'I am Chelsea Manning,' says jailed soldier formerly known as BradleyAugust 22, 2013
The US soldier who was sentenced as Bradley Manning on Wednesday plans to undergo hormone therapy and has asked to be recognised as a woman.
In a statement on Thursday Manning said she would like to be known as Chelsea E Manning and be referred to by female pronouns.
"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," she wrote.
"I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition."
But Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas, where Manning is due to serve out her sentence, said on Thursday that it would not provide trans treatment beyond psychiatric support, in a move criticised as unconstitutional by activists and LGBT groups.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents. She was found guilty of 20 counts, six of them under the Espionage Act, but her lawyers argued during the trial that Manning was acting out of a sense of duty to her country.
"I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility)," Manning’s statement read. "I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back."
She thanked her supporters for helping to “keep me strong” during her arrest and trial and for funding her defense.
During her trial it emerged that Manning had emailed a picture of herself, wearing a long blonde wig and lipstick, to her supervisor. In the subject line Manning had written: “My Problem”.
Manning’s lawyers argued that this was an example of how the soldier’s supervisors failed her on numerous occasions and contributed to the stress she was under.
"The stress that [she] was under was mostly to give context to what was going on at the time," Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, told NBC’s Today show on Thursday.
"It was never an excuse because that’s not what drove [her] actions. What drove [her] actions was a strong moral compass."
Manning has already spent three and a half years in prison awaiting trial.Her sentence was reduced by 112 days in January after a judge ruled she had been subjected to excessively harsh treatment in military detention.
Coombs has confirmed that Manning will spend her sentence at Fort Leavenworth military prison, however a spokeswoman for the prison said this week that treatment for inmates at the prison does not include hormone therapy.
"All inmates are considered soldiers and are treated as such with access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioral science noncommissioned officers with experience in addressing the needs of military personnel in pre- and post-trial confinement," Kimberly Lewis told Courthouse News Service.
"The army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder."
Coombs said on Thursday that he is “hoping” that Fort Leavenworth “would do the right thing” and provide hormone therapy.
"If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so."
Trans and civil liberties groups said it would be “unconstitutional” for Fort Leavenworth not to give Manning treatment.
"This is the United States. We do not deny medical treatment to prisoners," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National National Center for Transgender Equality.
"It is illegal, it’s unconstitutional. That is fairly settled law under the eighth amendment against cruel and unusual punishment. The medical community is now unified that transition-related care is legitimate medical care that can successfully treat a serious underlying condition."
The American Civil Liberties Union said Manning had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and should receive hormone therapy. Statements by Fort Leavenworth to the contrary raise “serious constitutional concerns”, said Chase Strangio, an attorney with the union’s LGBT project.
"The official policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and most state agencies is to provide medically necessary care for the treatment of gender dysphoria, and courts have consistently found that denying such care to prisoners based on blanket exclusions violates the eighth amendment of the constitution."
Aside from the issue of treatment, Keisling said there was a “systemic problem” with how the justice system treats trans people, who she said face a “heightened amount of sexual assault” in both federal and military prisons.
"Trans people tend to be treated unfairly in terms of arrests, in terms of prosecution, in terms of conviction, sentencing and their time in jails and prison. It’s a dramatically serious problem that Americans don’t know about."Trans prisoners should undergo an “individualised assessment”, she said, to determine how they should be incarcerated.
"It is a much more complicated than trans women should be in women’s prisons and trans men should be in men’s prisons.
"They should take into account what will be more safe for the prisoner. They need to look at things like a prisoners’ past history of being a victim or of victimising other people.
"They need to look at the person’s self-assessment of where they would be safe. They need to look at a person’s gender identity, they need to look at a person’s sexual orientation."
Source

'I am Chelsea Manning,' says jailed soldier formerly known as Bradley
August 22, 2013

The US soldier who was sentenced as Bradley Manning on Wednesday plans to undergo hormone therapy and has asked to be recognised as a woman.

In a statement on Thursday Manning said she would like to be known as Chelsea E Manning and be referred to by female pronouns.

"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," she wrote.

"I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition."

But Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas, where Manning is due to serve out her sentence, said on Thursday that it would not provide trans treatment beyond psychiatric support, in a move criticised as unconstitutional by activists and LGBT groups.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents. She was found guilty of 20 counts, six of them under the Espionage Act, but her lawyers argued during the trial that Manning was acting out of a sense of duty to her country.

"I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility)," Manning’s statement read. "I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back."

She thanked her supporters for helping to “keep me strong” during her arrest and trial and for funding her defense.

During her trial it emerged that Manning had emailed a picture of herself, wearing a long blonde wig and lipstick, to her supervisor. In the subject line Manning had written: “My Problem”.

Manning’s lawyers argued that this was an example of how the soldier’s supervisors failed her on numerous occasions and contributed to the stress she was under.

"The stress that [she] was under was mostly to give context to what was going on at the time," Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, told NBC’s Today show on Thursday.

"It was never an excuse because that’s not what drove [her] actions. What drove [her] actions was a strong moral compass."

Manning has already spent three and a half years in prison awaiting trial.Her sentence was reduced by 112 days in January after a judge ruled she had been subjected to excessively harsh treatment in military detention.

Coombs has confirmed that Manning will spend her sentence at Fort Leavenworth military prison, however a spokeswoman for the prison said this week that treatment for inmates at the prison does not include hormone therapy.

"All inmates are considered soldiers and are treated as such with access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioral science noncommissioned officers with experience in addressing the needs of military personnel in pre- and post-trial confinement," Kimberly Lewis told Courthouse News Service.

"The army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder."

Coombs said on Thursday that he is “hoping” that Fort Leavenworth “would do the right thing” and provide hormone therapy.

"If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so."

Trans and civil liberties groups said it would be “unconstitutional” for Fort Leavenworth not to give Manning treatment.

"This is the United States. We do not deny medical treatment to prisoners," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National National Center for Transgender Equality.

"It is illegal, it’s unconstitutional. That is fairly settled law under the eighth amendment against cruel and unusual punishment. The medical community is now unified that transition-related care is legitimate medical care that can successfully treat a serious underlying condition."

The American Civil Liberties Union said Manning had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and should receive hormone therapy. Statements by Fort Leavenworth to the contrary raise “serious constitutional concerns”, said Chase Strangio, an attorney with the union’s LGBT project.

"The official policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and most state agencies is to provide medically necessary care for the treatment of gender dysphoria, and courts have consistently found that denying such care to prisoners based on blanket exclusions violates the eighth amendment of the constitution."

Aside from the issue of treatment, Keisling said there was a “systemic problem” with how the justice system treats trans people, who she said face a “heightened amount of sexual assault” in both federal and military prisons.

"Trans people tend to be treated unfairly in terms of arrests, in terms of prosecution, in terms of conviction, sentencing and their time in jails and prison. It’s a dramatically serious problem that Americans don’t know about."

Trans prisoners should undergo an “individualised assessment”, she said, to determine how they should be incarcerated.

"It is a much more complicated than trans women should be in women’s prisons and trans men should be in men’s prisons.

"They should take into account what will be more safe for the prisoner. They need to look at things like a prisoners’ past history of being a victim or of victimising other people.

"They need to look at the person’s self-assessment of where they would be safe. They need to look at a person’s gender identity, they need to look at a person’s sexual orientation."

Source

"The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
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.”
I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention 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 country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”
- Statement by Pfc. B. Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Coombs also said this was Manning’s reaction after the sentence was read: “Hey, it’s OK. It’s all right. I know you did everything you could for me. Don’t cry. Be happy. It’s fine. This is just a stage in my life. I am moving forward. I will recover from this.”

"The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

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.”

