The London Expat American Meetup Group Message Board › Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks and Afghanistan - US Citizen in Guantanamo
Hey Wilber? Bradley is not in Guantanamo he is still in Quantico Virgina. Just thought i would let you know?
WikiLeaks among nominees for Nobel Peace Prize
2 hours 5 mins ago
Anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks has been nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian politician behind the proposal said on Wednesday, a day after the deadline for nominations expired.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee accepts nominations for what many consider as the world's top accolade until February 1, although the five panel members have until the end of the month to make their own proposals.
Norwegian parliamentarian Snorre Valen said WikiLeaks was "one of the most important contributors to freedom of speech and transparency" in the 21st century.
"By disclosing information about corruption, human rights abuses and war crimes, WikiLeaks is a natural contender for the Nobel Peace Prize," Valen said.
Members of all national parliaments, professors of law or political science and previous winners are among those allowed to make nominations. The committee declined to comment on the WikiLeaks proposal or any other nominations.
Washington is furious at WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange for releasing tens of thousands of secret documents and diplomatic cables which it says have harmed U.S. interests abroad, including peace efforts.
Assange, An Australian, faces extradition to Sweden from Britain for questioning in a sex case which he and his supporters say is a smear campaign designed to close down WikiLeaks, a non-profit organisation funded by the public and rights groups.
Awarding WikiLeaks the prize would be likely to provoke criticism of the Nobel Committee, which has courted controversy with its two most recent choices, jailed Chinese pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo and U.S. President Barack Obama a few months after his election.
NOBEL DEFINITION STRETCHED
The prize was endowed by Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite, who said in his will it was to be awarded to whoever "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
In past decades the committee, appointed by the Norwegian parliament, has stretched Nobel's definition to include human rights, climate activism and even micro-financing, which have been a source of criticism from Nobel traditionalists.
Nobel watchers say a prize for WikiLeaks would highlight the growing role of specialist Internet sites and broad access social media in bringing about world change.
Sites such as Twitter and YouTube have played important roles in mobilising people in countries with a tight grip on official media, such as Egypt where mass anti-government protests have been taking place.
Kristian Berg Harpviken of the PRIO peace think tank in Oslo agreed that innovative use of "new tools for bringing about peace" could be a major theme in this year's Nobel, but he said he expected the prize to go to a woman after a series of male recipients.
His strongest tip was the Russian human rights group Memorial and its leader, Svetlana Gannushkina.
The nomination deadline may make it difficult for Middle East nominees should mass protests there produce peace.
Egypt's Mohamed ElBaradei won the prize in 2005 as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog. Although theoretically possible, no individual has won the peace prize twice. The Red Cross has won three times.
Ambassador Louis B. Susman~ Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
New repressive anti internet freedom laws being hustled through Congress in light of successful activism by Wikileaks. Anti Constitutional in their essence in that freedom of speech is telling truth to power.
These laws cut into basic 1st Amendment rights.
As millions of people in the Middle East demand thier freedoms this week, (with over 400 being shot yesterday in Libya alone) Americans allow theirs to be rolled back.
Ambassador Louis B. Susman
U.S. ambassador to UK: Who is our ambassador to "The Court of St James"
Excerpts from EFF's Call to Action by Shari Steele, Join EFF in Standing up Against Internet Censorship:
Let's be clear — in the United States, at least, WikiLeaks has a fundamental right to publish truthful political information. And equally important, Internet users have a fundamental right to read that information and voice their opinions about it. ...
On Friday, we wrote about Amazon's disappointing decision to yank hosting services from WikiLeaks after a phone call from a senator's office. Since then, a cascade of companies and organizations has backed away from WikiLeaks. A public figure called for the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa axed WikiLeaks’ accounts. EveryDNS.net pulled Wikileaks’ DNS services. Unknown sources continue to cripple WikiLeaks with repeated denial of service attacks. Even the Library of Congress, normally a bastion of public access to information, is blocking WikiLeaks.
There has been a tremendous backlash against WikiLeaks from governments around the world. In the United States, lawmakers have rashly proposed a law that threatens legitimate news reporting well beyond WikiLeaks. We expect to see similar efforts in other countries. Like it or not, WikiLeaks has become the emblem for one of the most important battles for our rights that is likely to come along in our lifetimes. We cannot sit this one out.
