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 →
This is an update about Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, a prisoner activist and intellectual who is currently in a dire situation in Snake River Correctional Institution in Oregon.
As was reported last week, Rashid has been in the midst of a health crisis for almost a month now, which has included periods of severe disorientation. For a time he was refusing to eat or drink; as far as our most recent information if concerned, he is currently accepting liquids but still not eating.
Rashid has spent most of his adult life in prison, and almost all of that time has been spent in various isolation units. This is a direct consequence of his actively resisting abuse from prison guards and their lackeys in the 1990s, and to his continued political writing and exposing conditions in America’s carceral nightmare ever since. A New Afrikan Communist and the founder and Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter, Rashid is also a longtime mentor to several activists (and, through his writings, other prisoners) in Virginia, and in recent years has gained national attention as the result of the publication of his book Defying the Tomb, and the use of his artwork in numerous progressive publications. Most notably, Rashid is the artist who designed the drawing used as an emblem during the historic 2011 California prisoners’ hunger strikes, in which over 12,000 participated.
Rashid is a Virginia State prisoner, yet in 2012 the situation at Red Onion State Prison (where he had been held in solitary for years) escalated, with certain guards singling him out for abuse. In one harrowing incident, he was beaten while in handcuffs, which left him with a dislocated shoulder several of his dreadlocks torn out from the roots (as reported here). This attack came shortly after he wrote an article exposing a pain-compliance technique used at Red Onion which involved twisting prisoners’ fingers back, leading in some cases to broken bones. Subsequent to this assault, he was transferred to Wallens Ridge prison where he was informed by guards that he “would not leave the prison walking” (as reported here).
It was following exposure of this set-up, and numerous phone calls and petitions from outside supporters, that Rashid was transferred across the country, to Oregon. This transfer was possible due to an American practice of some States agreeing to imprison people from other States, essentially renting out their prison cells for one another. Upon his arrival in Oregon, Rashid was placed in general population – the first time in almost twenty years that he had not been in solitary confinement. Nevertheless, after just a few months, his work educating other prisoners in revolutionary theory and the principles of solidarity led to his being transferred to Snake River’s Intensive Management Unit, a prison within a prison on the border with Idaho in Oregon’s remote south-east corner. Continue reading →
[For details on the action referred to in this statement, see the February 19 news report at https://revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/philippines-rebels-attack-pineapple-plantation-in-bukidnon/ — Frontlines ed.]
PRESS STATEMENT NDFP North Central Mindanao Region
CESAR RENERIO, Spokesperson
27 February 2013
Del Monte’s management makes a fool of itself by feigning innocence on their apparent culpability when the New People’s Army launched a punitive action against them. All these years, they consider their decades-old exploitation and oppression of workers, peasants and Lumads, environmental plunder and destruction as perfectly laudable.What a surprise indeed!
They are not a bit bothered by guilty conscience of the weight of the responsibility in permanently exposing to danger the lives and properties of the people living along the streams and rivers emptying into Macajalar Bay. Nothing concerns them more than amassing super-profits by exploiting the labor of their low paid workers.
Del Monte flaunts repeatedly that it has provided 20,000 jobs in the ten municipalities of Bukidnon, at the cost of the eviction and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of peasants and Lumads who once made their living in these lands. In reality, this figure is wittingly bloated to create an impression that Del Monte contributes significantly to the local economy. According to Chito Lorenzo, the US-Arroyo regime’s former presidential adviser on 1million jobs creation, Del Monte only employs 7,000 workers. Continue reading →
“..what a state of society is that which knows of no better instrument for its own defense than the hangman.” – Marx
One fine morning in the
After tying behind the back
The hands that fought for sunrise
After blindfolding the eyes
That looked for sunrise
After putting the noose
around the throat
That spoke for sunrise
You turn that side
Only to find the sky blood red
In that crimson lap
Someone’s eyes have just opened.
– Varavara Rao
The Indian state is right now in its worst ever killing spree. Putting people mercilessly in the gallows and killing them in cold blood! The secret hanging of Afzal Guru has once again brought to the fore the barbaric practice of death penalty which the Indian state continues with, even after a great majority of countries have abolished it. Death penalty gives the state complete impunity to kill and is the worst form of cold-blooded judicial murder. While 140 countries in the world have abolished death penalty, as per the records of the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB),in India according to the Ministry of Home Affairs, a total of 1,455 convicts or an average of 132.27 convicts per year were sentenced to death penalty during 2001 to 2011. Death penalty, which the Indian state claims that it applies only in the “rarest of rare” case, is in actuality a routine tool in the hand of the ruling classes to browbeat and intimidate the oppressed and struggling masses. It is estimated that the number of those executed after 1947 is over 4,300.
