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Bradley Manning Addresses Sentencing Hearing

 

Bradley Manning Addresses Sentencing Hearing

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He's an American hero. He's no spy. He committed no crimes. He acted responsibly. He did the right thing. He deserves praise, not prosecution.

 

He exposed US war crimes. He fulfilled his legal obligation to do so. He's victimized unjustly. Police state injustice wants him imprisoned longterm. Systemic unfairness defines US policy.

Screaming in Bradley Manning's Trial

I sat in the courtroom all day on Wednesday as Bradley Manning's trial wound its way to a tragic and demoralizing conclusion.  I wanted to hear Eugene Debs, and instead I was trapped there, watching Socrates reach for the hemlock and gulp it down.  Just a few minutes in and I wanted to scream or shout.

I don't blame Bradley Manning for apologizing for his actions and effectively begging for the court's mercy.  He's on trial in a system rigged against him.  The commander in chief declared him guilty long ago.  He's been convicted.  The judge has been offered a promotion.  The prosecution has been given a playing field slanted steeply in its favor.  Why should Manning not follow the only advice anyone's ever given him and seek to minimize his sentence?  Maybe he actually believes that what he did was wrong.  But -- wow -- does it make for some perverse palaver in the courtroom.

This was the sentencing phase of the trial, but there was no discussion of what good or harm might come of a greater or lesser sentence, in terms of deterrence or restitution or prevention or any other goal.  That's one thing I wanted to scream at various points in the proceedings.

This was the trial of the most significant whistleblower in U.S. history, but there was no mention of anything he'd blown the whistle on, any of the crimes exposed or prevented, wars ended, nonviolent democratic movements catalyzed.  Nothing on why he's a four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.  Nothing.  Every time that the wars went unmentioned, I wanted to scream.  War was like air in this courtroom, everybody on all sides militarized -- and it went unnoticed and unmentioned.

What was discussed on Wednesday was as disturbing as what wasn't.  Psycho-therapists, and relatives, and Bradley Manning himself -- defense witnesses all -- testified that he had been wrong to do what he'd done, that he'd not been in his right mind, and that he is a likable person to whom the judge should be kind. 

Should likable people get lesser sentences? 

The prosecution focused, with much less success I think, on depicting Manning as an unlikable person.  Should unlikable people get heavier sentences? 

What, I wanted to scream, about the likability of blowing the whistle on major crimes?  Shouldn't that be rewarded, rather than being less severely punished?

There were some 30 of us observing the trial on Wednesday in the courtroom, many with "TRUTH" on our t-shirts, plus six members of the news media.  Another 40 some people were watching a video feed in a trailer outside, and another 40 media folks were watching a video in a separate room.  The defense and prosecution lawyers sat a few feet apart from each other, and I suppose the politeness of the operation was preferable to the violence that had led to it.  But the gravity of threatening Manning with 90 years in prison seemed belied by the occasional joking with witnesses. 

Before he'd become a criminal suspect, Manning had written in an online chat:

"If you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time… say, 8-9 months… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do? . . . or Guantanamo, Bagram, Bucca, Taji, VBC for that matter . . . things that would have an impact on 6.7 billion people . . . say… a database of half a million events during the iraq war… from 2004 to 2009… with reports, date time groups, lat-lon locations, casualty figures… ? or 260,000 state department cables from embassies and consulates all over the world, explaining how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective?"

Manning made clear what his concern and motivation were:

"i think the thing that got me the most… that made me rethink the world more than anything . . . was watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police… for printing 'anti-Iraqi literature'… the iraqi federal police wouldn't cooperate with US forces, so i was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the 'bad guys' were, and how significant this was for the FPs… it turned out, they had printed a scholarly critique against PM Maliki… i had an interpreter read it for me… and when i found out that it was a benign political critique titled 'Where did the money go?' and following the corruption trail within the PM's cabinet… i immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on… he didn't want to hear any of it… he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees…"

Manning wanted the public informed:

"its important that it gets out… i feel, for some bizarre reason . . . it might actually change something . . .  i just… dont wish to be a part of it… at least not now… im not ready…"

In other words, Manning didn't want his name to be known, but he wanted the information to be known.  This was, again, what Manning said during a pre-trial hearing:

" [W]e became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.  I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday."