Criminalizing Whistleblowers: Wikileaks and America's SHIELD Legislation
Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act (SHIELD)
The bill is referred to is S. 4004, SHIELD (Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination) Act [Open Congress link]. Introduced on Dec. 2, 2010, the bill would amend section 798 of title 18, United States Code, to provide penalties for disclosure of classified information. Quoting from one of the co-sponsor's press release, Bipartisan Ensign Legislation Goes After WikiLeaks by Amending Esponage Act (Dec. 2, 2010):
Details of the Act itself
Ambassador Louis B. Susman
U.S. ambassador to UK: Who is our ambassador to "The Court of St James"
Edited by Wilber Webb on Feb 20, 2011 8:02 PM
S. 4004, SHIELD (Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination) Act
Quoting from one of the co-sponsor's press release, Bipartisan Ensign Legislation Goes After WikiLeaks by Amending Esponage Act (Dec. 2, 2010):
Edited by Wilber Webb on Feb 20, 2011 8:27 PM
Newsnight: Bradley Manning Report
Special Wikileaks event: This house believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place
When April 9th, 2011 5:00 PM through 7:00 PM
Where Kensington Town Hall
London, XLON W8 7NX
Contact Phone: 020 7479 8940
Event Fee(s) Standard Fee £ 20.00
Concessions - students/seniors £ 15.00
Join the Frontline Club and New Statesman for a provocative public debate featuring Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks.
Over the past 12 months, official secrecy has been challenged like never before. Three of the biggest ever leaks of classified information – the Iraq War Logs, the Afghanistan War Logs and Cablegate – shook the world and prompted governments to reconsider how they share information.
Since the start of the Obama administration in 2009, the US government has brought charges against five defendants suspected of leaking classified information. Before Obama, the US government had only ever filed similar charges three times in 40 years.
For this very special event at Kensington Town Hall, the New Statesman and the Frontline Club host a challenging debate in which some of the most prominent public figures on secrecy and transparency issues will go head to head.
Amid the intensifying crackdown on whistleblowers, the debate will ask: are UK and US officials correct to argue that those who publish leaks threaten national security? Or do we need them to expose wrongdoing because, as transparency advocates argue, governments always abuse secrecy?
The event will feature an interactive section where the audience will be able to vote on the motion.
Chair: Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman.
Other panellists to be confirmed.
Tickets are limited and will be sold on a first come, first served basis.
For media & press queries please contact email@example.com – or call 020 7936 6456.
Please book online, for any other enquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org - or call 020 7479 8940
Is Bradley Manning being punished before trial?
Military prosecutors have said they will seek life imprisonment for Bradley Manning, the US soldier charged with leaking state secrets to the WikiLeaks website. Newsnight's Matt Prodger has been to the US to find out more about a case which is dividing opinion there.
For eight months Private Bradley Manning has been awaiting trial over 34 charges relating to the leaking of 720,000 diplomatic and military documents.
He is being held at the maximum security jail on the Quantico US military base in Virginia - kept in a single cell 23-hours-a-day, isolated from other prisoners, and not allowed to exercise.
Few people have seen him since his arrest. One of the handful who has is David House, a computer researcher and friend of the soldier, who has visited him 16 times.
Chained hand and foot
Mr House said that meetings with his friend happen in a visitation room in which the pair is separated by a pane of bullet-proof glass.
"Going in to see Bradley you can tell when they're about to bring him out because a call goes out throughout the brig: 'brig's going into lockdown', and they repeat it several times, you hear doors shutting and then from far away you hear this rattling of chains. Very ghostly," Mr House said.
"The door opens and this diminutive figure, only five feet three, is led in and sat on a metal stool. And he's done up in chains from his feet, looped through a leather belt around his waist to his hands... And he's sat down."
Amnesty International has described the treatment of Pte Manning, whose mother is Welsh, as "unnecessarily harsh and punitive" and has called on the British government to intervene.
In a letter released by his lawyers, Pte Manning claims he is routinely stripped each night and his prescription glasses are confiscated, leaving him with limited vision.
Mr House backed this version of events, saying that as well as being held in isolation 23-hours a day with the exception of visiting hours, Pte Manning is been denied access to writing materials, newspapers and is forcibly prevented from exercising.
He also claimed that Pte Manning is "made to stand nude in front of other prisoners in the mornings" and "mistreated by his marine captors after media events or after protests happen at the brig".
The Pentagon has said that Pte Manning is being treated in much the same way as any other maximum security prisoner deemed to be at risk to themselves.
He is on Prevention of Injury Watch which allows the imposition of measures for his own safety, such as the removal of his clothes at night, in favour of a sleeping smock.
Pte Manning, his lawyer and several military psychiatrists who have seen him have denied that he presents such a risk.
When asked whether he thinks Pte Manning is being punished prior to his trial and if so why, Mr House said that his friend was the victim of a co-ordinated pressure campaign:
"I think that all of this together is not just a confluence of random events, but actually is a concerted effort on the part of the brig and perhaps the US government to get Bradley Manning to undergo psychological and emotional devastation ahead of his trial," he said.
Earlier this month, US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley was forced to resign after he said that what was being done to Pte Manning by colleagues at the Department of Defence was "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid".
However, Mr Crowley did say that Pte Manning was "in the right place".
Mr Crowley's former boss, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned the disclosure of classified documents on the WikiLeaks website as a threat to national security.
