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August 26 2013

mr-absentia

Announcing the Private Manning Support Network!

from bradleymanning.org (Aug. 26 2013):

August 26, 2013, By David Edward Coombs and the Private Manning Support Network (formerly the Bradley Manning Support Network)

Additional clarification on PVT Manning’s request

On Thursday, August 22, 2013, a day following the sentencing verdict for the court-martial of United States v. PFC Bradley E. Manning, PVT Manning, who has experienced gender dysphoria and gone through a process of gender questioning and exploration for years, announced that she would like to begin to be known publicly by the name of Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, pursue hormone therapy and be referred to with female pronouns.

While PVT Manning wants supporters to acknowledge and respect her gender identity as she proceeds into the post-trial state of her life, she also expects that the name Bradley Manning and the male pronoun will continue to be used in certain instances. These instances include any reference to the trial, in legal documents, in communication with the government, in the current petition to the White House calling for clemency, and on the envelope of letters written to her by supporters. She also expects that many old photos and graphics will remain in use for the time being.

In response to PVT Manning’s announcement, the Bradley Manning Support Network is changing its name to the Private Manning Support Network, and will work on changing other frequently used parts of its website and materials to incorporate the name Chelsea and the female pronoun. However, completing this process may take some time.

The Support Network has played an important role in organizing public support for PVT Manning since her arrest, and in raising funds to cover 100% of her legal fees. The Support Network will continue its political advocacy efforts to support PVT Manning through this new phase of her life by raising money for the appeals process, advocating for clemency from the Convening Authority and the President and supporting PVT Manning’s right to appropriate medical treatment while imprisoned.

Thank you all for supporting our efforts over the years. The fight for PVT Manning’s freedom is far from over, but we take hope from the many caring and compassionate people who have taken time out of their day to write to her, to sign petitions, to attend the court-martial and to join protests and other actions around the world. We hope you will help us continue this important work to bring truth and transparency to the forefront of America’s conscious. And we hope you will continue to support PVT Manning, a humanist that we have already learned a great deal from, and who we believe still has much to offer this world.

Sincerely,
–David Edward Coombs
–Private Manning Support Network
   (formerly the Bradley Manning Support Network)

August 25 2013

Chelsea Manning Case Surfaces Issues of Transparency, Security, Journalism, and Sexuality

Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning,* was a soldier in the United States Army who leaked over 700,000 classified documents that revealed U.S. government violations of the Geneva Convention, indiscriminate slaughtering of civilians committed by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, and hundreds of classified U.S. diplomatic cables.

For this, she was sentenced to 35 years of prison, the longest sentenced ever imposed on a leaker of classified information, and longer than the sentence imposed on most convicted terrorists. It is worth noting that the prosecution pushed for a sentence of 60 years, even though it failed to show that the information leaked by Manning resulted in any harm; not a single life of anyone involved in the U.S military or intelligence was lost due to the leaks. The charge that would have exposed her to the death penalty, “aiding the enemy,” was rejected by the judge presiding over the case.

Manning herself understood that her actions were against the law and pleaded guilty to all charges, except aiding the enemy. In her letter to President Obama requesting a pardon she says:

I understand that my actions violated the law; I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

What makes Chelsea Manning's case so important is not only the unprecedented amount of information she revealed of government wrongdoing, but the implications that her treatment by the justice system will have for journalists, bloggers, whistleblowers, leakers, and citizens in general. Her case is the highest profile conviction under the Obama Administration's crackdown on leakers. Indeed, the Obama Administration has charged more leakers than any other administration for disclosing classified information to the public. Josh Stearns (@jcstearns), writing for Boing Boing, sees this case as just the latest one of a disturbing tendency to curb freedom of information:

We should see the Manning verdict in the context of a mounting press freedom crisis that impacts all of us. As Dan Gillmor wrote in the Guardian, “the public needs to awaken to the threat to its own freedoms from the Obama crackdown on leaks and, by extension, journalism and free speech itself.”