Manning wanted to end wars that the majority of Americans think were wrong ever to have begun, and he helped to end them -- at least in the case of Iraq.  He'd had clearly thought out intentions, and they led to the sort of success he'd hoped for, at least to some degree.  A full-blown public debate on abolishing the institution of war is yet to come. 

The first witness on Wednesday was a therapist who had consulted with Manning while he was in the Army and in Iraq.  This man noted that Manning had problems with his occupation, but gave no indication of what that occupation was.  Manning was under stress, but the moral crisis discussed in the chat logs was never mentioned.  Instead, Manning's lawyer directed the witness to discuss "gender issues."  The witness said that Manning had informed him that he was gay, that being openly gay in the military was a violation of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), and that such violations were an exception to doctor-patient confidentiality.  Neither defense nor prosecution followed up on that.  Nor did they ask whether Manning had mentioned any concerns over other violations of the UCMJ of which he had become aware in the course of his duties.  Perhaps not turning Manning in for being gay was simply the decent thing to do.  But, then, wasn't Manning's effectively turning others in for their more serious abuses also the decent thing to do? 

While I might have liked to see Manning choose a jury rather than a judge, hire a different lawyer, and argue for protection as a whistleblower, the defense's case -- on its own terms -- was well done.  The prosecution did not manage to respond effectively or even competently.  A prosecutor, referring to comments in a chat log, asked the therapist what it would mean if a soldier called other soldiers ignorant rednecks.  The witness replied that he couldn't say that he'd never said such a thing himself.  The whole room laughed.  I clapped.  I forgot for a moment about wanting to scream. 

The next witness was a therapist hired to work for the defense.  He said that Manning suffered fits of rage in the military.  Shouldn't he have?  If you'd been dropped into the war on Iraq and seen what it was, how would you have most healthily reacted?  This therapist believed Manning suffered from gender dysphoria, or gender identity disorder.  The whole room seemed to suffer from basic human decency dysphoria.  Manning also suffered, the therapist believed, from fetal alcohol syndrome and Asperger's.  Manning also, we were told, suffered from narcissism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  These were related, apparently, to his post-adolescent idealism, a state this therapist considered wide-spread and normal, yet not quite acceptable, as it explained Manning's so-called misdeeds.  Manning, we heard, had been stressed out over his boyfriend, and as a result of his alcoholic parents.  The notion that war could cause stress didn't enter the courtroom. 

Was Manning too stressed to appreciate the wrongness of his actions, his own lawyer asked.

The witness took that question and actually turned the discussion toward Manning's whistleblowing in his answer, suggesting that Manning had found injustices and believed he had an oath to uphold by exposing them.  This therapist, however, believed that if Manning had had a friend to talk to, he might not have blown the whistle on anything. 

How did stress impact his thought process, asked Manning's lawyer.  It impaired it, the therapist explained.  Manning suffered from Post-Adolescent Idealism (if only that were contagious! I wanted to scream).  Manning underestimated how much trouble he'd be in.  The worst he believed could happen to him would be separation from the Army, this expert informed us.

Back in the real world in which Manning had written the messages in the published chat logs that exposed him, Manning had had this to say:

"i wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me… plastered all over the world press… as boy . . .  i think im in more potential heat than you ever were [speaking to the snitch who turned him in]  . . .  Hilary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and finds an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format to the public."

What other impressions did the therapist have of Bradley Manning?  Well, Manning had a very consistent system of beliefs. 

I wonder if the witness knew what Bradley was going to say on the stand in just a few hours. 

The prosecution's cross-examination of the first therapist had been so incompetent that even the judge grew fed-up.  This second one was no better.  The prosecutor managed to get the witness to talk about Manning's supposed narcissism, grandiosity, arrogance, and haughtiness, but the witness described Post-Adolescent Idealism as so widespread as to be considered normal.  (Wouldn't that be nice!) 

Did Manning know that what he was doing was illegal, the prosecutor asked.  Yes, the therapist said.  There was no objection from the defense, of course.

Was personal recognition a motive?  No.

Would Manning commit the misconduct again?  (This was the only moment that bordered on President Obama's much-beloved looking forward.)  I don't know, was the answer.

If in the future he saw something that violated his sense of morality would he take action again?  Well, he's been pretty consistent with his principles.