Pte Manning's friends and supporters say the threat to national security is why he is being treated so harshly, and there has also been speculation that it is part of an attempt to make him confess that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange helped him extract the classified information.
The man who turned Pte Manning in to the authorities, Adrian Lamo, said that he for one would like to see Mr Assange in custody:
"I regret that he [Bradley Manning] is sitting in a cell while Julian Assange is free," he said.
Adrian Lamo, a convicted computer hacker, turned informant, is at the heart of the prosecution case against Pte Manning. It was to him that Pte Manning allegedly confessed in conversations via text-based instant messaging that he had been gathering and leaking classified information whilst working at Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq.
Mr Lamo reported to the FBI that Pte Manning had told him during online chats in May 2010 that he had downloaded material and passed it to WikiLeaks.
"The reason that I took the information to the military authorities was that I had become convinced that I was dealing with the real thing as a result of statements that Pte Bradley Manning made to me that I have authenticated with a former special agent in army counter-intelligence," Mr Lamo said.
Mr Lamo, who is currently in hiding after getting death threats because of his decision, said:
"I acted out of what I believed and continue to believe to be the good of the many rather than the good of Bradley Manning."
It is the good of the many which has driven Pte Manning's actions too, according to one of his staunchest supporters, Daniel Ellsberg.
Mr Ellsberg knows what it is like to be accused of treachery for leaking secrets; in 1971 he leaked the Pentagon Papers, which showed the US government had lied about the Vietnam War.
"He said 'I'm ready to go to prison for life or even be executed to get this information out to the American public and to the world'," Mr Ellsberg said of Pte Manning. "He saw America supporting corrupt dictatorships all over the world and thought Americans should know that - but also the people of those areas should know."
However, Mark Rasch, former head of the US Justice Department's Computer Crime Unit and current cyber security director for CSC, said that while people with access to sensitive information, like Pte Manning, may believe that what they are doing is in the public interest, they are not equipped to make that decision:
"The problem is you don't understand the context and the milieu in which the information has been classified. And so something that looks to you as being simple or improperly classified may result in all kinds of harm that you can't anticipate because you don't have the whole picture," he said.
That is certainly the view of Shelly Otto, a former soldier, whose husband is a marine at the prison where Pte Manning is being held. She sees it as most Americans do:
"I think if you give up secrets that impact our military when they are operating in a war zone then you get what you get. You have to be punished. You can't just go 'here's all our secrets' and expect nothing to happen."
Watch Matt Prodger's full Newsnight report on Bradley Manning on the BBC iPlayer.
Text of Early Day Motion 1624
TREATMENT OF BRADLEY MANNING
That this House expresses great concern at the treatment of Private First Class Bradley Manning, currently detained at the US Quantico Marine Base; notes the increasing level of interest and concern in the case in the UK and in particular in Wales; appeals to the US administration to ensure that his detention conditions are humane; and calls on the UK Government to raise the case with the US administration.
USA treatment of WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning 'appalling ...
Ann Clwyd Welsh MP
Rt Hon Ann Clwyd MP
Member of Parliament for the Cynon Valley since 1984
Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee
Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group
18th March 2011
Subject: Bradley Manning
Ann Clwyd MP said:
“I have raised the case of Bradley Manning on a number of occasions in Parliament this week. On Wednesday, I raised his case with the Foreign Secretary in a session of the Foreign Affairs Committee. On Thursday, I raised the case with the Leader of the House during Business Questions. I have tabled an Early Day Motion on the treatment of Bradley Manning and I have applied to the Speaker for a debate.
“On 10th March, Bradley Manning’s lawyer released a memorandum from Bradley Manning to the Commanding Officer of Quantico Marine Base which described his detention conditions.
“Throughout his detention he has been classified a ‘Maximum Custody’ detainee and held in solitary confinement. His ‘Prevention of Injury’ (POI) status means he is kept in his cell for 23 hours a day. His is stripped of all clothing during the night and given a coarse and uncomfortable ‘smock’. He is not permitted to sleep during the day.
“During the period when he was classified a ‘Suicide Risk’, he was required to remain in his cell 24 hours a day, his glasses were taken away from him, rendering him blind.
“He has been made to stand naked and to attention ‘on parade’ for the Brig Superviser.
“This treatment serves no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade Bradley Manning.
“His conditions ignore the recommendations of the Marine Corps’ own appointed psychiatrists’ reports.
“Bradley Manning calls his conditions “improper treatment” and “unlawful pre-trial punishment”. Human Rights Watch has called upon the US government to “explain the precise reasons behind extremely restrictive and possibly punitive and degrading treatment that Army Private First Class Bradley Manning alleges he has received”. Amnesty International UK has said “Manning is being subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. This is particularly disturbing when one considers that he hasn’t even been brought to trial, let alone convicted of a crime”.
