Edward Snowden: “Obama guilty of deceit over extradition”

In the end, the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised – and it should be.”  –  Edward Snowden

US president pledged to avoid ‘wheeling and dealing’ while bullying countries that might grant asylum, says whistleblower

in Washington and in Quito

The Guardian, Monday 1 July 2013
File photo of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden during interview with The Guardian in Hong Kong
[In the statement released by WikiLeaks, Snowden claimed the US president had employed the 'old, bad tools of political aggression'. Photograph: Reuters/The Guardian]

Edward Snowden has accused Barack Obama of deception for promising in public to avoid diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over his extradition, while privately pressuring countries to refuse his requests for asylum.

Snowden, the surveillance whistleblower who is thought to be trapped in the legal limbo of a transit zone at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, used his first public comments since fleeing Hong Kong to attack the US for revoking his passport. He also accused his country of bullying nations that might grant him asylum.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic ‘wheeling and dealing’ over my case,” Snowden said in a statement released by WikiLeaks.

“Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the president ordered his vice-president to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions. This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression.” Continue reading

Bradley Manning’s Nobel Peace Prize

warpeace-jpg_49075_20121003-79[While some of the Nobel Peace Laureates over the years have made genuine and significant contributions to the people's movements against war, in recent years the awards given to such shameful imperialist masters of warmaking as Barack Obama and the European Union have destroyed the legitimacy and credibility of the Nobel Peace Prize.  For all to see, the award has come to be a cynical endorsement of imperial power.  Only a bold endorsement of a very selfless and sacrificial activist against war crimes, who has earned the enmity of imperialists everywhere, may restore the respect for the Nobel Peace Prize.  We do not believe the Nobel Committee has the capability to make such a historic move.  But a growing and passionate number are pressing them to make this move:  Award Bradley Manning the Nobel Peace Prize this year. -- Frontlines ed.]

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By David Swanson

26 March, 2013
Warisacrime.org

Whistleblower Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize , and he should receive it.

manning-saluteNo individual has done more to push back against what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism” than Bradley Manning. The United States is the leading exporter of weapons and itself spends as much preparing for more wars as the rest of the world combined.  Manning is the leading actor in opposition to U.S. warmaking, and therefore militarism around the world.  What he has done has hurt the cause of violence in a number of other nations as well.

And right now, remaining in prison and facing relentless prosecution by the U.S. government, Manning is in need of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Alfred Nobel’s will left funding for a prize to be awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

The intent of the prize was to fund this work. As a result of enormous legal expenses, Bradley Manning is in need of that funding, unlike some other peace prize recipients.  In addition, his secret trial — with a potential death sentence — could use all the attention that can be shined on it.

The people of the United States and the rest of the world have learned more about the intentions of the U.S. government from Bradley Manning than from anyone else.  “Thanks to Manning’s alleged disclosures, we have a sense of what transpired in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We have an image of how Washington operates in the world,” author Chase Madar wrote in his book about Manning’s whistleblowing.

“Thanks to those revelations we now know just how our government leaned on the Vatican to quell opposition to the Iraq War. We now know how Washington pressured the German government to block the prosecution of CIA agents who kidnapped an innocent man, Khaled El-Masri, while he was on vacation. We know how our State Department lobbied hard to prevent a minimum wage increase in Haiti, the hemisphere’s poorest nation.”

Manning revealed a secret U.S. war in Yemen, U.S. records of massive civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, video of a U.S. helicopter attack on civilians and their rescuers in Baghdad, and facts about the corruption of numerous governments including those of the United States, Tunisia, and Egypt.  In those last two nations Manning’s revelations contributed to nonviolent pro-democracy movements. Continue reading

Wikileaks Was Just a Preview: We’re Headed for an Even Bigger Showdown Over Secrets

by Matt Taibbi, Taibblog, Rolling Stone magazine,  March 22, 2013

Bradley Manning
[Photo:  U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning -  Alex Wong/Getty Images]

I went yesterday to a screening of We Steal Secrets, Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney’s brilliant new documentary about Wikileaks. The movie is beautiful and profound, an incredible story that’s about many things all at once, including the incredible Shakespearean narrative that is the life of Julian Assange, a free-information radical who has become an uncompromising guarder of secrets.