We live in a time when anyone may commit an act of journalism. The person who sets up a Facebook page to cover the hurricane hitting her community. The person who uses her smartphone to record police officers killing an unarmed teen on a train platform.The person who live-blogs a court case from start to finish. Each of these people is participating in journalism in ways we should protect and celebrate.

[...]

We should be glad that this military court did not equate Manning’s actions to aiding the enemy, but this case is part of a much bigger debate, and one the public has largely been left out of. That needs to change.

Trevor Timm (@trevortimm), in a post for the Freedom of the Press Foundation, is also worried about the zeal with which the Obama Administration is prosecuting leakers. He says that one of the laws used to convict Manning, the Espionage Act, is being used to equate leakers with traitors:

The Espionage Act, a draconian statute written in 1917 as a way to punish non-violent opponents of World War I, has unfortunately been used in recent years to equate leakers and whistleblowers with spies and traitors. Facilitating that warped view in Manning's trial, the judge ruled early on that the defense was not allowed to put forth evidence of Manning’s sole intent to inform the American public, or evidence showing that none of the information materially harmed national security.

In spite of the official narrative of the Obama Administration that labels Chelsea Manning as a traitor, people everywhere are expressing their support, as evidenced by the chatter currently on the web. Supporters of Chelsea Manning have rallied together to create awareness of how important and necessary her disclosures were. A joint petition by Amnesty International and the Bradley Manning Support Network to request that President Obama grant clemency to Manning is currently making the rounds on the Internet. Many have also expressed their support on Twitter:

In this video, The Young Turks discuss Chelsea Manning's letter to the President asking for a pardon. All four men express their respect and the high regard in which they hold her:

Journalst Norman Solomon (@normansolomon) expresses a deep admiration for Chelsea Manning's actions and integrity in an open letter to President Obama published in the independent digital news journal Nation of Change:

Imagine. After more than three years in prison, undergoing methodical abuse and then the ordeal of a long military trial followed by the pronouncement of a 35-year prison sentence, Bradley Manning has emerged with his solid humanistic voice not only intact, but actually stronger than ever!

Transgender Identity

Imgage of chelsea manning with a wig shared extensively on the web. taken from wikipedia

Image of Chelsea Manning with a wig shared extensively on the web. Taken from Wikipedia.

On August 21, Manning publicly announced her true identity as a transgender woman, saying that from now on she prefers to be called Chelsea Manning and would like to begin hormone therapy as quickly as possible. Trans activists have praised her decision to come out, granting visibility and a legitimacy greatly needed for transgender people in the ongoing struggle for LGBTT rights. This raises a whole new set of issues for Manning, as she will be taken to a male prison and already the U.S. Army has refused to grant therapy beyond that given by a psychiatrist. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement saying that the denial of hormone therapy to Manning raises worrying constitutional concerns:

[P]ublic statements by military officials that the Army does not provide hormone therapy to treat gender dysphoria raise serious constitutional concerns. Gender dysphoria is a serious medical condition in which a person's gender identity does not correspond to his or her assigned sex at birth, and hormone therapy is part of the accepted standards of care for this condition. Without the necessary treatment, gender dysphoria can cause severe psychological distress, including anxiety and suicide. When the government holds individuals in its custody, it must provide them with medically necessary care.

The events of the past few days will undoubtedly have an enduring and far-reaching effect on future whistleblowers and journalism in general —not to mention the trans community. Whether that will translate into a more open society with greater government transparency and accountability or a more secretive one in which citizens's rights to information will not be recognized remains to be seen.

*In this post we use feminine pronouns to refer to Manning, who explicitly and publicly asked to be referred to in this way.

