The Conscience of Chelsea Manning
April 5, 2014

Four years have passed since WikiLeaks’ sensational release of the classified US military video titled Collateral Murder. On April 5 2010, the raw footage was published depicting airstrikes by a US Army helicopter gunship in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad. The soldiers attacked Iraqis, killing about a dozen men wandering down a street, including two Reuters staffers, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh in the first of three reckless attacks involving civilians. The video opened with a quote from George Orwell: “Political language … is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind”. It gained global attention, with viewers reaching millions and shattered the euphemism of ‘collateral damage’, revealing the true state of modern warfare behind the warping shield of propaganda.

Much focus in the media at the time was given to analyzing whether some of the Iraqi people in the video were carrying rocket propelled grenades or AK-47s and arguments ensued about this scene and the rules of engagement. The unfolding of these scenes calls for re-cognition, for us to take a look at these wars from a fuller perspective than the narrow view offered by the establishment media lens.

Before anyone talks about the laws of armed conflict and whether the rules of engagement were broken or not, we need to ask why these armed crews were even there in the first place. We should be examining the legality of the Iraq War itself. Speaking in defense of the disclosure of classified US military documents on the Iraq War, Assange pointed out how, “Most wars that are started by democracies involve lying” and noted how “The start of the Iraq war involved very serious lies that were repeated and amplified by some parts of the press”. Iraq has never been shown to have threatened the United States and it is common knowledge that the premise of this war was based on blatant lies; Colin Powell’s fabrication at the UN Security Council about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction was a particular low point for the US in its base war propaganda. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg designated the term ‘war of aggression’, as an attack on another nation or people without any justification of self-defense and is listed as a major international war crime.

In a report given at a New York Commission Hearing in May 11, 1991, attorney and President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights Michael Ratner seriously questioned the conduct of United States against Iraq:

“As people living in the United States we have an obligation not to close our eyes, cover our ears and remain silent. We must not and cannot be ‘good Germans.’ We must be, as Bertrand Russell said about the crimes committed by the U.S. in Vietnam, ‘Against the Crime of Silence.’ We must bear witness to the tens of thousands of deaths for whom our government and its leaders bear responsibility and ask the question – Has the United States committed war crimes with regard to its initiation and conduct of the war against Iraq?”

The questions raised by the graphic video-game turkey-shoot nature of this video needs to be placed within its larger context along with examining the justification or potential war crimes of each incident in the video.

The moving imagery in the video revealed a particular mindset displayed by these US military trained soldiers. It is the consciousness behind the gun-sight. The mind is generally blind to biases behind a perception that is trained to look at the world through the crosshairs of a gun-sight. From a broader historical perspective, one could say it is a colonial mind that controls an inception point, setting its own rules of engagement and defining the course of events and destiny of those caught in it.

“Lets shoot. Light ‘em all up. Come on, fire!…” In a series of air to ground attacks, a team of Army excitedly found a target. One man said, “Oh, yeah, look at those dead bastards” and the other man responded saying “Nice”. When they found one wounded individual trying to crawl away, another man said “All you gotta do is pick up a weapon” expressing his wish to shoot him. After finding that kids were in the minivan that they had engaged, who were simply on their way to school, one solider said “It’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle”. Seized in their eyes, everything that moves is fixated in this perspective. These civilians are no longer seen as victims and the permission to engage is manufactured through the aggressors attacking their targets who are just trying to defend themselves.

In the original 38 minute video recording the scenes in New Baghdad on July 12, 2007, the past century has lingered to haunt our post-modern global society. The dark shadow of colonization is carried over into the military-industrial age of the 20th century with its outward thrusting brutality. The cynical naming of the ‘Apache’ helicopter evokes a memory of the genocide of American natives long ago. Native American activist Winona LaDuke once spoke of how it is common military-speak when you leave a base in a foreign country to say that you are heading ‘out into Indian Country’. The brutal projection of US power into the oil-rich Middle East contains echos of these historical ‘Indian Wars’. The unfolding scenes appear as if the US is almost glorifying and continuing these crimes against humanity from the past.

Colonial mentality and injustice never atoned for, is now expanding into a global web of military forces that more and more serve hidden corporate goals and agendas. French poet and author, Aimé Césaire (1972/2000) in Discourse on Colonialism wrote how colonization brutalizes and decivilizes the colonizer himself:

“… colonization … dehumanizes even the most civilized man; that colonial activity, colonial enterprise, colonial conquest, which is based on contempt for the native and justified by that contempt, inevitably tends to change him who undertakes it; that the colonizer, who in order to ease his conscience gets into the habit of seeing the other man as an animal, accustoms himself to treating him like an animal, and tends objectively to transform himself into an animal”. (p. 41)

The real scenes of modern war on the ground stand like a mirror. Reflected in the graphic WikiLeaks video, we begin to see something about each one of us that has long escaped consciousness. In the raw image of this cruel scene, we can see a part of our culture’s collective shadow, as the barbarian degraded in the effort of ‘civilizing’ those ‘others’. Descending into torture, drone attacks on wedding parties and other acts of collateral murder, this barbarism is clothed in the rhetoric of civility and self-defense, yet reveals the unredeemed colonizer within.

What is it that is shattering the armament around the hearts of so many? The conscience of Chelsea Manning, the source behind the leak of Collateral Murder was the spark for this awakening. Her act of conscience shattered the abstraction and opened the gate that guarded this inception point where the public could now see uncensored images of modern war and decide for themselves how to see it. In the unfolding images, we were able to see what Chelsea Manning saw.

At the pretrial hearing in Manning’s prosecution for leaking the largest trove of secret documents in US history, she read aloud a personal statement to the court in Fort Meade, Maryland, describing how she came to download hundreds of thousands of classified documents and videos from military database and submit them to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. She spoke about facts regarding the 12 July 2007 aerial weapons team – that video depicting the incident in New Baghdad.

Manning began by saying how at first she didn’t think the video was very special, as she saw countless similar combat scenes. Yet, she came to be troubled by “the recording of audio comments by the aerial weapons team crew and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck”. Then she spoke of the attitudes of the soldiers in the helicopter. “The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have”. She continued:

“They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote ‘dead bastards’ unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.”

Manning spoke about the specific moment where the father driving his kids to school in a van stopped and attempted to assist the wounded:

“While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see that the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew – as soon as the individuals are a threat, they repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the bongo truck and once granted they engage the vehicle at least six times.”

She further pointed to the attitude of the aerial weapons team when they learned about the injured children in the van. She noted how their actions showed no remorse or sympathy for those they killed or injured and they even exhibited pleasure when a vehicle drove over one of the bodies.

Manning had come to see this everyday reality in Iraq from the perspective of those who have been conjured into the designation of ‘enemy’. In that moment, she began to see these unfolding human events more from the point of view of those she was trained to see as others and methodically demonized by a corporate war of terror.

