The London Expat American Meetup Group Message Board › Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks and Afghanistan - US Citizen in Guantanamo

Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks and Afghanistan - US Citizen in Guantanamo

Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,620


Statement by Mr. Juan E Méndez, Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, 16th session of the Human Rights Council, 7 March 2011
http://www.ohchr.org/...­

"On Tuesday, a United Nations official again complained publicly that the U.S. military has denied his request for a confidential meeting with Manning. “It is imperative that I talk to Mr. Manning under conditions where I can be assured that he is being absolutely candid,” U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez said in a statement."

Marine inquiry faults Bradley Manning treatment
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http://www.politico.c...­
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Con...

We should be mindful of the real possibility that a policy of using such information for purposes other than trials, could provide an incentive to State agents to forego prosecutions altogether, and instead engage in disappearances, extra-judicial executions, and other illegal repressive measures that could lead to a total breakdown of the rule of law. It is my considered opinion that, in order for the exclusionary rule to work as a preventive measure and create a disincentive for would-be abusers to extract confessions or corroborating information, States should seriously consider extending the applicability of article 15 of the Convention Against Torture to cover intelligence and executive decisions. In other words, Article 15 can only remain effective if it is applicable to all and any information which may form the basis of a judicial or administrative process or decisions by the executive and its agencies. Naturally, I am mindful of the need of States to prevent acts of terrorism and to combat organized crime with usable intelligence and in real time. My views on the exclusionary rule should not unduly limit the States’ abilities to gather intelligence in legal and ethical ways, but only to forbid the use of torture. In my considered opinion, an enhanced respect for and adherence to the principle set out in article 15 of the Convention requires policies that do not allow for illegally obtained evidence to enter through the back door while the front door of criminal prosecutions is closed.

Mr. President,

My role as Special Rapporteur does not only give me an opportunity to assess the situation with regard to torture, but also to provide credible and human rights-friendly forensic and other scientific alternatives which have been proven to achieve better results than the use of torture. During my tenure, I intend to identify and further develop the linkages between forensic and other sciences, not only with a view to eradicating torture but also to offer States credible alternatives to employ in law enforcement, counter-terrorism and effective criminal prosecution. Successful prosecutions and safe convictions of verifiably guilty parties go a long way in restoring and enhancing the public’s confidence in the institutions of the rule of law. In turn, that public confidence is the best guarantee of success in fighting crime of all sorts.

In the context of immigration laws, of fighting organized crime, or in countering terrorism, States must adhere to the long-established principle of non-refoulement as an effective legal and procedural safeguard against torture. The rule that States must not deport or extradite a person to a jurisdiction where he or she runs the risk of persecution is now part of customary international law. In addition, and more specifically with respect to the risk of being tortured, it is contemplated in the Convention Against Torture (Article 3). I share the view, espoused by my predecessors, that the practice of seeking diplomatic assurances from the receiving State does not relieve the sending State of its obligations, particularly when it is clearly used as “an attempt to circumvent the absolute prohibition of torture and non-refoulement.” I look forward to engaging with Member States on this issue.

Pre-trial detention, conditions in detention and torture in secret places of detention, will also be important aspects of my engagement with States. To prevent the perpetration of torture and ill treatment, I will insist on the need to monitor places of detention particularly in the first few hours or days after a person’s arrest. Places of detention and interrogation shuld be under the supervision and control of clearly identifiable judicial authorities empowered to recognize and enforce the rights of detainees. It is crucial to reinforce legislative norms through protocols, instruments and methodological guidelines targeted at ensuring effective guarantees for persons deprived of their liberty. I am especially concerned that prolonged incommunicado detention as well as detention in secret places facilitates the perpetration of torture and ill treatment, and could in themselves constitute a form of such treatment. I urge States to desist from such practices and proceed to close down all secret detention facilities.

