Monday, December 19, 2011

  • Bradley Manning Hearing: Alleged WikiLeaks Whistleblower in Military Court, 19 Months After Arrest

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    The military hearing of alleged U.S. Army whistleblower Private Bradley Manning began Friday at Fort Meade in Maryland and continued over the weekend. Manning has been detained for more than a year and a half and could face up to 23 counts of violating military code. The 24-year-old is suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks in the biggest leak of classified U.S. documents in history. Army prosecutors have signaled they will not recommend the death penalty in the event of Manning’s conviction, but they could be overruled. The issues raised during the trial so far include the lax computer security at the military base in Iraq where Manning was stationed and Manning’s emotional stability and anxieties around his sexual orientation. "It’s important to say that all this [Manning’s sexuality and state of mind] area is being raised by Manning’s own defense lawyer at this hearing. It is the case that the defense is pushing. Now, we have to be careful at this stage, because this is not a trial, and we cannot say this is what the defense will do at a court-martial. They may be doing it for other reasons, that they want to get more evidence, they want to get disclosure out of the prosecution, which they will then use in a different way at the trial," says Ed Pilkington, a correspondent for The Guardian, who has been reporting from the pretrial hearings for the last three days. "All the evidence so far has been that the defense is likely to press a mitigating argument, that Manning was under extreme emotional stress at the time that the leaks happened, that there was an extraordinary — and the evidence that we’ve already heard from people who worked with Manning inside his intelligence unit, there was undoubtedly an almost astonishing lack of control over soldiers." [includes rush transcript]

  • Adrian Lamo, Bradley Manning Informant, Defends Role in Turning in Alleged WikiLeaks Whistleblower

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    We speak with Adrian Lamo, the former hacker who last year informed the U.S. military authorities of his conversations with Army Private Bradley Manning, in which Manning claimed to have leaked a large body of classified documents. In internet chats with Lamo using a pseudonym, Manning allegedly disclosed he was providing materials to WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange. Lamo is now a witness in Manning’s trial. "I very much regret the situation that his actions have put him in. He is on my mind every day. I remember what it was to be that young and that idealistic. And when he came to me, he created a situation where there was no right decision. There were simply choices that were between greater and lesser harm. I had to go with the one that resulted in the lesser harm, but still resulted in harm," says Lamo. "The leaks have real potential to do harm or hazard. And then, additionally, they still do long-term damage to U.S. diplomacy with other countries, which in turn weakens our international position." [includes rush transcript]

  • Bradley Manning Faces Life Sentence, While Criminals WikiLeaks Exposed Have Suffered No Consequences–Glenn Greenwald

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    We speak with constitutional lawyer and Salon.com blogger Glenn Greenwald about the military pretrial hearing now underway for alleged U.S. Army whistleblower Bradley Manning, who has been accused of releasing classified U.S. documents to WikiLeaks. Greenwald comments on the possible strategy being put forth by Manning’s defense. "All the Manning [tribunal] hearings have been shrouded in secrecy," Greenwald says, noting there may be more transparency in Guantánamo detainee hearings than there has been for the Manning tribunal. "Presumably, his lawyer believes that one of the best ways that they have to keep him out of prison for the next six decades is to argue that he had diminished capacity by virtue of emotional distress over the gender struggles that he had over his sexual orientation being in a military that had a policy of banning those who were openly gay. And so, part of this emotional distress that they’re raising is designed to say that he should be excused from his actions because they were not the byproduct of full choice," says Greenwald, who is openly gay and has been writing extensively about this aspect of Manning’s case. "He is—and I don’t blame him at all—trying to do whatever he can to avoid having his life destroyed, either being killed by the state or locked up in a cage for the rest of his life." [includes rush transcript]

  • Obama Prepares to Authorize Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens for First Time Since McCarthy Era–Glenn Greenwald on NDAA

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    The $662 billion National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress last week includes controversial provisions that could usher in a radical expansion of indefinite detention under the U.S. government by authorizing the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial. "Congress, with the Democrats in control of the Senate and a Democratic president, is about to enact into law the first bill that will say that the military and the United States government do have this power," says Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com blogger and constitutional law attorney. "It’s muddled whether it applies to U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, but it’s clearly indefinite detention, and there’s a very strong case to make that it includes U.S. citizens, as well, which, as we know, the Obama administration already claims anyway, and that’s what makes it so dangerous." [includes rush transcript]

  • Egyptian Military Kills 14 Protesters, Attacks Journalists in Brutal Crackdown in Tahrir Square

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    A new wave of violence in Cairo’s Tahrir Square began Friday when one of several hundred peaceful protesters staging a sit-in outside the parliament building was reportedly detained and beaten by troops. Up to 14 people have now been killed and hundreds injured over the last three days of clashes. A video uploaded Sunday on YouTube has circulated widely and provoked outrage at the extent of police brutality. It shows a young woman being dragged and beaten by military police. The top half of her body is bare, her blue bra exposed. Her abaya, or robe, has been ripped off and surrounds her upper body, showing that she was wearing a hijab. "When this [woman was beaten and disrobed] happened, there was probably much more video evidence of people being brutally beaten down, but they’re not available, because the army, right after that raid, entered the offices of most media outlets surrounding the square and confiscated equipment," says Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, reporting from Cairo. Kouddous says the military confiscated two of his cameras, and he also saw them take cameras from Al Jazeera reporters. "This was a clampdown on information, on trying to prevent these kinds of pictures from emerging." The police attacks have overshadowed the first parliamentary elections since former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February. [includes rush transcript]

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