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention 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 country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”

- Statement by Pfc. B. Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Coombs also said this was Manning’s reaction after the sentence was read: “Hey, it’s OK. It’s all right. I know you did everything you could for me. Don’t cry. Be happy. It’s fine. This is just a stage in my life. I am moving forward. I will recover from this.”

Top Ten ways Pfc. B. Manning changed the worldAugust 1, 2013
Pfc. B. Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that their leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what they revealed and that the revelations changed the world are undeniable.
1. Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.
2. Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

3. Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.
5. His leaks show that then Senator John Kerry pressed Israel to be open to returning the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a peace negotiation. This item suggests that Kerry might be more of an honest broker in the current negotiations than some observers give him credit for.
4. Manning revealed that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US diplomats to spy on their United Nations counterparts. The UN spy requests included cables that “demanded detailed intelligence on the UN leadership including forensic detail about their communications systems, including passwords and personal encryption keys,” foreshadowing later revelations of extensive US spying on even allies like Germany via the NSA.

6. Revealed that Afghanistan government corruption is “overwhelming”. This degree of corruption, which has shaken the whole banking system and caused US funds to be massively misused, is still a factor in our decision of whether to stay in Afghanistan in some capacity after December 2014. The US public is in a better position to judge the issue with these documents available.
7. Manning revealed the degree of authoritarianism and corruption of the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak, which was subsequently swept away.
8. Manning revealed that hard-nosed realist, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, was against striking Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities because it would only slow their program down slightly, but would inevitably cause Iranians to be angry and mobilized in the aftermath.
9. Manning revealed that the Israeli authorities had a secret plan to keep the Palestinian population of Gaza on the brink of food insecurity and poor health, in among the creepiest military operations in history: “Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”
10. Manning’s act of courage encouraged hackers to leak the emails of Bashar al-Assad and his wife, showing their jewelry buys in Europe and gilded style of life while al-Assad’s artillery was pounding Homs and other cities with no regard for the lives of noncombatants. In fact, Manning inspired numerous leakers, including some who blew the whistle on PLO corruption and willingness to give away most of Jerusalem to Israel, and, likely, Edward Snowden, who revealed to us that our government has us all under surveillance.
Source
Along with this list, I would add: 
11. Iraq War Logs, which revealed widespread prisoner abuse, torture & sexual assault against the Iraqi Security Forces. These logs also revealed Frago 242, an order implemented not to investigate these human rights abuses & torture accusations.
12. The Guantanamo Files, which revealed that the United States holds prisoners without charge or trial for years at a time. The cables also showed that most prisoners have been cleared for release under the Bush & Obama administration but are still being held in the prison.
13. Both the Iraq & Afghanistan War logs contain an official count of civilian deaths, which the US military denied having. Between 2004 and 2009, the U.S. government counted a total of 109,000 deaths in Iraq, with 66,081 classified as non-combatants.

Top Ten ways Pfc. B. Manning changed the world
August 1, 2013

Pfc. B. Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that their leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what they revealed and that the revelations changed the world are undeniable.

1. Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

2. Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

3. Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.

5. His leaks show that then Senator John Kerry pressed Israel to be open to returning the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a peace negotiation. This item suggests that Kerry might be more of an honest broker in the current negotiations than some observers give him credit for.

4. Manning revealed that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US diplomats to spy on their United Nations counterparts. The UN spy requests included cables that “demanded detailed intelligence on the UN leadership including forensic detail about their communications systems, including passwords and personal encryption keys,” foreshadowing later revelations of extensive US spying on even allies like Germany via the NSA.

6. Revealed that Afghanistan government corruption is “overwhelming”. This degree of corruption, which has shaken the whole banking system and caused US funds to be massively misused, is still a factor in our decision of whether to stay in Afghanistan in some capacity after December 2014. The US public is in a better position to judge the issue with these documents available.

7. Manning revealed the degree of authoritarianism and corruption of the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak, which was subsequently swept away.

8. Manning revealed that hard-nosed realist, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, was against striking Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities because it would only slow their program down slightly, but would inevitably cause Iranians to be angry and mobilized in the aftermath.

9. Manning revealed that the Israeli authorities had a secret plan to keep the Palestinian population of Gaza on the brink of food insecurity and poor health, in among the creepiest military operations in history: “Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”

10. Manning’s act of courage encouraged hackers to leak the emails of Bashar al-Assad and his wife, showing their jewelry buys in Europe and gilded style of life while al-Assad’s artillery was pounding Homs and other cities with no regard for the lives of noncombatants. In fact, Manning inspired numerous leakers, including some who blew the whistle on PLO corruption and willingness to give away most of Jerusalem to Israel, and, likely, Edward Snowden, who revealed to us that our government has us all under surveillance.

Source

Along with this list, I would add: 

11. Iraq War Logs, which revealed widespread prisoner abuse, torture & sexual assault against the Iraqi Security Forces. These logs also revealed Frago 242, an order implemented not to investigate these human rights abuses & torture accusations.

12. The Guantanamo Files, which revealed that the United States holds prisoners without charge or trial for years at a time. The cables also showed that most prisoners have been cleared for release under the Bush & Obama administration but are still being held in the prison.

13. Both the Iraq & Afghanistan War logs contain an official count of civilian deaths, which the US military denied having. Between 2004 and 2009, the U.S. government counted a total of 109,000 deaths in Iraq, with 66,081 classified as non-combatants.

This photo is from about 11:30 p.m. tonight in the Castro in San Francisco. (Credit: violet blue)
Pride festivities, including marching with the Bradley Manning contingent, begin at 11 a.m. tomorrow. 
Feel free to submit or email us (thepeoplesrec at gmail) your Pride photos along with photo credits, & we’ll get them up! 

This photo is from about 11:30 p.m. tonight in the Castro in San Francisco. (Credit: violet blue)

Pride festivities, including marching with the Bradley Manning contingent, begin at 11 a.m. tomorrow. 

Feel free to submit or email us (thepeoplesrec at gmail) your Pride photos along with photo credits, & we’ll get them up! 

Day One of Manning trial focuses on intent of WikiLeaks sourceJune 3, 2013
The military trial of admitted WikiLeaks source Pfc. B. Manning began Monday morning in Fort Meade, Maryland, more than three years after they were arrested in Iraq.
Manning, a 25-year-old soldier who reached the rank of private first class in the United States Army, has been in pretrial custody since May 2010. Manning could spend the rest of their life in prison if a military judge convicts them at the end of the trial for providing support to al-Qaeda.
In a small courtroom outside of Baltimore early Monday, Army prosecutors painted a picture of Pfc. Manning that portrayed them as a traitor who released files to WikiLeaks with intent to cause harm to the US. Manning’s defense counsel David Coombs insisted otherwise, however, and rejected the government’s argument that the soldier made contact with the anti-secrecy website in order to bring harm to the country they had taken an oath to protect.
Manning previously pleaded guilty to a number of lesser charges lobbed by the US government, but their counsel’s biggest challenge will occur during the court-martial, when they are faced with defending the private against counts of aiding the enemy and espionage.
Day one of the court-martial got underway around 10 a.m. Monday with Army prosecutors presenting a slideshow that paved the way for how they intend to prove that Pfc. Manning went to WikiLeaks will ill intentions. By presenting an outline of the evidence they plan to present as the trial continues trough the summer, prosecutors said they will show that Manning knowingly aided the enemy.
“This is not a case about an accidental spill of classified information” or “a case about a few documents left in a barracks,” prosecutors said.
“This, your honor, this is a case about a soldier who systemically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases, and literally dumped that information onto the Internet in the hands of the enemy,” putting the lives of their fellow soldiers at risk.
“This is a case about what happens when arrogance meets access to sensitive information.”
Prosecutors also argued that Manning conspired with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, citing chat logs alleged to have occurred between the two in which Manning discussed classified intelligence that was publically requested and discussed by the WikiLeaks Twitter feed.
“We would like a list of as many .mil email addresses as possible. Please contact editor@wikileaks.org,” one tweet read in part. Manning is accused of supplying WikiLeaks with a list containing the personal information of 74,000 troops shortly thereafter, and the Army may be able to prove that the soldier took a cue from Assange, likely setting the stage for an eventual case against Assange that could finally pressure his extradition to the US.
But earlier this year, Manning testified during pretrial hearings that they were never sure who they communicated with during the few chats with a WikiLeaks staffer the government alleges to be Assange. Manning admitted to sending hundreds of thousands of files to WikiLeaks during a February 2013 statement, and on Monday their attorney said they had a very good reason for that.
Speaking of one file Manning admitted to leaking — a video of a US Apache chopper opening fire and killing civilians (Collateral Murder)  — Coombs said Manning sent it to WikiLeaks in hopes of bringing change to a war in Iraq being fought in a way very much unlike it was being reported.
“When he decided to release this information, he believed that this information showed how we value human life,” Coombs said. “He was troubled. And he believed that the American public saw it they too would be troubled. And maybe things would be changed,” he said.
Manning also has been attributed with leaking an entire trove of sensitive files to the website, including State Department diplomatic cables, Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment files and other materials. Before he concluded his brief opening statement, Coombs offered insight as to why his client did as charged.
“He released these documents because he was hoping to make the world a better place,” Coombs said.“He was 22 years old. He was young. He was a little naïve in thinking the information he selected could actually make a difference, but it was good intentions.”
“He had absolutely no actual knowledge that the enemy would get access to it,” Coombs said.
The prosecution called a handful of witnesses on Monday, including the Army officials who began the investigation into Pfc. Manning in May 2010 and their roommate in Iraq. The trial will enter day two on Tuesday and is expected to run through the summer. 
(Pronouns changed, except in quotes)
Source