Lastly, the question as to whether the death penalty, as well as some health and drug policies, prolonged solitary confinement, some treatments for mental disability, and domestic violence constitute per se cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment has given rise to much debate and discussion in this Council. I believe that the international community as a whole would greatly benefit from a dispassionate and rational discussion of these issues. Consequently, I will be addressing them in my tenure and, within the resources available to me, to promote thoughtful and rigorous research on these important issues through the prism of the progressive development of human rights standards. In due course, I aspire to have the findings so reached to generate a fruitful discussion and consideration by the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms.

Mr. President,

Country visits allow for a proper assessment of the prevalence of torture globally and the formulation of recommendations to address it through a process of dialogue and open discourse. It is therefore an important component of the work of the mandate. Since my appointment, I have received an invitation from the Government of Iraq to undertake a country visit in the last trimester of 2011. I am currently in preparation to visit the Kyrgyz Republic, in response to an invitation from the Government. The Governments of the Maldives and Cote d’Ivoire have also extended me invitations to visit. I take advantage of this opportunity to express my appreciation to these Governments.

In the past year, the mandate undertook three country visits and a follow-up country visit, all of them conducted by my predecessor, Prof Manfred Nowak. I would like to thank the Governments of Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Greece and Kazakhstan for those invitations and for their cooperation with the mandate during the conduct of the respective missions.
Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,621


Statement by Mr. Juan E Méndez, Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, 16th session of the Human Rights Council, 7 March 2011
http://www.ohchr.org/...­

"On Tuesday, a United Nations official again complained publicly that the U.S. military has denied his request for a confidential meeting with Manning. “It is imperative that I talk to Mr. Manning under conditions where I can be assured that he is being absolutely candid,” U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez said in a statement."

Marine inquiry faults Bradley Manning treatment
http://www.wired.com/...­ http://www2.ohchr.org...­
http://www.politico.c...­
http://www.politico.c...­
http://www.cidh.oas.o...­
http://www.change.org...­

Con...

A preliminary note on the mission to Jamaica was presented to the Council last March. Let me also acknowledge receipt of Jamaica’s response to the country report of Special Rapporteur on torture. I regret that the Jamaican Government has rejected many of the recommendations made by the mandate. I hope that, in the spirit of dialogue and openness, we are able to discuss these concerns with a view to addressing the issues raised in our report. In that context, let me reiterate my disposition to continue to engage with the Honorable Government of Jamaica on all matters related to our mutual interest in preventing and eradicating torture.

The report on the Special Rapporteur’s visit to Jamaica raises concerns about a general atmosphere of violence and aggression in almost all police stations, as well as discriminatory practices against detainees. The report suggests that the overall conditions of police detention disregard the dignity of detainees. Additionally, the report expresses the view that conditions at remand and correctional facilities are generally better than in police stations; many prisons were found to be overcrowded, lacking sanitary facilities and any meaningful opportunities for education, work and recreation. The mandate also received consistent allegations that corporal punishment was routinely applied in remand and correctional centres. The conditions for women were generally better, and there was a strict separation between male and female detainees. Children in conflict with the law, those deemed uncontrollable and those in need of care and protection from the State were held together in detention facilities without distinction. Similarly, concerns were expressed that torture is not defined in criminal legislation in Jamaica, nor is Jamaica a party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

In light of these concerns, the mandate urged the Government to ratify the Convention against Torture and the Optional Protocol thereto. Other recommended steps include ensuring prompt and thorough ex officio investigations for all allegations of ill-treatment or excessive use of force; reducing the time limits for police custody to 48 hours; establishing accessible and effective complaints mechanisms; and the rapid bringing into force of an Independent Commission of Investigation. Children in conflict with the law should also be removed from adult detention facilities.