Before Manning reversed his principles on the stand, there was one other witness to testify: Manning's older sister.  Her testimony was stunning.  I nearly cried.  A number of people did openly cry.  She described a family in which both parents were alcoholics.  Her and Bradley's mother was drunk every day, and a mean drunk at that.  Their father was nearly as bad.  Manning's sister, 11 years older than he, raised him more than anyone else.  Their mother drank through her pregnancy with Bradley.  He was tiny and underfed.  And things got worse as the parents split up, the mother became suicidal, the sister fled.  If this testimony were aired on television, people would discuss it -- in tears -- for many months.  There would be endless discussions of each tangential topic, including alcohol, fetal alcohol syndrome, child abuse, rural isolation, divorce, older sisters, and -- of course -- whether traitors can be excused because they had bad childhoods.

And yet, I wanted to scream out: Why aren't we analyzing the people who had better or worse childhoods than Manning and all failed to do what he did?  What about their mental health?  What about their Blind Obedience Disorder?

Manning's sister said that he had calmed down and matured during the past three years.  No mention of his naked isolation cell.  No mention of the existential threat hanging over him.  No mention of how clear-minded and principled he appears to have been back when he was supposedly immature.

Then, Manning made his sworn statement.  He said he was sorry his actions had hurt people, despite no evidence having shown that they did.  He said he was sorry his actions hurt the United States, whereas clearly his actions benefitted the United States, allowing us much greater access into what our secretive government is doing in our name.  Manning questioned how he could have possibly believed he knew better than his superiors.

It's an interesting question.  Manning went into the Army in hopes of receiving money for college.  He was entering a hostile world.  Loyalty to buddies did not overpower loyalty to humanity, in Manning's case, because the Army wasn't his buddies.  So, Manning looked at the horrors of war and said to himself: I can shine a light, and that light can fix this.  We can, Bradley Manning believed, have a peaceful government of, by, and for the people.

The next and last witness was Bradley's aunt, who told a very sympathetic tale paralleling Bradley's sister's.  She concluded by asking the judge to consider Manning's difficult start in life, and the fact that Bradley thought he was doing the right thing when he was not thinking clearly at all.

I never screamed.

I took off my "TRUTH" shirt.

TSA manager Shane Hinkle charged with sexual abuse

 

And yet another TSA agent has been arrested for sexual assault. 


Oh, well. Just another day in the TSA!
 

Read the rest at ABombazine.

NYPD Stop and Frisk Ruled Unconstitutional

 

NYPD Stop and Frisk Ruled Unconstitutional

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Longstanding NYPD stop and frisk practices are flagrantly racist. They violate constitutional privacy rights. People of color are systematically targeted.

 

Hundreds of thousands of law abiding residents are persecuted. According to New York's ACLU, mostly minority "New Yorkers (were) subjected to police stops and interrogations more than 4 million times since 2002."

Black women’s hair once again focus of clueless TSA

My Master List of TSA Crimes and Abuses is full of stories like this -- and worse -- where a black woman has her hair pawed by a blue-shirted goon in the name of "security." But apparently people still don't get it.

Read the rest at ABombazine.

Obama Spurns NSA Spying Reform

 

Obama Spurns NSA Spying Reform

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Huey Long once said fascism will arrive "wrapped in an American flag." In "Friendly Fascism," Bertram Gross (1912 - 1997) called Ronald Reagan its prototype ruler. Gross didn't know Obama.

 

NSA Spying: Worse Than You Think

 

NSA Spying: Worse Than You Think

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It's ugly. It's lawless. It's out-of-control. It''s worse than most people think. It's not getting better. It's getting worse.

 

Not according to Obama, saying: 

 

Federal Judge Sentences Lynne Stewart to Death

 

Federal Judge Sentences Lynne Stewart to Death

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On August 9, The New York Times headlined "Dying Lawyer's Request for Release From Prison Is Turned Down," saying:

 

Pelican Bay Hunger Striking for Justice

 

Anti-American Sentiment in Egypt


by Stephen Lendman


Confronting the latest attack on our privacy and freedom: Lavabit's Profile in Corporate Principles and Personal Courage

By Alfredo Lopez


The term "collateral damage" is most frequently applied to the "non-targeted" death and destruction brought by bombs and guns. But it seems that our government, the master of collateral damage, is now doing it in "non-violent" ways. Take the recent situation at Lavabit.