Day One of Manning trial focuses on intent of WikiLeaks source
June 3, 2013

The military trial of admitted WikiLeaks source Pfc. B. Manning began Monday morning in Fort Meade, Maryland, more than three years after they were arrested in Iraq.

Manning, a 25-year-old soldier who reached the rank of private first class in the United States Army, has been in pretrial custody since May 2010. Manning could spend the rest of their life in prison if a military judge convicts them at the end of the trial for providing support to al-Qaeda.

In a small courtroom outside of Baltimore early Monday, Army prosecutors painted a picture of Pfc. Manning that portrayed them as a traitor who released files to WikiLeaks with intent to cause harm to the US. Manning’s defense counsel David Coombs insisted otherwise, however, and rejected the government’s argument that the soldier made contact with the anti-secrecy website in order to bring harm to the country they had taken an oath to protect.

Manning previously pleaded guilty to a number of lesser charges lobbed by the US government, but their counsel’s biggest challenge will occur during the court-martial, when they are faced with defending the private against counts of aiding the enemy and espionage.

Day one of the court-martial got underway around 10 a.m. Monday with Army prosecutors presenting a slideshow that paved the way for how they intend to prove that Pfc. Manning went to WikiLeaks will ill intentions. By presenting an outline of the evidence they plan to present as the trial continues trough the summer, prosecutors said they will show that Manning knowingly aided the enemy.

“This is not a case about an accidental spill of classified information” or “a case about a few documents left in a barracks,” prosecutors said.

“This, your honor, this is a case about a soldier who systemically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases, and literally dumped that information onto the Internet in the hands of the enemy,” putting the lives of their fellow soldiers at risk.

“This is a case about what happens when arrogance meets access to sensitive information.”

Prosecutors also argued that Manning conspired with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, citing chat logs alleged to have occurred between the two in which Manning discussed classified intelligence that was publically requested and discussed by the WikiLeaks Twitter feed.

“We would like a list of as many .mil email addresses as possible. Please contact editor@wikileaks.org,” one tweet read in part. Manning is accused of supplying WikiLeaks with a list containing the personal information of 74,000 troops shortly thereafter, and the Army may be able to prove that the soldier took a cue from Assange, likely setting the stage for an eventual case against Assange that could finally pressure his extradition to the US.

But earlier this year, Manning testified during pretrial hearings that they were never sure who they communicated with during the few chats with a WikiLeaks staffer the government alleges to be Assange. Manning admitted to sending hundreds of thousands of files to WikiLeaks during a February 2013 statement, and on Monday their attorney said they had a very good reason for that.

Speaking of one file Manning admitted to leaking — a video of a US Apache chopper opening fire and killing civilians (Collateral Murder) — Coombs said Manning sent it to WikiLeaks in hopes of bringing change to a war in Iraq being fought in a way very much unlike it was being reported.

“When he decided to release this information, he believed that this information showed how we value human life,” Coombs said. “He was troubled. And he believed that the American public saw it they too would be troubled. And maybe things would be changed,” he said.

Manning also has been attributed with leaking an entire trove of sensitive files to the website, including State Department diplomatic cables, Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment files and other materials. Before he concluded his brief opening statement, Coombs offered insight as to why his client did as charged.

“He released these documents because he was hoping to make the world a better place,” Coombs said.“He was 22 years old. He was young. He was a little naïve in thinking the information he selected could actually make a difference, but it was good intentions.”

“He had absolutely no actual knowledge that the enemy would get access to it,” Coombs said.

The prosecution called a handful of witnesses on Monday, including the Army officials who began the investigation into Pfc. Manning in May 2010 and their roommate in Iraq. The trial will enter day two on Tuesday and is expected to run through the summer. 

(Pronouns changed, except in quotes)

Source

No slack for Manning: Prosecutors to press for life
March 3, 2013

Military prosecutors intend to pursue more serious charges against Pfc. B. Manning despite their having plead guilty to lesser charges. The whistleblower faces life imprisonment if they are found guilty of aiding the enemy.

Manning, 25, admitted on Thursday to handing over a trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks. They voluntary plead guilty to 10 relevant charges, carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years.

The move was a ‘naked plea’ – unlike a plea bargain, there is no arrangement with the prosecution to drop other charges. It did, however, give prosecutors the option to only purse the charges to which Manning confessed, and proceed straight to sentencing.

But after the judge accepted the plea, military prosecutors announced they would pursue the 12 other charges, including the rarely used indictment of aiding the enemy. The crime is punishable by the death sentence, but the prosecution earlier ruled that out, saying they would seek life in prison without parole.

“Given the scope of the alleged misconduct, the seriousness of the charged offenses, and the evidence and testimony available, the United States intends to proceed with the court-martial to prove Manning committed the charged offenses beyond the lesser charges to which he has already pled guilty,” a statement from the Washington Military District said.

The court martial will begin on June 3, with 141 prosecution witnesses scheduled to testify. The prosecutors reportedly plan to reveal that some of the documents leaked by Manning were found by the Navy SEAL team that raided Osama Bin Laden’s hideout in May 2011.

Manning’s plea appears to give them little advantage in the trial, apart from probably winning some points from the judge, Col. Denise Lind, for not forcing the government to prove their role in the leak and their breaking the law in the process.

But there may be more strategic consideration, explained Michael Navarre, a former Navy judge advocate and military justice analyst.

"He’s laying the groundwork for a more lenient sentence and laying the groundwork for a potential defense to the aiding the enemy and the espionage charges," Navarre told AP. "You end up with a more reasonable starting position — ‘I admit I did it, but I didn’t think it was going to harm anyone.’"

Manning has many supporters, who see them as a hero for putting their well-being on the line to expose morally questionable secrets of the US government. The Bradley Manning Support Network has raised more than $900,000 for their defense. A vigil in their honor was held in front of the US embassy in London on Friday.

The case could set a worrisome precedent for free speech: Manning’s alleged crime of aiding the enemy constitutes publishing classified documents on the Internet, allowing enemies of the US to read them. A guilty sentence would mean that any leak of government secrets that ends up on the Internet, event through traditional media, could be subjected to similar charges.

