Tag Archives: whistleblower

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.

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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.

Alan Moore: “What is presently on trial here is Western culture itself”

“With any legitimate trial of whistle-blower Bradley Manning still being at an unspecified date in the future, it would seem that what is presently on trial here is Western culture itself. When the persecution of an individual who has exposed an evil is pursued so ruthlessly and yet the evil itself is studiedly ignored, all of us know that there is something very wrong with the way that our society is conducting itself. And if we do not protest in the strongest terms about what is being done in our name, then we become complicit. There is no third option. Bradley Manning and others like him everywhere are vital to our continued moral health and well-being as a people, and unless we offer them our full support in their often dire and isolated circumstances, it is we, as a people, who will end up the losers.”

Alan Moore

Northampton, August, 2011

Statements of Support

STOP PRESS: News has reached me that Ann Clwyd has directly challenged the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in Parliament about the case of Bradley Manning. More on this soon.

We are extremely pleased to have received the following statements of support in the past 24 hours.

Bill Wilson, who represents the West of Scotland in the Scottish Parliament raised the “degrading treatment” of Bradley Manning in the Scottish Parliament earlier this week. This is the first time Bradley’s case has been addressed directly in one of this country’s representative bodies – although it is surely not the last. We would like to extend our gratitude to Dr Wilson for being willing to stand up and be counted on this issue.

“You can tell WikiLeaks is useful by the desperate efforts made to close it down and to persecute those who post information on it. Freedom of information is fundamental to democracy; illegal and immoral acts are easier within societies which heavily censor information. Whistleblowers are amongst the most courageous members of our society, risking career and reputation for the truth. They are one group of people of whom society can never have enough. Bradley Manning is one of two things – a man of singular courage who has blown the whistle on horrific and illegal acts, or an innocent victim incorrectly identified as a whistleblower. Either way his treatment, which amounts to torture, is unacceptable. If the UK and the USA are indeed the good guys, and the “terrorists” and “dictators” the bad guys, why do their methods appear so similar?”
Dr Bill Wilson MSP (SNP, West of Scotland)

Rhys Sinnet is Plaid Cymru’s candidate for the Welsh Assembly in Preseli Pembrokeshire – the constituency where Bradley attended school as a teenager and where his mother still lives. We are thrilled to have received such strong support for Bradley locally.

“Regardless of whether he is guilty of the offences with which he is charged, and whatever view one takes of the seriousness of those offences, the treatment of this young man is wholly unacceptable. He has been in solitary confinement for eight months, subjected to many other deprivations and humiliations, including being forced to spend the night naked and be woken from sleep after every hour. Prison psychiatrists have clearly stated that there are absolutely no medical grounds for the ‘suicide watch’ being used to justify this treatment, which has been condemned by human rights and mental health organisations and is currently being investigated by the United Nations as possibly constituting torture. Bradley Manning is a UK and a Welsh citizen through his mother. We call on the UK Government to challenge the legality of what is in effect pre-trial punishment, and on the Welsh Government to support the campaign for fair treatment for Bradley Manning.”
Rhys Sinnett, Prospective National Assembly Candidate (Plaid Cymru, Preseli Pembrokeshire)

Finally, this weekend, the Pirate Parties International held their conference in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The following resolution was signed by 14 national Pirate Parties, including those from the UK, Germany and almost every western European country. It is incredibly inspiring to hear about the breadth of support for Bradley across the continent and we are hugely grateful to all the national Pirate Party delegations concerned.

Conference notes the appalling treatment of Bradley Manning, accused of passing material to Wikileaks. It is important to note that he is not convicted of any crime. Currently he is under military arrest, where he has been for nearly 300 days. He has been held in solitary confinement 23 hours a day in a tiny windowless cell. He has been under intolerable psychological pressure. He has been forced to strip naked.

Now he faces a new set of charges, including “aiding the enemy”. This charge is a capital offence – it opens up the possibility of the death penalty. It is a sad day when someone just accused of trying to expose war crimes is treated worse than those who actually commit them.

Therefore Pirate Party International urge:
* The immediate end of the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning.
* Pirate Parties and members to take part in the international protests at the charges and the conditions [of] Bradley Manning. March 20th will be a day of protest in the US and Europe, a further demonstration is planned in Berlin for March 26th.
*The British government to intervene and request consular access, as Bradley Manning is entitled to British citizenship due to his Welsh mother.
Sponsor: Loz Kaye: Leader Pirate Party UK

Loz Kaye has kindly agreed to speak at London’s #March20 event this Sunday outside the US Embassy on Grosvenor Square. The full list of speakers will be confirmed very shortly.