The United States cannot win its war on Chelsea Manning

By Russell Fuller

The United States cannot win its war on Bradley Manning. Though it sent a somewhat fragile young man off to war in Iraq, it produced instead a committed humanitarian; though it has caged him without trial for three years, one of them in torturous solitary confinement, it produced instead a fine, free spirit; though it brings its full weight to bear on a man who stands but five-foot two and tips the scales at one hundred and five pounds, it simply steeled his spine; though it restricts public access to pre-trial hearings and, in contradistinction to the First Amendment, threatens the meager group of gathered journalists and witnesses by stating today that access is not a right but a privilege, it produces instead a hunger for truth. Continue reading “The United States cannot win its war on Chelsea Manning”

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Bradley Manning’s torture hearing

For the last three weeks in Ft. Meade, MD, Bradley Manning has had a pretrial motion hearing to seek accountability for the abusive treatment he endured at the Quantico Marine brig in Virginia, from July 29, 2010, to April 20, 2011. Continue reading Bradley Manning’s torture hearing

Interview: Chase Madar, “The Passion of Bradley Manning”

Chase Madar is a civil rights attorney and author of the new book on the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower, called “The Passion of Bradley Manning.” The book looks at Bradley’s motives, his treatment by the U.S. government, and the political issues his case brings up. Chase answered a few questions for the Support Network about Bradley, his new book, and the crackdown on whistle-blowers in America.

You’re a civil rights lawyer, a writer on politics and civil liberties, and a contributing editor for the American Conservative. What drew you to Bradley Manning?

Few events scream to be written about like l’affaire Bradley Manning.  First there’s Private Manning himself, he’s like someone out of a novel or a heroic folk ballad.  He’s a small-town kid who’s become an international cause.  He’s gay, he’s brainy, he’s critical of his country, but he’s intensely patriotic and a deep believer in responsibility for one’s country.  He refuses to help round up Iraqi citizens and hand them over to the authorities who are, even after the U.S. occupation, still torturing prisoners right and left.   He brings us incredible knowledge of our wars and of how our foreign policy works, and he gets severely punished.  Manning is the last great Enlightenment martyr.  The chatlogs with Adrian Lamo by themselves read like a tragic novella.  I said he’s a novelistic character, but the drama is almost operatic.

A half dozen crucial issues collide in l’affaire Manning: how we assess national security threats; how we create 77million state secrets every year in this country; who we blame, and don’t blame, for civilian casualties; what the laws of war are really worth; how we punish Americans, how we punish foreigners, with solitary confinement.  The injustice in this case really stinks in the nostrils.  It’s been said a million times but I’ll say it again: if only Pfc Manning had tortured prisoners, or authorized torture, or illegally spied on Americans with warrantless wiretapping, or lied us into a catastrophic war…if the young private had done any of these things, he’d be a free man.  If he had massacred civilians in Haditha, Iraq, or in Kandahar, Afghanistan, he’d be out of jail sooner.  But bringing new knowledge to the American people, and to the world, this is unforgivable.  Suddenly we hear that “rules are rules” and need to be enforced, this after the orgy of impunity among elite officials and ordinary soldiers over the past decade. Continue reading “Interview: Chase Madar, “The Passion of Bradley Manning””

UNAC Peace Conference: March 23-25 (now with audio)

Update: audio of the conference

Audio of my talk is here, starting shortly after the 17-minute mark. When video of the talk or the rest of the conference is online, I’ll post that as well.

Original Post:

This weekend, beginning tomorrow night, the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) is hosting a peace conference in Stamford, CT (just 45 minutes from Grand Central Station, NYC), to bring together major groups working to end war, imperialism, poverty, and social injustice.

I’ll be speaking briefly on a Sunday morning panel called “Victims of Political Repression Speak Out.” Representing the Bradley Manning Support Network, I’ll discuss the material PFC Manning is alleged to have leaked, why he shouldn’t be on trial in the first place, and how the military is railroading his court proceedings to make a chilling example of him.

The conference will be livestreamed here: http://cprmetro.blogspot.com/

Below is a schedule of speakers, panels, and workshops. Come if you can, or check out the livestream!

Continue reading “UNAC Peace Conference: March 23-25 (now with audio)”

Coverage of Bradley Manning’s motion hearing

This Thursday and Friday, March 15 & 16, I attended Bradley Manning’s motion hearing at Ft. Meade, MD. We held vigils outside the gate before the hearings began both days, and several supporters came inside the courtroom to show solidarity with the 24-year-old whistle-blower. I took as detailed notes as I could each day in court, and I published those notes here. The first day … Continue reading Coverage of Bradley Manning’s motion hearing

Detention and Deception Revisited

Exactly four months ago, the United States marked the 10-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks – a day mixed with somber reflection, raging jingoism, and politicized commentary. Today we mark the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility – a day of national shame. This is a prison rife with torture, trumped up charges, and hidden abuse. Guantánamo symbolizes the worst of … Continue reading Detention and Deception Revisited