Source

Right after whistleblowing CIA torture practices, the CIA launched an investigation into CIA veteran John Kiriakou resulting in a two and a half year sentence for leaking the identity of an agent.
January 27, 2013

He was charged on January 23 for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and repeatedly disclosing classified information to journalists.

The former chief of counter-terrorist operations in Pakistan pleaded guilty to the charges set against him as part of a deal with prosecutors, “accepting responsibility for his actions.” In return, prosecutors dropped the charges of making false statements under a World War I-era Espionage Act.

“I want to start by saying I accept my sentence of 30 years in prison – oh my God – 30 months in prison…Oh boy. It was the 30 years I was trying not to get. Kiriakou said, at press conference on Wednesday.

The charges in question related to an email sent by Kiriakou in August 2008, revealing the name of a covert CIA officer involved in waterboarding to a freelance journalist.

However, Kiriakou and his defense claimed that the email is merely a pretext and the real reason for his sentence is an interview he gave ABC News in 2007, blowing the whistle on torture practices conducted by the CIA that he regards as "wrong and ineffective.”

"I’m headed to prison while the torturers and the lawyers who papered over it and the people who conceived it and the man who destroyed the proof of it, the tapes, will never face justice. And that’s the saddest part of the story," Kiriakou said.

Kiriakou’s lawyers argued that though initially her client also viewed torture in the CIA as’something the US needed to do,’ he eventually felt compelled to change his mind. As he became more vocal on the issue, publishing a book in 2010 on his experiences called “The Reluctant Spy,” he irritated the CIA, which then launched the “vindictive prosecution” against Kiriakou.

The case against Kiriakou originally came about when authorities stumbled upon a security breach at Guantanamo Bay in which inmates were found in possession of photographs of their interrogators. The subsequent investigation led to the discovery of Kiriakou’s security leak and his indictment in April 2012.

Source

Military judge recognizes what many progressives deny: Pfc. Manning was mistreatedJanuary 9, 2013


"With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are." - Barack Obama, White House Press Conference, March 10, 2011.


_________
Few if any articles that I’ve written produced as much backlash as my 15 December 2010 column reporting on the oppressive and inhumane conditions of Pfc. B. Manning's detention, the first time that story was reported. The anger at my article primarily came not from right-wing venues but from the hardest-core Obama supporters, who (as they always do since 20 January 2009) reflexively defended the US government. Led by former Obama campaign press aide and now MSNBC contributor (the ultimate redundancy) Joy Reid, these particularly fanatical Democratic partisans literally adopted the anti-Manning rhetoric from the further right-wing precincts and repudiated the liberal tradition of defending whistleblowers and opposing oppressive detention conditions - all in order to insist that Manning was being treated exactly how they should be (this warped reaction was far from unanimous, as many progressives protested Manning’s treatment).
Since then, an internal investigation by the Marine Corps - which operates the brig in which they were held - found that Manning’s jailers violated their own policies in imposing oppressive conditions. The Obama administration’s own State Department spokesman, PJ Crowley,denounced the detention conditions as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid” and was then fired as a result. Amnesty International called for protests over Manning’s treatment. The UN’s highest torture official formally concluded after an investigation that the US government was guilty “of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment towards B. Manning” and “that the US military was at least culpable of cruel and inhumane treatment in keeping Manning locked up alone for 23 hours a day over an 11-month period in conditions that he also found might have constituted torture” - exactly what I reported at the end of 2010.
And now, on Tuesday, the military judge presiding over Manning’s court-martial found, as the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington reports, “that Manning was subjected to excessively harsh treatment in military detention” and is thus entitled to a reduction of their sentence if they are found guilty. Pilkington notes:


"[The military judge’s] ruling was made under Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that protects prisoners awaiting trial from punishment on grounds that they are innocent until proven guilty. The recognition that some degree of pre-trial punishment did occur during the nine months that the soldier was held in Quantico marks a legal victory for the defence in that it supports Manning’s long-held complaint that he was singled out by the US government for excessively harsh treatment."


This is far from a real victory for Manning. They were seeking dismissal of all charges, or a far greater sentencing reduction, based on claims of unlawful detention. And the judge, while accepting some, rejected many of his claims of abuse on the grounds that there was no intent to punish them before trial. But that’s hardly surprising: this is, after all, a military judge presiding over a case where an Army Private is accused of “aiding and abetting al-Qaida.” The entire proceeding is stacked against Manning: a military judge presiding over a military tribunal in this case is about the least objective and trustworthy arbiter on these questions.
That’s why this ruling is so significant: even the military judge recognized that, in multiple ways, the treatment of Manning was unfair, excessive and illegal. Politico’s Josh Gerstein explains:


"The decision is a significant victory for Manning’s defense and a vindication for human-rights groups that complained the intelligence analyst was being treated unfairly. The ruling also runs counter to President Barack Obama’s statement at a March 2011 news conference that Manning’s treatment at the brig was ‘appropriate.’"


Amazingly, Obama’s defense of Manning’s treatment - repudiated even by this military judge - came less than a week after the New York Times first reported that brig officials had begun stripping Manning of all his clothing and forcing him to remain naked.
The willingness of some of Obama’s most devoted followers to justify all this and lash out at critics surprised even me, and underscored just how blindly supportive they are no matter how extreme and odious the behavior. As Charles Davis detailed in an excellent analysis at Salon last April, these Obama-defending progressives - in order to attack Manning and defend their detention conditions - copied almost verbatim the playbook used by Nixon officials to malign Daniel Ellsberg and anyone else who exposed wrongdoing on the part of the US government. Just as Bush followers did for years with the controversy over torture, these Democratic partisans alternated manically between denying that these oppressive conditions existed, justifying their use, and mocking concerns over them.
John Cole, one of President Obama’s most steadfast supporters (and a former Army soldier), repeatedly condemned the abusive treatment of Manning, and in doing so, continually provoked the scorn of his Obama-supporting readers. Yesterday, after reading news of the military judge’s decision, Cole sarcastically wrote:


"I don’t understand how this is possible. What kind of commie liberal is this judge? Is she from Code Pink? For months, when I said he was being abused, all the keyboard commandos assured me that military protocol was being followed and that if they didn’t abuse him like this and keep him naked and without his glasses, if he killed himself firebaggers like me would blame Obama.
"Many of you internet tough guys continued with this line of invective even when the DOD Inspector General said he was being treated not in accordance with rules… .
"Anyone with half a f****** brain could tell he was being treated differently than any other person in custody at Quantico, and the reason for it was he had embarrassed the Brass and the National Security State.
"For alleged liberals, there’s not a dimes worth of difference between many of you and [Bush torture advocate] Marc Thiessen."


Watching self-proclaimed progressives attack and malign a courageous whistleblower, while defending the US military’s patently abusive detention practices and steadfastly defending the government’s extreme secrecy powers, is one of the most potent symbols of the Obama presidency.
An equally potent symbol is that at the very same time that B. Manning is prosecuted and threatened with life in prison for exposing serious war crimes, a government official who supported if not participated in those war crimes is being promoted to CIA director. This takes place in the same week when, as FAIR put it on Monday, “the only person to do time for the CIA’s torture policies [John Kiriakou] appears to be a guy who spoke publicly about them, not any of the people who did the actual torturing.
As usual, those who commit serious crimes in government are not punished but rather rewarded. Only those who expose those crimes are punished. That’s the story of B. Manning, and what makes it all the more remarkable and telling are the hordes of Democrats who have spent several years justifying and cheering for this.
- Glenn Greenwald
Source
It’s really no surprise that someone like Barack Obama, a president who has escalated illegal drone wars, committed war crimes & not only kept Guantanamo Bay open but led a renovation of it, supported B. Manning’s torturous treatment at Quantico. 
Pfc. B. Manning is a hero for exposing these war crimes to Wikileaks, including the Afghan War Logs, the Iraq War Logs & the Collateral Murder video.
Free Pfc. Manning!