In elucidating the etymology of the word conscience, Jungian psychoanalyst Edward Edinger (1984) related it to the concept of consciousness:

“Conscious derives from con or cum, meaning ‘with’ or ‘together,’ and scire, ‘to know’ or ‘to see’. It has the same derivation as conscience. Thus the root meaning of both consciousness and conscience is ‘knowing with’ or ‘seeing with’ an ‘other’. In contrast, the word science, which also derives from scire, means simply knowing, i.e., knowing without ‘withness.’ (p. 36) … The experience of knowing with can be understood to mean the ability to participate in a knowing process simultaneously as subject and object, as knower and known. This is only possible within a relationship to an object that can also be a subject”. (p. 53)

Conscience first engages the empathic imagination, breaking down walls of separation. One can begin to feel another person’s pain as if it is ones own. In that moment when Manning saw other human beings who she had been trained to see as an ‘enemy combatant’ in the gunsight, she freed them from perception enslaved by the subject position of US supremacy that had made them into a lifeless object. Here the other perspective that was denied was brought back to consciousness. She saw another human being whose life was as precious as hers; not an enemy, but a victim of an oppressive vision of the corporatized military industrial complex.

In the famous chat log with hacker Adrian Lamo that led to her arrest, Manning spoke of how she wants “people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public…”. The truth she referred was what she saw in the unfolded images in the video, articulated in her words in a chat “We’re human… and we’re killing ourselves…”.

At the providence inquiry, she elaborated her wish:

“I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare”.

Full article

Watch the Collateral Murder video here.

WikiLeaks exposes Obama administration’s weakening of environmental policies in TPP

January 15, 2014

The U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries aren’t on the same page regarding environmental policies within the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, and the dissension has been exposed by WikiLeaks.

Organizations who have viewed the leaked version of the TPP’s environment chapter say it shows that the U.S. could ease up on pollution control requirements, a shark fin harvesting ban and other regulations it had previously been negotiating for. Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, told The New York Times that the environment chapter no longer contains language she believes would have ensured that more trade doesn’t equate to destruction of the environment.

“It rolls back key standards set by Congress to ensure that the environment chapters are legally enforceable, in the same way the commercial parts of free-trade agreements are,” she said.

Other groups worry that TPP passage could ignore fracking bans in the U.S. The draft documents are dated Nov. 24. There has been one meeting since then.

The Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) banded together to analyze the document and discover what was missing. Their findings include:

  • A “clear step back” from the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) agreed on by the U.S. and TPP countries in 2007. At the time, Congress and the Bush Administration agreed to “incorporate a specific list of multilateral environmental agreements” in its free trade agreements (FTA), committing the countries to adopting and maintaing those measures and subject them to dispute settlement procedures if need be. Now, TPP countries like Japan, Mexico and New Zealand only need to “affirm” its commitment” to implement the MEAs to which it is a party.
  • A considerable rollback from the dispute resolution process presented in the May 2007 and recent FTAs. Six years ago, violations of the obligations in the environment chapter could be treated like violations of commercial chapters of the agreement. The organizations who authored Wednesday’s analysis say that’s a critical piece of the agreement that provides backing to environmental provisions and ensures that there are consequences for violating them. According to the Sierra Club, NRDC and WWF, “the consolidated text of the TPP environment chapter, however, sends countries back to a pre-2007 world.”

  • The credibility of the article on marine capture fisheries has been severely undercut by a failure to subject commitments to binding dispute settlement. Environmental organizations believe that sections on shark finning, fisheries subsidies and Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fish are among those that must be strengthened.

“This peek behind the curtain reveals the absence of an ambitious 21st-century trade agreement promised by negotiating countries,” Carter Roberts, the U.S. CEO of WWF, said in a statement. “The lack of fully-enforceable environmental safeguards means negotiators are allowing a unique opportunity to protect wildlife and support legal sustainable trade of renewable resources to slip through their fingers. These nations account for more than a quarter of global trade in fish and wood products and they have a responsibility to address trade’s impact on wildlife crime, illegal logging, and overfishing.”

The groups fear that the leaked draft is the final product. If that’s the case, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, believes President Barack Obama’s environmental record would end up being worse than that of Bush.

“This draft chapter falls flat on every single one of our issues—oceans, fish, wildlife, and forest protections,” Brune said. “In fact, (the environment chapter) rolls back on the progress made in past free trade pacts.”

Source

While reading one of their emails, I’ve discovered that Strafor Vice-President Bartholomew Mongoven has some fairly strong feelings about me. In the leaked Wikileaks emails he describes me as “nuts. Like out there.”

Furthermore, he’s concerned that I’m inciting violence when calling for an escalation and nationalization of the anti-extraction movements. (Sorry Bart, as always, I call for a non-violent confrontation of the fossil fuel industry, unlike your bosses in those industries who actually do use violence against people and the planet.)

In another communication, Mongoven calls me “Nuts? Paranoid? Dramatic after reading a blog I’d written commenting on corporate surveillance of my employer. The irony of a private security firm calling me “paranoid” while spying on me at the same time is not lost on me.
Rising Tide & Rainforest Action Network organizer Scott Parkin, "Reflections on the Corporate Security State"
Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond’s message to the worldNovember 15, 2013
Jeremy Hammond, a 28-year-old political activist, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the Anonymous hack into the computers of the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor). The Ceremonial Courtroom at the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York was filled today with an outpouring of support by journalists, activists and other whistleblowers who see Jeremy Hammond’s actions as a form of civil disobedience, motivated by a desire to protest and expose the secret activities of private intelligence corporations.
The following is Hammond’s final statement to the New York court:

Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity. My name is Jeremy Hammond and I’m here to be sentenced for hacking activities carried out during my involvement with Anonymous. I have been locked up at MCC for the past 20 months and have had a lot of time to think about how I would explain my actions.
Before I begin, I want to take a moment to recognize the work of the people who have supported me. I want to thank all the lawyers and others who worked on my case: Elizabeth Fink, Susan Kellman, Sarah Kunstler, Emily Kunstler, Margaret Kunstler, and Grainne O’Neill. I also want to thank the National Lawyers Guild, the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee and Support Network, Free Anons, the Anonymous Solidarity Network, Anarchist Black Cross, and all others who have helped me by writing a letter of support, sending me letters, attending my court dates, and spreading the word about my case. I also want to shout out my brothers and sisters behind bars and those who are still out there fighting the power.
The acts of civil disobedience and direct action that I am being sentenced for today are in line with the principles of community and equality that have guided my life. I hacked into dozens of high profile corporations and government institutions, understanding very clearly that what I was doing was against the law, and that my actions could land me back in federal prison. But I felt that I had an obligation to use my skills to expose and confront injustice—and to bring the truth to light.
Could I have achieved the same goals through legal means? I have tried everything from voting petitions to peaceful protest and have found that those in power do not want the truth to be exposed. When we speak truth to power we are ignored at best and brutally suppressed at worst. We are confronting a power structure that does not respect its own system of checks and balances, never mind the rights of it’s own citizens or the international community.
My introduction to politics was when George W. Bush stole the Presidential election in 2000, then took advantage of the waves of racism and patriotism after 9/11 to launch unprovoked imperialist wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. I took to the streets in protest naively believing our voices would be heard in Washington and we could stop the war. Instead, we were labeled as traitors, beaten, and arrested.
I have been arrested for numerous acts of civil disobedience on the streets of Chicago, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I used my computer skills to break the law in political protest. I was arrested by the FBI for hacking into the computer systems of a right-wing, pro-war group called Protest Warrior, an organization that sold racist t-shirts on their website and harassed anti-war groups. I was charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the “intended loss” in my case was arbitrarily calculated by multiplying the 5000 credit cards in Protest Warrior’s database by $500, resulting in a total of $2.5 million.My sentencing guidelines were calculated on the basis of this “loss,” even though not a single credit card was used or distributed – by me or anyone else. I was sentenced to two years in prison.
While in prison I have seen for myself the ugly reality of how the criminal justice system destroys the lives of the millions of people held captive behind bars. The experience solidified my opposition to repressive forms of power and the importance of standing up for what you believe.
When I was released, I was eager to continue my involvement in struggles for social change. I didn’t want to go back to prison, so I focused on above-ground community organizing. But over time, I became frustrated with the limitations, of peaceful protest, seeing it as reformist and ineffective. The Obama administration continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, escalated the use of drones, and failed to close Guantanamo Bay.
Around this time, I was following the work of groups like Wikileaks and Anonymous. It was very inspiring to see the ideas of hactivism coming to fruition. I was particularly moved by the heroic actions of Chelsea Manning, who had exposed the atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. She took an enormous personal risk to leak this information – believing that the public had a right to know and hoping that her disclosures would be a positive step to end these abuses. It is heart-wrenching to hear about her cruel treatment in military lockup.
I thought long and hard about choosing this path again. I had to ask myself, if Chelsea Manning fell into the abysmal nightmare of prison fighting for the truth, could I in good conscience do any less, if I was able? I thought the best way to demonstrate solidarity was to continue the work of exposing and confronting corruption.
I was drawn to Anonymous because I believe in autonomous, decentralized direct action. At the time Anonymous was involved in operations in support of the Arab Spring uprisings, against censorship, and in defense of Wikileaks. I had a lot to contribute, including technical skills, and how to better articulate ideas and goals. It was an exciting time—the birth of a digital dissent movement, where the definitions and capabilities of hacktivism were being shaped.
I was especially interested in the work of the hackers of LulzSec who were breaking into some significant targets and becoming increasingly political. Around this time, I first started talking to Sabu, who was very open about the hacks he supposedly committed, and was encouraging hackers to unite and attack major government and corporate systems under the banner of Anti Security. But very early in my involvement, the other Lulzsec hackers were arrested, leaving me to break into systems and write press releases. Later, I would learn that Sabu had been the first one arrested, and that the entire time I was talking to him he was an FBI informant.
Anonymous was also involved in the early stages of Occupy Wall Street. I was regularly participating on the streets as part of Occupy Chicago and was very excited to see a worldwide mass movement against the injustices of capitalism and racism. In several short months, the “Occupations” came to an end, closed by police crackdowns and mass arrests of protestors who were kicked out of their own public parks. The repression of Anonymous and the Occupy Movement set the tone for Antisec in the following months – the majority of our hacks against police targets were in retaliation for the arrests of our comrades.
I targeted law enforcement systems because of the racism and inequality with which the criminal law is enforced. I targeted the manufacturers and distributors of military and police equipment who profit from weaponry used to advance U.S. political and economic interests abroad and to repress people at home. I targeted information security firms because they work in secret to protect government and corporate interests at the expense of individual rights, undermining and discrediting activists, journalists and other truth seekers, and spreading disinformation.
I had never even heard of Stratfor until Sabu brought it to my attention. Sabu was encouraging people to invade systems, and helping to strategize and facilitate attacks. He even provided me with vulnerabilities of targets passed on by other hackers, so it came as a great surprise when I learned that Sabu had been working with the FBI the entire time.
On December 4, 2011, Sabu was approached by another hacker who had already broken into Stratfor’s credit card database. Sabu, under the watchful eye of his government handlers, then brought the hack to Antisec by inviting this hacker to our private chatroom, where he supplied download links to the full credit card database as well as the initial vulnerability access point to Stratfor’s systems.
I spent some time researching Stratfor and reviewing the information we were given, and decided that their activities and client base made them a deserving target. I did find it ironic that Stratfor’s wealthy and powerful customer base had their credit cards used to donate to humanitarian organizations, but my main role in the attack was to retrieve Stratfor’s private email spools which is where all the dirty secrets are typically found.
It took me more than a week to gain further access into Stratfor’s internal systems, but I eventually broke into their mail server. There was so much information, we needed several servers of our own in order to transfer the emails. Sabu, who was involved with the operation at every step, offered a server, which was provided and monitored by the FBI. Over the next weeks, the emails were transferred, the credit cards were used for donations, and Stratfor’s systems were defaced and destroyed. Why the FBI would introduce us to the hacker who found the initial vulnerability and allow this hack to continue remains a mystery.
As a result of the Stratfor hack, some of the dangers of the unregulated private intelligence industry are now known. It has been revealed through Wikileaks and other journalists around the world that Stratfor maintained a worldwide network of informants that they used to engage in intrusive and possibly illegal surveillance activities on behalf of large multinational corporations.
After Stratfor, I continued to break into other targets, using a powerful “zero day exploit” allowing me administrator access to systems running the popular Plesk webhosting platform. Sabu asked me many times for access to this exploit, which I refused to give him. Without his own independent access, Sabu continued to supply me with lists of vulnerable targets. I broke into numerous websites he supplied, uploaded the stolen email accounts and databases onto Sabu’s FBI server, and handed over passwords and backdoors that enabled Sabu (and, by extension, his FBI handlers) to control these targets.
These intrusions, all of which were suggested by Sabu while cooperating with the FBI, affected thousands of domain names and consisted largely of foreign government websites, including those ofXXXXXXX,XXXXXXXX,XXXX,XXXXXX,XXXXX,XXXXXXXX,XXXXXXXand theXXXXXX XXXXXXX. In one instance, Sabu and I provided access information to hackers who went on to deface and destroy many government websites inXXXXXX. I don’t know how other information I provided to him may have been used, but I think the government’s collection and use of this data needs to be investigated. 
The government celebrates my conviction and imprisonment, hoping that it will close the door on the full story. I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?
The U.S. hypes the threat of hackers in order to justify the multi billion dollar cyber security industrial complex, but it is also responsible for the same conduct it aggressively prosecutes and claims to work to prevent. The hypocrisy of “law and order” and the injustices caused by capitalism cannot be cured by institutional reform but through civil disobedience and direct action. Yes I broke the law, but I believe that sometimes laws must be broken in order to make room for change.
In the immortal word of Frederick Douglas, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
This is not to say that I do not have any regrets. I realize that I released the personal information of innocent people who had nothing to do with the operations of the institutions I targeted. I apologize for the release of data that was harmful to individuals and irrelevant to my goals. I believe in the individual right to privacy—from government surveillance, and from actors like myself, and I appreciate the irony of my own involvement in the trampling of these rights. I am committed to working to make this world a better place for all of us. I still believe in the importance of hactivism as a form of civil disobedience, but it is time for me to move on to other ways of seeking change. My time in prison has taken a toll on my family, friends, and community. I know I am needed at home. I recognize that 7 years ago I stood before a different federal judge, facing similar charges, but this does not lessen the sincerity of what I say to you today.
It has taken a lot for me to write this, to explain my actions, knowing that doing so—honestly—could cost me more years of my life in prison. I am aware that I could get as many as 10 years, but I hope that I do not, as I believe there is so much work to be done.
STAY STRONG AND KEEP STRUGGLING!

Source

Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond’s message to the world
November 15, 2013

Jeremy Hammond, a 28-year-old political activist, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the Anonymous hack into the computers of the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor). The Ceremonial Courtroom at the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York was filled today with an outpouring of support by journalists, activists and other whistleblowers who see Jeremy Hammond’s actions as a form of civil disobedience, motivated by a desire to protest and expose the secret activities of private intelligence corporations.

The following is Hammond’s final statement to the New York court:

Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity. My name is Jeremy Hammond and I’m here to be sentenced for hacking activities carried out during my involvement with Anonymous. I have been locked up at MCC for the past 20 months and have had a lot of time to think about how I would explain my actions.

Before I begin, I want to take a moment to recognize the work of the people who have supported me. I want to thank all the lawyers and others who worked on my case: Elizabeth Fink, Susan Kellman, Sarah Kunstler, Emily Kunstler, Margaret Kunstler, and Grainne O’Neill. I also want to thank the National Lawyers Guild, the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee and Support Network, Free Anons, the Anonymous Solidarity Network, Anarchist Black Cross, and all others who have helped me by writing a letter of support, sending me letters, attending my court dates, and spreading the word about my case. I also want to shout out my brothers and sisters behind bars and those who are still out there fighting the power.

The acts of civil disobedience and direct action that I am being sentenced for today are in line with the principles of community and equality that have guided my life. I hacked into dozens of high profile corporations and government institutions, understanding very clearly that what I was doing was against the law, and that my actions could land me back in federal prison. But I felt that I had an obligation to use my skills to expose and confront injustice—and to bring the truth to light.

Could I have achieved the same goals through legal means? I have tried everything from voting petitions to peaceful protest and have found that those in power do not want the truth to be exposed. When we speak truth to power we are ignored at best and brutally suppressed at worst. We are confronting a power structure that does not respect its own system of checks and balances, never mind the rights of it’s own citizens or the international community.

My introduction to politics was when George W. Bush stole the Presidential election in 2000, then took advantage of the waves of racism and patriotism after 9/11 to launch unprovoked imperialist wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. I took to the streets in protest naively believing our voices would be heard in Washington and we could stop the war. Instead, we were labeled as traitors, beaten, and arrested.

I have been arrested for numerous acts of civil disobedience on the streets of Chicago, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I used my computer skills to break the law in political protest. I was arrested by the FBI for hacking into the computer systems of a right-wing, pro-war group called Protest Warrior, an organization that sold racist t-shirts on their website and harassed anti-war groups. I was charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the “intended loss” in my case was arbitrarily calculated by multiplying the 5000 credit cards in Protest Warrior’s database by $500, resulting in a total of $2.5 million.My sentencing guidelines were calculated on the basis of this “loss,” even though not a single credit card was used or distributed – by me or anyone else. I was sentenced to two years in prison.

While in prison I have seen for myself the ugly reality of how the criminal justice system destroys the lives of the millions of people held captive behind bars. The experience solidified my opposition to repressive forms of power and the importance of standing up for what you believe.

When I was released, I was eager to continue my involvement in struggles for social change. I didn’t want to go back to prison, so I focused on above-ground community organizing. But over time, I became frustrated with the limitations, of peaceful protest, seeing it as reformist and ineffective. The Obama administration continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, escalated the use of drones, and failed to close Guantanamo Bay.

Around this time, I was following the work of groups like Wikileaks and Anonymous. It was very inspiring to see the ideas of hactivism coming to fruition. I was particularly moved by the heroic actions of Chelsea Manning, who had exposed the atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. She took an enormous personal risk to leak this information – believing that the public had a right to know and hoping that her disclosures would be a positive step to end these abuses. It is heart-wrenching to hear about her cruel treatment in military lockup.

I thought long and hard about choosing this path again. I had to ask myself, if Chelsea Manning fell into the abysmal nightmare of prison fighting for the truth, could I in good conscience do any less, if I was able? I thought the best way to demonstrate solidarity was to continue the work of exposing and confronting corruption.

I was drawn to Anonymous because I believe in autonomous, decentralized direct action. At the time Anonymous was involved in operations in support of the Arab Spring uprisings, against censorship, and in defense of Wikileaks. I had a lot to contribute, including technical skills, and how to better articulate ideas and goals. It was an exciting time—the birth of a digital dissent movement, where the definitions and capabilities of hacktivism were being shaped.

I was especially interested in the work of the hackers of LulzSec who were breaking into some significant targets and becoming increasingly political. Around this time, I first started talking to Sabu, who was very open about the hacks he supposedly committed, and was encouraging hackers to unite and attack major government and corporate systems under the banner of Anti Security. But very early in my involvement, the other Lulzsec hackers were arrested, leaving me to break into systems and write press releases. Later, I would learn that Sabu had been the first one arrested, and that the entire time I was talking to him he was an FBI informant.

Anonymous was also involved in the early stages of Occupy Wall Street. I was regularly participating on the streets as part of Occupy Chicago and was very excited to see a worldwide mass movement against the injustices of capitalism and racism. In several short months, the “Occupations” came to an end, closed by police crackdowns and mass arrests of protestors who were kicked out of their own public parks. The repression of Anonymous and the Occupy Movement set the tone for Antisec in the following months – the majority of our hacks against police targets were in retaliation for the arrests of our comrades.

