times helped start the Iraq War by publishing the false weapons of mass destruction story. It recently misled the public about a Blackwater employee arrested in Pakistan by hiding the fact that he worked for the CIA, while reporting that Obama said he was a diplomat. Even the way the Times and Washington Post reported on WikiLeaks documents showed reason for distrust. WikiLeaks described Iranian long-range missiles that could hit European cities but also reported that Russian intelligence refuted the claim. The Times and Post evidently made a decision to exaggerate Iranian capability and mislead readers by excluding the Russian intelligence report. The Times admits it provides WikiLeaks documents to the government in advance and excludes material at the request of the government.

There has been a steady decline in readers and viewers of newspapers and television news since 1980. The decline began before the existence of the Internet. The decline in younger readers has been particularly noticeable – 30 years ago 60% of people under 36 read a newspaper daily, now it is 30%.  The Internet has seen a steady rise in viewers and news outlets.

Even though some in the traditional media are threatened by WikiLeaks, more and more outlets are acknowledging their journalism.  Reporters Without Borders hosts a mirror site of WikiLeaks as “a gesture of support for WikiLeaks’ right to publish information without being obstructed.” Similarly, a mainstream French newspaper Liberation announced a “mirror-WikiLeaks” site on its website

Jeff Jarviz of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism writes: “We in journalism must recognize that WikiLeaks is an element of a new ecosystem of news. It is a new form of the press. So we must defend its rights as media. If we do not, we could find our own rights curtailed. Asking whether WikiLeaks should be stopped is exactly like asking whether this newspaper should be stopped when it reveals what government does not want the public to know. We have been there before; let us never return.”

The Guardian, a WikiLeaks partner wrote in an editorial:  “There is a need as never before for an internet that remains a free and universal form of communication. WikiLeaks’ chief crime has been to speak truth to power. What is at stake is nothing less than the freedom of the internet.”

Jay Rosen of the New York University journalism school describes WikiLeaks as the first “stateless news agency.” The actions of WikiLeaks, he noted, show our news organizations how “statist they really are” and leakers going to WikiLeaks rather than the traditional media, shows how distrustful people are of the corporate media. This all shows that the “watchdog press has died” and WikiLeaks is filling the void.

The void will exist – and be filled – whether or not the Department of Justice prosecutes Julian Assange. The Economist writes: “With or without WikiLeaks, the technology exists to allow whistleblowers to leak data and documents while maintaining anonymity. With or without WikiLeaks, the personnel, technical know-how, and ideological will exists to enable anonymous leaking and to make this information available to the public.  Jailing Thomas Edison in 1890 would not have darkened the night.”

The traditional media is emulating WikiLeaks. Al Jazeera has created a “transparency unit” that launched in January 2011 and has published the Palestine Papers, which describe the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, based on leaked documents.  The New York Times is now talking about creating its own version of WikiLeaks.  Students at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism designed LocaLeaks, allowing anonymous encrypted leaks to over 1,400 U.S. newspapers.  Government employees and business insiders can now report illegal or unethical practices without being identified.

The journalism democracy door has been opened, power to report is being redistributed, government employees and corporate whistleblowers are being empowered and greater transparency is becoming a reality.  The United States would be better off accepting these realities than prosecuting the news organization that showed the way.  Prosecution will highlight the utter hypocrisy of the U.S. government, showing the world it does not mean what it says when it claims that freedom of the speech and press are cornerstones of democratic government.

Kevin Zeese is executive director of Voters For Peace, and serves on the steering committees of WikiLeaksIsDemocracy.org and 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.

As Futility Reigns in Afghanistan, House Will Vote on More Funding Maybe as Early as Today, Tuesday

7:53 am in Uncategorized by KevinZeese

Congress Has the Power and Responsibility to End this War; Citizens have the Power and Responsibility to Demand They Do So

The House of Representatives will be voting this week, possibly as early as Tuesday, on $33 billion in funding to escalate the war in Afghanistan. The vote comes at a time of embarrassment and evident failure in Afghanistan. Record deaths of troops and Afghan civilian, rapidly rising spending and reports indicating it will just get worse.