Military judge recognizes what many progressives deny: Pfc. Manning was mistreated
January 9, 2013

"With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are."Barack Obama, White House Press Conference, March 10, 2011.

_________

Few if any articles that I’ve written produced as much backlash as my 15 December 2010 column reporting on the oppressive and inhumane conditions of Pfc. B. Manning's detention, the first time that story was reported. The anger at my article primarily came not from right-wing venues but from the hardest-core Obama supporters, who (as they always do since 20 January 2009) reflexively defended the US government. Led by former Obama campaign press aide and now MSNBC contributor (the ultimate redundancy) Joy Reid, these particularly fanatical Democratic partisans literally adopted the anti-Manning rhetoric from the further right-wing precincts and repudiated the liberal tradition of defending whistleblowers and opposing oppressive detention conditions - all in order to insist that Manning was being treated exactly how they should be (this warped reaction was far from unanimous, as many progressives protested Manning’s treatment).

Since then, an internal investigation by the Marine Corps - which operates the brig in which they were held - found that Manning’s jailers violated their own policies in imposing oppressive conditions. The Obama administration’s own State Department spokesman, PJ Crowley,denounced the detention conditions as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid” and was then fired as a result. Amnesty International called for protests over Manning’s treatment. The UN’s highest torture official formally concluded after an investigation that the US government was guilty “of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment towards B. Manning” and “that the US military was at least culpable of cruel and inhumane treatment in keeping Manning locked up alone for 23 hours a day over an 11-month period in conditions that he also found might have constituted torture” - exactly what I reported at the end of 2010.

And now, on Tuesday, the military judge presiding over Manning’s court-martial found, as the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington reports, “that Manning was subjected to excessively harsh treatment in military detention” and is thus entitled to a reduction of their sentence if they are found guilty. Pilkington notes:

"[The military judge’s] ruling was made under Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that protects prisoners awaiting trial from punishment on grounds that they are innocent until proven guilty. The recognition that some degree of pre-trial punishment did occur during the nine months that the soldier was held in Quantico marks a legal victory for the defence in that it supports Manning’s long-held complaint that he was singled out by the US government for excessively harsh treatment."

This is far from a real victory for Manning. They were seeking dismissal of all charges, or a far greater sentencing reduction, based on claims of unlawful detention. And the judge, while accepting some, rejected many of his claims of abuse on the grounds that there was no intent to punish them before trial. But that’s hardly surprising: this is, after all, a military judge presiding over a case where an Army Private is accused of “aiding and abetting al-Qaida.” The entire proceeding is stacked against Manning: a military judge presiding over a military tribunal in this case is about the least objective and trustworthy arbiter on these questions.

That’s why this ruling is so significant: even the military judge recognized that, in multiple ways, the treatment of Manning was unfair, excessive and illegal. Politico’s Josh Gerstein explains:

"The decision is a significant victory for Manning’s defense and a vindication for human-rights groups that complained the intelligence analyst was being treated unfairly. The ruling also runs counter to President Barack Obama’s statement at a March 2011 news conference that Manning’s treatment at the brig was ‘appropriate.’"

Amazingly, Obama’s defense of Manning’s treatment - repudiated even by this military judge - came less than a week after the New York Times first reported that brig officials had begun stripping Manning of all his clothing and forcing him to remain naked.

The willingness of some of Obama’s most devoted followers to justify all this and lash out at critics surprised even me, and underscored just how blindly supportive they are no matter how extreme and odious the behavior. As Charles Davis detailed in an excellent analysis at Salon last April, these Obama-defending progressives - in order to attack Manning and defend their detention conditions - copied almost verbatim the playbook used by Nixon officials to malign Daniel Ellsberg and anyone else who exposed wrongdoing on the part of the US government. Just as Bush followers did for years with the controversy over torture, these Democratic partisans alternated manically between denying that these oppressive conditions existed, justifying their use, and mocking concerns over them.

John Cole, one of President Obama’s most steadfast supporters (and a former Army soldier), repeatedly condemned the abusive treatment of Manning, and in doing so, continually provoked the scorn of his Obama-supporting readers. Yesterday, after reading news of the military judge’s decision, Cole sarcastically wrote:

"I don’t understand how this is possible. What kind of commie liberal is this judge? Is she from Code Pink? For months, when I said he was being abused, all the keyboard commandos assured me that military protocol was being followed and that if they didn’t abuse him like this and keep him naked and without his glasses, if he killed himself firebaggers like me would blame Obama.

"Many of you internet tough guys continued with this line of invective even when the DOD Inspector General said he was being treated not in accordance with rules… .

"Anyone with half a f****** brain could tell he was being treated differently than any other person in custody at Quantico, and the reason for it was he had embarrassed the Brass and the National Security State.

"For alleged liberals, there’s not a dimes worth of difference between many of you and [Bush torture advocate] Marc Thiessen."

Watching self-proclaimed progressives attack and malign a courageous whistleblower, while defending the US military’s patently abusive detention practices and steadfastly defending the government’s extreme secrecy powers, is one of the most potent symbols of the Obama presidency.

An equally potent symbol is that at the very same time that B. Manning is prosecuted and threatened with life in prison for exposing serious war crimes, a government official who supported if not participated in those war crimes is being promoted to CIA director. This takes place in the same week when, as FAIR put it on Monday, “the only person to do time for the CIA’s torture policies [John Kiriakou] appears to be a guy who spoke publicly about them, not any of the people who did the actual torturing.

As usual, those who commit serious crimes in government are not punished but rather rewarded. Only those who expose those crimes are punished. That’s the story of B. Manning, and what makes it all the more remarkable and telling are the hordes of Democrats who have spent several years justifying and cheering for this.

- Glenn Greenwald

Source

It’s really no surprise that someone like Barack Obama, a president who has escalated illegal drone wars, committed war crimes & not only kept Guantanamo Bay open but led a renovation of it, supported B. Manning’s torturous treatment at Quantico. 

Pfc. B. Manning is a hero for exposing these war crimes to Wikileaks, including the Afghan War Logs, the Iraq War Logs & the Collateral Murder video.

Free Pfc. Manning!

Discussion time: Referring to Bradley Manning as Breanna

As we continue to post updates from Pfc. Manning’s trial, we have been getting many messages on how to refer to Manning. So we wanted to open this discussion up to our readers.

In June 2010, conversations between Manning and former hacker Adrian Lamo were released to the public and offered insight into the whistleblower’s involvement with Wikileaks.

She also confided in Lamo that she was having gender identity issues and feared being publicized as a man.

“I wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me… plastered all over the world press… as boy…” 

A few days after Manning had confided in Lamo, she was arrested in Kuwait after Lamo informed the FBI and the Army about the leaked cables.

We want to honor Manning’s identity; however, we also understand she has not come out publicly about her gender & that it isn’t necessarily our place to do so for her. This may be for many reasons, including not being ready and that it may even possibly escalate the torturous conditions of Manning’s imprisonment.

So we want to open this discussion to everyone. How do you feel we should refer to Pfc. Manning? Reply to this post or message us here.

Edit: For posts on Pfc. Manning, we’ll use B. Manning/they.