I targeted law enforcement systems because of the racism and inequality with which the criminal law is enforced. I targeted the manufacturers and distributors of military and police equipment who profit from weaponry used to advance U.S. political and economic interests abroad and to repress people at home. I targeted information security firms because they work in secret to protect government and corporate interests at the expense of individual rights, undermining and discrediting activists, journalists and other truth seekers, and spreading disinformation.

I had never even heard of Stratfor until Sabu brought it to my attention. Sabu was encouraging people to invade systems, and helping to strategize and facilitate attacks. He even provided me with vulnerabilities of targets passed on by other hackers, so it came as a great surprise when I learned that Sabu had been working with the FBI the entire time.

On December 4, 2011, Sabu was approached by another hacker who had already broken into Stratfor’s credit card database. Sabu, under the watchful eye of his government handlers, then brought the hack to Antisec by inviting this hacker to our private chatroom, where he supplied download links to the full credit card database as well as the initial vulnerability access point to Stratfor’s systems.

I spent some time researching Stratfor and reviewing the information we were given, and decided that their activities and client base made them a deserving target. I did find it ironic that Stratfor’s wealthy and powerful customer base had their credit cards used to donate to humanitarian organizations, but my main role in the attack was to retrieve Stratfor’s private email spools which is where all the dirty secrets are typically found.

It took me more than a week to gain further access into Stratfor’s internal systems, but I eventually broke into their mail server. There was so much information, we needed several servers of our own in order to transfer the emails. Sabu, who was involved with the operation at every step, offered a server, which was provided and monitored by the FBI. Over the next weeks, the emails were transferred, the credit cards were used for donations, and Stratfor’s systems were defaced and destroyed. Why the FBI would introduce us to the hacker who found the initial vulnerability and allow this hack to continue remains a mystery.

As a result of the Stratfor hack, some of the dangers of the unregulated private intelligence industry are now known. It has been revealed through Wikileaks and other journalists around the world that Stratfor maintained a worldwide network of informants that they used to engage in intrusive and possibly illegal surveillance activities on behalf of large multinational corporations.

After Stratfor, I continued to break into other targets, using a powerful “zero day exploit” allowing me administrator access to systems running the popular Plesk webhosting platform. Sabu asked me many times for access to this exploit, which I refused to give him. Without his own independent access, Sabu continued to supply me with lists of vulnerable targets. I broke into numerous websites he supplied, uploaded the stolen email accounts and databases onto Sabu’s FBI server, and handed over passwords and backdoors that enabled Sabu (and, by extension, his FBI handlers) to control these targets.

These intrusions, all of which were suggested by Sabu while cooperating with the FBI, affected thousands of domain names and consisted largely of foreign government websites, including those ofXXXXXXX,XXXXXXXX,XXXX,XXXXXX,XXXXX,XXXXXXXX,XXXXXXXand theXXXXXX XXXXXXX. In one instance, Sabu and I provided access information to hackers who went on to deface and destroy many government websites inXXXXXX. I don’t know how other information I provided to him may have been used, but I think the government’s collection and use of this data needs to be investigated. 

The government celebrates my conviction and imprisonment, hoping that it will close the door on the full story. I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?

The U.S. hypes the threat of hackers in order to justify the multi billion dollar cyber security industrial complex, but it is also responsible for the same conduct it aggressively prosecutes and claims to work to prevent. The hypocrisy of “law and order” and the injustices caused by capitalism cannot be cured by institutional reform but through civil disobedience and direct action. Yes I broke the law, but I believe that sometimes laws must be broken in order to make room for change.

In the immortal word of Frederick Douglas, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

This is not to say that I do not have any regrets. I realize that I released the personal information of innocent people who had nothing to do with the operations of the institutions I targeted. I apologize for the release of data that was harmful to individuals and irrelevant to my goals. I believe in the individual right to privacy—from government surveillance, and from actors like myself, and I appreciate the irony of my own involvement in the trampling of these rights. I am committed to working to make this world a better place for all of us. I still believe in the importance of hactivism as a form of civil disobedience, but it is time for me to move on to other ways of seeking change. My time in prison has taken a toll on my family, friends, and community. I know I am needed at home. I recognize that 7 years ago I stood before a different federal judge, facing similar charges, but this does not lessen the sincerity of what I say to you today.

It has taken a lot for me to write this, to explain my actions, knowing that doing so—honestly—could cost me more years of my life in prison. I am aware that I could get as many as 10 years, but I hope that I do not, as I believe there is so much work to be done.

STAY STRONG AND KEEP STRUGGLING!

Source

Secret Trans Pacific Partnership treaty chapter reveals even greater corporate control & international policing measuresNovember 14, 2013
On November 13, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states.
The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP. Both pacts exclude China.
Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy. Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.
The TPP negotiations are currently at a critical stage. The Obama administration is preparing to fast-track the TPP treaty in a manner that will prevent the US Congress from discussing or amending any parts of the treaty. Numerous TPP heads of state and senior government figures, including President Obama, have declared their intention to sign and ratify the TPP before the end of 2013.
WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange stated: “The US administration is aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly.” The advanced draft of the Intellectual Property Rights Chapter, published by WikiLeaks on 13 November 2013, provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarise themselves with the details and implications of the TPP.
The 95-page, 30,000-word IP Chapter lays out provisions for instituting a far-reaching, transnational legal and enforcement regime, modifying or replacing existing laws in TPP member states. The Chapter’s subsections include agreements relating to patents (who may produce goods or drugs), copyright (who may transmit information), trademarks (who may describe information or goods as authentic) and industrial design.
The longest section of the Chapter – ’Enforcement’ – is devoted to detailing new policing measures, with far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons. Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards. The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence. The IP Chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.
The consolidated text obtained by WikiLeaks after the 26-30 August 2013 TPP meeting in Brunei – unlike any other TPP-related documents previously released to the public – contains annotations detailing each country’s positions on the issues under negotiation. Julian Assange emphasises that a “cringingly obsequious” Australia is the nation most likely to support the hardline position of US negotiators against other countries, while states including Vietnam, Chile and Malaysia are more likely to be in opposition. Numerous key Pacific Rim and nearby nations – including Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and, most significantly, Russia and China – have not been involved in the drafting of the treaty.
In the words of WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”
Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.
Read the full secret TPP treaty IP chapter here

Secret Trans Pacific Partnership treaty chapter reveals even greater corporate control & international policing measures
November 14, 2013

On November 13, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states.

The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP. Both pacts exclude China.

Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy. Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.

The TPP negotiations are currently at a critical stage. The Obama administration is preparing to fast-track the TPP treaty in a manner that will prevent the US Congress from discussing or amending any parts of the treaty. Numerous TPP heads of state and senior government figures, including President Obama, have declared their intention to sign and ratify the TPP before the end of 2013.

WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange stated: “The US administration is aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly.” The advanced draft of the Intellectual Property Rights Chapter, published by WikiLeaks on 13 November 2013, provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarise themselves with the details and implications of the TPP.