“Bradley Manning’s treatment is cruel and unnecessary.
“I regard myself as a great friend and admirer of the United States. But this treatment of one of their own soldiers ill-becomes that otherwise great nation.
“I do not say this lightly, but Bradley Manning’s treatment has uncomfortable echos of the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
“I implore the US Administration to treat Bradley Manning humanely whilst he is detained.
“There is increasing concern about Bradley Manning’s case in the United Kingdom, and in particular in Wales, where Bradley’s mother lives and where he went to school.
“So I will continue to raise the case of Bradley Manning with the UK Government. I do not think it is acceptable for the UK Government to refuse to engage with the case and I call upon the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to officially raise Bradley Manning’s case with his US counterpart.”
Bradley Manning: top US legal scholars voice outrage at torture
Obama's professor among 250 experts who have signed letter condemning humiliation of alleged WikiLeaks source
Calls Grow for Government to Account for Mistreatment of Accused WikiLeaks Source Bradley Manning
Interview with Bruce Ackerman, Yale law professor, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
More than 250 of America's most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his "degrading and inhumane conditions" are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.
The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America's foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.
Prof Bruce Ackerman: Bradley Manning's cruel and inhuman treatmentTribe joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago.
He told the Guardian he signed the letter because Manning appeared to have been treated in a way that "is not only shameful but unconstitutional" as he awaits court martial in Quantico marine base in Virginia.
The US soldier has been held in the military brig since last July, charged with multiple counts relating to the leaking of thousands of embassy cables and other secret documents to the WikiLeaks website.
Under the terms of his detention, he is kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, checked every five minutes under a so-called "prevention of injury order" and stripped naked at night apart from a smock.
Tribe said the treatment was objectionable "in the way it violates his person and his liberty without due process of law and in the way it administers cruel and unusual punishment of a sort that cannot be constitutionally inflicted even upon someone convicted of terrible offences, not to mention someone merely accused of such offences".
The harsh restrictions have been denounced by a raft of human rights groups, including Amnesty International, and are being investigated by the United Nations' rapporteur on torture.
Tribe is the second senior figure with links to the Obama administration to break ranks over Manning. Last month, PJ Crowley resigned as state department spokesman after deriding the Pentagon's handling of Manning as "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid".
The intervention of Tribe and hundreds of other legal scholars is a huge embarrassment to Obama, who was a professor of constitutional law in Chicago. Obama made respect for the rule of law a cornerstone of his administration, promising when he first entered the White House in 2009 to end the excesses of the Bush administration's war on terrorism.
As commander in chief, Obama is ultimately responsible for Manning's treatment at the hands of his military jailers. In his only comments on the matter so far, Obama has insisted that the way the soldier was being detained was "appropriate and meets our basic standards".
The protest letter, published in the New York Review of Books, was written by two distinguished law professors, Bruce Ackerman of Yale and Yochai Benkler of Harvard. They claim Manning's reported treatment is a violation of the US constitution, specifically the eighth amendment forbidding cruel and unusual punishment and the fifth amendment that prevents punishment without trial.
In a stinging rebuke to Obama, they say "he was once a professor of constitutional law, and entered the national stage as an eloquent moral leader. The question now, however, is whether his conduct as commander in chief meets fundamental standards of decency".
Benkler told the Guardian: "It is incumbent on us as citizens and professors of law to say that enough is enough. We cannot allow ourselves to behave in this way if we want America to remain a society dedicated to human dignity and process of law."
He said Manning's conditions were being used "as a warning to future whistleblowers" and added: "
I find it tragic that it is Obama's administration that is pursuing whistleblowers and imposing this kind of treatment."
Ackerman pointed out that under the Pentagon's own rule book, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Manning's jailers could be liable to prosecution for abusing him. Article 93 of the code says "any person who is guilty of cruelty toward any person subject to his orders shall be punished".
The list of professors who have signed the protest letter includes leading figures from all the top US law schools, as well as prominent names from other academic fields. Among them are Bill Clinton's former labour secretary Robert Reich, President Theodore Roosevelt's great-great-grandson Kermit Roosevelt, the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union Norman Dorsen and the writer Kwame Anthony Appiah.
Edited by Wilber Webb on Apr 14, 2011 7:30 PM
WIKILEAKS: American Meetup: Gareth Peirce on Bradley Manning
Remember, the meeting is at 5:00 pm, and awkward to get to, so give yourself some time to get there!
Gareth Peirce is a world renowned civil rights attorney, we will be meeting to hear her speak on the Bradley Manning case. She is most popularly know as the subject of a Hollywood biopic some years back, in which Emma Thomson played her.
Wikileaks is the topic of our times, and there is no one better to explain it than Gareth Peirce. There will be food and music from 2 pm and a BYO drinks right after.
see you there!
RSVP Today! x