Bradley Manning: A tale of liberty lost in AmericaDecember 3, 2012
Over the past two and a half years, all of which he has spent in a military prison, much has been said about Bradley (also known as Breanna) Manning, but nothing has been heard from him. That changed on Thursday, when the 23-year-old US army private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks testified at his court martial proceeding about the conditions of his detention.
The oppressive, borderline-torturous measures to which he was subjected, including prolonged solitary confinement and forced nudity, have been known for some time. A formal UN investigation denounced those conditions as “cruel and inhuman”. President Obama’s state department spokesman, retired air force colonel PJ Crowley, resigned after publicly condemning Manning’s treatment. A prison psychologist testified this week that Manning’s conditions were more damaging than those found on death row, or at Guantánamo Bay.
Still, hearing the accused whistleblower’s description of this abuse in his own words viscerally conveyed its horror. Reporting from the hearing, the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington quoted Manning: “If I needed toilet paper I would stand to attention and shout: ‘Detainee Manning requests toilet paper!’" And: "I was authorised to have 20 minutes sunshine, in chains, every 24 hours." Early in his detention, Manning recalled, "I had pretty much given up. I thought I was going to die in this eight by eight animal cage."
The repressive treatment of Bradley Manning is one of the disgraces of Obama’s first term, and highlights many of the dynamics shaping his presidency. The president not only defended Manning’s treatment but also, as commander-in-chief of the court martial judges, improperly decreed Manning’s guilt when he asserted in an interview that he “broke the law”.
Worse, Manning is charged not only with disclosing classified information, but also the capital offence of “aiding the enemy”, for which the death penalty can be imposed (military prosecutors are requesting “only” life in prison). The government’s radical theory is that, although Manning had no intent to do so, the leaked information could have helped al-Qaida, a theory that essentially equates any disclosure of classified information – by any whistleblower, or a newspaper – with treason.
Whatever one thinks of Manning’s alleged acts, he appears the classic whistleblower. This information could have been sold for substantial sums to a foreign government or a terror group. Instead he apparently knowingly risked his liberty to show them to the world because – he said when he believed he was speaking in private – he wanted to trigger “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”.
Compare this aggressive prosecution of Manning to the Obama administration’s vigorous efforts to shield Bush-era war crimes and massive Wall Street fraud from all forms of legal accountability. Not a single perpetrator of those genuine crimes has faced court under Obama, a comparison that reflects the priorities and values of US justice.
Then there’s the behaviour of Obama’s loyalists. Ever since I first reported the conditions of Manning’s detention in December 2010, many of them not only cheered that abuse but grotesquely ridiculed concerns about it. Joy-Ann Reid, a former Obama press aide and now a contributor on the progressive network MSNBC, spouted sadistic mockery in response to the report: “Bradley Manning has no pillow?????” With that, she echoed one of the most extreme rightwing websites, RedState, which identically mocked the report: “Give Bradley Manning his pillow and blankie back.”
As usual, the US establishment journalists have enabled the government every step of the way. Despite holding themselves out as adversarial watchdogs, nothing provokes their animosity more than someone who effectively challenges government actions.
Typifying this mentality was a CNN interview on Thursday night with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange conducted by Erin Burnett. It was to focus on newly released documents revealing secret efforts by US officials to pressure financial institutions to block WikiLeaks’ funding after the group published classified documents allegedly leaked by Manning, a form of extra-legal punishment that should concern everyone, particularly journalists.
But the CNN host was completely uninterested in the dangerous acts of her own government. Instead she repeatedly tried to get Assange to condemn the press policies of Ecuador, a tiny country that – quite unlike the US – exerts no influence beyond its borders. To the mavens of the US watchdog press, Assange and Manning are enemies to be scorned because they did the job that the US press corps refuses to do: namely, bringing transparency to the bad acts of the US government and its allies around the world.
Bradley Manning has bestowed the world with multiple vital benefits. But as his court martial finally reaches its conclusion, one likely to result in the imposition of a long prison term, it appears his greatest gift is this window into America’s political soul.
Source
Glenn Greenwald is a great source on the Manning case. He’s a former civil liberties lawyer & has been covering WikiLeaks/Manning for several years now. Subscribe to him via the Guardian.

Bradley Manning: A tale of liberty lost in America
December 3, 2012

Over the past two and a half years, all of which he has spent in a military prison, much has been said about Bradley (also known as Breanna) Manning, but nothing has been heard from him. That changed on Thursday, when the 23-year-old US army private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks testified at his court martial proceeding about the conditions of his detention.

The oppressive, borderline-torturous measures to which he was subjected, including prolonged solitary confinement and forced nudity, have been known for some time. A formal UN investigation denounced those conditions as “cruel and inhuman”. President Obama’s state department spokesman, retired air force colonel PJ Crowley, resigned after publicly condemning Manning’s treatment. A prison psychologist testified this week that Manning’s conditions were more damaging than those found on death row, or at Guantánamo Bay.

Still, hearing the accused whistleblower’s description of this abuse in his own words viscerally conveyed its horror. Reporting from the hearing, the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington quoted Manning: “If I needed toilet paper I would stand to attention and shout: ‘Detainee Manning requests toilet paper!’" And: "I was authorised to have 20 minutes sunshine, in chains, every 24 hours." Early in his detention, Manning recalled, "I had pretty much given up. I thought I was going to die in this eight by eight animal cage."

The repressive treatment of Bradley Manning is one of the disgraces of Obama’s first term, and highlights many of the dynamics shaping his presidency. The president not only defended Manning’s treatment but also, as commander-in-chief of the court martial judges, improperly decreed Manning’s guilt when he asserted in an interview that he “broke the law”.

Worse, Manning is charged not only with disclosing classified information, but also the capital offence of “aiding the enemy”, for which the death penalty can be imposed (military prosecutors are requesting “only” life in prison). The government’s radical theory is that, although Manning had no intent to do so, the leaked information could have helped al-Qaida, a theory that essentially equates any disclosure of classified information – by any whistleblower, or a newspaper – with treason.

Whatever one thinks of Manning’s alleged acts, he appears the classic whistleblower. This information could have been sold for substantial sums to a foreign government or a terror group. Instead he apparently knowingly risked his liberty to show them to the world because – he said when he believed he was speaking in private – he wanted to trigger “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”.

Compare this aggressive prosecution of Manning to the Obama administration’s vigorous efforts to shield Bush-era war crimes and massive Wall Street fraud from all forms of legal accountability. Not a single perpetrator of those genuine crimes has faced court under Obama, a comparison that reflects the priorities and values of US justice.

Then there’s the behaviour of Obama’s loyalists. Ever since I first reported the conditions of Manning’s detention in December 2010, many of them not only cheered that abuse but grotesquely ridiculed concerns about it. Joy-Ann Reid, a former Obama press aide and now a contributor on the progressive network MSNBC, spouted sadistic mockery in response to the report: “Bradley Manning has no pillow?????” With that, she echoed one of the most extreme rightwing websites, RedState, which identically mocked the report: “Give Bradley Manning his pillow and blankie back.”

As usual, the US establishment journalists have enabled the government every step of the way. Despite holding themselves out as adversarial watchdogs, nothing provokes their animosity more than someone who effectively challenges government actions.

Typifying this mentality was a CNN interview on Thursday night with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange conducted by Erin Burnett. It was to focus on newly released documents revealing secret efforts by US officials to pressure financial institutions to block WikiLeaks’ funding after the group published classified documents allegedly leaked by Manning, a form of extra-legal punishment that should concern everyone, particularly journalists.

But the CNN host was completely uninterested in the dangerous acts of her own government. Instead she repeatedly tried to get Assange to condemn the press policies of Ecuador, a tiny country that – quite unlike the US – exerts no influence beyond its borders. To the mavens of the US watchdog press, Assange and Manning are enemies to be scorned because they did the job that the US press corps refuses to do: namely, bringing transparency to the bad acts of the US government and its allies around the world.

Bradley Manning has bestowed the world with multiple vital benefits. But as his court martial finally reaches its conclusion, one likely to result in the imposition of a long prison term, it appears his greatest gift is this window into America’s political soul.

Source

Glenn Greenwald is a great source on the Manning case. He’s a former civil liberties lawyer & has been covering WikiLeaks/Manning for several years now. Subscribe to him via the Guardian.