The 95-page, 30,000-word IP Chapter lays out provisions for instituting a far-reaching, transnational legal and enforcement regime, modifying or replacing existing laws in TPP member states. The Chapter’s subsections include agreements relating to patents (who may produce goods or drugs), copyright (who may transmit information), trademarks (who may describe information or goods as authentic) and industrial design.

The longest section of the Chapter – ’Enforcement’ – is devoted to detailing new policing measures, with far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons. Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards. The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence. The IP Chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.

The consolidated text obtained by WikiLeaks after the 26-30 August 2013 TPP meeting in Brunei – unlike any other TPP-related documents previously released to the public – contains annotations detailing each country’s positions on the issues under negotiation. Julian Assange emphasises that a “cringingly obsequious” Australia is the nation most likely to support the hardline position of US negotiators against other countries, while states including Vietnam, Chile and Malaysia are more likely to be in opposition. Numerous key Pacific Rim and nearby nations – including Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and, most significantly, Russia and China – have not been involved in the drafting of the treaty.

In the words of WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

Read the full secret TPP treaty IP chapter here

Chelsea Manning submits request for presidential pardonSeptember 5, 2013
WikiLeaks whistle-blower Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison last month. Tuesday, in an appeal addressed to President Obama, the Army private’s lawyer asked that his client be pardoned or, at the very least, have her sentence reduced to time served.
Manning has already spent three years in a military prison for leaking documents that her lawyer, David E. Coombs, says were “either unclassified or contained information that the public had a right to know.” Slate discusses the request’s contents:

The earliest Manning could be considered for parole is in 7 years. In the letter, Manning’s lawyer writes, “the length of Private Manning’s sentence is one that we would expect for someone who disclosed information in order to harm the United States or who disclosed information for monetary gain. Private Manning did neither. Instead, he disclosed information that he believed could spark a meaningful public debate on the costs of war, and specifically on how we value human life.”
Referring to Manning as a “military whistleblower,” the letter says Manning “has already paid a heavy price for his conduct.”…Manning’s pardon request refers to Chelsea Manning by her former name, Bradley Manning.

The letter reminds Obama that the documents Manning revealed simply “embarrassed” the U.S. because they exposed the “misconduct” and “unethical practices” carried out by government officials. Coombs also emphasizes the importance of the role whistle-blowers play in our country: Regardless of any embarrassment they may cause, they are essential to ensuring government accountability. Punishments as drastic as those Manning has faced and continues to endure will only discourage patriots wishing to reveal injustices in the future.
Manning also writes in the request herself, according to The Guardian:

“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.”

In other words, enough’s enough, Mr. President. Free Chelsea Manning and send the message that America stands behind whistle-blowers who try to improve our society by opening conversations that are crucial to a nation that calls itself a democracy.
SourceArt source

Chelsea Manning submits request for presidential pardon
September 5, 2013

WikiLeaks whistle-blower Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison last month. Tuesday, in an appeal addressed to President Obama, the Army private’s lawyer asked that his client be pardoned or, at the very least, have her sentence reduced to time served.

Manning has already spent three years in a military prison for leaking documents that her lawyer, David E. Coombs, says were “either unclassified or contained information that the public had a right to know.” Slate discusses the request’s contents:

The earliest Manning could be considered for parole is in 7 years. In the letter, Manning’s lawyer writes, “the length of Private Manning’s sentence is one that we would expect for someone who disclosed information in order to harm the United States or who disclosed information for monetary gain. Private Manning did neither. Instead, he disclosed information that he believed could spark a meaningful public debate on the costs of war, and specifically on how we value human life.”

Referring to Manning as a “military whistleblower,” the letter says Manning “has already paid a heavy price for his conduct.”…Manning’s pardon request refers to Chelsea Manning by her former name, Bradley Manning.

The letter reminds Obama that the documents Manning revealed simply “embarrassed” the U.S. because they exposed the “misconduct” and “unethical practices” carried out by government officials. Coombs also emphasizes the importance of the role whistle-blowers play in our country: Regardless of any embarrassment they may cause, they are essential to ensuring government accountability. Punishments as drastic as those Manning has faced and continues to endure will only discourage patriots wishing to reveal injustices in the future.

Manning also writes in the request herself, according to The Guardian:

“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.”

In other words, enough’s enough, Mr. President. Free Chelsea Manning and send the message that America stands behind whistle-blowers who try to improve our society by opening conversations that are crucial to a nation that calls itself a democracy.

Source
Art source

'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.”

Email services close and destroy data rather than reveal information
August 12, 2013

Lavabit, a Texas-based service that was reportedly used by Edward J. Snowden, announced the suspension of its service Thursday afternoon to avoid being “complicit in crimes against the American people,” The New York Times reports.

Within hours, a fast-growing Maryland-based start-up called Silent Circle also closed its e-mail service and destroyed its e-mail servers.

In effect, both businesses destroyed their assets — in part or in full — to avoid turning over  data of powerful clients.

In an effort to address public concern about the government’s surveillance programs, President Obama on Friday announced the creation of a task force to advise the government about how to ‘balance security and privacy’. Many understand this to mean that they plan to reboot the programs under different names and maintain a climate of secrecy and lies while continuing to pursue whistle-blowers relentlessly. Obama also claimed he supported a proposal to change the procedures of the secret court that approves electronic spying under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Source

As Assange has been saying, any changes made as a direct result of Snowden’s leaks PROVE that Snowden is in fact a whistle-blower (perhaps the most influential in American history) and not an enemy of the United States or whatever the hell they’re calling him now. 

Noam Chomsky: Is Edward J. Snowden aboard this plane?
August 1, 2013

On July 9, the Organization of American States held a special session to discuss the shocking behavior of the European states that had refused to allow the government plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales to enter their airspace.

Morales was flying home from a Moscow summit on July 3. In an interview there he had said he was open to offering political asylum to Edward J. Snowden, the former U.S. spy-agency contractor wanted by Washington on espionage charges, who was in the Moscow airport.

The OAS expressed its solidarity with Morales, condemned “actions that violate the basic rules and principles of international law such as the inviolability of Heads of State,” and “firmly” called on the European governments - France, Italy, Portugal and Spain - to explain their actions and issue apologies.

An emergency meeting of UNASUR - the Union of South American Nations - denounced “the flagrant violation of international treaties” by European powers.

Latin American heads of state weighed in, too. President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil expressed the country’s “indignation and condemnation of the situation imposed on President Evo Morales by some European countries” and warned that this “serious lack of respect for the law . compromises dialogue between the two continents and possible negotiations between them.”

Commentators were less reserved. Argentine political scientist Atilio Boron dismissed Europe as “the whore of Babylon,” cringing before power.

