Category Archives: Justice

The Manning Show Trial


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I’m shocked — shocked! — that Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge who ruled in February that Bradley Manning could be tried on  various charges even after being held prior to arraignment for more than five times the absolute longest time specified in the US Armed Forces’ “speedy trial” rules, has now also ruled that Manning can be convicted of aiding an enemy that does not exist.

Yes, you read that right: There’s only an “enemy” to aid, in any legal sense, if the United States is at war, a state created by a congressional declaration. There’s been no such declaration since World War II.

Lind had only one legal duty as judge in this case: To dismiss all charges due to the government’s failure to meet the “speedy trial” deadline. If the United States was, as John Adams put it, “a government of laws, not of men,” that’s exactly what she would have done.

Lind’s superiors had a clear duty as well — to remove her from the bench after that first illegal ruling and charge her under Article 98 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice:

“Any person subject to this chapter who –

“(1) is responsible for unnecessary delay in the disposition of any case of a person accused of an offense under this chapter; or

“(2) Knowingly and intentionally fails to enforce or comply with any provision of this chapter regulating the proceedings before, during, or after trial of an accused; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

No, I’m not really shocked that none of this happened. It’s par for the course. Laws, including the “supreme law of the land,” aka the US Constitution, are for us little people. The US government doesn’t need or want them, except for use as camouflage. It does whatever it wants to do (or rather whatever the ruling members of the American political class tell it to do).

The only reasonable takeaway from the Manning trial is that American “rule of law” is a sham. The US government doesn’t operate within the Constitution’s constraints on state power, nor does it honor that Constitution’s list of enshrined individual rights. It never has done so absent extreme compulsion and it never will do so on anything like a regular basis.

The corollary: If the US government isn’t bound by its own alleged rules, why on Earth would anyone else be?

Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

via The Manning Show Trial » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

Outrage over judge allowing Govt to reopen case for baseless slander Bradley Manning Support Network


Specialist Jihrleah Showman, drawn by Debra Van Poolen.

In an extremely rare, last-minute move weeks after the government rested its case, military judge Col. Denise Lind allowed prosecutors to expand their rebuttal case, making way for unsupported accusations against PFC Bradley Manning. The late addition far exceeded the usual limits of a simple rebuttal, once again raising supporters’ and journalists’ suspicions about the validity and fairness of the proceedings.

In a cynical move, the government prosecution recalled former Specialist Jihrleah Showman, a supervisor against whom Manning had filed an Equal Opportunity complaint. Following Manning’s complaint, Showman was admonished for her use of homophobic language in conversation and workplace signage. In the years since, she has vied for media appearances, augmented by her own vitriolic Tweets, attacking Manning as well as his supporters. Now, at the eleventh hour, she claims to recall a conversation with the 25-year-old army private in which he allegedly shared anti-American opinions.

According to the defense, Ms. Showman is lending an intentional and inaccurate spin to comments Manning made regarding his refusal to follow any authority blindly as an “automaton” (in Manning’s own words) so that they conform to the prosecution’s characterization of someone disloyal to the United States.

No other witness from the prosecution or defense ever testified that Manning harbored any anti-American sentiments, including Ms. Showman herself during previous trips to the stand in this case. In fact, several witnesses offered just the opposite. Lauren McNamara, with whom Manning chatted socially online, testified that Manning told her that he was “concerned about making sure that everyone, soldiers, marines, contractors, even the local nationals, get home to their families.”

Amnesty International responded to the judge’s failure to dismiss the Aiding the Enemy charge “a travesty of justice,” following up an earlier release calling for the court to dismiss this charge levied with “no basis.” Amnesty’s Senior Director for International Law and Policy called the government’s case around this charge “ludicrous”, noting “The prosecutors in this case, who have a duty to act in the interest of justice, have pushed a theory that making information available on the internet–whether through Wikileaks, in a personal blog posting, or on the website of The New York Times–can amount to ‘aiding the enemy.’”

PFC Manning’s alleged comments came during a routine one-on-one professional conference, the sort that superiors are instructed to document. Although Showman provided written documentation for other similar discussions in this same time frame—apprising Manning of the unit smoking policy, suggesting that he reduce caffeine consumption, and the possibility of her recommending him for “Soldier of the Month”—she failed to assign the same importance to these “newly remembered” comments until after Manning had been arrested on suspicion of sharing classified information with WikiLeaks.