The mandate conducted a mission to Papua New Guinea in May of 2010. The report of the visit highlights isolated cases of torture in the classical sense of deliberately inflicting severe pain or suffering as a means of extracting a confession or information. The mandate also found a considerable number of cases where persons were subjected to different degrees of beatings by the police during arrest and as a form of punishment, which in some cases also amount to torture and are otherwise cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Further, impunity for torture and ill-treatment is fuelled by the lack of effective complaint mechanisms, independent investigations, monitoring or other similar safeguards. The Special Rapporteur found a general atmosphere of violence and neglect in places of detention. In police stations, detainees were locked up for long periods in overcrowded and filthy cells, without proper ventilation or natural light for periods of up to one year. The conditions in correctional institutions were better, but generally overcrowded. There was also an overall lack of medical attention, even for those who were severely beaten by the authorities, and the poor sanitary conditions facilitated the spread of contagious diseases. With regard to juveniles, the Police Juvenile Policy and Protocol, an excellent tool in dealing with juveniles in conflict with the law, is for the most part not being applied. Juveniles were held with adults in all police stations visited by the Special Rapporteur. Concerns were also expressed about the wide prevalence of gender-based violence and the lack of an effective State mechanism to address it. In detention, women are extremely vulnerable to sexual abuse from police officers or from other detainees.

The findings of the visit lead to a call for the Government to issue an unambiguous declaration by the highest authorities that it will not tolerate torture or similar ill-treatment by public officials. The Government is also urged to ratify the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol. Other recommended steps include amending domestic legislation to include the crime of torture with adequate penalties; ensuring prompt and thorough ex officio investigations for all allegations and suspicions of ill-treatment or excessive use of force; reducing the time limits for police custody to 48 hours; establishing accessible and effective complaint mechanisms; and ensuring a comprehensive and structural reform of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

The mandate also undertook a mission to Greece last October. A major increase in the number of irregular migrants and refugees coming mostly via the land border with Turkey has overwhelmed law enforcement institutions in Greece. Confronted by the large number of aliens entering the country irregularly every day, the government has instituted a policy calling for their systematic detention. As a result, the border guard stations, police stations, and migration detention centres are in crisis.
Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,622


Statement by Mr. Juan E Méndez, Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, 16th session of the Human Rights Council, 7 March 2011
http://www.ohchr.org/...­

"On Tuesday, a United Nations official again complained publicly that the U.S. military has denied his request for a confidential meeting with Manning. “It is imperative that I talk to Mr. Manning under conditions where I can be assured that he is being absolutely candid,” U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez said in a statement."

Marine inquiry faults Bradley Manning treatment
http://www.wired.com/...­ http://www2.ohchr.org...­
http://www.politico.c...­
http://www.politico.c...­
http://www.cidh.oas.o...­
http://www.change.org...­

Con...

During the visit, the mandate received numerous reports of ill-treatment by police officers, in particular in premises of Criminal Investigation Departments (CID), some amounting to torture in the sense of the Convention Against Torture (CAT) but with relatively little forensic evidence corroborating the allegations. The lack of evidence may be explained by the non-functioning system of police investigation and complaint mechanisms. This creates an environment of powerlessness for victims of physical abuse and may perpetuate a system of impunity for police violence. For the most part, Prof Nowak found that foreign nationals were being held in the police stations which, it seems, operate as facilities for detention awaiting deportation, contrary to their normal function. In all but one facility under the authority of the Ministry of Citizens’ Protection (police stations, border guard stations and migration detention centres) he found foreign nationals detained in overcrowded, dirty cells with inadequate sanitary facilities, no or insufficient access to outdoor exercise and inadequate medical attention. He found such conditions to amount to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Articles 7 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Further, grave concerns are expressed about the situation of unaccompanied minors who are often not properly registered and are systematically detained, often together with adults. Similarly, concerns are expressed about severely overcrowded prisons. The rate of pre-trial detention is very high in comparison to all criminal investigations; the problem is made worse by the fact that pre-trial detainees are not separated from those convicted of crimes, in violation of Article 10 of the ICCPR.
Let me also acknowledge that the Government has taken several positive measures since the visit. These measures include several legislative and other practical initiatives to address some of the concerns raised. I am encouraged by the goodwill of the Greek Government and look forward to further engagement with it on the issues identified.