Bradley Manning takes the stand: Being detained in KuwaitNovember 30, 2012
The media had been anxiously awaiting the moment that the defense would call Pfc. Bradley Manning to the witness stand to testify on his confinement conditions while in pretrial confinement. This afternoon, the defense called Manning to the stand and, for the first time, Manning spoke about the treatment he experienced while at Quantico—treatment which stirred outrage and developed into a scandal for the military.
Manning’s defense lawyer, David Coombs, said, “I know this is a little nerve wracking,” as Manning sat down. Coombs began with the day he was detained —May 27, 2010. He was brought into a room at FOB Hammer. He did not waive his rights. He then sat for an hour and a half waiting for his belongings to be brought to him in “brown paper bags.”
He remained there for two to three days being escorted everywhere but staying in living quarters. He had a pretrial confinement hearing at Camp Liberty in Iraq in the final days of May and then was placed by magistrate in pretrial confinement.
Manning was transferred to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait and brought into a military tent that had two cage-like cells inside. It was 8 x 8 x 8 and had a rack and toilet. He was held there for 72 hours. He was here throughout the “indoctrination period”—the first part of his detention.
He said he was able to read a manual for guidance of inmates, “which is basically their booklet on rules in the facility.” It was pretty much all he could. He had sheets, a pillow, some blankets, toiletry items and he stayed in the cell except when going to the shower. He was not allowed to talk to anyone but interacted with guards when they brought meals. He could not make phone calls.
Manning described how on the second day he collapsed in his cell. The lights were not on and the air conditioning was not working. The tent was hot and dark. Two figures came in the tent and started to talk to him. He couldn’t understand what they were saying and fainted. When he woke up, a Navy officer was standing above him. He fainted because he was “dehydrated.”
After “indoctrination,” he was brought to a tent with other pretrial detainees, where he stayed in the daytime and slept. It was a twenty-man tent.  He was able to be in an open bay area. Wake-up call was at 2200 Military time. A typical day ended at 1300 or 1400.
He would have a brief recreation call every day and walk around outside. There was a track area in between the fences of the facility where he would go to chow. There was a dining facility tent. He would stay there with other detainees and in a recreation tent at other times.
In the recreation tent, there was an old TV set, VHS player and some library books. There were also a lot of “old VHS tapes.” He would spend between 4 and  10 hours in the tent and other times he would be in the recreation tent with the TV.
He had limited phone privileges but was able to call family.  ”I didn’t have a lot of phone numbers,” he explained. “I had my aunt’s phone number. That’s one I memorized.” When he did call his aunt, it had been nine days since he had contacted family. It was “good to know” he “wasn’t completely cut off from the world,” he said. Manning could also schedule phone calls with his attorney. There was a special area for phone calls.
Manning was moved from his open bay tent to back to a segregated tent about two weeks into his confinement in Kuwait. It was the tent with cages and cells, possibly between June 14 and June 18. He was not told why he was moved and it was the same cell he was in during “indoctrination.”
No detainees was in cell adjacent to him. He had sheets, a pillow, a pillow case, a uniform, a couple changes of clothes and books that I checked out of library.
After being moved back to segregation, there still were no formal charges. He didn’t know what was going on. He was limited, he said, and it was “very draining.”
He was not sleeping much. “Nights were my days. Days were my nights. It all blended.” Generally, he said, he was a “social and extroverted person.” Being in a cell by himself was difficult.
His phone privileges were removed after three calls and they would not explain why. At the camp, they did not allow news. They did not allow radio. There was no way for him to get news of current events in the world.
Manning said he started to “deteriorate in terms of awareness of my surroundings and what’s going on.” Everything was “more insular and I sort of lived inside my head.”
Source
921 days after being detained (120 is the US military law maximum)… Manning takes the stand.
The testimony comes on the two-year anniversary of Cablegate, WikiLeak’s (arguably) most influential leaks of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, allegedly exposed by Manning. Cablegate revealed unprecedented civilian murders in Iraq, as well as “systemic evasion of accountability for atrocities & killings,” says Julian Assange.
Manning also revealed information collected in the Afghan & Iraq War Logs, as well as the Collateral Murder footage.
This photo is heartwarming. After everything Manning has been through, there’s still a smile. Pfc. Manning is an American hero - Exposing war crimes is not a crime. 

Bradley Manning takes the stand: Being detained in Kuwait
November 30, 2012

The media had been anxiously awaiting the moment that the defense would call Pfc. Bradley Manning to the witness stand to testify on his confinement conditions while in pretrial confinement. This afternoon, the defense called Manning to the stand and, for the first time, Manning spoke about the treatment he experienced while at Quantico—treatment which stirred outrage and developed into a scandal for the military.

Manning’s defense lawyer, David Coombs, said, “I know this is a little nerve wracking,” as Manning sat down. Coombs began with the day he was detained —May 27, 2010. He was brought into a room at FOB Hammer. He did not waive his rights. He then sat for an hour and a half waiting for his belongings to be brought to him in “brown paper bags.”

He remained there for two to three days being escorted everywhere but staying in living quarters. He had a pretrial confinement hearing at Camp Liberty in Iraq in the final days of May and then was placed by magistrate in pretrial confinement.

Manning was transferred to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait and brought into a military tent that had two cage-like cells inside. It was 8 x 8 x 8 and had a rack and toilet. He was held there for 72 hours. He was here throughout the “indoctrination period”—the first part of his detention.

He said he was able to read a manual for guidance of inmates, “which is basically their booklet on rules in the facility.” It was pretty much all he could. He had sheets, a pillow, some blankets, toiletry items and he stayed in the cell except when going to the shower. He was not allowed to talk to anyone but interacted with guards when they brought meals. He could not make phone calls.

Manning described how on the second day he collapsed in his cell. The lights were not on and the air conditioning was not working. The tent was hot and dark. Two figures came in the tent and started to talk to him. He couldn’t understand what they were saying and fainted. When he woke up, a Navy officer was standing above him. He fainted because he was “dehydrated.”

After “indoctrination,” he was brought to a tent with other pretrial detainees, where he stayed in the daytime and slept. It was a twenty-man tent.  He was able to be in an open bay area. Wake-up call was at 2200 Military time. A typical day ended at 1300 or 1400.

He would have a brief recreation call every day and walk around outside. There was a track area in between the fences of the facility where he would go to chow. There was a dining facility tent. He would stay there with other detainees and in a recreation tent at other times.

In the recreation tent, there was an old TV set, VHS player and some library books. There were also a lot of “old VHS tapes.” He would spend between 4 and  10 hours in the tent and other times he would be in the recreation tent with the TV.

He had limited phone privileges but was able to call family.  ”I didn’t have a lot of phone numbers,” he explained. “I had my aunt’s phone number. That’s one I memorized.” When he did call his aunt, it had been nine days since he had contacted family. It was “good to know” he “wasn’t completely cut off from the world,” he said. Manning could also schedule phone calls with his attorney. There was a special area for phone calls.

Manning was moved from his open bay tent to back to a segregated tent about two weeks into his confinement in Kuwait. It was the tent with cages and cells, possibly between June 14 and June 18. He was not told why he was moved and it was the same cell he was in during “indoctrination.”

No detainees was in cell adjacent to him. He had sheets, a pillow, a pillow case, a uniform, a couple changes of clothes and books that I checked out of library.

After being moved back to segregation, there still were no formal charges. He didn’t know what was going on. He was limited, he said, and it was “very draining.”

He was not sleeping much. “Nights were my days. Days were my nights. It all blended.” Generally, he said, he was a “social and extroverted person.” Being in a cell by himself was difficult.

His phone privileges were removed after three calls and they would not explain why. At the camp, they did not allow news. They did not allow radio. There was no way for him to get news of current events in the world.