Showman asserted that she had verbally informed her own superior, then Master Sergeant Paul Adkins, of these alleged comments. Adkins, however, did not corroborate her version of events when he testified later in the afternoon. After numerous sworn statements declaring that he could not recall Showman reporting such incidents, Adkins did eventually sign one written by his lawyer in June 2011. This later statement came as part of Adkins’ appeal to the Army having reduced his rank after Manning was arrested, claiming that he had reported such an incident up the chain of command. In all previous declarations, which Adkins himself wrote and signed, there is no mention of disloyal or anti-American statements.

Other superiors in Manning’s chain, such as Chief Warrant Officer Kyle Balonek, testified he had never heard about this allegation, and that he would expect any incident of this sort to have been documented in writing. In fact, this controversial testimony comes only after a defense motion articulated the prosecution’s lack of evidence to support its “Aiding the enemy” charge against Manning, and after several witnesses testified that Manning never displayed any anti-American sentiments.

Given that Showman’s latest testimony contradicts that of every other witness in this trial, including her own earlier statements, it remains to be seen how much weight military judge Colonel Denise Lind will place in this unconventional addition to the court record.

Supporters of PFC Manning, however, are taking action around the world on July 27 to state the actual facts presented in this case: PFC Bradley Manning is a whistle-blower who intended, and accomplished, serving the public good. In Washington DC, supporters will converge at Fort McNair on July 26 to appeal directly to the Convening Authority of this trial, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, to free Bradley Manning. A full page in The New York Times next week will declare, “We are Bradley Manning — We will not relent until this American hero is free.”

via » Outrage over judge allowing Govt to reopen case for baseless slander Bradley Manning Support Network.

Bradley Manning Wins Peace Prize


U.S. whistleblower and international hero Bradley Manning has just been awarded the 2013 Sean MacBride Peace Award by the International Peace Bureau, itself a former recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, for which Manning is a nominee this year.

A petition supporting Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize has gathered 88,000 signatures, many of them with comments, and is aiming for 100,000 before delivering it to the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo.  Anyone can sign and add their comments at ManningNobel.org

The International Peace Bureau (IPB) represents 320 organizations in 70 countries.  It was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910.  Over the years, 13 of IPB’s officers have been Nobel Peace laureates. See ipb.org

The Sean MacBride prize has been awarded each year since 1992 by the International Peace Bureau, founded in 1892. Previous winners include: Lina Ben Mhenni (Tunisian blogger) and Nawal El-Sadaawi (Egyptian author) – 2012, Jackie Cabasso (USA, 2008), Jayantha Dhanapala (Sri Lanka, 2007) and the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2006). It is named after Sean MacBride, a distinguished Irish statesman who shared the 1974 Nobel Peace Prize, and is given to individuals or organisations for their outstanding work for peace, disarmament and human rights.

The medal is made of “peace bronze,” a material created out of disarmed and recycled nuclear weapons systems, by fromwartopeace.com The prize will be formally awarded on Sept. 14 in Stockholm, at a special evening on whistleblowing, which forms part of the triennial gathering of the International Peace Bureau. See brochure at: PDF.

IPB’s Co-President Tomas Magnusson said, “IPB believes that among the very highest moral duties of a citizen is to make known war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is within the broad meaning of the Nuremberg Principles enunciated at the end of the Second World War. When Manning revealed to the world the crimes being committed by the U.S. military he did so as an act of obedience to this high moral duty. It is for this reason too that Manning has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In more general terms it is well known that war operations, and especially illegal ones, are frequently conducted under the cover of secrecy. To penetrate this wall of secrecy by revealing information that should be accessible to all is an important contribution to the struggle against war, and acts as a challenge to the military system which dominates both the economy and society in today’s world. IPB believes that whistleblowers are vital in upholding democracies – especially in the area of defense and security. A heavy sentence for Manning would not only be unjust but would also have very negative effects on the right to freedom of expression which the U.S. claims to uphold.”

Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire recently wrote: “I have chosen to nominate U.S. Army Pfc Bradley Manning, for I can think of no one more deserving. His incredible disclosure of secret documents to Wikileaks helped end the Iraq War, and may have helped prevent further conflicts elsewhere.”

Maguire explains how far-reaching Manning’s impact has been: “While there is a legitimate and long-overdue movement for peace and non-violent reform in Syria, the worst acts of violence are being perpetrated by outside groups. Extremist groups from around the world have converged upon Syria, bent on turning this conflict into one of ideological hatred. In recent years this would have spelled an undeniable formula for United States intervention. However, the world has changed in the years since Manning’s whistleblowing — the Middle East especially. In Bahrain, Tunisia, Egypt, and now Turkey, advocates of democracy have joined together to fight against their own governments’ control of information, and used the free-flowing data of social media to help build enormously successful non-violent movements. Some activists of what has come to be known as the Arab Spring have even directly credited Bradley Manning, and the information he disclosed, as an inspiration for their struggles.

“. . . If not for whistleblower Bradley Manning, the world still might not know of how U.S. forces committed covert crimes in the name of spreading democracy in Iraq . . . Now, those who would support foreign intervention in the Middle East know that every action would be scrutinized under international human rights law. Clearly, this is for the best. International peacekeepers, as well as experts and civilians inside Syria, are nearly unanimous in their view that United States involvement would only worsen this conflict.”

Won’t you add your name to the petition now?

Mairead Maguire adds: “Around the world, Manning is hailed as a peacemaker and a hero. His nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize is a reflection of this. Yet at his home in America, Manning stands trial for charges of espionage and ‘aiding the enemy’. This should not be considered a refutation of his candidacy — rather, he is in good company. Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi and Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo were each awarded the prize in recent years while imprisoned by their home countries.”

via Bradley Manning Wins Peace Prize.

Bradley Manning Trial: War On Manning Becomes a War On Journalism


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The most important court case taking place over the last month has involved no hoodies or homosexuality. This case does not arouse the primitivegroupthink and culture wars into which so many recent high-profile cases have devolved. However, while the trial of former Army Private Bradley Manning offers no edgy photo to adorn the tabloids, the proceedings offer a clear picture of American society. Without hyperbole, the outcome of this trial may reveal whether America remains a nation of free and sovereign individuals, or a mass of subjects under the authority of a military-intelligence state.

On Thursday, Col. Denise Lind, the judge presiding over Manning’s case, sent an ominous sign for Bradley and for freedom of speech, re-affirming the most serious charge against the former Army private.  Previously, the defense motioned to omit the charge of “aiding the enemy,” on the ground that Manning did not knowingly offer information to Al-Qaeda or any enemy combatants.  Government prosecutors rebutted that Manning knew that terrorist groups would scour the information on WikiLeaks. The prosecution’s premise asserts that offering intelligence to a third party constitutes aiding the enemy if the enemy might uncover the materials. Judge Lind seems to agree.

In a few quick logical connections, the trial of Bradley Manning for the charge of “aiding the enemy” would put on trial the existence of independent investigative journalism.  The prosecution has already made those connections. In a move which she may regret, Capt. Angel Overgaardaffirmed that Manning would have faced the same charges whether he had given the information to WikiLeaks or the New York Times. Previously, in the most similar high-profile case regarding the leaking of military secrets, Daniel Ellsberg ultimately faced no penalty for leaking the “Pentagon Papers” to the New York Times. However, the judge in that case left much ambiguity, dismissing the charges against Ellsberg due to governmental misconduct rather than acquitting him on principle.

With courts’ past ambiguity on the release of sensitive information, the unprecedented case of Bradley Manning could set some foreboding precedents. For instance, if Col. Lind finds Manning guilty of “aiding the enemy” — and there is no difference between a leak to WikiLeaks or to theNew York Times — then not only WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but any journalist publishing information that the government does not want published, could face fierce charges from the Department of Justice. Indeed, the Department of Justice has declared that any soldier who speaks with WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters is subject to charges of “communicating with the enemy,” implying that WikiLeaks itself is the enemy. If there is no difference betweenWikiLeaks and mainstream newspapers, then it appears that the government aims to wage war on journalists — and, therefore, on freedom of speech and thought.