In September 2010, at the invitation of the Government, the special rapporteurship had the rare opportunity to conduct a follow-up country visit to Kazakhstan. Let me emphasize the importance of follow-up country visits as an important way to continue the process of reform and other measures aimed at eradicating torture and ill-treatment. I would like to encourage States that have been visited by previous mandate holders to conduct follow-up activities – including repeat visits -- with the involvement of the Special Rapporteur. Similarly, let me draw your attention to Addendum 2 of my report which contains information supplied by States, as well as by other stakeholders, including National Human Rights Institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), relating to follow-up measures adopted in response to the recommendations of the mandate following country visits.

Lastly, let me draw your attention to the report on the communications sent and responses received from States. It includes communications sent between 21 December 2009 and 1 December 2010. The mandate sent a total of 203 communications, consisting of 66 letters of allegations of torture to 34 Governments and 137 urgent appeals to 53 Governments on behalf of persons who might be at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment. As you know, Excellencies, this is one of the measures which the mandate takes to protect persons who have been tortured or have experienced ill treatment or who at serious risk. To this effect, I can’t overemphasize the importance of Government taking substantive steps in addressing the concerns that I raise with you. I want to thank those States that have responded to our inquiries; but more importantly, I will like to urge a better rate of responsiveness to our communications.

Mr. President,

Experience shows that the mandate is often the subject of difficult discussions. Likewise, the implementation of my mandate will inevitably raise differences of opinion with regard to substance, interpretation and approach, all of which may cause some discomfort for some States. The brutal nature of torture requires that all parties work quickly and constructively to ensure its eradication and when perpetrated that there is no impunity – the right to be free from torture is non-derogable in all circumstances – there can be no exception. It is a non-derogable right during states of emergency and it cannot be derogated ex post facto by a policy or a practice to ignore it and allows violations to go unpunished. In responding to allegations of torture or ill-treatment and the need to eradicate them, we will all need to re-double our efforts in approaching this difficult subject in a spirit of openness and good faith. In the course of my tenure, I will try to point out challenges fairly and objectively, and acknowledge progress where it exists while working diligently with stakeholders to achieve a world without torture. I am a strong believer in constructive and open dialogue in furthering our universally shared interest in eradicating torture and ill-treatment worldwide and addressing its root causes. In this connection, I intend to place much emphasis on identifying areas of cooperation in this common quest and engaging proactively with States to prevent torture, and to join efforts to look for the most effective ways to achieve compliance with the absolute prohibition of torture as provided for under international law.
Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,623


Statement by Mr. Juan E Méndez, Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, 16th session of the Human Rights Council, 7 March 2011
http://www.ohchr.org/...­

"On Tuesday, a United Nations official again complained publicly that the U.S. military has denied his request for a confidential meeting with Manning. “It is imperative that I talk to Mr. Manning under conditions where I can be assured that he is being absolutely candid,” U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez said in a statement."

Marine inquiry faults Bradley Manning treatment
http://www.wired.com/...­ http://www2.ohchr.org...­
http://www.politico.c...­
http://www.politico.c...­
http://www.cidh.oas.o...­
http://www.change.org...­

Con...

Let me conclude by drawing attention to the fact that the work of the mandate has been enriched by the activities and contributions of other mandates, by the work of treaty bodies dedicated to our same issue: the Committee Against Torture (CAT) and the Subcommittee on Prevention of the Optional Protocol to that Convention (OPCAT), and by the invaluable assistance of civil society organizations. I would like to recognize the importance of this cooperation and thank those partners for their assistance upon which I hope to rely and indeed contribute to their own work. Naturally, I also wish to thank those States and their representatives who have made the eradication of torture in our time a central tenet of their efforts to promote and protect human rights.