Manning said he started to “deteriorate in terms of awareness of my surroundings and what’s going on.” Everything was “more insular and I sort of lived inside my head.”

Source

921 days after being detained (120 is the US military law maximum)… Manning takes the stand.

The testimony comes on the two-year anniversary of Cablegate, WikiLeak’s (arguably) most influential leaks of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, allegedly exposed by Manning. Cablegate revealed unprecedented civilian murders in Iraq, as well as “systemic evasion of accountability for atrocities & killings,” says Julian Assange.

Manning also revealed information collected in the Afghan & Iraq War Logs, as well as the Collateral Murder footage.

This photo is heartwarming. After everything Manning has been through, there’s still a smile. Pfc. Manning is an American hero - Exposing war crimes is not a crime. 

Pfc. Manning demands dismissal of case due to inhuman punishmentNovember 27, 2012
Breanna, also known as Bradley, Manning is expected to testify in a pretrial hearing that she has been punished illegally by being locked in solitary confinement. The whistleblower hopes that their inhumane punishment is grounds for having all charges dismissed.
Manning, who is accused of sending classified information to WikiLeaks, will testify in a pretrial hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland.
“Until now we’ve only heard from (Bradley) through his family and lawyers, so it’s going to be a real insight into his personality to hear him speak for himself for the first time,” said Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network.
Manning’s lawyers will maintain that her treatment in a small cell at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia was illegal and unnecessarily severe. If pretrial punishment is particularly flagrant, military judges have the right to dismiss all charges.
Manning, a 24-year-old Army private and intelligence analyst, was allegedly involved in the largest security breach in US history and was charged with 22 crimes, including violating the Espionage Act and aiding the enemy. She allegedly accessed 250,000 US diplomatic cables, 500,000 army reports, and videos of the 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Granai airstrike, and sending them to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks for publication in 2010. Manning is the only suspect arrested for  involvement in the security leak.
But while awaiting trial in Quantico from July 2010 to April 2011, Manning was allegedly mistreated, sparking human rights concerns from Amnesty International, the United Nations and the British government. The UN referred to the treatment as cruel, inhuman and degrading. Leading law scholars and PJ Crowley, former spokesman at the US Department of State, have resigned from their positions in protest of Manning’s treatment.
Manning’s lawyers claim she was held in maximum security in a cell so small that it was “the functional equivalent of solitary confinement.” She spent 23 ½ hours confined to his 6-by-8-foot cell with no windows or natural light and was often forced to sleep naked. Manning was also denied a regular blanket and pillow.
Manning was also woken at 5 a.m. every morning and forced to stay awake until 10 p.m., making it difficult for her to pass the time in his closet-like cell. Prison guards checked on Manning every five minutes and refused to let her lie on the bed, lean against the cell wall or exercise.
Military officials have called the punishment suitable, claiming Manning posed a risk of injury to herself and others and was therefore required to remain locked up as a maximum-security detainee. But records show that psychiatrists made at least 16 official reports to military commanders that Manning was not a threat and should therefore not have been subjected to such severe treatment.
While a dismissal of all charges due to pretrial punishment is very rare in a military court, Manning’s lawyers hope that these “egregious” and illegal conditions amount to severe enough punishment to justify dropping the case.
According to lawyer David Coombs, these conditions are a “flagrant violation of Pfc. Manning’s constitutional right to not be punished prior to trial.”
If the military judge refuses to drop the charge but still considers pretrial punishment as time served, then Manning could receive a lesser prison sentence, former Marine Corps attorney Dwight H. Sullivan told the Baltimore Sun. He is currently seeking a “10-to-1” credit, which means he would receive a credit of 10 days served for every actual day spent in pretrial confinement.
If Manning’s lawyers fail to sway the judges, the 24-year-old may face life imprisonment if she is convicted of aiding the enemy, the most serious of the 22 charges. Earlier Manning has also offered to plead guilty to reduced charges for a lesser sentence.
After being released from Quantico due to the prison closing down, Manning was moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she was allowed to interact with other inmates and kept in less strict conditions. But lawyers still hope that the nine-month stay and cruel treatment at Quantico will lead to Manning’s freedom.
The pretrial hearing is scheduled to last until Sunday and precedes the full court martial scheduled for Feb. 4, 2013. 
Source
We will make sure to post any updates from Manning’s trial throughout the week.

Pfc. Manning demands dismissal of case due to inhuman punishment
November 27, 2012

Breanna, also known as Bradley, Manning is expected to testify in a pretrial hearing that she has been punished illegally by being locked in solitary confinement. The whistleblower hopes that their inhumane punishment is grounds for having all charges dismissed.

Manning, who is accused of sending classified information to WikiLeaks, will testify in a pretrial hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland.

“Until now we’ve only heard from (Bradley) through his family and lawyers, so it’s going to be a real insight into his personality to hear him speak for himself for the first time,” said Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Manning’s lawyers will maintain that her treatment in a small cell at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia was illegal and unnecessarily severe. If pretrial punishment is particularly flagrant, military judges have the right to dismiss all charges.

Manning, a 24-year-old Army private and intelligence analyst, was allegedly involved in the largest security breach in US history and was charged with 22 crimes, including violating the Espionage Act and aiding the enemy. She allegedly accessed 250,000 US diplomatic cables, 500,000 army reports, and videos of the 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Granai airstrike, and sending them to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks for publication in 2010. Manning is the only suspect arrested for  involvement in the security leak.

But while awaiting trial in Quantico from July 2010 to April 2011, Manning was allegedly mistreated, sparking human rights concerns from Amnesty International, the United Nations and the British government. The UN referred to the treatment as cruel, inhuman and degrading. Leading law scholars and PJ Crowley, former spokesman at the US Department of State, have resigned from their positions in protest of Manning’s treatment.

Manning’s lawyers claim she was held in maximum security in a cell so small that it was “the functional equivalent of solitary confinement.” She spent 23 ½ hours confined to his 6-by-8-foot cell with no windows or natural light and was often forced to sleep naked. Manning was also denied a regular blanket and pillow.

Manning was also woken at 5 a.m. every morning and forced to stay awake until 10 p.m., making it difficult for her to pass the time in his closet-like cell. Prison guards checked on Manning every five minutes and refused to let her lie on the bed, lean against the cell wall or exercise.

Military officials have called the punishment suitable, claiming Manning posed a risk of injury to herself and others and was therefore required to remain locked up as a maximum-security detainee. But records show that psychiatrists made at least 16 official reports to military commanders that Manning was not a threat and should therefore not have been subjected to such severe treatment.

While a dismissal of all charges due to pretrial punishment is very rare in a military court, Manning’s lawyers hope that these “egregious” and illegal conditions amount to severe enough punishment to justify dropping the case.

According to lawyer David Coombs, these conditions are a “flagrant violation of Pfc. Manning’s constitutional right to not be punished prior to trial.”

If the military judge refuses to drop the charge but still considers pretrial punishment as time served, then Manning could receive a lesser prison sentence, former Marine Corps attorney Dwight H. Sullivan told the Baltimore Sun. He is currently seeking a “10-to-1” credit, which means he would receive a credit of 10 days served for every actual day spent in pretrial confinement.

If Manning’s lawyers fail to sway the judges, the 24-year-old may face life imprisonment if she is convicted of aiding the enemy, the most serious of the 22 charges. Earlier Manning has also offered to plead guilty to reduced charges for a lesser sentence.

After being released from Quantico due to the prison closing down, Manning was moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she was allowed to interact with other inmates and kept in less strict conditions. But lawyers still hope that the nine-month stay and cruel treatment at Quantico will lead to Manning’s freedom.

The pretrial hearing is scheduled to last until Sunday and precedes the full court martial scheduled for Feb. 4, 2013. 

Source

We will make sure to post any updates from Manning’s trial throughout the week.