I’ll do a full review in a few months, when We Steal Secrets comes out, but I bring it up now because the whole issue of secrets and how we keep them is increasingly in the news, to the point where I think we’re headed for a major confrontation between the government and the public over the issue, one bigger in scale than even the Wikileaks episode.

We’ve seen the battle lines forming for years now. It’s increasingly clear that governments, major corporations, banks, universities and other such bodies view the defense of their secrets as a desperate matter of institutional survival, so much so that the state has gone to extraordinary lengths to punish and/or threaten to punish anyone who so much as tiptoes across the informational line.

This is true not only in the case of Wikileaks – and especially the real subject of Gibney’s film, Private Bradley Manning, who in an incredible act of institutional vengeance is being charged with aiding the enemy (among other crimes) and could, theoretically, receive a death sentence.

There’s also the horrific case of Aaron Swartz, a genius who helped create the technology behind Reddit at the age of 14, who earlier this year hanged himself after the government threatened him with 35 years in jail for downloading a bunch of academic documents from an MIT server. Then there’s the case of Sergey Aleynikov, the Russian computer programmer who allegedly stole the High-Frequency Trading program belonging to Goldman, Sachs (Aleynikov worked at Goldman), a program which prosecutors in open court admitted could, “in the wrong hands,” be used to “manipulate markets.” Continue reading

Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres

Exclusive: General David Petraeus and ‘dirty wars’ veteran behind commando units implicated in detainee abuse

The Guardian, Wednesday 6 March 2013

The Guardian investigation was spurred by the 2010 Wikileaks release.  Their initial video report, “The Torture Trail: What did General Petraeus’s special advisor, James Steele, know?”, showed how the newly released US military files reveal an instruction to ignore detainee abuse by Iraqi authorities; what that meant on the ground; and just how far up the chain of command the order went.  That 7-minute  video, from 2010, is shown here:

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO VIEW THE COMPLETE AND FINAL 2013 VIDEO REPORT (51 minutes): James Steele: America’s mystery man in Iraq

The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the “dirty wars” in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war.

Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows. Continue reading

We Must Not Fail Bradley Manning

US-War-Crimesby KEVIN ZEESE, Counterpunch, March 4, 2013

As I sat in court last Thursday at Fort Meade, watching Bradley Manning take responsibility as the Wikileaks whistleblower, two things struck me: (1) his thorough intelligence fueled by intellectual curiosity and (2) his empathy for other people when so many in war had lost their humanity.

This was the second time I had heard Manning testify. The first was his testimony about the abusive pre-trial incarceration he suffered for one year while being held in a cage in Kuwait and in solitary confinement in the Quantico Brig.  I’ve now seen him testify for a total of 15 hours.

His testimony leads me to wonder: what would have happened to Bradley Manning if we had a decent educational system that included affordable, preferably free, college education so that young people weren’t driven to the military for economic reasons? What could Bradley Manning have given the country if he had been able to pursue his interests and natural talents? Would Manning have joined the military if the country was honest about how the US Empire operates around the world?

But, that was not to be.  The country failed Bradley Manning.

I hope we do not fail him again.

Manning made it clear last Thursday that he leaked the documents to Wikileaks because he saw serious problems in US foreign policy. Problems which are as serious as they can be: war crimes, criminal behavior at the highest levels up to Secretary of State Clinton, unethical behavior and bullying of other nations. Continue reading

Bradley Manning’s plea statement: Americans had a right to know ‘true cost of war’

After admitting guilt in 10 of 22 charges, soldier reveals how he came to share classified documents with WikiLeaks and talks of ‘bloodlust’ of US helicopter crew

The Guardian

Fort Meade, Maryland, Thursday 28 February 2013

 

Manning's statement recounted how he had first become aware of WikiLeaks in 2009. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Manning’s statement recounted how he had first become aware of WikiLeaks in 2009. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Bradley Manning, the solider accused of the biggest unauthorised disclosure of state secrets in US history, has admitted for the first time to being the source of the leak, telling a military court that he passed the information to a whistleblowing website because he believed the American people had a right to know the “true costs of war”.

