I am a casualty of America’s endless wars at the pleasure of corporate profiteers and in speaking truth to power. I am an example of American Human Rights violations under the leadership of the Obama White House (a nice bit of carry over from the last Administration, btw).
A little over a year ago, “i want(ed) people to see the truth… regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” (Wired)
So I began an online conversation via email and social networking with Adrian Lamo, a former “grey hat” hacker convicted in 2004 of having accessed The New York Times computer network without permission. As a soldier in south Iraq, I had become isolated and forgotten, helplessly watching open corruption proliferate as war atrocity was threatening to become the standard. It’s not so hard to imagine that Julian Assange drew my admiration and hope, late in 2009. How I might have contacted WikiLeaks in November 2009, days after it posted 570,000 pager messages from the September 11, 2001, attacks. I then gave Mr. Assange a video I stumbled over at my workstation in Iraq. I had access to SIPRNet and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, and in late 2009 I found the Apache helicopter video. I told Lamo: “At first glance it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter. No big deal … about two dozen more where that came from, right?
But something struck me as odd with the van thing, and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer’s directory. So I looked into it.” On April 5, Wiki published the Apache helicopter video of the July 2007 Baghdad airstrike, (which I am alleged, lets remember!, to have passed on in February). WikiLeaks called it the “Collateral Murder” video, and it attracted widespread coverage. On July 25, Wiki released the Afghan war documents, and in October the Iraq War documents, internal military war logs and diaries. There are allegations that I have given them 251,287 U.S. state department cables—written in 260 embassies and consulates in 180 countries—which I was supposed to have passed over to Assange and he, in turn, to several news organizations. Several thousands of emails / docs were published in stages, the first by WikiLeaks in
February 2010 (the Reykjavik13 document), then from November 29 by The New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, El País, and others. WikiLeaks said it was the largest set of confidential documents ever released into the public domain. The Wikileaks video leak brought some measure of justice and small Congressional oversight to this military strategy / war of wrongness. Am I truly the only one responsible for all of this information leakage? Mr. Lamo alleged later that I also said I had communicated directly with Assange using an encrypted Internet conferencing service, and that Assange had “coached” me. Can he prove that, though? Even so, I took the risk to act with conscious and integrity to expose the wrongness of these ‘wars’, if I did. Mr. Lamo is, after all, a hack, a snitch and self adoring pariah.
Let’s make no mistake, I do represent the overwhelming emotional and moral fatigue of a bona fide military serving on foreign land beside largely unsupervised, despicably unethical and vicious mercenaries, these ‘private security contractors’ who seemingly have no oversight nor authority to answer to.. they kill, rape and steal from each other after they have whetted their thirst for it on the resident population. [According to new statistics released by the Pentagon, with Barack Obama as commander-in-chief, there has been a 23% increase in the number of “Private Security Contractors” working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan, which “correlates to the build up of forces” in the country. These numbers relate explicitly to DoD security contractors. Companies like Blackwater and its successor Triple Canopy work on State Department contracts and it is unclear if these contractors are included in the over-all statistics. This means, the number of individual “security” contractors could be quite higher, as could the scope of their expansion.- Jeremy Scahill] People are loosing their homes and little businesses are failing as American leadership dumps billions into raping, murdering, savage criminals under the guise of Private Security! It’s outrageous! While I await charges that include transferring classified data onto my personal computer; transmitting national defense information to an unauthorized source; aiding the enemy … confused and lonely in Marine Corps Brig, Quantico, Virginia, then held from July 2010 to April 2011 in maximum-custody solitary confinement. Amnesty International expressed concern, calling my detention conditions harsh and punitive, and 295 American legal scholars signed a letter in April 2011 saying the conditions amounted to a violation of the U.S. constitution. Later that month, the Pentagon finally transferred me to a medium-security facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where now I can interact with other pre-trial detainees and recover some sense of hope.