Thank you Mr. President.
Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,626


US Reaction to Wikileaks: A Terrorist For Opposing American Imperial Power?
by Professor Inderjeet Parmar
http://www.manchester...­



Sarah Palin, a likely Republican candidate for the presidency in 2012, has called for Wikileaks’ founder, Julian Assange, to be “hunted down in the way armed forces are targeting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda”. Assange, according to the potential next leader of the free world, is “an anti-American with blood on his hands”.

Secretary of State, Clinton, suggests that Assange has attacked the entire “international community”. Other US leaders have assailed Bradley Manning, the youthful US army intelligence operative who passed secret cables to Assange, and called for his prosecution and even execution. Wikileaks, having been dismissed by Amazon and other internet service providers, has found refuge in Switzerland.



For some, it is impossible to oppose US foreign policy without being an irrational, backward, evil, fanatical terrorist, who is against all things decent. It is automatically to be branded “anti-American” – against Americans per se and, therefore, almost “racist”. The construction is not dissimilar to what some Israeli leaders say when anyone criticises their country’s behaviour in Gaza and elsewhere: you are an anti-Semite. In the latter case, a Jew who criticises Israel is labelled “self-hating Jew”. An American who criticises his country, like Bradley Manning, is smeared as “un-American”. Such an approach to criticism unites a broad range of Americans – liberals to conservatives to neo-conservatives, state agencies and private philanthropic foundations: it is a core element of an informal but powerful operational code that brooks little opposition and declares any criticism of the imperial hegemon as an attack on God himself or, in Clinton’s secular term, “the international community”.

As God, or the world community, the US is ordinarily used to controlling outcomes – at least that’s the operating myth. They are used to doing what they want and also portraying it they way they want. Al-Jazeera is bad enough but the wikileaks episodes have exposed America’s vulnerability at a particularly bad time. Having one’s secrets laid bare is galling but the knowledge that there’s more to come is truly frightening. And coming at a time when American power is meeting stern resistance all around the world – Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, from a burgeoning anti-war movement inside the US itself – and the American economy is failing to produce jobs and growth, more fully exposes US vulnerability.



Imperial powers rarely see anything in isolation. They tend to believe in the interconnectedness of things. They see the world as an interdependent system; when something goes wrong in one part of the system it has knock on effects across the system as a whole. Hence, wikileaks is seen as an attack on the entire “international community”, of which the US is self-appointed head. And imperial hegemons do not appease aggressors.



It is difficult for the US to carry on “business as usual” even if the wikileaks episode has been dismissed by some as of little or no consequence. Things have changed. For Americans brought up on the myth of America the ‘exceptional’ country, the City Upon A Hill, the beacon of light pointing the way to the rest of the world, the eschewer of wicked power politics, wikileaks is nothing less than a reminder that the United States is like any other imperial power in history. In a deeply conservative nation, the American myth remains powerful: wikileaks’ revelations chip away at American self-confidence, adding to the woes of lost status – an expensive budget-busting war in Afghanistan, economic relative decline, rise of China, a faltering American dream, and so on. And all that plus being led by a black president – who is believed by disturbingly large proportions of the electorate to be Muslim and foreign-born, an outsider – who fails to deal with an ungrateful world in quite the same way as George W. Bush or a Ronald Reagan.. or a Sarah Palin?

At a conference on anti-Americanism a couple of years ago, it was said by one delegate that we should “take America out of anti-Americanism”. That is, expressions of opposition to US policies abroad revealed more about the speaker than they did about the USA. It revealed the speaker’s own psychological inadequacies, political motives, irrationalities. It echoed George W. Bush’s comment that anyone who attacks America does it because they “resent our values and envy our success”. It’s not America, it’s YOU.

Yet, American administrations must take heed of “anti-Americanism”: the issue occupies a myriad of Washington, DC, think tanks and public diplomacy experts, in and out of government. It vexes the American public – “why do they hate us?” – and it gives the opposition party a stick with which to beat the administration. And in some of the weighty reports produced by blue-ribbon commissions headed by state intellectuals, there is a flicker of recognition, some credibility afforded to the notion that opposition to the US in the Middle East and elsewhere might actually be rooted in American behaviour – the deployment of lethal military force over time, costing millions of lives - over large parts of the Third World, a failure to match deeds with lofty ideals. After all, the reports note, such large majorities like American films and culture and even wish to settle in the US – so they’re not actually anti-American. They say that they don’t like our policies, such as unequivocal support for Israel.

