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Photo by: joanneleon.  May, 2013.

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Photo by: joanneleon.  May, 2013.



Tunes



Almost Gone (Ballad Of Bradley Manning), Graham Nash



News & Opinion


Wow.  I knew about the "I am Bradley Manning" campaign, but I did not know about the plans for the campaign announced below.  Of course, some right-wing media are framing this, literally, as "supporting a traitor".  Morello is using the idea of "busting him out of jail" as a metaphor.  The goal is to show support for Manning but there is also a petition to award him the Nobel Peace Prize.  You can find the offical campaign at iam.bradleymanning.org.  The site takes a long time to load, at least for me.  I hope that's because they have a lot of traffic or a slow server and not some other reason.

Are you Bradley Manning? High-profile Americans take to YouTube to back Nobel petition

The protesters who descended on Fort Meade military base in Maryland to express frustration with the trial of Bradley Manning have been joined by major American celebrities and journalists, who are also rallying support for the Army whistleblower.
[...]
The “I Am Bradley Manning” campaign, featuring a video trailer of A-list celebrities and public thinkers voicing support for Manning, pushed viewers to consider if they themselves would have the courage to disclose military video footage in order to stop the carnage.
[...]
The trailer also urges audience members to sign a petition encouraging the Nobel Committee to award Manning the Nobel Peace Prize. By Tuesday, the second day of Manning’s trial, nearly 60,000 people had signed the petition, organized by Roots Action, which describes itself as “an online initiative dedicated to galvanizing Americans who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights, civil liberties, environmental protection – and defunding endless wars.”

From the Freedom of the Press Foundation.  On their Board of Directors: Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, John Cusack, Xeni Jardin, et al.

Transcripts from Bradley Manning's Trial
 [Day 1]

The US military has refused to release transcripts of Bradley Manning's trial. In addition, they've denied press passes to 270 out of the 350 media organizations that applied. Without public transcripts or a press pass, it's virtually impossible for media organizations to accurately cover the trial and for the public to know what the government is doing in its name.

In response, Freedom of the Press Foundation has crowd-sourced funding to place a professional stenographer in the media room covering the trial. We will post full transcripts shortly after each day's proceedings end. The morning session with be posted by 7 pm the same evening. The afternoon session will be posted by 9 am the next morning. The transcripts will be released under a ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons license.

Depending on how long the trial lasts, transcriptions will cost between $60,000-120,000, so please help support this project by going here to donate.

PDF for Day 1 transcript: 06-03-13 AM session.pdf

Over the past week there have been many protests in solidarity for Bradley Manning all over the world.  This speech by Craig Murray was part of the one in London.  He makes some very strong and bold points.
Craig Murray speaks at Bradley Manning Demo in London

There are a lot of things going on within the Bradley Manning case.  One of them is a transformation of the United States and how it projects its image to the world.  We would like to maintain the image of the benevolent superpower because it makes imperialism easier and it makes powerful people feel better about themselves.  But when push comes to shove, if the curtain is pulled back (and it has been) the people who run this country aren't shy about showing how nakedly brutal we are.  The astounding thing is how few Americans have seen it. The rest of the world has.  The propaganda at home has been dialed up to 11.
Bradley Manning’s case is about more than freedom of speech
The young soldier has become a symbol of the information war and its discontents.

America will be judged by its treatment of Private Bradley Manning. [...]

[...] Yet it was within the US military’s power to treat Manning as a human being. It chose instead to torment him in a tiny cell and seemed remarkably relaxed about who knew it. The message to everybody else is clear.
[...]
States maintain power, in part, by maintaining a monopoly on secrets. Both state and corporate power have historically been associated with the ability to operate beyond scrutiny and, in today’s information-rich society, where sharing data and leaking documents is getting easier than ever, there is an ideological battle taking place. On one side are those who believe that such secrecy is anachronistic. On the other are those determined to preserve it by smashing any dissent with ten-tonne fists.
[...]
The case isn’t just about whistle-blowing. It’s not even just about freedom of speech. This is about secrets, and who gets to have them, and from whom, and at what cost. [...] There are a great many people, not just in the US, who are suspicious of unsupervised information exchange, of mass higher education and of the internet.

There are countless more going through the courts in the US and elsewhere. The US is fighting not only a war on “terror” in the Middle East but a war on information in cyberspace. In choosing to give military secrets to WikiLeaks, Manning placed himself on the front line of both.

[...] Every institution faces the choice between appearing just and appearing powerful. The US military, in its treatment of Bradley Manning, has made its choice.