A new scandal emerges every other day regarding egregious violations of liberty by another arm of the Leviathan government — the IRS, the Department of Justice, the NSA, and the U.S. military, to name a few recent perpetrators. The government has engaged more frequently than ever before in criminalizing men and women whose only crime was speaking the truth. (In case you live under a rock, see Edward Snowden.) Whether the government aims benevolently to protect our national security or not, all Americans — and all dignified human beings who reject Orwellian totalitarianism — must oppose the outlawing of truth and the war on speech.

And the innocent Bradley Manning must be free.

VIA

http://www.policymic.com/articles/55597/bradley-manning-trial-war-on-manning-becomes-a-war-on-journalism

Manning Judge Does Not Dismiss “Aiding the Enemy” Charge


Bradley Manning‘s Attorney David Coombs argues a motion in front of Judge Denise Lind at Fort Meade, Md. July 15, 2013 (Art: Kay Rudin/RSN)

Judge Denise Lind did not dismiss the “Aiding the Enemy” charge against Bradley Manning, stating that the Army did present evidence that Manning should have known, based on his training, that the enemy would be able to access the information he released to Wikileaks. She also stated that evidence was presented that Manning did know that the enemy could use the SIGACTS (mapping of incidents in a region) he leaked in the same manner that the Army uses them.

Judge Lind read into the record the evidence that she determined met the elements for the charge. If the Judge gives weight to that evidence when she enters her final verdict at the conclusion of the case, it does not look good for Manning or Press Freedom in America. The result would be chilling for whistleblowers or anyone who publishes information on the internet that could be used by the “enemy.”

Manning has already pleaded guilty to illegal use of information that he had the right to access. The chilling issue here is that with no contact with the enemy, Manning could serve life in prison without the possibility for parole. Bradley Manning did not give the information to an enemy of the United States, he gave it to the media.

Even if you don’t believe Wikileaks is the media, Judge Lind asked the Army on two occasions the following: If the documents were released to The New York Times and not Wikileaks would you still have brought the same charges? The Army’s response on both occasions was “Yes Ma’am.” So precedent that would be set here with a guilty verdict is that providing information to any media organization can result in a conviction for aiding the enemy.

Where is the line? How often have we all crossed it?

via OpEdNews – Article: BREAKING: Manning Judge Does Not Dismiss “Aiding the Enemy” Charge.

Experts Disagree With Feds Over What Killed Reporter- Malfunction or Missile?


Official” details of death of Michael Hastings hotly disputed

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Akin to the highly suspicious “suicide” of freelance journalist Danny Casolaro on August 10, 1991, the June 18 late-night death of Rolling Stone investigative reporter Michael Hastings is arousing similar doubts.

Only hours after sending a panicked email warning that the feds were interviewing his close friends and associates, Hastings died in a fiery auto accident on a Los Angeles residential street. Most curious about this incident were reports that the engine block of Hastings’ Mercedes C250 had been located approximately 150-180 feet from his car.

On July 1, AMERICAN FREE PRESS interviewed automotive engineer Dr. Alexander Zhukov, Ph.D., who has testified many times as an expert witness. When presented with the possibility of an engine flying such a great distance from the hood of a car after supposedly striking a tree at 100 mph, Zhukov provided this analysis:

“I would be very surprised. I wouldn’t believe it until I saw it myself. It doesn’t sound very likely.”

That same day AFP also spoke with accident reconstructionist Shawn Gyorke of a company named Crash Data Services. After describing how the Mercedes C250 ranks as a top pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Gyorke broached the topic of an engine being ejected such a fabulous distance.

“The odds are incredibly low,” Gyorke stated. “In fact, it’s beyond the scope of what’s physically possible. I find it incredibly unlikely.”

Unless—as various researchers have speculated—some type of missile struck Hastings’ vehicle.

Equally incredulous were circumstances surrounding the demise of Mr. Casolaro. As revealed in HILLARY (AND BILL) THE MURDER VOLUME, Casolaro’s body was discovered in a West Virginia hotel room. His arms and wrists had been sliced at least a dozen times, with one of the slashes severing a tendon.

Trying to unravel what he referred to as “The Octopus,” Casolaro pried into the shadowy realm of JFK’s assassination, Golden Triangle heroin trafficking, George Bush Sr.’s October Surprise and its relation to Iran-Contra, Mossad spy networks, and the BCCI bank scandal, among many other related subjects.