But the policy implications of that insight are simply too radical to pursue. Support for Israel reflects a core interest, as do so many other national security policies. Opposition to the US that results from defending and promoting core interests is considered inevitable and viewed as a bearable cost of American power. Great powers have been and will be hated. But they must continue to pursue their vital interests. Anyone who opposes imperial power in pursuit of core interests is, by definition, evil and, in the age of Guantanamo, a terrorist.

Click on this US International Relations link to read more from Inderjeet's Blog.
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Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,627
Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,636
Peter Tatchell on Bradley Manning – “A True, True Patriot”
The following is taken from an address Peter Tatchell gave at a public meeting at Giuseppe Conlon Hall on 9th July 2011. Bradley Manning – “A True, American Patriot" In the truest sense of the founding fathers
Posted on July 23, 2011
by Naomi| 1 Comment

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Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,647


Alan Moore backs the Bradley Manning campaign!
Creator of "Watchmen", The NY Times top 100 novels of all time

"With any legitimate trial of whistleblower Bradley Manning still being at an unspecified date in the future, it would seem that what is presently on trial here is western culture itself. When the persecution of an individual who has exposed an evil is pursued so ruthlessly and yet the evil itself is studiedly ignored, all of us know that there is something very wrong with the way that our society is conducting itself. And if we do not protest in the strongest terms about what is being done in our name, then we become complicit. There is no third option. Bradley Manning and others like him everywhere are vital to our continued moral health and wellbeing as a people, and unless we offer them our full support in their often dire and isolated circumstances, it is we, as a people, who will end up the losers."

Alan Moore
Northampton, August, 2011























http://fumettidccomic...­
Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,659
Former SAS soldier and conscientious objector Ben Griffin speaks out
We need a new special relationship: One of working people

The reason for Wikileaks is not embarrassment, but to reveal warcrimes
Nevermind the diplomatic cable: the real value is in court admissible warcrimes being revealed, in accurate documentation of all actions on the ground in Iraq for the over many many years.



Some in power think that their prosecution would tear the very fabric of American society; Most criminals of any sort I'm sure feel that way. But the truth is in the United States our country as a nation state survived a full blown Civil War and held an election in the middle of it~ A war crimes tribunal, or even trial would help heal the world, not divide it.

It may also even make those in charge think twice about engaging in unconstitutional (or any sort) of warfare.

In the United States, constitutionaly speaking no one, not event the President is above the law. If it was good enought for George Washington it's good enought for George Bush!
Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,739
Bradley Manning and Julian Assange Both Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
This is a great development and no doubt it will make the collective right-wing’s head explode
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Among the known nominees this year are WikiLeaks and its leader Julian Assange nominated for the second year in a row, as well as Bradley Manning
Good news - Reuters are reporting that Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize:

http://uk.reuters.com...­

Can anyone think of another example of a nominee being imprisoned by a previous winner of the prize....? CLICK HERE!:
http://www.bradleyman...­
http://www.whitehouse...­
http://wikileaks.org/...­
The Arab Spring, as it has been termed, is well-represented in the Nobel Peace Prize nominees this year, and with good reason: It was a remarkable grassroots revolution that is still changing the North African and Middle East dynamic and, indeed, the world.

Much of this, however, might not have been possible but for the actions of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks.

Manning allegedly leaked diplomatic cables and video (of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack) to WikiLeaks. Manning had access to SIPRNet and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System from his workstation in Iraq. His reason for leaking the documents? Manning wrote to former hacker Adrian Lamo, “I want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

Assange, as founder and public face of WikiLeaks, took these documents—in addition to other diplomatic cables and documents—and published them on WikiLeaks—an act the old New York Times would have done without hesitation in the Pentagon Papers-era, but seems quite reluctant to do in the 21st century.