The news reports of problems on the ground are bad enough, but the release of 92,000 documents by Wikileaks shows the war is "more grim than the official portrayal," as the New York Times concluded. TIME’s Joe Klein reported said that the documents make clear how futile the situation in Afghanistan is – and how utterly duplicitous our Pakistani "ally" has been.

Summarizing the Wikileaks war documents, the Guardian says:

• How a secret "black" unit of Special Forces hunts down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial.

• How the US covered up evidence that the Taliban have acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles.

• How the coalition is increasingly using deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada.

• How the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.

The House vote is not a slam dunk but you can be sure that the White House and military establishment will do everything they can to get the supplemental funding. The vote is likely to be close as the previous vote for war funding in the House won with only a five-vote margin. To accomplish that the House leadership had to manipulate the vote so that it was a procedural vote on "a self-executing rule" as well as amendments but not an actual vote on war funding. In addition, the war vote was sweetened with funding for unemployment benefits and state budgets included.

This weeks vote could be even closer. This vote is likely to be an up or down vote on war funding with the economic sweeteners removed by the Senate. It will be a clear vote to which Americans can hold elected officials accountable in the mid-term elections. Let your congress member know you will be watching their vote and it will determine your vote in the fall.

While the Afghan war is America’s longest ever, the military has been unsuccessful in developing strategies and tactics that work. General Patraeus, who has taken over command of the war from the fired Stanley McChrystal, says he is reviewing the strategy and changing its emphasis to put more effort on counterinsurgency. In fact, counterinsurgency was McChrystal specialty; indeed it is why he was put in charge of the war. Reports indicate that Patraeus is likely to amend the rules of engagement to allow the deaths of more Afghan civilians. Every civilian death puts success further away. Last Friday there was a report of a mass killing of 52 civilians NATO forces. Civilian deaths is one reason why the Afghanistan security monitor reports that the counterinsurgency tactics are showing no signs of success and that the U.S. military build-up in Kandahar will actually strengthen the Taliban by uniting Afghans in their resistance to the U.S. military.

And, the size of the U.S. troop presence is becoming an absurdity. The U.S. now has 1,000 troops for every single Al-Qaeda operative in Afghanistan and each of those troops cost the U.S. $1 million per year – all in borrowed money. In addition, there are even more mercenaries in Afghanistan. The cost of the war mounts to $7 billion per month. More and more Americans are recognizing that the weapons and war budget are wrecking the U.S. middle class.

The strategy of training Afghans to defend themselves has been backfiring. In recent weeks three British troops were killed by an Afghan soldier in Helmand Province when the Afghan turned and killed them during a joint patrol. A week later, an Afghan soldier opened fire at a training exercise in northern Afghanistan killing two U.S. civilian trainers (aka mercenaries) and a fellow Afghan soldier.

As bad as all of this sounds, Admiral Mike Mullen, America’s top military officer warned this weekend that the Afghanistan war will get worse, that there will be more troop deaths as well as deaths of Afghans. Mullen’s views are consistent with the number two in command in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez. Rodriguez testified before Congress in early July that while U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan were at record highs during the last two months, deaths will continue climbing for the foreseeable future.

While the U.S. has no exit strategy and the administration has been backing away from Obama’s promise to remove significant numbers of troops in 2011, documents from Great Britain, show that country, the closest ally of the United States, will be out of Afghanistan by 2014.

It is time to end this futile and counterproductive war. This is the time for Americans to push Congress to stop the war by voting against the supplemental funding for the increase in troops in Afghanistan. Please call and email your elected Representative today.

You can call toll free on a number provided by the Friends Committee on National Legislation, 1-888-493-5443, or use the regular Capitol Hill switchboard number, (202) 224-3121.

Congress has the power and the constitutional responsible to end this war. Citizens have the power and responsibility to demand that they do so.

Kevin Zeese is executive director of Voters for Peace (www.VotersForPeace.US).