Tag Archives: wikileaks

Forthcoming events – London

1st April: From the London Guantánamo Campaign:

“Shut Down Guantánamo!” demonstration (in solidarity with Bradley Manning)

12-1pm: US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 1AE (nearest tube: Bond Street/Marble Arch)

1.15-2.15pm: Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park, W1 (nearest tube: Marble Arch)

Join us on April Fool’s Day as we protest the foolishness of arbitrary detention and the practice of torture.

Please note the change to the time and place of the monthly demonstration – we will be holding a lunchtime demonstration outside the US Embassy and then on the pavement outside Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park.

As well as continuing to demand the immediate release and return to the UK of Shaker Aamer, and justice for the prisoners still held at Guantánamo, Bagram and similar prisons, we will be holding this month’s demonstration in solidarity with dual US-UK national Private Bradley Manning, a 23-year old intelligence analyst in the US army, accused of leaking confidential data to the Wikileaks website. Mr Manning, who went to school in Wales, was arrested in Iraq last year and currently faces several dozen charges, including “assisting the enemy”, which carries the death penalty. The data he is alleged to have leaked, including film, has exposed the US military’s actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere. A British national, the UK government has so far chosen largely to ignore his plight and the abuse he is facing on a daily basis at a US military jail.

Please join us for a part of or all of the demonstration.

The London Guantánamo Campaign

The London Guantánamo Campaign

If you cannot join the demonstration, we ask you to contact your MP and urge them to sign the following EDMs: 1093 on Guantánamo Bay and 1624 on the treatment of Bradley Manning:

For more details, e-mail london.gtmo@gmail.com

17th April: London Catholic Worker are putting on a solidarity event with speakers to include Gareth Peirce together with anti-war artists, activists, speakers and performers from Iraq, Afghanistan, US, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

London Catholic Worker event for Bradley Manning 17th April (front)

London Catholic Worker event for Bradley Manning 17th April (front)

London Catholic Worker event for Bradley Manning 17th April (back)

London Catholic Worker event for Bradley Manning 17th April (back)

There will be more of this to come – for sure.

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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.

An Innocent Question

Now that US military sources have admitted that they have comprehensively failed to link Bradley Manning with Wikileaks and Julian Assange personally, could they ease up on the treatment Bradley is receiving please? Why continue to apply pressure for a confession that cannot be made?

Update

According to CBS yesterday, US investigators are saying that they never expected to find a “direct link” between Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. My personal reaction to this particular revelation is strictly of the “yeah, right” variety, but this part of the article is undoubtedly true:

The case against Army Pfc. Bradley Manning didn’t hinge on investigators uncovering a direct link to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange anyway, CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin reports.

Bradley Manning is in great need of our support and there needs to be much greater public awareness of the gravity of his case – this certainly applies in the UK, but internationally too. Also of note in the CBS report is this, which I haven’t seen reported elsewhere:

Manning’s lawyer told The Associated Press Friday that a mental-health investigation to determine if Manning can stand trial will likely begin in February.

I believe that the military is obliged to bring a case before the autumn, when Bradley Manning’s tour of duty would have ended.

(Thanks to wikileaksfan1 for bringing the CBS story to my attention)

“I think this may be punitive treatment…” David House interviewed on Canadian radio

This is a transcript of As It Happens, a CBC Radio show broadcast on 21 Jan 2011. David House is due to visit Bradley Manning today (Saturday) and deliver a 40,000 signature petition to the Quantico brig Commander. On the audio clip, his interview begins at the 9.50 mark.

Mr. House, what does this petition call for?

It calls for a stop to the inhumane conditions that Bradley Manning is currently confined under. Specifically it calls for a lifting of his solitary confinement and it calls for him to be able to exercise and go outside.

When you last saw Bradley Manning, your friend, what condition was he in?

Bradley Manning, when I first saw him in September, was very bright-eyed, a very engaging young man. He was able to talk quickly through conversational topics and relate things in the abstract and concrete, almost in professorial fashion – a very intelligent person.

Over time, I have noticed that his condition, psychologically, has been degrading. When I visited him last December, physically he had big bags under his eyes, very ashen in his face, he’d lost a lot of weight. He looked like someone who had not had exercise in several months, which in his case is true.

Psychologically that was the hardest for me to witness. Bradley has lost the ability to keep up with conversational topics, something he never had a problem with before. It’s very clear that there’s a sort of emotional suffering going on with him.

The Pentagon has come out and said, ‘oh Bradley is treated no differently from any other maximum custody detainee.’ What they are not telling you is two things. Firstly, not only is he a maximum custody detainee, he’s under an additional set of restrictions from a Prevention of Injury Order.