And while a Nobel Peace Prize nomination might not help Manning avoid prison time or get Assange released from house arrest and his abserd legal charade, it certainly is a form of vindication for both men; many people across the world admire their principled stand.

If it had not been for WikiLeaks publishing the leaked diplomatic cables, the Arab Spring might not have been possible. The leaks were the catalyst, as Amnesty International stated, supplying the momentum in Tunisia and Egypt, for example. Even Retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel Ann Wright, in a recent Stars & Stripes editorial, has called Wikileaks “a critically important tool for those who seek to uphold basic human-rights standards and the professional conduct of U.S. military forces.”

As such, both Manning and Assange deserve serious consideration for the Nobel Peace Prize.


The Nobel Peace Prize nominees for 2011 recognize a number of activists, among them Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Wael Ghonim, Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni, and Egyptian Israa Abdel Fattah together with the April 6 Youth Movement.

WikiLeaks has won a number of awards, including the 2008 Economist magazine New Media Award. In June 2009, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange won Amnesty International's UK Media Award (in the category "New Media") for the 2008 publication of "Kenya: The Cry of Blood – Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearances", a report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights about police killings in Kenya. In May 2010, the New York Daily News listed WikiLeaks first in a ranking of "websites that could totally change the news".


Comments
Rosamelia Martínez Torres 2 days ago

Wikileaks have revealed/exposed over the last year or so (hat tip to Glenn Greenwald):
- The killing of two Reuters journalists and other civilians by a U.S. helicopter gunship in Iraq.
- 15'000 previously unlisted civilian deaths in Iraq.

-
That the U.S. military in Iraq had a policy, known as Frago 242, of
essentially ignoring abuses, including torture, that were being carried
out by Iraqi security forces.
- That Hilary Clinton/the State
Department had ordered U.S. staff at the U.N. to spy on U.N. officials
and collect personal information about them, including passwords for
e-mail accounts, credit card details, etc.
- That the Obama administration worked with top Republicans to kill off a probe into Bush era torture.
-
That the Yemeni authorities colluded with the Obama administration to
cover up a U.S. cluster bomb attack in the country, which killed
civilians and was condemned by Amnesty International.
- That the
British security services are training a Bangladeshi Police battalion
that has been widely implicated in human rights abuses, and has been
accused as acting as a death squad.
- That the U.K. government
told the U.S. government that there were 'measures in place' to protect
U.S. interests at the inquiry into the Iraq war.
And some not mentioned by Greenwald:
- That the U.K. government conspired with the U.S. government to basically try and subvert the ban on cluster munitions, to which the U.K. is a party.

-
That the U.K. government knew full that establishing a marine reserve
in British Indian Ocean Territory would end any chance the displaced
Chagassion people had of returning home - something which is their
legally mandated right, according to court rulings - while telling the U.S. that their own military activities in the area would be in no way impaired by it.

- That for all the booga booga about Iranian interference in Iraq, senior Iraqi officials believe that it's Saudi Arabia who are the main destabilizing force, and who have been financing the 'al-Qaeda offensive'.

Julian Assange may or may not be everything his critics say he is. But it's
undeniable that the organisation he represents, and the whistle blowers
who feed them, have exposed plenty of wrong doing and sometimes outright
criminality in high places. Things that the perpetrators have tried to
keep from the public, but which are clearly in the public interest. For
that, both the organisation and the whistle blowers deserve credit, and
focusing on the character of Assange himself basically amounts to
nothing more than a distraction from the really important stuff.

Who is WikiLeaks: Wikileaks is an international new media non-profit organization that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous news sources and leaks. Its website, launched in 2006, is run by The Sunshine Press. Within a year of its launch, the site claimed a database that had grown to more than 1.2 million documents.
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