Needless to say, many powerful international figures came under Casolaro’s scrutiny. On August 9, 1991, one day prior to his death, Casolaro’s housekeeper received a phone call where a male voice threatened, “I will cut his body up and throw it to the sharks.”

Similarly on June 27, Staff Sergeant Joe Biggs, a friend and confidant of Hastings, revealed during a radio interview:

“He [Hastings] had been told, if we don’t like what you write, we will hunt you down and kill you.”

Also, to counter claims that Hastings drove erratically, Biggs told Megyn Kelly of Fox News on June 25:

“His friends and family who know him, everyone says he drives like a grandma.”

As a way of shifting blame away from murder, authorities have posited that Hastings’ Mercedes may have experienced technical difficulties or that he suffered from a medical condition. Other reports cited Hastings’ alleged history of drunken driving. However, in a 2012 book Hastings confessed that he hadn’t consumed alcohol in 10 years. Moreover, mechanics that have weighed in on this case insist that automobiles today almost never explode into fireballs.

Was Hastings’ Mercedes tampered with or struck by some type of drone or projectile in order to create a sensationalized Hollywood movie effect? Possibly so, especially since Hastings, reminiscent of Casolaro, was working on articles whose tentacles stretched in dangerous directions, such as lawsuits against the Department of Defense and FBI, Gen. David Petraeus’ affair, a whistleblower associated with the group Anonymous, and Obama’s current CIA Director John Brennan.

– See more at: http://americanfreepress.net/?p=11636#sthash.10BTTsBV.dpuf

via Malfunction or Missile? | American Free Press.

Investigation into Michael Hastings accident continues


Credits:
Kimberly Dvorak, San Diego 6 News
Credits:
Kimberly Dvorak, S
Credits:
Kimberly Dvorak, San Diego 6 News

Details uncovered by this reporter shed new light into the June 18 death of journalist Michael Hastings

Hastings’ friend and confidant SSgt. Joe Biggs disclosed a macabre twist in the award-winning journalist’s death in a suspicious single-car accident. According to SSgt. Biggs, “Michael Hastings’ body was returned to Vermont in an urn.” He further alleged, “Family members did not want Michael’s body cremated.”

This revelation provides another wrinkle in the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) handling of a case they labeled “no foul play” only hours after the writer’s death.

Nevertheless LA County assistant corner, Ed Winter, said it took two days to identify the burned-beyond recognition body of Hastings. Officials also confirmed that an autopsy has been performed, but the cause of death is still pending. Unfortunately the family will have to wait for cause of death answers as LAPD media spokesperson Lieutenant Andrew Neiman indicated, “It will take several weeks to get the toxicology results.”

SSgt. Biggs also emphatically stated that liquor was not a factor in the accident, as Hastings hadn’t consumed alcoholic beverages in five years.

So why is the LAPD delaying the reports?

It was SSgt. Biggs who released the following chilling email to members of the media; “Subject: FBI Investigation, re: NSA -Hey (redacted names) — the Feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates.” Perhaps if the authorities arrive “BuzzFeed GQ,” er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news gathering practices or related journalism issues. Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the rada[r] for a bit. All the best, and hope to see you all soon. Michael”

The receipt of this email from Hastings tipped the scales for SSgt. Biggs. “This wasn’t an accident and I will continue to investigate his death.”

As an investigative journalist, Hastings saw his fair share of threats. One particular passage in Hastings book, “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan,” revealed that a former McChrystal staff member made a death threat. “We’ll hunt you down and kill you if we don’t like what you write,” the unnamed staffer said. Hastings coolly retorted: “Well, I get death threats like that about once a year, so no worries.”

Despite the LAPD’s categorization of the Hasting fatal accident as a “no (evidence of) foul play,” LAPD continues to ignore FOIA (CPRA in Calif.) requests made by San Diego 6 News for the police report, 9/11 call, autopsy, bomb squad and toxicology reports, or make the Mercedes available for inspection which only fuels conjecture.

San Diego 6 News TV interview link: http://www.sandiego6.com/story/hastings-investigation-20130714

via Investigation into Michael Hastings accident continues – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com.

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