Reposted from02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01 viawikileaks wikileaks

August 22 2013

mr-absentia

Statement by Julian Assange on today’s sentencing of Bradley Manning

via wikileaks.org (Aug. 21 2013):

Today the well-known whistleblower Bradley Manning has been ordered by a military court in Maryland to spend a minimum of 5.2 years in prison with a 32 year maximum (including time already spent in detention), for revealing information about US government behaviour to the public.

This hard-won minimum term represents a significant tactical victory for Bradley Manning’s defense, campaign team and supporters. At the start of these proceedings, the United States government had charged Bradley Manning with a capital offence and other charges carrying over 135 years of incarceration. His defense team is now appealing to the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals in relation to this sentence and also for due process violations during the trial.

While the defense should be proud of their tactical victory, it should be remembered that Mr Manning’s trial and conviction is an affront to basic concepts of Western justice. On Mr Manning’s arrest in May 2010, he was immediately subjected to punitive incarceration by the US government, which was found to be "cruel, inhumane and degrading" by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, and even found to be unlawful by US military courts.

The period Mr Manning has already spent in prison will be subtracted from the sentence, and dispensations for good behaviour, parole and other factors mean that it is likely he will now spend less than ten years in confinement. Mr Manning’s defense team are now seeking to reduce this sentence further on appeal. US military law stipulates that the sentence can only be reduced. It is important that support for Bradley Manning continues during this time.

The only just outcome in Mr Manning’s case is his unconditional release, compensation for the unlawful treatment he has undergone, and a serious commitment to investigating the wrongdoing his alleged disclosures have brought to light.

Mr Manning’s treatment has been intended to send a signal to people of conscience in the US government who might seek to bring wrongdoing to light. This strategy has spectacularly backfired, as recent months have proven. Instead, the Obama administration is demonstrating that there is no place in its system for people of conscience and principle. As a result, there will be a thousand more Bradley Mannings.

mr-absentia
Calling Manning’s case an example of US ‘double standards in regard with the supremacy of law and human rights,’ [Russian Foreign Ministry’s special representative for human rights, Konstantin] Dolgov argued it showed that America’s claims for leadership in those respects are ‘groundless.’

The Foreign Ministry official then cited international human rights groups – including those in based in the US – who believe Manning has revealed ‘widespread abuses on the part of the US Army during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the deaths of civilian, the torture of prisoners, as well as the other grave abuses of the international human rights law.’

Despite all the efforts of rights groups and the UN Human Rights Council, no one in the US was held accountable for these crimes, Dolgov added.
Manning's sentence unjustifiably harsh, crimes he exposed remain unpunished - Moscow (RT News, Aug. 21 2013)
mr-absentia

“Manning's lawyer David E. Coombs told reporters that Manning actually comforted the weeping defense attorneys as Lind read the verdict.

‘He looks to me and he says, “It's OK. It's alright. I know you did your best. I'm going to be OK. I'm going to get through this,”’ Coombs said.”

Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in prison (RT USA, Aug. 21 2013)

I believe Bradley is a great guy. In the face of his own hardship, he showed compassion for others. Strip Obama of the Nobel Peace Prize and give it to Bradley!

mr-absentia
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, ‘There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.’
— from Bradley Manning's statement, read by his lead defense attorney David Coombs at a press conference after the sentencing (via Manning sentencing: LIVE UPDATES)
mr-absentia
The only person prosecuted for the crimes and abuses uncovered in the WikiLeaks’ releases is the person who exposed them. That alone proves the injustice of one more day in prison for Bradley Manning.
— Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower (via Bradley Manning Support Network)
mr-absentia

Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years, defense moves for Presidential Pardon

The fight for Manning’s freedom is far from over. Supporters and attorney David Coombs will demand Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, Military of the District of Washington commander and Convening Authority of Manning’s court martial, to reduce the sentence, which he has the legal authority to do. The Bradley Manning Support Network will collect and deliver thousands of letters in support of Manning’s clemency to Maj. Gen. Buchanan.

“By successfully funding Bradley’s legal efforts, and by mobilizing worldwide support, we won an acquittal on ‘aiding the enemy,’” says Jeff Paterson, the Support Network’s director. “We move forward today on every available front to win his freedom.”