Now after executing Afzal, the Indian state continues with its killing spree and has rejected the mercy petition of Simon, Meesakara Mathayan, Bilavendran and Gnanaprakasam who were a member of Veerappan’s gang and had spent 18 years in jail already. The state had sat on their mercy petition for nine long years before rejecting it finally. In their case the state even more cruelly has merely communicated the execution orders orally and has given nothing in written. All the four convicts are above 60 years old, with the senior-most being 70. The decision to execute these old men who have spent nearly two decades in jail, display the violent retributive & vengeful character that Indian judicial system has acquired.Along with continuing with this barbaric system, the Indian state off late has gone a step further in making it a clandestine affair. So the Indian state’s cowardice goes hand in hand with its ruthlessness. Continue reading →
Chairman of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Condemning his continued house arrest in New Delhi, the Dal Khalsa has urged the Government of India to release chairman of Hurriyat (G) Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani immediately.
In a statement party head H S Dhami termed the detention of Geelani Sahib ever since the hanging of Afzal Guru on Feb 9 as ‘illegal and unjust’. Taking a dig at Indian civil society and eminent human rights activists based in the capital for their stoic silence, he said the government has stooped too low to gag the voice of Kashmiri people.
Urging the civil society to speak up against state’s highhandedness, he urged the officials of UNHRC, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to intervene and take stock of the ground situation vis-à-vis rights violations.
He said the government was highly mistaken that by detaining Geelani Sahib it could break his resolve for carrying forward the struggle for Kashmir’s self-determination.
Accusing the Union Home Minister for his flip-flop position on “Saffron terror and RSS sponsored terrorism”, Mr Dhami urged Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde to restore the civil, political and human rights of Geelani Sahib immediately and allow him to be with his people and family members.
Egypt: Opposition Group Denounces U.S. Intervention in Egypt Affairs
Aswat Masriya, 27 February 2013
Egypt’s National Association for change condemned on Wednesday the “outright intervention of the United States in Egypt’s internal affairs” which was expressed in the U.S. State Department call to the opposition to participate in the parliamentary elections.
Spokesperson of the U.S. State Department, Edgar Vasquez, has urged all the Political Parties to participate in the upcoming elections, saying, “Elections give the Egyptians a chance to have their voices heard.”
“It is crucial for all Egyptian parties to be involved,” said Vasquez, as reported by the American Network, Fox News.
In response to Vasquez’s remarks, the National Association for Change issued a statement saying, “Neither America, nor any other country, has the right to provide advice to Egyptians, or interfere in any way in the internal affairs of Egypt.”
“The successive governments of the United States have supported Hosni Mubarak’s regime unconditionally, which sponsored corruption and tyranny. They continue to disgracefully support the Muslim Brotherhood’s repressive regime,” said the statement.
The statement added that according to U.S. reports, Barack Obama’s administration has provided financial aid of one billion and a half dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood to enable it to take over the revolution and the government. Continue reading →
The true scale of Britain’s involvement in the slave trade has been laid bare in documents revealing how the country’s wealthiest families received the modern equivalent of billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished.
The previously unseen records show exactly who received what in payouts from the Government when slave ownership was abolished by Britain – much to the potential embarrassment of their descendants. Dr Nick Draper from University College London, who has studied the compensation papers, says as many as one-fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons derived all or part of their fortunes from the slave economy.
As a result, there are now wealthy families all around the UK still indirectly enjoying the proceeds of slavery where it has been passed on to them. Dr Draper said: “There was a feeding frenzy around the compensation.” A John Austin, for instance, owned 415 slaves, and got compensation of £20,511, a sum worth nearly £17m today. And there were many who received far more.
Academics from UCL, led by Dr Draper, spent three years drawing together 46,000 records of compensation given to British slave-owners into an internet database to be launched for public use on Wednesday. But he emphasised that the claims set to be unveiled were not just from rich families but included many “very ordinary men and women” and covered the entire spectrum of society.
Dr Draper added that the database’s findings may have implications for the “reparations debate”. Barbados is currently leading the way in calling for reparations from former colonial powers for the injustices suffered by slaves and their families. Continue reading →