New York Times Editors Support Police State Persecution

 

New York Times Editors Support Police State Persecution

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It doesn't surprise. Times editors, columnists and contributors reflect what famed investigative journalist/critic George Seldes (1890 - 1995) called "prostitutes of the press."

 

They feature managed news misinformation. They suppress what readers most need to know. They support wealth, power and privilege. They oppose popular interests.

 

TSA News HuffPost Live video link

I was on the Alyona Minkovski Show on HuffPost Live last night with former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley and EPIC Administrative Law Counsel Khaliah Barnes to talk about the TSA’s VIPR teams.

Suspect Turkish Court Rulings

 

Suspect Turkish Court Rulings

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On Monday, a landmark case ended. It was politically charged. It was suspect from inception. Everyone tried claimed innocence. Of the 275 alleged coup plotters, most were convicted. 

 

In 2007, proceedings began. Only 21 defendants were acquitted. Another 16 were freed. Consideration for time served brought release. 

 

TSA overreacts -- again -- to smart-ass comment

In another episode in the continuing saga of The Buffoons in Blue Overreact to Every Squeak, Burp, and Fart at the Checkpoint, a 26-year-old man at Bradley Airport in Connecticut was detained by the TSA and arrested by police for being a smartass.

Read the rest at ABombazine.

Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden: Whistleblowers as Modern Tricksters

By John Grant


Every generation occupies itself with interpreting Trickster anew.

                      -Paul Radin

 

XKeyscore: Instrument of Mass Surveillance

 

XKeyscore: Instrument of Mass Surveillance

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Evidence mounts. America crossed the line. It operates lawlessly. It reflects police state ruthlessness. Big Brother's real. It's not fiction. It watches everyone. 

 

It's about control, espionage and intimidation. It targets fundamental freedoms. It has nothing to do with national security. America's only threats are ones it invents. It does so for political advantage.

Russia Grants Snowden One-Year Asylum

 

Russia Grants Snowden One-Year Asylum

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On June 23, he arrived in Moscow. He applied for asylum. He's been stuck in Sheremetyevo Airport transit zone limbo.

 

Putin was clear and unequivocal. He won't extradite him. No treaty obligation exists. Official requests don't matter. 

 

Manning, Snowden and Swarz: America’s Police State Marches On, Media in Tow

By Dave Lindorff


The New York Times, in an editorial published the day after a military judge found Pvt. Bradley Manning “not guilty” of “aiding the enemy” -- a charge that would have locked him up for life without possibility of parole and could have carried the death penalty -- but also found him guilty on multiple counts of “espionage,” called the verdict “Mixed.” Not guilty of aiding the enemy, guilty of espionage.


Bradley Manning: Victimized by Police State Injustice

 

Bradley Manning: Victimized by Police State Injustice

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Manning's conviction is chilling. It reflects police state viciousness. Imagine being criminalized for doing the right thing. Imagine being called a traitor for acting responsibly.

 

Manning's no spy. He's no criminal. He deserves praise, not prosecution. America honors its worst. It persecutes its best. It's unsafe to live in. 

 

There Should Be No Sighs of Relief: Manning Verdict a Very Pyrrhic Victory

By Alfredo Lopez


The Bradley Manning verdict may seem a victory of sorts for the defense -- it's certainly being treated that way in the mainstream media -- but the decision handed down Tuesday by Court Marshal Judge Colonel Denise Lind is actually a devastating blow not only to Manning, who was convicted of unjustifiably serious charges brought by an aggressive administration seeking to make an example of him, but also to Internet activity in general and information-sharing in particular.

This coming Sunday: Professor Cornel West and Chris Hedges to speak out for Army whistleblower Bradley Manning

When: Sunday, August 4, 2013 from 3 to 5:30pm

 

Where: Friends Meeting House of DC
            2111 Florida Ave, NW, Washington D.C.

 

Join us Sunday, August 4, 2013, from 3 to 5:30 PM for a matinee discussion and trial update for Bradley Manning. Widely renowned scholar Dr. Cornel West and former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges will join members of the Bradley Manning Support Network for a special presentation on the legal, journalistic and ethical implications of this historic trial. Bradley Manning's trial is planned to continue through late August, with appeals throughout the rest of the year.

This event is free and open to the public as well as members of the press.

 


For more information, contact mckee@bradleymanning.org
Please share widely!



Visit www.bradleymanning.org for more information on attending Bradley Manning's trial.

