Monthly Archives: September 2011

Michael Moore on Bradley Manning

Thanks to Code Pink for this video from Michael Moore’s book launch in New York last night (Tuesday), where he was asked about Bradley Manning.

What can we do to make sure Bradley Manning receives a fair trial?

That’s a very good question. I hope all of you know about Bradley Manning – if you don’t you should get on it tonight and read about it.  This is very sad that he’s taken the fall for doing something that, allegedly, he felt was right and good for the country.

In another era, Daniel Ellsberg was lauded for it.  In this era, Bradley Manning doesn’t have the support of the media that supported Daniel Ellsberg.  I think you need to write letters, if you’re not on the internet, I think you need to organise people to inform them of this… We have a problem because we have a media that does not want to respond to this.

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Council of Europe report: the world is “indebted” to Bradley Manning

As just reported by the BBC, Council of Europe special rapporteur Dick Marty – best known for his reports on European complicity in extraordinary rendition – has presented his draft report on the “abuse of state secrecy and national security” to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.  Marty’s report makes clear the importance whistleblowers play in keeping democracy alive and his expression of concern about Bradley Manning’s treatment is incredibly important.

The full report may be read here, but here’s the relevant passage:

Finally, the fundamental role played by whistleblowers must not be forgotten. Their importance of their contribution is in fact proportionate to the extent that secrecy is still imposed. It is not exaggerated that, still today – and in some cases even more so than in the past – we are confronted with a real cult of secrecy; secrecy as an instrument of power, as Hannah Arendt reminds us in the citation at the very beginning of this report. It is therefore justified to say that whistleblowers play a key role in a democratic society and that they contribute to making up the existing deficit of transparency. We said so before: the Assembly’s reports of 2006 and 2007 and, more recently, the revelations concerning “black sites” in Lithuania are due to a large extent to honest officials who, for ethical reasons and taking great risks, could not and would not take part any longer in illegal activities or cover them up by remaining silent. In this connection, we should also remember Bradley Manning, the young American soldier accused of providing Wikileaks with a large number of confidential documents. High-ranking American officials and numerous voices of international public opinion have expressed indignation at the inhuman and degrading treatment which Mr Manning is said to have undergone. It will be up to the courts to judge. But we cannot ignore that according to the very accusations made against him we are indebted to him for the publication both of a recording of a helicopter attack in Iraq, in which the crew seems to have intentionally targeted and killed civilians. The video  recording seemingly indicates a deliberate criminal act which deserves at least an investigation, which, without this indiscretion, would have never been requested. This is a classic example of an illegitimate secret. In addition, the publication of a large number of embassy reports has allowed us to learn significant details of important recent events and which are obviously of general interest. We must not forget either that these publications have brought numerous confirmations of findings included in the Assembly’s reports of 2006 and 2007 on the CIA flights and secret prisons. All those who at the time called for “proof, proof!” have in any case been well served.

The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly will debate the report in the first week of October.

Update

The story has now also  been reported at Business Insider and the Bradley Manning Support Network have issued this statement.

UK Friends of Bradley Manning meet on Thursday 15th September in Central London

RSVP: 
Please reply to ukfriendsofbradleymanning@gmail.com
Or subscribe at: http://www.ukfriendsofbradleymanning.org/

When:
Thursday 15th September
From 7:00pm (til 10:00pm)

Where:
Upstairs at The Plough
27 Museum Street, London, WC1A 1LH

Tube:
Holborn

Map:
http://bit.ly/lUALYZ

UK Friends of Bradley Manning meet on Thursday, 15th September from 19:00.   We are now beginning to plan for the autumn when we expect Bradley’s legal case to get underway.

If you have thought about getting involved in the campaign, want to know what we’re up to nationwide or just want to find out more about Bradley Manning then please join us!

RSVP:
Please reply to ukfriendsofbradleymanning@gmail.com
Or subscribe at: http://www.ukfriendsofbradleymanning.org/

 

London meetup flyer

Join us at the Plough, Holborn on Thursday 15th September

Statement on WikiLeaks release of US diplomatic cables

Wikileaks LogoYesterday evening WikiLeaks made their complete archive of US diplomatic cables available to the public. This publication appears to have been precipitated by an unintentional leak of a file containing the same material, involving one of their media partners. A statement from WikiLeaks explained the shift in approach, away from selectively publishing redacted cables over a period of several months:

“Revolutions and reforms are in danger of being lost as the unpublished cables spread to intelligence contractors and governments before the public.”

PFC Bradley Manning remains imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth in retaliation for being the alleged whistle-blower who provided these cables to WikiLeaks. After over 15 months in detention, he is still awaiting military trial. His legal team is preparing for a round of pre-trial hearings that could begin as early as next month.

Conversations that have been attributed to Bradley Manning suggest that the intent of releasing documents to WikiLeaks was to allow journalists the ability to explore evidence of wrongdoing in order to stimulate reforms and debate.

Whomever provided these documents to WikiLeaks would have expected the same sort of confidence, as any source, for the material to be handled with care. Regardless of whether a former WikiLeaks staffer or a media partner was ultimately responsible for breaking this confidence, our focus remains on using this information to help level the playing field for those struggling against injustice around the world.

Just this week, previously unavailable evidence of illegal behavior and other critically important information has emerged from this material. A cable from Beijing reveals that China’s rapidly expanding nuclear power sector is utilizing old technology that leaves reactors dangerously vulnerable to otherwise avoidable meltdown. Another cable from Baghdad provides details about the execution of Iraqi civilians, including children and infants. This information should never have been withheld from the public domain.

We will not relent in our demand that the Obama administration drop all charges against PFC Bradley Manning, and not only because of the unlawful pre-trial punishment he has endured. If Bradley Manning is indeed the source of these revelations, he should be given a hero’s welcome home for his courage in standing up for justice and government transparency.