As I wait in jail to face my accusers at trail, my Commander-in-Chief has already proclaimed me guilty… and as the Commander-in-Chief, he is directing the military jurists to find me guilty. Where is justice in this? The jury that demands my guilt or innocence will be made up of military officers under his command. These jurors will already know that I’ve been mistreated, even tortured, during pre-trial detention. Under these circumstances it is hard to imagine military officers finding me not guilty. Will military officers contradict their commander-in-chief? He is currently personally urging prosecution of four other ‘whistle blowers’ as I continue to wait, in jail. Daniel Ellsberg, a strong supporter of mine, will explain how releasing classified / Secret documents and or information is NOT breaking the law because our country has no Secrets Act as precedent to break as law. To release classified information is not against the law simply because it would nullify our 1st Amendment rights to do so. The Espionage Act is NOT a Secrets Act. “In addition to pronouncing Manning guilty, the president misstated a critical fact in comparing Manning to Daniel Ellsberg,” said Jeff Paterson, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network steering committee. “Unlike Ellsberg, Private Manning released low-level classified documents that hundreds of thousands of people had access to. Daniel Ellsberg, on the other hand released documents classified as Top Secret. Ellsberg violated the secrecy of the United States at a much higher level than Manning.” Isolation in jail has hurt me.
I was charged on July 5 under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) with violations of UCMJ Articles 92 and 134 for “transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system in connection with the leaking of a video of a helicopter attack in Iraq in 2007,” and “communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source and disclosing classified information concerning the national defense with reason to believe that the information could cause injury to the United States,” between November 19, 2009, and May 27, 2010. And yet all the documents I am accused of releasing are openly available to (people even less than my own clearance) of hundreds of thousands of eyes. The information via documents, video and other informational venue that I am accused of releasing to Mr. Assange and his Wikileaks organization reveal levels of usery, incompetence, military code criminal behavior at home in command departments… and so much more. We learned that WMD were just a form of usery by the last administration to promote the war machine profits of companies they own or are profiting by. Oil wars are meant to ensure crude oil flow into the United States but these wars have only generated cultural obliteration and national insolvency for Iraq, Afghanistan and America… as it pushes the same towards the nuclear power of Pakistan.
A soldier’s first job is to ensure to the best of my ability, that the need to use force of violence is the last resort. The caveat to that if we understand our orders to be morally wrong, we must act according to our conscious. My name is Bradley Manning. I am a PFC in the United States Army. My country held me prisoner in cruel isolation from any defense of myself. Please remember me this Memorial Day weekend.
To protest the wrongness in our ongoing wars during this holiday, as the nation turns to stare it all in the face, I’m stand in sympathy with and have embraced the name of PFC Bradley Manning.
The Huffington Post provides an update and a take down of the Obama Administration’s recent efforts to ramp up prosecution of Assange and Wikileaks. Former attorney general under George W. Bush, Jack Goldsmith, has suggested that charging Julian Assange in any of the ways mentioned by the Obama Administration would hurt freedom of the press. He’s said that the Justice Department reportedly cannot find evidence that Assange induced Manning to leak and “even if it could, such evidence would not distinguish the many American journalists who actively aid leakers of classified information.”
Mainstream U.S. papers including U.S. News and World Report have increased coverage of the environmental crimes disclosed in the documents Bradley allegedly leaked. Specifically, how the U.S. and many other countries place far more importance in their foreign policies on oil, and far less on mitigating climate change, than they’re willing to admit publicly.
The National Theatre of Wales has decided to stage a production entitled The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning. The play will cover Bradley’s teenage school years. Artistic Direct John McGrath explains “It will be using the case as a prism to explore how do people feel about their political voice today?”
Finally, a reminder that we’re asking all Bradley Manning supporters to take pictures of their friends and family this Memorial Weekend for our photo petition! It’s a good way to honor Americans in uniform who’ve done the right thing, even when it wasn’t the easy thing. The GI Rights Network has already joined the petition.
- Our Government is Literally Stripping Away Every Right that Bradley Manning Has – Associated Content from Yahoo! – associatedcontent.com (stephencrose.wordpress.com)
- Frontline on Wikileaks (boingboing.net)
- Did Obama Compromise Fair Trial for Bradley Manning? (blogs.abcnews.com)
- The Bradley Manning Support Network (hotair.com)
- WikiLeaks Informant Lamo: I Would Have Leaked Helicopter Attack Video, Too (blogs.forbes.com)