Bradley Manning not guilty of ‘aiding the enemy’, convicted on 19 other counts

Go to www.bradleymanning.org for more information.

There were tears outside the courtroom today.
  Of course, Bradley Manning is not really guilty of anything but being a good global citizen, and it is painful to see him so persecuted.

But we scored an important victory today on both the legal and political fronts.  The Army had made a ridiculous case that Bradley Manning was "aiding the enemy," "with evil intent," and that he was "not a whistle-blower, but a traitor.  They even tried to tie Bradley to Osama bin Laden.

There was only one problem with the Army's case.  They had no evidence whatsoever, only baseless insinuations and "child's logic" (the words of defense attorney David Coombs).  Even a military judge who clearly favored the Army prosecutors could not buy their lame arguments.

The Moral Verdict on Bradley Manning: A Conviction of Love in Action

By Norman Solomon

The sun rose with a moral verdict on Bradley Manning well before the military judge could proclaim his guilt. The human verdict would necessarily clash with the proclamation from the judicial bench.

In lockstep with administrators of the nation’s war services, judgment day arrived on Tuesday to exact official retribution. After unforgiveable actions, the defendant’s culpability weighed heavy.

“Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house,” another defendant, Fr. Daniel Berrigan, wrote about another action that resulted in a federal trial, 45 years earlier, scarcely a dozen miles from the Fort Meade courtroom where Bradley Manning faced prosecution for his own fracture of good order.

European Parliamentarians call on President Obama to free Bradley Manning

http://www.bradleymanning.org

Open Letter from Members of the European Parliament
to President Barack Obama and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

Pfc. Bradley Manning (photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Pfc. Bradley Manning (photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

As Members of the European Parliament, who were elected to represent our constituents throughout Europe, we are writing to express our concerns about the ongoing persecution of Bradley Manning, the young U.S. soldier who released classified information revealing evidence of human rights abuses and apparent war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The U.S. Army has charged Private First Class Manning with 21 different crimes, including ‘Aiding the Enemy’; a capital charge. To convict a person who leaked information to the media of “Aiding the Enemy” would set a terrible precedent. Although we understand the US government is not seeking the death penalty for Bradley Manning, there would be nothing to stop this from happening in future cases.  As it is, PFC Manning faces the possibility of life in prison without parole, recently rejected as “inhuman and degrading treatment” by the European Court of Human Rights.

On July 2nd , Army prosecutors closed their arguments in the case without having provided any real evidence that Bradley Manning aided the enemy, or that he intended to do so. In his defense against those charges to which he pleaded not guilty, PFC Manning was not permitted to bring any evidence of motivation. And in a statement calling on the court to allow a ‘public interest’ defense, Amnesty International said that this was ‘disturbing…as he has said he reasonably believed he was exposing human rights and humanitarian law violations.  Moreover, the prosecution provided no evidence that PFC Manning caused harm to U.S. national security or to US and NATO troops.

We agree with Amnesty International that the U.S. government should immediately drop the most serious charges against PFC Bradley Manning, and that to charge Bradley Manning with ‘aiding the enemy’ is ‘ludicrous’ – a ‘travesty of justice’ which ‘makes a mockery of the US military court system’.

“We’ve now seen the evidence presented by both sides, and it’s abundantly clear that the charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ has no basis,” said Widney Brown, Senior Director for International Law and Policy at Amnesty International.  “The prosecution should also take a long, hard look at its entire case and move to drop all other charges that aren’t supported by the evidence presented.”

Rather than causing harm, Bradley Manning’s release to WikiLeaks of the Iraq War Logs and the Afghan War Diaries shone much needed light on those occupations, revealing, amongst other abuses, the routine killing of civilians. The bleak picture painted by these war diaries contrasts greatly with the rosy progress reports being provided to the public by military and political leaders. PFC Manning has said he felt that if the American public had access to this information, this could ‘spark a domestic debate’ on American foreign policy ‘as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan’. Far from being a traitor, Bradley Manning had the best interests of his country in mind. 

The Iraqi people continue to suffer the consequences of this war, even after the withdrawal of foreign troops, with millions of homeless refugees and the resumption of sectarian violence. Meanwhile, eleven and a half years after the U.S invaded Afghanistan, that nation has yet to form a functioning democracy or to free itself from the Taliban and fundamentalist warlords. 

Bradley Manning:  ‘I felt that we were risking so much for people that seemed unwilling to co-operate with us, leading to frustration and anger on both sides. I began to become depressed with the situation that we found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year.’

Bradley Manning was witness to the wrongdoing of the U.S. military.  He says this ‘troubled’ and ‘disturbed’ him. But instead of ‘passing by on the other side’ like so many others, he acted in accordance with international law and with a strong commitment to truth, transparency and democracy. He wrote at the time that he hoped his actions would lead to “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.” 

Bradley Manning also released information about the men who continue to be wrongly held in indefinite detention at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo, Cuba.  Over one hundred of these prisoners have been carrying out a long, indefinite hunger strike, and 45 of them are being force-fed by U.S. soldiers.  This intolerable situation continues to undermine U.S. claims to promote freedom and democracy, compromising the standing of the US in the world and diminishing US moral authority.

Bradley Manning’s courageous action, for which he has three times been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, was an inspiration to others, including Edward Snowden, who recently revealed massive U.S. government surveillance in the U.S. and also against European governments and citizens. 

We are concerned that the U.S. administration’s war on whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning is a deterrent to the process of democracy in both the United States and Europe. 

We hereby urge you to end the persecution of Bradley Manning, a young gay man who has been imprisoned for over three years, including ten months in solitary confinement, under conditions that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez deemed “cruel and abusive.”  Bradley Manning has already suffered too much, and he should be freed as soon as humanly possible.

Signed,

Marisa Matias, Member of the European Parliament, Portugal
Christian Engström, Member of the European Parliament, Sweden
Ana Maria Gomes, Member of the European Parliament, Portugal 

Gabi Zimmer, Member of the European Parliament, Germany 
Paul Murphy,  Member of the European Parliament, Ireland 

Sabine Wils, Member of the European Parliament, Germany

Jacky Henin, Member of the European Parliament, France
Alda Sousa, Member of the European Parliament, Portugal
Martina Anderson, Member of the European Parliament, Ireland
Nikola Vuljanić, Member of the European Parliament, Kroatia
Sabine Lösing, Member of the European Parliament, Germany
Lothar Bisky, Member of the European Parliament, Germany
Helmut Scholz, Member of the European Parliament, Germany 

Willy Meyer, Member of the European Parliament, Spain

Mikael Gustafsson, Member of the European Parliament, Sweden

Marie-Christine Vergiat, Member of the European Parliament, France

Patrick Le Hyaric, Member of the European Parliament, France

Manning judge alters charges to assist Govt ahead of verdict

Bradley Manning Support Network
 
In an ominous sign for Army whistleblower PFC Bradley Manning, military judge Col. Denise Lind altered important charges last week in order to assist prosecutors ahead of her verdict, which is expected tomorrow at 1 PM ET. Defense attorney David Coombs explained, "The Government has pushed this case beyond the bounds of legal propriety. If the Government meant 'information', it should have charged information." Up until last week, Manning was charged with stealing entire databases. The defense has no way to defend Manning against these new charges after the fact.
 
The government switched its legal theory for three of the five theft charges against Manning, alleging now that Manning stole “portion[s] of” databases instead of the entire databases themselves. It also now contends that Manning stole the information contained within the records, despite merely charging him with stealing databases. This alteration is not semantic. Legally, it’s substantially different than the original charges, and more to the point, it comes long after the government rested its case, precluding the defense from going back to question witnesses differently. Left with no other legal recourse, the defense has filed a motion for a mistrial on the theft charges.
 
“Because all of these critical ‘clarifications’ are coming after eight weeks of testimony, and because these offenses carry with them 50 years of potential imprisonment, and because the Defense was actually misled by the Charge Sheet, the Defense requests that this Court declare a mistrial as to the section 641 offenses,” declared Coombs.
 
Under Rule for Courts Martial 915, a military judge may declare a mistrial when “manifestly necessary in the interest of justice because of circumstances arising during the proceedings which cast substantial doubt upon the fairness of the proceedings.” 
 
In addition to the theft charges, Manning faces a potential life sentence for charges of Espionage, Aiding the Enemy, and Computer Fraud, for passing documents to the website WikiLeaks. He said he released the files, which exposed war crimes and other abuses, to spark a debate about America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and its foreign policy more generally.
 
Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three years in a row.
 