At a pre-trial hearing on a Maryland military base, Manning, 25, who faces spending the rest of his life in military custody, read out a 35-page statement in which he gave an impassioned account of his motives for transmitting classified documents and videos he had obtained while working as an intelligence analyst outside Baghdad.

Sitting at the defence bench in a hushed courtroom, Manning said he was sickened by the apparent “bloodlust” of a helicopter crew involved in an attack on a group in Baghdad that turned out to include Reuters correspondents and children. Continue reading

Julian Assange Addresses UN General Assembly – Full Video and Transcript

[In a bold new move to bring his case, Wikileaks, and the case of accused whistleblower and political prisoner Bradley Manning, to the United Nations, Julian Assange has delivered this electronic media.  While he addresses special appeals to President Obama, which will fall on deaf imperialist ears as usual, his arguments will undoubtedly gain renewed circulation and support among activists and people internationally.  --  Frontlines ed.]

Sep 26, 2012 by  Russia Today

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed permanent representatives to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly at a high-level talk on the legal and ethical legitimacy of diplomatic asylum. Assange’s address, which was made from inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London via live stream to the UN on September 26, was broadcast live and exclusively by Russia Today (RT).

Transcript

Transcript of Julian Assange’s Address to the UN on Human Rights – given on Wednesday 26th September – Proofed from live speech. Continue reading

Book Exposes Violent Role of Paramilitaries in Haiti

Paramilitaries destroyed the free school buses that had been operating in Cap Haitian under Aristide’s government. Credit: Judith Scherr, Cap Haitian, Haiti, August 2004.

By Judith Scherr, Inter Press Service

OAKLAND, California, Aug 16 2012 (IPS) – Haiti’s brutal army was disbanded in 1995, yet armed and uniformed paramilitaries, with no government affiliation, occupy former army bases today.

President Michel Martelly, who has promised to restore the army, has not called on police or U.N. troops to dislodge these ad-hoc soldiers.

Given the army’s history of violent opposition to democracy, Martelly’s plan to renew the army “can only lead to more suffering”, says Jeb Sprague in his forthcoming book “Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti”, to be released mid August by Monthly Review Press.

The role of Haiti’s military and paramilitary forces has received too little academic and media attention, says Sprague, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He hopes his book will help to fill that gap.

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Sprague researched the book over more than six years, traveling numerous times to Haiti, procuring some 11,000 U.S. State Department documents through the Freedom of Information Act, interviewing more than 50 people, reading the Wikileaks’ files on Haiti, and studying secondary sources. Continue reading

Interview with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy


August 31, 2012 by thisdayinwikileaks

Uruguayan journalist Jorge Gestoso interviews Julian Assange from within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.In this extensive interview, originally aired on GamaTV on August 30, they talk about the UK government’s threat to extract Assange from the embassy, the nature of his relationship with the Ecuadorian government, the secret charges drawn up against him by US prosectors and the allegation of sex crimes in Sweden.

“What are you going to say if you have to give your side of the story to the investigation in Sweden?” Gestaso asks Assange.

“The UK courts have admitted that no woman went to a police station in Sweden to complain about me. This is something that the police decided to do,” says Assange.

Originally aired on GamaTV, August 30, 2012.

Original link:
http://www.gamatv.com.ec/index.php/de-frente-con-jorge-gestoso.html
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Julian Assange’s full speech from Ecuadorian embassy, London

‘Manning a hero, US war on whistleblowers must end’


Aug 19, 2012 by RussiaToday

Julian Assange makes his first public appearance in two months, ever since he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The WikiLeaks founder was granted political asylum on Thursday — a decision that ignited a wave of international responses, with the UK and Sweden opposing the verdict and Latin American countries strongly supporting Ecuador’s move.

Free Bradley Manning Action Seizes Obama’s Oakland, California campaign Headquarters

Hundreds Rally at Obama Campaign Offices for PFC Bradley Manning, Vets Arrested
Saturday, August 18, 2012

Free Bradley Manning Action Takes Obama's Oakland Headquarters On August 16th, six veterans and activists in Oakland, CA, and six more in Portland, OR, were arrested at Obama campaign offices for occupying the spaces in solidarity with accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning. Dozens of veterans and anti-war demonstrators coordinated a West Coast set of actions that also included protests in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Seattle.