The Scale of American Overclassification

[This piece was first posted here, for the Bradley Manning Support Network.] In his closing statement two weeks ago, PFC Bradley Manning’s defense attorney David Coombs said of the information released, that it is all out in the public, and yet it hasn’t caused any harm. “If anything, it’s helped,” he said. Coombs called the government’s warning about the impact of the releases a “Chicken … Continue reading The Scale of American Overclassification

“More Questions than Answers” at the Bradley Manning Hearing

Here are the notes I took on the final day of Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing. The last day was brief – the defense and prosecution each gave their closing statements, and we were out of the courtroom in an hour – but revealing. Each side suggested the type of arguments they planned to make if and when the case goes to court-martial, with the prosecution … Continue reading “More Questions than Answers” at the Bradley Manning Hearing

On Media Access to Bradley Manning’s Hearing

Last week, I applied for press credentials to cover Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland. I’m an intern for the Bradley Manning Support Network, but because I intended to write about it for this site and potentially elsewhere, I applied as an “independent journalist” not affiliated with any particular organization, a news team of one. On Wednesday, December 14, at 3:35 PM, Fort … Continue reading On Media Access to Bradley Manning’s Hearing

One Year Later: WikiLeaks’ Financial Blockade

One year ago today, the financial blockade of WikiLeaks began. PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, and Amazon halted all financial transactions to the group. According to WikiLeaks, this cut 95 percent of their donations. Below, from WikiLeaks’ website, is a graph depicting just how damaging the blockade was: As WikiLeaks says, “The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency.” … Continue reading One Year Later: WikiLeaks’ Financial Blockade

Occupy Trenton Statehouse™

Brought to you by MoveOn.org I wasn’t expecting much of today’s rally at the Trenton Statehouse, ostensibly in solidarity with November 17 Occupy rallies across the country, most prominently in New York. It was cold, rainy, and noon on a weekday, and Occupy Trenton’s encampment was rather paltry. But I was expecting something. Trenton is the state capital, after all. New Jersey has suffered from … Continue reading Occupy Trenton Statehouse™

Two-Tiered Transparency

Today National Journal reports that since March, the Justice Department has been investigating former top CIA lawyer John Rizzo for allegedly disclosing classified information about that agency’s highly secretive drone program. The Justice Dept. opened the investigation following Newsweek’s article, “Inside the Killing Machine,” in which Rizzo divulges specific details about the drone program. Reason for Rizzo to leak information on the CIA’s use of … Continue reading Two-Tiered Transparency

Bank Transfer Day

Happy Bank Transfer Day!

Coinciding with Guy Fawkes Day, thousands of people nationwide are withdrawing their funds from America’s biggest banks, those that Occupiers everywhere are protesting, and moving them to local banks or credit unions.

They’re doing so because these banks are posting record profits, paying huge bonuses, and charging new fees while unemployment, poverty, and anger are on the rise. Continue reading “Bank Transfer Day”

U.S. Trying to Profit from Bahrain’s Brutality

Representative James McGovern and Senator Ron Wyden have introduced joint legislation calling on the U.S. to suspend the sale of American-made weaponry to Bahrain, in light of that country’s violent, heinous crackdown on citizens protesting their leaders.

The bill provides a clear list of the extensive human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed by the autocratic Bahraini government since February 2011.

These include the killing of at least 32 people (3 of whom were in detention), torturing detainees, limiting due process in military courts, holding political prisoners, failing to prosecute government officials accused of human rights violations, imprisoning doctors for treating political opponents, destroying mosques, and discriminating against Shi’ites. It’s exhaustive and disturbing. The congressmen note that Bahrain is party to both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against torture.

Due to these accusations, the U.S. State Department said that Bahrain warranted “human rights scrutiny” on June 15, 2011.

Yet on September 14, 2011, as the bill includes -with no formal investigation or no sign that the Bahraini government has ended these policies – the U.S. Defense Department proposed to congress a deal to sell $53,000,000 worth of military arms to Bahrain. Continue reading “U.S. Trying to Profit from Bahrain’s Brutality”

Lessons from Occupy Boston

Photo by Sierra Fuller
Occupy Boston // Photo by Sierra Fuller

Above is my sister’s photo of Monday’s Occupy Boston, which made excellent use of the dozens of colleges in a close area to bring student contigents together, amplifying the protest numbers to a few thousand – a good reminder that student activists are almost always major factors in social movements.

The mood was peaceful and energetic throughout the afternoon, but took a tense and confrontational turn later that night, when Boston police stormed Dewey Square – which seems to be the core encampment for the Boston demonstrators – to arrest 141 protesters who refused to leave, the “largest mass detention in recent memory.”

Among those thrown into squad cars for civil disobedience were Veterans for Peace. One U.S.  veteran, Rachel McNeill claimed police dragged her by the throat. Continue reading “Lessons from Occupy Boston”

Secret Memo Justifying Killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki

Charlie Savage has an exclusive story in the New York Times on the details of the United States’ secret memo, written by administration lawyers, laying out arguments for the targeted killing of U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki. The memo, which remains classified and was discussed anonymously, is of particular importance because the Obama administration has thus far provided no evidence of al-Awlaki’s wrongdoing and no explanation … Continue reading Secret Memo Justifying Killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki