Citizen J

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Bradley Manning’s Father: You’ve Crossed The Line

"This is someone who has not gone to trial or been convicted of anything.  That prompted me to comel out and go forward…here we have someone on our own soil and our control and they’re treating him this way.  You just can’t believe it.  It’s shocking enough that I would come out of our silence as a family and say, ‘You’ve crossed the line, this is wrong.’"

The release of this interview comes just two days after the forced resignation of US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley for comments he made on the treatment of Bradley Manning, which he called “ridiculous, counterproductive, and stupid (see previous post)

Now, both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have openly come out against the Pentagon’s treatment of Manning:

"The military has been treating him abusively, in a way that conjures creepy memories of how the Bush administration used to treat terror suspects."

                                                              - The New York Times’ editorial staff

In case you’re wondering why the Pentagon isn’t doing a better job at covering this up, it’s because despite the military’s sub-human treatment of Manning, his civilian attorney David Coombs, regularly meets with him and is informed of his conditions, which he duly reports to the press.  However, it’s quite possible that the government is sending a message to potential whistleblowers—those working within an insitution who leak secret information or classified documents exposing that institution for what it really is—that this is the kind of treatment they would receive if caught. 

If the Obama administration fails to end the harsh treatment and put Manning on trial soon, this could be an ugly stain by the upcoming election.  The reason he hasn’t been on trial is because there’s no hard evidence to support a convinction, besides an Internet chat he had with former hacker and now government snitch Adrian Lamo.  It seems as though Obama approves of torturing his own citizens, and it gives the Republicans a chance to jump at Obama for his policy of hypocrisy—once claiming he would outlaw all forms of torture, he is now a perpetrator of it, and right here in the United States.

Crowley’s Comment on Manning Treatment Gets Him the Boot

In a breaking news story, U.S. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley is resigning  just 48 hours after calling the treatment of Bradley Manning “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid.” By resigning, we mean he was forced out.

                  ”What the fuck, guys?”

Crowley made the comment in front of an audience during a seminar at MIT in Boston, Massachusettes, on Friday.  Obama was asked at a press conference on Sunday if he agreed with Crowley’s comments, though he failed to give a definitive answer:

"With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are.  I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well."

He was asked again whether or not he agreed with Crowley’s comments but he avoided answering, instead segwaying into the tsunami situation in Japan.
                                                 

Bradley Manning is accused, but has not yet been convicted, of leaking tens of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks.  He was turned in by former hacker turned government-informant Adrian Lamo.  The following is an excerpt from a Jeremy Scahill article in The Nation which details an Internet conversation the two had not long before the release of the Afghan War Logs back in the summer of 2010:

In one chat, Manning and Lamo are discussing Manning’s passing of documents to WikiLeaks. Lamo asks Manning what his “endgame” is. Manning replies, “god knows what happens now,” and adds, “hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms if not… than [sic] we’re doomed as a species.”

In one of his last chats with Lamo, reportedly on May 25, Manning says, “what if i were someone more malicious i could’ve sold to russia or china, and made bank?”

"why didn’t you?" Lamo asks.

"because it’s public data," Manning responds. "information should be free it belongs in the public domain…if its out in the open… it should be a public good." He adds: "im crazy like that."

Within days, Manning was arrested.

——-

Manning’s treatment consists of 23 hours a day of solitary confinement and being stripped naked every night, apparently to prevent him from committing suicide. Manning was just a private and it seems he is being used as a scapgoat by the Pentagon to send a message to all U.S. military forces that if you so much as think about leaking classified military documents, you’re gonna get fucked up.

Following that comment on Friday Crowley also added “Nonetheless, Bradley Manning is in the right place.  There is sometimes a need for secrets…for diplomatic progress to be made.” While denouncing the Pentagon’s exceptionally malevolent treatment of Manning, Crowley appears to have also been in line with White House policy regarding Wikileaks and the leaking of classified documents.  Or maybe he just realized the consequences of what he said and tried to cover his ass.  In either case, it shows how serious the U.S. government is about maintaining secrecy, even if it means senselessly torturing this poor kid 24 hours a day—for god knows how long—in the name of national security.

Citizen J  recommends reading Glenn Greenwald’s blog for the best coverage of Bradley Manning’s treatment.