Among the approximately 100 Oakland protesters was Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, who participated in the sit-in. He said, “We need more of this type of action if Bradley’s going to get the attention he deserves. We demonstrate for Bradley because he sacrificed for us, doing what was right despite potentially spending the rest of his life in jail.”

Protesters delivered a letter to campaign staff members, which they requested be sent to President Obama at the main campaign headquarters in Chicago. The letter demanded that President Obama pardon PFC Bradley Manning, accounting for both his abusive treatment in a Quantico prison cell and the president’s own unlawfully prejudicial remarks that Bradley “broke the law.”

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Source: http://www.indybay.org

Iraq: US declared victory and got out of town before criminal indictments for war crimes were served

Exposing Government Crimes and Lies

Bradley Manning: Hero or Traitor?

by MARJORIE COHN, Counterpunch.org, December 26, 2011

When he announced that the last U.S. troops would leave Iraq by year’s end, President Barack Obama declared the nine-year war a “success” and “an extraordinary achievement.” He failed to mention why he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning. He didn’t say that it was built on lies about mushroom clouds and non-existent ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Obama didn’t cite the Bush administration’s “Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq,” drawn up months before 9/11, about which Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill reported that actual plans “were already being discussed to take over Iraq and occupy it – complete with disposition of oil fields, peacekeeping forces, and war crimes tribunals – carrying forward an unspoken doctrine of preemptive war.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also defended the war in Iraq, making the preposterous claim that, “As difficult as [the Iraq war] was,” including the loss of American and Iraqi lives, “I think the price has been worth it, to establish a stable government in a very important region of the world.”

The price that Panetta claims is worth it includes the deaths of nearly 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. It includes untold numbers wounded – with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – and suicides, as well as nearly $1 trillion that could have prevented the economic disaster at home.

The price of the Iraq war also includes thousands of men who have been subjected to torture and abuse in places like Abu Ghraib prison. It includes the 2005 Haditha Massacre, in which U.S. Marines killed 24 unarmed civilians execution-style. It includes the Fallujah Massacre, in which U.S. forces killed 736 people, at least 60% of them women and children. It includes other war crimes committed by American troops in Qaim, Taal Al Jal, Mukaradeeb, Mahmudiya, Hamdaniyah, Samarra, Salahuddin, and Ishaqi.

The price of that war includes two men killed by the Army’s Lethal Warriors in Al Doura, Iraq, with no evidence that they were insurgents or posed a threat. One man’s brains were removed from his head and another man’s face was skinned after he was killed by Lethal Warriors. U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism, wrote to military authorities in 2007 reporting war crimes that he witnessed being committed by his own command and fellow Lethal Warriors in Al Doura. His charges were supported by atrocity photos which have been released by Pulse TV and Maverick Media in the new video by Cindy Piester, “On the Dark Side in Al Doura – A Soldier in the Shadows.” 

.  CBS reported obtaining an Army document from the Criminal Investigation Command suggestive of an investigation into these war crimes allegations. The Army’s conclusion was that the “offense of War Crimes did not occur.”

One of the things Manning is alleged to have leaked is the “Collateral Murder” video which depicts U.S. forces in an Apache helicopter killing 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists, and wounding two children. People trying to rescue the wounded were also fired upon and killed. A U.S. tank drove over one body, cutting the man in half.