August 21 2013

mr-absentia

BREAKING NEWS: Sentence to be read Wed., Aug. 21, 10am

A few moments ago, during a brief 12:00 pm court session, military judge Col. Denise Lind announced that she will read Bradley Manning’s sentence tomorrow, Wednesday, August 21, at 10:00 am. [12:30pm ET, 20 Aug 2013]

August 16 2013

mr-absentia
Bradley Manning didn't hurt us any more than a dentist hurts a patient when removing an abscessed tooth. The brief discomfort that resulted from the WikiLeaks disclosures was necessary to begin the process of healing and reform. It is a process that we do not yet know will be successful, but which began with Manning's decision to leak vital documents to WikiLeaks. And for that, we owe Manning thanks; no apologies necessary.
Bradley Manning Did Not Hurt the United States (Freedom of the Press Foundation, Aug. 15 2013)
Reposted bywonkobrightbytegeo404fupduck

Julian Assange: 'Bradley Manning's Apology Was ...

I don't know why the above report attributes the quoted statement to Julian Assange, as if it were Mr. Assange's personal remark. See the WikiLeaks website: this is a statement by WikiLeaks as an organization.

Reposted from02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01 viawikileaks wikileaks

August 12 2013

mr-absentia
The question is not whether Bradley Manning deserves the Nobel Prize-he does. The question is, does the Nobel Prize deserve Bradley Manning?
— WikiLeaks (via Twitter)
Reposted bymofo mofo

July 31 2013

mr-absentia

10:45 GMT: The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and Supremacy of Law Konstantin Dolgov has condemned the the US for ‘applying double standards’ regarding Manning.

Dolgov pointed out that Washington incessantly blasts Russia over human rights, but when the interests of US authorities are affected, they ‘act toughly, resolutely, often without paying attention to the observance of human rights,’

He expressed hope that the US would observe human rights standards in the Manning case, as well as in other cases.”

Manning trial verdict: LIVE UPDATES

Time has changed. Now Russia condemns US for rights abuse. Human rights advocacy isn't US patent any more.

July 30 2013

mr-absentia

Human Rights Watch Statement on Bradley Manning

This ambiguous “statement” proves that HRW has no intention of defending Bradley's human rights; it only refers to “the urgent need for reform in the laws the US has used to prosecute those who leak information to the public, as well as the need for stronger protections for national security whistleblowers” — for HRW, the persecution of Bradley Manning is only a matter of legislation, not of human rights violation. Get out, pseudo rights defenders.
mr-absentia
whistleblower tortured and convicted for heroic acts. Welcome to United Stasi of America.
— Aaron Huslage (via Twitter)
Reposted byriceball riceball
mr-absentia

Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial

This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower. It is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism. It is a short sighted judgment that can not be tolerated and must be reversed. It can never be that conveying true information to the public is ’espionage’.

[...]

Throughout the proceedings there has been a conspicuous absence: the absence of any victim. The prosecution did not present evidence that - or even claim that - a single person came to harm as a result of Bradley Manning’s disclosures. The government never claimed Mr. Manning was working for a foreign power.

The only ’victim’ was the US government’s wounded pride, but the abuse of this fine young man was never the way to restore it. Rather, the abuse of Bradley Manning has left the world with a sense of disgust at how low the Obama administration has fallen. It is not a sign of strength, but of weakness.

Reposted bymofo mofo
mr-absentia

@carwinb: Here is the verdict. PFC Manning faces 136 years Maximum Punishment. Sentencing begins tomorrow 9:30am

mr-absentia

【Twitter】 “dangerous national security extremism”

  • @wikileaks: See @carwinb for specific charges which Bradley Manning has been found guilty/not guilty of.

  • @carwinb: Aiding the Enemy-- NOT GUILTY

  • @carwinb: Spec 1, Charge II Wanton Pub. Guilty

  • @carwinb: Spec II, Charge II Guilty to his LIO plea for 793(e) Collateral Murder

  • @carwinb: Spec 3, Charge II CIA Red Cell Memo 793(e) GUILTY (10 years MAX)

  • @carwinb: Spec 4, Charge II Iraq War Logs Database 641 GUILTY (10 years MAX)

  • @carwinb: Spec 5, Charge II Iraq War Logs Espionage 793(e) GUILTY (10 years)

  • @carwinb: Spec 6, Charge II Afghan War Diray Database 641 GUILTY (10 years)

  • @carwinb: Spec 7, Charge II Afghan War Diary Espionage 793(e) GUILTY (10 Years MAX)

  • @carwinb: Spec 8, Charge II GTMO Files Database 641 GUILTY (10 Years MAX)

  • @carwinb: Spec 9, Charge II GTMO File 793(e) Espionage GUILTY (10 Years MAX)

  • @carwinb: Spec 10, Charge II Farah Records 793(e) GUILTY (10 Years Max)

  • @carwinb: Spec 11, Charge II Garani Video 793(e) NOT GUILTY

  • @carwinb: Spec 12, Charge II Cablegate database 641 GUILTY (10 Years MAX)

  • @carwinb: Spec 13, Charge II Cablegate CFAA Exceed Auth Access GUILTY (10 Years)

  • @carwinb: Spec 14, Charge II Reykjavik 13 GUILTY to his LIO ('knowingly accessing') (2 years MAX)

  • @carwinb: Spec 15, Charge II USACIC Memo on WikiLeaks 793(e) GUILTY (10 tears MAX)

  • @carwinb: Spec 16, Charge II Microsoft Exchange GAL 641 GUILTY (10 Years MAX)

  • @carwinb: Charge III (Article 92) Spec 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 GUILTY (2 years MAX each, TOTAL MAX 10 years)

  • @carwinb: Spec 1, Charge II Wanton Publication (Which Manning was found guilty of is 2 years MAX-- see below)

  • @carwinb: Spec 2, Charge II Guilty to his LIO plea for 793(e) Collateral Murder #Manning <-- See below this is 2 years MAX)

  • @carwinb: Manning faces 136 year MAX punishment on the crimes he was found GUILTY-- sentencing begins tomorrow.

  • @carwinb: I am going back into the funeral of a young man.

  • @wikileaks: Manning faces 136 years on the charges he has been convicted of today. Dangerous national security extremism from the Obama administration.

  • @wikileaks: Basic guide to honnest reportage. Manning has not been found 'guilty', but he has been 'convicted' of supplying information to the press.

  • @wikileaks: Bradley Manning's convictions today include 5 courts of espionage. A very serious new precedent for supplying information [to] the press.

  • @wikileaks: Amnesty: Bradley Manning case shows that US government's priorities are 'upside down' amnesty.org.uk/news_details.a…

  • @wikileaks: Transcript: Judge Lind giving verdict in Bradley Manning trial (PDF) pressfreedomfoundation.org/sites/default/…

mr-absentia

【Twitter】 Espionage Act is back in US!

  • @avilarenata: IMPORTANT: Bradley Manning convicted of crimes under espionage act. Even if more serious offense is out.

  • @avilarenata: Media line will be: We did not cut Manning head, so all things are fine. However he was declared guilty of 5 CRIMES under Espionage Act.

  • @avilarenata: Read the evidence presented on Court by Bradley Manning prosecutor. You will be very upset he was found guilty of most of the crimes.

  • @avilarenata: The Espionage Act is back in US! And silly media celebrates.

  • @avilarenata: You know why media is struggling to understand Bradley Manning verdict? Because they did not bother to attend each and every hearing.

  • @avilarenata: ¨Leaks to the press in the public interest should not be prosecuted under the Espionage Act¨ Ben Wizner from ACLU

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