The Bradley Manning Support Network is responsible for 100% of Manning’s legal fees, as well as international education efforts. Funded by 21,000 individuals, the Support Network has mustered $1.3 million in Manning’s defense. 

Remembering Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907 - 1972)

 

Remembering Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907 - 1972)

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He was special. He mattered. He's called a prophet's prophet. He tried to shock people out of complacency into understanding and compassion.

 

He grew up in Poland. He came from a family of noted rabbis. His world was hasidic ("pious ones") "rebbeim." Rebbe are more than rabbis.

 

BRADLEY MANNING VERDICT TOMORROW 1 PM EASTERN

What: Military Judge Col. Denise Lind to read verdicts on 21 charges against US Army WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning

When: Tomorrow, July 30, 2013, at 1 PM ET (credentialed media arrive approx. 11 AM)

Where: Ft. Meade, Maryland, enter at intersection of Reece Rd. and MD 175 (Annapolis Road)

In an ominous sign for Manning, military judge Denise Lind altered important charges last week in order to assist prosecutors ahead of verdict. In so doing, defense attorney David Coombs explained, “The Government has pushed this case beyond the bounds of legal propriety. If the Government meant ‘information’, it should have charged information.” Up until last week, Manning was charged with stealing entire databases. The Defense has no way to defend Manning against these new charges after the fact.

Army private Bradley Manning faces a potential life sentence for passing hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents to the transparency website WikiLeaks, to expose U.S. criminality in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and further abuses around the world.

Never in the history of American military law has a person been charged with Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Law, “Aiding the Enemy,” for providing information to the media in the public interest. However, Manning faces life in prison tomorrow if convicted of this charge alone—despite all evidence to the contrary.

"I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information ... this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general," Manning said in a February statement.

Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three years in a row.

Military justice mandates no minimum sentences; Manning’s sentencing phase will begin in the coming days, with new witnesses, arguments, and evidence. This important phase is expected to last much of the month of August.

Pastel Silk Ties Will Force Putin to Back Down

Puttin’ the Pressure on Putin

July 28, 2013

Editor Note: The Obama administration continues to compound the diplomatic mess around former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The latest blunder was announcing that the U.S. wouldn’t torture or execute Snowden, a reminder to the world how far Official Washington has strayed from civilized behavior.

By Ray McGovern

The main question now on the fate of truth-teller Edward Snowden is whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will see any benefit in helping stop the United States from further embarrassing itself as it prances around the globe acting like a “pitiful, helpless giant.” That image was coined by President Richard Nixon, who insisted that the giant of America would merit those adjectives if it did not prevail in South Vietnam.

Holder promises Russia not to torture Snowden: A Shameful Day to Be a US Citizen

By Dave Lindorff


I have been deeply ashamed of my country a number of times. The Nixon Christmas bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong was one such time, when hospitals, schools and dikes were targeted. The invasion of Iraq was another. Washington’s silence over the fatal Israeli Commando raid on the Gaza Peace Flotilla--in which a 19-year-old unarmed American boy was murdered--was a third.  But I think I have never been as ashamed and disgusted as I was today reading that US Attorney General Eric Holder had sent a letter to the Russian minister of justice saying that the US would “not seek the death penalty” in its espionage case against National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, promising that even if the US later brought added charges against Snowden after obtaining him, they would not include any death penalty, and vowing that if Snowden were handed over by Russia to the US, he would “not be tortured.”


So it has come to this: That the United States has to promise (to Russia!) that it will not torture a prisoner in its control -- a US citizen at that -- and so therefore that person, Edward Snowden, has no basis for claiming that he should be “treated as a refugee or granted asylum.”


Why does Holder have to make these pathetic representations to his counterpart in Russia? 


Because Snowden has applied for asylum saying that he is at risk of turture or execution if returned to the US to face charges for leaking documents showing that the US government is massively violating the civil liberties and privacy of every American by monitoring every American’s electronic communications.


Snowden has made that claim in seeking asylum because he knows that another whistleblower, Pvt. Bradley Manning, was in fact tortured by the US for months, and held without trial in solitary confinement for over a year before being finally put on trial in a kangaroo court, where the judge is as much prosecutor as jurist, and where his guilt was declared in advance by the President of the United States -- the same president who has also already publicly declared Snowden guilty too...


For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF inThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent three-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to:www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1888

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