The actions of American soldiers shown in that video amount to war crimes under the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit targeting civilians, preventing the rescue of the wounded, and defacing dead bodies. Continue reading

Democracy Now: Daniel Ellsberg on Bradley Manning and on Whistleblowing against War Crimes

San Francisco, California: Rally and March for Accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning

Monday, November 21 2011
Army Sets Pre-Trial Hearing Date for Bradley Manning on Dec. 16th
On November 21st, the United States Army scheduled an Article 32 pretrial hearing for PFC Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence specialist accused of releasing classified material to WikiLeaks. The pretrial hearing will commence on December 16th at Fort Meade, Maryland. This will be PFC Manning’s first appearance before a court and the first time he will face his accusers after 17 months in confinement. A rally and march in solidarity with Bradley Manning takes place on Tuesday, November 22nd, starting at 5pm at Market & Powell Streets in San Francisco.Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old, openly gay, US Army intelligence analyst is facing life in prison. He is accused of sharing the following with Wikileaks: a video of the killing of civilians by a US helicopter in Iraq, the Guantanamo Files, the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs and revealing US diplomatic cables. In short, he’s been charged with telling the truth about controversial wars, foreign policies and corporate and government corruption and tyranny.SF Rally and March for Accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning! | Bradley Manning Support Network

Did Wikileaks just reveal the US blueprint for Libya?

[Documents released by Wikileaks have revealed that, since 2003, the US had high hopes for Gaddafi's collaboration with US/EU economic and military power and designs.  These hopes were based on expectations that Gaddafi's control of Libya was entrenched and unshakable--but this was sharply challenged and undermined by the 2011 Arab Spring-inspired revolt among the Libyan people.  As a result, imperialism sought to preserve its position by cutting the now-unreliable US-Gaddafi relationship, and sought to influence, buy, and usurp control of the rebel forces, as the way to keep Libya as a dependable resource for the imperialist world. -- Frontlines ed.

An excerpt from the following document:  "Nothing in the leaked documents reviewed here suggests that the NATO-backed removal of the Gaddafi regime was premeditated. On the contrary, the documents show that the United States was more enthusiastic about working with Gaddafi than perhaps Gaddafi was with the Americans – though clearly both stood to gain…..The Americans sought to expand their military presence in Africa and Gaddafi wanted to secure his regime against external threats....

...The documents support the view that the decision to go to war against Gaddafi – in the name of “protecting civilians” was more opportunistic – riding on the back of the “Arab Spring.”……It is likely that after the toppling of the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents by popular uprisings in January and February respectively, top American and NATO decision makers believed that once protests started against it, the Gaddafi regime would be too unstable and unreliable to deal with....

....But just as the Americans were happy to work with Gaddafi, they will be as keen to work with his successors, who now owe their positions to foreign intervention……]

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former US Secretary of State Rice and Muammar Gaddafi

by Ali Abunima, Electronic Intifada, August 26, 2011

The US administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were set on developing deep “military to military” ties with the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi, classified US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks on 24 August reveal.

The United States was keen to integrate Libya as much as possible into “AFRICOM,” the American military command for Africa which seeks to establish bases and station military forces permanently on the continent.

“We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi,” Senator Joseph Lieberman (Ind.-CT) said during an August 2009 meeting, which also included Senators John McCain and Susan Collins.

John McCain promising US weapons to Gaddafi in a time of collaboration

The records confirm that McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, strongly supported US arms sales to Libya and personally pledged to Muammar Gaddafi (also spelled “al-Qadhafi”) and his son Muatassim that he would push to get such transfers approved by Congress. McCain also revealed that the United States was training officers in Gaddafi’s army.

While the Americans pursued the relationship vigorously, they met with a cautious and sometimes “mercurial” response from the Libyans. In particular, the mistrustful Libyans wanted security guarantees that the Americans appeared reluctant to give.

“We can get [equipment] from Russia or China,” Muatassim told the visiting senators, “but

UK's Prime Minister Tony Blair played a major role sealing the 2003 relations with Gaddafi

we want to get it from you as a symbol of faith from the United States.”

In hindsight, given the US support for the NATO war against the Gaddafi regime, it is not difficult to understand why the Libyans wanted these guarantees.

Nevertheless, Gaddafi received high praise for his “counterterrorism” credentials from US officials.

The documents also reveal that the United States was keen to court Gaddafi’s sons, flying them to the United States for high level visits.

And, notably, none of the cables regarding high level meetings quoted in this post made any mention of American concerns about “human rights” in Libya. The issue never appeared on the bilateral agenda.

Does the removal of the Gaddafi regime now clear the way for the United States to pursue the plans for integrating Libya into AFRICOM under what the Americans must hope will be a pliable regime? Continue reading