With virtually identical reservations, two states refused to sign the OAS resolution: the United States and Canada. Their growing isolation in the hemisphere as Latin America frees itself from the imperial yoke after 500 years is of historic significance.

Morales’ plane, reporting technical problems, was permitted to land in Austria. Bolivia charges that the plane was searched to discover whether Snowden was on board. Austria responds that “there was no formal inspection.” Whatever happened followed warnings delivered from Washington. Beyond that the story is murky.

Washington has made clear that any country that refuses to extradite Snowden will face harsh punishment. The United States will “chase him to the ends of the earth,” Sen. Lindsey Graham warned.

But U.S. government spokespersons assured the world that Snowden will be granted the full protection of American law - referring to those same laws that have kept U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning (who released a vast archive of U.S. military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks) in prison for three years, much of it in solitary confinement under humiliating conditions. Long gone is the archaic notion of a speedy trial before a jury of peers. On July 30 a military judge found Manning guilty of charges that could lead to a maximum sentence of 136 years.

Like Snowden, Manning committed the crime of revealing to Americans - and others - what their government is doing. That is a severe breach of “security” in the operative meaning of the term, familiar to anyone who has pored over declassified documents. Typically “security” means security of government officials from the prying eyes of the public to whom they are answerable - in theory.

Governments always plead security as an excuse - in the Snowden case, security from terrorist attack. This pretext comes from an administration carrying out a grand international terrorist campaign with drones and special operations forces that is generating potential terrorists at every step.

Their indignation knows no bounds at the thought that someone wanted by the United States should receive asylum in Bolivia, which has an extradition treaty with the U.S. Oddly missing from the tumult is the fact that extradition works both ways - again, in theory.

Last September, the United States rejected Bolivia’s 2008 petition to extradite former president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada - “Goni” - to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. It would, however, be an error to compare Bolivia’s request for extradition with Washington’s, even if we were to suppose that the cases have comparable merit.

The reason was provided by St. Augustine in his tale about the pirate asked by Alexander the Great, “How dare you molest the sea?” The pirate replied, “How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an Emperor.”

St. Augustine calls the pirate’s answer “elegant and excellent.” But the ancient philosopher, a bishop in Roman Africa, is only a voice from the global South, easily dismissed. Modern sophisticates comprehend that the Emperor has rights that little folk like Bolivians cannot aspire to.

Goni is only one of many that the Emperor chooses not to extradite. Another case is that of Luis Posada Carriles, described by Peter Kornbluh, an analyst of Latin American terror, as “one of the most dangerous terrorists in recent history.”

Posada is wanted by Venezuela and Cuba for his role in the 1976 bombing of a Cubana commercial airliner, killing 73 people. The CIA and FBI identified him as a suspect. But Cubans and Venezuelans also lack the prerogatives of the Emperor, who organized and backed the reign of terror to which Cubans have been subjected since liberation.

The late Orlando Bosch, Posada’s partner in terrorism, also benefited from the Emperor’s benevolence. The Justice Department and FBI requested that he be deported as a threat to U.S. security, charging him with dozens of terrorist acts. In 1990, after President George H.W. Bush overturned the deportation order, Bosch lived the rest of his life happily in Miami, undisturbed by calls for extradition by Cuba and Costa Rica, two mere pirates.

Another insignificant pirate is Italy, now seeking the extradition of 23 CIA operatives indicted for kidnapping Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, an Egyptian cleric in Milan, whom they rendered to Egypt for torture (he was later found to be innocent). Good luck, Italy.

There are other cases, but the crime of rendition returns us to the matter of Latin American independence. The Open Society Institute recently released a study called “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition.” It reviewed global participation in the crime, which was very broad, including among European countries.

Latin American scholar Greg Grandin pointed out that one region was absent from the list of shame: Latin America. That is doubly remarkable. Latin America had long been the reliable “backyard” for the United States. If any of the locals sought to raise their heads, they would be decapitated by terror or military coup. And as it was under U.S. control throughout the latter half of the last century, Latin America was one of the torture capitals of the world.

That’s no longer the case, as the United States and Canada are being virtually expelled from the hemisphere.

Source

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.

The verdict in the Pfc. B. Manning trial will be announced today at 1 p.m. EST. Manning faces life in prison without the possibility of parole for exposing US war crimes, including this Collateral Murder video:

TW: Extreme violence - On July 6, 2010, Private B. Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United States Army in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing this video (after allegedly speaking to an unfaithful journalist). The whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, has called Manning a ‘hero’. The Apache crew and those behind the cover up depicted in the video have yet to be charged. To assist Private Manning, please see bradleymanning.org.

5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

If Pfc. Manning is convicted, there is an automatic appeal to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. Next would be Court of Appeals of Armed Forces. Manning’s attorney David Coombs believes the case could go to the Supreme Court, should Manning be convicted of “aiding the enemy”.

Spread this video & Manning’s story. After today, they were imprisoned without sentencing for 1160 days, during which Manning was held under “cruel & inhumane” conditions, according to Juan Mendez, a UN special rapporteur on torture. 

Ironically, a resolution has been introduced to make July 30 National Whistleblower Day. 