This Prevention of Injury Order is the order that requires him to be under solitary confinement. This is the order that requires him not to exercise, except for walking in an empty room once a day, in chains. That is the order that denies him access to newspapers, under such restrictions.

This order the army says is implemented due to concerns for his health, but in the time he’s been at Quantico three separate military psychiatrists at the Quantico brig have said there is no reason why Bradley should be under a POI order and that in fact the order is not necessary because he is not a risk for suicide.

In addition to that, what the Pentagon is also not telling you is that Bradley is the only maximum custody detainee currently at the Quantico brig, so when they say he is treated the same as any other maximum custody detainee, they are saying he is treated the same as himself.

In addition to the Prevention of Injury Order, he was placed under suicide watch this week. What do you know about that?

I actually just found out about the suicide watch when it broke in the Washington Post story and I find it very alarming. It seems he was put on this suicide watch for two days and that he was taken of the watch thereafter. From talking to people with knowledge of the case I have learned that as a provision of the suicide watch his glasses were removed, so he was effectively blind in his cell. He was kept in his cell for 24 hours a day rather than 23 hours a day and was kept in his boxer shorts in his cell at all times. There is also a guard watching him at all times.

I don’t know what to make of this, to be honest. Although Bradley’s mental state has been deteriorating as a result of the solitary confinement he is under, he has never seemed like an individual who would be at a risk of suicide, and the military psychiatrists agree with that. This seems punitive to me and the fact they would have him under this order immediately after the protests and immediately after all the media attention, and then take him off the order shortly thereafter… I think this may be punitive treatment from the brig Commander.

This is also something that his lawyer, David Coombs, is arguing strenuously, that it seems that anyone who has looked at Bradley Manning, all these psychology experts have said that he is not a risk to himself. When you say punitive, when the lawyer says that, what do you mean by that?

I think he is being held under such harsh conditions because the US Government is attempting to get him to crack under the pressure, possibly in an attempt to get him to roll over on Assange or something like that. So in that regard, Bradley has been singled out from the entire prison population for this very harsh treatment and as a result of that he is suffering psychological and social deterioration.

Do you think he is strong enough mentally to not break?

When I look in Bradley’s eyes, I see a man who is a very ethical individual, who is very humble and – above all else – very resolved. Despite the fact that Bradley has gone through all this utterly barbaric treatment from the US Government, he tells me he is able to meditate, at some points, and this centres him and gives him some sort of internal strength. He told me that he is able to maintain his resolve in the midst of this.

So I do believe that despite the psychological trauma he is undergoing, he is holding up much better than anyone I think could handle it in those circumstances.

He is a military man. He has been told by the people around him in the military that he has jeopardised the lives and security of his comrades in arms, who are in other countries. How does he respond to those criticisms?

I don’t know how Bradley Manning would respond to those criticisms, but I would bear in mind that the Pentagon has come out and said it cannot find evidence of a single individual that has been harmed as a result of the leaks from the Wikileaks organisation. And I can say that NATO in Kabul has come out and said it cannot find a single family in Afghanistan that has needed protecting.

So I think the narrative that there are sources being put at risk, that there are military men being put at risk by this alleged leak, this narrative is nothing more than damage control and spin by politicians in Washington trying to cover their own backs and trying to make a case for why whistleblowers that embarrass them should be locked up.

When do you think Bradley Manning will get his day in court?

It’s hard to say. It seems that the US Government is continually throwing stumbling blocks in the way of this investigation, maybe in an attempt to keep him locked up for longer and suffer more trauma as a result of his conditions. I really couldn’t say when his trial will be but I hope he has access to a speedy trial.

You are delivering this petition tomorrow. It has, what, 30,000 signatures on it?

The petition I am delivering tomorrow has 40,000 signatures on and it will be going directly to the brig Commander. This petition, again, calls for a stop to the inhumane conditions Bradley is being kept under. As a US citizen, I feel really ashamed that we are keeping an alleged whistleblower locked up under solitary confinement and I feel that these conditions especially must be changed.

Do you think you’ll get a chance to see Bradley Manning tomorrow, when you’re in Virginia?

I think I will. I have had some trouble in the past actually making it into the brig due to security precautions on the base. I do not think the brig would deny access to what has become one of his only visitors. To do so would be an egregious breach on the part of the brig. I cannot imagine them doing that.

Update:

As you may have heard, David House was not able to visit Bradley or deliver that petition. Another attempt will be made this weekend, which means there is still time to sign, if you haven’t already done so. 42,000 signatures so far and counting!