Wikileaks reaches out to indy media

Prior to releasing the Afghanistan War Diary  for the world to see, Wikileaks gave mainstream publications such as Britain’s The Guardian, the New York Times, and Germany’s Der Spiegel advance access to examine the documents prior to publication.  When Daniel Ellsberg wanted to release the Pentagon Papers, he first approached The New York Times, followed by the most popular newspapers of the day.  

In an unprecedented move, Wikileaks gave the U.K.-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism access to the Iraq War Logs three months in advance. Editor Ian Overton met with Julian Assange directly, and after the meeting Overton began assigning his team of a dozen investigative journalists to sift through the data.  

"Julian [Assange] revealed to me that there was this enormous amount of data coming out. At the time it was coming out quite quickly, I think we had about four or five weeks to do it. We both agreed that it was probably useful to try and get as many broadcasters in as possible. The broadcaster and print worlds operate at a slightly different pace… but we thought let’s have a stab at this," he says."

The Internet has made it possible for media to collaborate in unimaginable ways.  Such progress can only be accomplished when journalists are free from corporate constraint and money is no longer a concern.  Of course, the investigative work done by the Bureau could not have been accomplished without a $2 million grant from the Potter Foundation.  And if for some reason you think Assange might be in this for the money, check out this piece by the New York Times.

(Source: journalism.co.uk)

Wikileaks rap gets it right

This video was created by an online news source called Juice Media.  It was in response to Wikileaks' release of the Afghan War Diary back in July, as well as controversy surrounding a proposed bill to Congress by Sen. Joe Lieberman that would create an “Internet kill switch,” giving the President the power to shut down parts of the Internet in the event of a cyberattack.  The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA) has since passed through the House and Senate.

Juice Media Rap News is run by Robert Foster, who plays all of the characters in the video, as well as Giordano Nanni, who co-writes the show.  The site operates from Melbourne, Australia, Assange’s home country.

Some notable lyrics from the video:

It’s getting hard to tell what’s real and what’s fiction

When secrecy and censorship control the whole spectrum.  

So let’s consider how Julian Assange and his team

Channelled a potent tool for total transparency.

 Shattering schemes and the myth we’ve been sold

By a Fourth Estate that rolled over and did as its told.  

Training us all to forget and forgo,

the truth leaks like oil in the Gulf of Mexico.  

Keep your wits about you, the battle lines are merging,

an information war with an appetite for turning.

This is independent media at its finest.  Robert Foster ends the show with this prolific statement:

This Internet our last channel to reach the mark.

 If we lose this frequency we’ll be left in the dark.

You can check out more of their videos at: http://www.youtube.com/thejuicemedia

Late night thoughts on Wikileaks

Earlier today, Wikileaks shook the walls of the Pentagon once again by releasing thousands of classified documents from U.S. intelligence.  When the document archive site released some 90,000 docs on the War in Afghanistan back in July, Obama declared that the Afghan War Diary doesn’t “reveal any issues that haven’t already informed our public debate.”

This time around, Wikileaks throws down Iraq War Logs, setting loose about 400,000 classified documents exposing some crucial secrets about U.S. involvement in Iraq.

Highlights:

  • Over 300 cases of torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Iraqi police.
  • Shiite-trained militias in Iran operating in Iraq 
  • 15,000 unrecorded civilian deaths
  • Over 100,000 violent deaths between 2004-2009, two-thirds of those civilian

U.S. military officials spewed out their usual legless argument that release of classified documents hinders national security and aids the enemy.  Is this not the same bullshit we heard from Nixon when Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers back in 1971  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that “the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops,” while Adm. Mike Mullen went so far as to say that Wikileaks “might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier.” 

You could probably fill a football stadium with the volume of blood the U.S. government has on its hands as a result of this war.

The fact that the U.S. just signed a $60 BILLION ARMS DEAL with Saudi Arabia doesn’t exactly sound comforting.  This is in response to Iran’s developing nuclear weapons and missile system programs.  As we learned from these documents, Iran is providing advanced training for Shiite militant groups fighting in Iraq.  In other words, Iran is mobilizing, and the U.S. is responding by arming neighboring Arab nations.  On top of that, the U.S. is offering Pakistan a $2 billion arms deal in efforts to combat Al-Qaida, which would mark a 30% increase in U.S. weapons funding for Pakistan.  All this for an unstable nation in one of the most contested regions on the planet?  For all of Obama’s efforts to push for nuclear non-proliferation, this is surely a step in the other direction.