Monday, June 24, 2013

Celebrities talking about Bradley Manning (video)

‘I Am Bradley Manning’ Say Celebrities in New Campaign. This Human Rights and Peace Article was written by Steve Williams - A new video campaign has been released that sees celebrities proclaim “I Am Bradley Manning,” a drive they hope will help promote support for Manning’s cause.

The video, part of the wider I Am Bradley Manning campaign, sees actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, comedian Russel Brand, director Oliver Stone, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and rights activist Dan Choi, among others, explain why they feel we are all Bradley Manning.

Their appearances are interspersed among clips of the now infamous Collateral Murder video and other high profiled moments surrounding the Manning/Wikileaks saga.

Watch the video below:

It should be noted that there is a significant body of evidence to suggest Manning identifies as female, though whether she identifies under the umbrella of transgender is unclear. This post shall hereafter use female pronouns.

The Manning court martial, after eight full days in court spread over three weeks, is now in recess.

Manning faces 22 charges but chief among them (the charge that potentially carries a life sentence) is that Manning directly aided the enemy, Osama bin Laden.

Manning, in a thorough 35 page statement delivered to the court at the start of the trial, freely admits to 10 of the 22 charges and specifically to disclosing the information, but denies aiding the enemy.

Instead Manning contends she provided the classified information under the impression that the battlefield reports were not sensitive and that by placing the documents in the public domain the Military would have to acknowledge it acted against the US Constitution and international rights standards, in effect that it would “show the true cost of war.”

On the charge of aiding the enemy, however, the Military will need to prove that “Manning had reason to believe the leaks would hurt national security,” a very particular threshold.

Much of the trial has centered around the Military attempting to prove this by examining communications including Twitter messages, though so far the information used to paint Manning as cognizant that she could be aiding the enemy appears at the moment only circumstantial.

The fact that Manning was kept for almost a year at the Marine Corps Brig in Virginia under dehumanizing solitary confinement restrictions and then a further two years at Fort Leavenworth with other detainees prior to trial, virtually unprecedented in cases like this, has drawn international attention and the condemnation of national rights groups.

It has also contributed to serious concerns over the Obama administration’s wider response to national security issues. This has reemerged with the NSA scandal and questions over what charges whistle-blower Edward Snowden might now face.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has also emerged as a prominent figure in the Military’s view of the Manning trial, though this has raised some eyebrows as Manning is not charged with conspiracy or having set out to infiltrate the military for the purpose of disclosing information to Wikileaks. So why Assange should be named quite so often — 22 times by one count — is interesting.

Assange has just passed his first year of self-confinement by limited choice in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, England, after pleading for asylum from Ecuadorian authorities to escape being extradited to Sweden, where in an unrelated matter he would almost certainly be charged with some form of sexual assault and from where he claims he could, in turn, be extradited to the US.

Manning’s trial is set to resume on Tuesday, June 25.

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