Accused of disclosing secret war crimes, Bradley Manning challenges the abusive accusers

Pfc. Bradley Manning faces a potential life sentence if convicted of leaking documents.

Pfc. Bradley Manning faces a potential life sentence if convicted of leaking documents.

In WikiLeaks Case, Defense Puts the Jailers on Trial

By and , New York Times, December 7, 2012

FORT MEADE, Md. — In a half-empty courtroom here, with a crew of fervent supporters in attendance, Pfc. Bradley Manning and his lawyer have spent the last two weeks turning the tables on the government.

Private Manning faces a potential life sentence if convicted on charges that he gave WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy organization, hundreds of thousands of confidential military and diplomatic documents. But for now, he has been effectively putting on trial his former jailers at the Quantico, Va., Marine Corps base. His lawyer, David E. Coombs, has grilled one Quantico official after another, demanding to know why his client was kept in isolation and stripped of his clothing at night as part of suicide-prevention measures.

Mr. Coombs, a polite but relentless interrogator who stands a foot taller than his client, has laid bare deep disagreements inside the military: psychiatrists thought the special measures unnecessary, while jail commanders ignored their advice and kept the suicide restrictions in place. In a long day of testimony last week, Private Manning of the Army, vilified as a dangerous traitor by some members of Congress but lauded as a war-crimes whistle-blower on the political left, heartened his sympathizers with an eloquent and even humorous performance on the stand.

“He was engaged, chipper, optimistic,” said Bill Wagner, 74, a retired NASA solar physicist who is a courtroom regular, dressed in the black “Truth” T-shirt favored by Private Manning’s supporters.

Private Manning, who turns 25 on Dec. 17 and looks much younger, was quietly attentive during Friday’s court session, in a dress uniform, crew-cut blond hair and wire-rimmed glasses. If his face were not already familiar from television news, he might have been mistaken for a first-year law student assisting the defense team.

It seemed incongruous that he has essentially acknowledged responsibility for the largest leak of classified material in history. The material included a quarter-million State Department cables whose release may have chilled diplomats’ ability to do their work discreetly but also helped fuel the Arab Spring; video of American helicopter crews shooting people on the ground in Baghdad who they thought were enemy fighters but were actually Reuters journalists; field reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and confidential assessments of the detainees locked up at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Continue reading

Dept. of “Homeland Security” Documents Show Role in Occupy Crackdown

Occupy protesters and police clash outside Zuccotti park in New York, 11/17/11. (photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

By Justice Online, The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund

25 March 2012

trove of documents released today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a FOIA request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee reveal that federal law enforcement agencies began their coordinated intelligence gathering and operations on the Occupy movement even before the first tent went up in Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011.On September 17, 2011, a Secret Service intelligence entry in its Prism Demonstrations Abstract file records the opening of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. The demonstration location that the Secret Service was protecting? The “Wall Street Bull.” The name of the Protectee? The “U.S. Government.”

American taxpayers might find it odd to learn that the Secret Service was on duty to protect the Wall Street Bull in the name of protecting the U.S. Government. But there it is.

The DHS’s Game of Three Card Monte to Deflect Disclosure of Law Enforement Operations

These documents, many of which are redacted, show that the highest officials in the Department of Homeland Security were preoccupied with the Occupy movement and have gone out of their way to project the appearance of an absence of federal involvement in the monitoring of and crackdown on Occupy.

On the street it would be called “Three Card Monte,” a swindler’s game to hide the ball – a game of misdirection. The House always wins.

The DHS, as revealed in the newly released documents, has engaged in what appears to be a effort to avoid looking for Occupy related materials where it is likely to be found, including in Fusion Centers and DHS sub-divisions such as the Operations Coordination & Planning sub-division which is responsible for DHS coordination with local and federal law enforcement partners. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia bans protest rallies

Interior ministry vows to use all steps “to prevent attempts to disrupt public order” following recent Shia protests.

5 Mar 2011

King Abdullah unveiled $37bn in benefits for citizens after returning from abroad last week

Saudi Arabia has banned all protests and marches following recent anti-government protests in the kingdom’s east, reports say.

State television on Saturday quoted the interior ministry as saying that security forces would use all measures to prevent any attempt to disrupt public order.

The ban on public demonstrations comes amid media reports of a huge mobilisation of Saudi troops in Shia-dominated provinces in order to quell any possible uprising.

According to The Independent, a British newspaper, 10,000 security personnel are being sent to the region by road, clogging highways into Dammam and other cities. Continue reading

Is Bradley Manning Being Treated Like a Guantanamo Detainee?

March 4, 2011

By Kevin Gosztola, OpEd News
 

"Free Bradley Manning" demonstration (August 2010)

Manning Stripped Naked for Two Consecutive Nights: Quantico or Abu Ghraib?

Former Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking classified information (specifically a video showing U.S. military in Iraq firing on civilians and two journalists), continues to experience intense solitary confinement in the Quantico Marine Brig in Virginia. The accused military whistleblower, whom the army filed 22 additional charges against days ago, has now been stripped naked two nights in a row.

Coombs, Manning’s counsel, reported Manning was stripped naked March 2 of all his clothing and forced to remain in his cell naked for the next seven hours until early in the morning on March 3. He added a wake-up call was sounded at 5:00 am, “Manning was forced to stand naked at the front of his cell,” a Duty Brig Supervisor arrived and Manning “was called to attention,” a detainee count was conducted and afterwards Manning was told to sit on his bed, and minutes later his clothing was returned.


Now, Coombs reports:

The decision to require him to be stripped of all clothing was made by the Brig commander, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Denise Barnes. According to First Lieutenant Brian Villard, a Marine spokesman, the decision was “not punitive” and done in accordance with Brig rules. There can be no conceivable justification for requiring a soldier to surrender all his clothing, remain naked in his cell for seven hours, and then stand at attention the subsequent morning. This treatment is even more degrading considering that PFC Manning is being monitored — both by direct observation and by video — at all times. The defense was informed by Brig officials that the decision to strip PFC Manning of all his clothing was made without consulting any of the Brig’s mental health providers.

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