Judge refuses to drop ‘aiding the enemy’ charge in Manning trialJuly 19, 2013
The judge presiding over the court martial of the WikiLeaks source Pfc. B. Manning has declined to throw out the main charge against them - that they knowingly “aided the enemy” by leaking state secrets that were posted on the internet.
The decision by Colonel Denise Lind, who is sitting as judge and jury over the army private in a courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland, means that Manning continues to face the possibility of life in military custody with no chance of parole. The “aiding the enemy” charge is one of the most severe offences available to military prosecutors, and has led to the accusation that the Obama administration is attempting to put a chill on whistleblowers that could have far-reaching consequences for investigative journalism.
Colonel Morris Davis, one of the key witnesses called by Manning’s defence team in an attempt to have the “aiding the enemy” charge dropped, said he was “extraordinarily disappointed” by the ruling. Davis was director of the US air force’s judicial system from 2007 to 2008 and said he was normally a defender of military justice.
But he said the fact that military prosecutors were pursuing Manning with such a heavy hand had forced him to think again. He pointed to the contrast between the full-blooded prosecution of the US soldier and the outcome of the court martial that flowed from the 2005 Haditha killings in Iraq.
In that incident, 24 unarmed Iraqis including women and children were killed by US marines. In the ensuing prosecutions, six of the marines involved had their cases dropped, a seventh was found not guilty and the only one to be convicted of a single count avoided any time in jail.
"When you think about these different responses, it suggests to me that the military justice system is not working," Davis said.
The defence team, led by a civilian lawyer, David Coombs, had moved for the “aiding the enemy” charge to be dismissed on grounds of lack of evidence. The motion argued that the US government had failed to produce any substantial evidence that Manning had “actual knowledge” that by passing documents to WikiLeaks they were giving information to an enemy of the US.
Coombs said that in the course of five weeks of prosecution evidence during the trial, the government had not proffered any evidence that the soldier was trained to be wary of WikiLeaks as a possible conduit to enemy groups. On the contrary, the court had heard from one of Manning’s superiors who had trained them as an intelligence analyst who testified that he had never even heard of WikiLeaks prior to the soldier’s arrest in this case.
To find Manning guilty of “aiding the enemy” would set an “extremely bad precedent” that would have an impact on all whistleblowers seeking to sound the alarm about government misconduct through established news outlets, Coombs later argued in court.
The prosecution countered that Manning had been thoroughly trained to recognise that posting any intelligence on the internet would make it accessible to enemy groups, particularly al-Qaida and its affiliated networks. “PFC Manning is distinct from an infantryman or a truck driver, because he had all the training. And this was his job. He knew exactly the consequences of his actions,” one of the prosecutors, Captain Angel Overgaard, told the court.
On more than one occasion, the US government made clear that it would have treated Manning with an equally stern hand had they chosen to leak the information to the New York Times rather than WikiLeaks. The issue was not purely legalistic – in the course of pre-trial hearings Manning indicated that their first attempt at linking to a news organisation was to the New York Times, Washington Post and Politico but had failed to make contact and as a result had turned instead to WikiLeaks.
Amnesty International said that Lind’s decision to keep “aiding the enemy” on the charge sheet was a travesty of justice. “It’s abundantly clear that the charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ has no basis and the charge should be withdrawn,” said the human rights group’s senior director for international law, Widney Brown.
Steven Aftergood, who heads a project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, called Lind’s ruling “sobering”. He added: “It’s disturbing though not altogether surprising.”
Aftergood said that Manning was suffering the consequences of what he called an “indiscriminate release of records. I can’t believe that if he had simply released the Apache helicopter video or some of the other specific documents he transmitted that he would be facing the same set of charges.”
Manning has admitted to 10 lesser included offences relating to the leaking of hundreds of thousands of US state secrets that included war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, detainee files from Guantánamo, a video of the Apache helicopter attack on civilians in Baghdad and a huge trove of US diplomatic cables. The offences to which the soldier has pleaded guilty carry an upper sentence of 20 years, though the US government is seeking a more serious punishment that would see them languish in jail for up to 154 years in addition to the maximum life sentence for “aiding the enemy”.
The judge is expected to deliver her verdict on all 21 counts pursued by the government, as well as the 10 lesser offences admitted by Manning, possibly as early as next week.
Source

Judge refuses to drop ‘aiding the enemy’ charge in Manning trial
July 19, 2013

The judge presiding over the court martial of the WikiLeaks source Pfc. B. Manning has declined to throw out the main charge against them - that they knowingly “aided the enemy” by leaking state secrets that were posted on the internet.

The decision by Colonel Denise Lind, who is sitting as judge and jury over the army private in a courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland, means that Manning continues to face the possibility of life in military custody with no chance of parole. The “aiding the enemy” charge is one of the most severe offences available to military prosecutors, and has led to the accusation that the Obama administration is attempting to put a chill on whistleblowers that could have far-reaching consequences for investigative journalism.

Colonel Morris Davis, one of the key witnesses called by Manning’s defence team in an attempt to have the “aiding the enemy” charge dropped, said he was “extraordinarily disappointed” by the ruling. Davis was director of the US air force’s judicial system from 2007 to 2008 and said he was normally a defender of military justice.

But he said the fact that military prosecutors were pursuing Manning with such a heavy hand had forced him to think again. He pointed to the contrast between the full-blooded prosecution of the US soldier and the outcome of the court martial that flowed from the 2005 Haditha killings in Iraq.

In that incident, 24 unarmed Iraqis including women and children were killed by US marines. In the ensuing prosecutions, six of the marines involved had their cases dropped, a seventh was found not guilty and the only one to be convicted of a single count avoided any time in jail.

"When you think about these different responses, it suggests to me that the military justice system is not working," Davis said.

The defence team, led by a civilian lawyer, David Coombs, had moved for the “aiding the enemy” charge to be dismissed on grounds of lack of evidence. The motion argued that the US government had failed to produce any substantial evidence that Manning had “actual knowledge” that by passing documents to WikiLeaks they were giving information to an enemy of the US.

Coombs said that in the course of five weeks of prosecution evidence during the trial, the government had not proffered any evidence that the soldier was trained to be wary of WikiLeaks as a possible conduit to enemy groups. On the contrary, the court had heard from one of Manning’s superiors who had trained them as an intelligence analyst who testified that he had never even heard of WikiLeaks prior to the soldier’s arrest in this case.

To find Manning guilty of “aiding the enemy” would set an “extremely bad precedent” that would have an impact on all whistleblowers seeking to sound the alarm about government misconduct through established news outlets, Coombs later argued in court.

The prosecution countered that Manning had been thoroughly trained to recognise that posting any intelligence on the internet would make it accessible to enemy groups, particularly al-Qaida and its affiliated networks. “PFC Manning is distinct from an infantryman or a truck driver, because he had all the training. And this was his job. He knew exactly the consequences of his actions,” one of the prosecutors, Captain Angel Overgaard, told the court.

On more than one occasion, the US government made clear that it would have treated Manning with an equally stern hand had they chosen to leak the information to the New York Times rather than WikiLeaks. The issue was not purely legalistic – in the course of pre-trial hearings Manning indicated that their first attempt at linking to a news organisation was to the New York Times, Washington Post and Politico but had failed to make contact and as a result had turned instead to WikiLeaks.

Amnesty International said that Lind’s decision to keep “aiding the enemy” on the charge sheet was a travesty of justice. “It’s abundantly clear that the charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ has no basis and the charge should be withdrawn,” said the human rights group’s senior director for international law, Widney Brown.

Steven Aftergood, who heads a project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, called Lind’s ruling “sobering”. He added: “It’s disturbing though not altogether surprising.”

Aftergood said that Manning was suffering the consequences of what he called an “indiscriminate release of records. I can’t believe that if he had simply released the Apache helicopter video or some of the other specific documents he transmitted that he would be facing the same set of charges.”

Manning has admitted to 10 lesser included offences relating to the leaking of hundreds of thousands of US state secrets that included war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, detainee files from Guantánamo, a video of the Apache helicopter attack on civilians in Baghdad and a huge trove of US diplomatic cables. The offences to which the soldier has pleaded guilty carry an upper sentence of 20 years, though the US government is seeking a more serious punishment that would see them languish in jail for up to 154 years in addition to the maximum life sentence for “aiding the enemy”.

The judge is expected to deliver her verdict on all 21 counts pursued by the government, as well as the 10 lesser offences admitted by Manning, possibly as early as next week.

Source