Bradley Manning Trial: WikiLeaks Lawyer Sees Spurious "Enemy" Claims & Bid to Scare Whistleblowers

Even Eugene Robinson thinks Obama has gone too far.  It's extremism now, plain and simple, IMHO.  Robinson does this in a cautious way. He doesn't want to be seen as supporting a traitor, I guess.  There seems to be a consensus forming that Manning should serve 20 years, even though this was an illegal war and even though none of those who committed war crimes have served a day and even though a UN rapporteur determined that the harsh and inhumane treatment of him by his own country was equivalent to torture. And even though Obama committed unlawful command influence and in essence, directed his subordinates to find him guilty. How generous of those who say he should serve 20 years.
Give Manning a Plea Deal

The treatment of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning has been excessively harsh, as far as I can tell. If he is found guilty of leaking more than 700,000 classified documents, he deserves some punishment—probably—but should not be at risk of spending the rest of his life behind bars. Apparently.

I have to throw in all those qualifiers because Manning’s prosecution has been largely a secret process. Portions of his court-martial, which opened Monday at Fort Meade, Md., will be secret as well—the important parts, presumably. The public may never know whether justice is properly done unless someone leaks the details of this trial about leaks.

But we do know that Manning has offered to plead guilty to a host of charges that could bring up to 20 years in prison. Rather than agree to what strikes me as more than adequate punishment, prosecutors insist on trying to convict him under the 1917 Espionage Act as, essentially, an enemy of the state. Which I don’t believe he is.

Look who posted after he testified at the Manning court martial. He also has been posting other provocative things on Twitter in the lead up to it.  I don't know what's going on with Adrian Lamo.  He seems to want the negative attention and in one instance (I didn't look too far back in his feed, there may be more) he retweets negative press or statements about about himself.  The one that I saw reported that when his name was mentioned at the Ft. Meade protests  over the weekend, the crowd hissed.  It's hard to tell if he's looking for support (he doesn't seem to get much but he does get some very strong negative responses) or if this is a dysfunctional kind of negative attention seeking kind of thing.  He has a long history as a hacker, which is a villainous kind of image to some.   I don't really understand it.

While some officials (not Erdogan) have now acknowledged that excessive force was used in Istanbul, things show no signs of settling down.  I agree with Moon of Alabama that Erdogan is toast.  It's amazing that he is a man who was one of the most powerful world leaders just one week ago and within days, his position is in peril.  Clearly there were many things simmering and festering in Turkey, just as there are in many countries, including our own, just waiting for the spark.  When things fester for years, it's hard to predict what will set things off.  

People have killed their fear of authority - and the protests are growing
What began in an Istanbul park has tapped in to years of grievances.

Killing the fear
As a writer and a journalist I followed the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings. As I wrote at the time, Arab people killed their fear and I saw how it transformed them from silent crowds to peoples who believe in themselves. This is what has been happening in the last six days in Turkey. Teenage girls standing in front of TOMAs, kids throwing tear gas capsules back to the police, rich lawyers throwing stones at the cops, football fans rescuing rival fans from police, the ultra-nationalists struggling arm in arm with Kurdish activists. . . these were all scenes I witnessed. Those who wanted to kill each other last week became - no exaggeration - comrades on the streets. People not only overcame their fear of authority but they also killed the fear of the "other". One more important point: the generation that has taken to the streets was born after the 1980 military coup that fiercely depoliticised the public. The general who led the 1980 coup once said: "We will create a generation without ideology". So this generation was - until last week.

There are all kinds of iconic images coming out of Turkey and making their way around the world.  In the U.S., NBC news finally figured out that the "woman in red" photo played a big role and they reported about it yesterday.  The "what's going on in Turkey" articles flooded the media yesterday and hit some kind of tipping point where many more people are now paying attention to it.  The whirling dervish photos broke through yesterday too, though we saw this one (dervish in black with gas mask) over the weekend.  There are now more.  This is the one we saw on Sunday.  It's now going viral:

And the dervish has made more appearances.

They've made a dervish stencil right now. I'm not up on what that means but I think it means that it will now become part of the protest art graffitti that is a huge part of the resistance.  This movement that is forming, at least partly an offshoot of Occupy, is very very creative.  The government officials really do not seem to understand it and they are looking for leaders to take down, and have now arrested people for using social media to encourage people to join the protest.  Erdogan said that Twitter was a menace to society and it looks like he intends to use his thugs to try to shut it down.  This is another reason why I think he's toast.  He's behaving exactly as some of the dictators of the Arab Spring did with almost identical reactions, even though he was elected democratically.

And as the forms of protest theater continue, more characters emerge.

Occupy lives.



Action


Crowd-Fund a Court Stenographer for Bradley Manning's Trial

The trial of Bradley Manning will have an enormous impact on press freedom and the rights of future whistleblowers. Help us crowd-fund enough donations so we can hire a court stenographer to take transcripts of the trial. The government refuses to make its transcripts available to the public.

Your donation to this project will be tax-deductible. You can also donate by check.




Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest


Evening Blues

From the weekend.



More Tunes



David Neal - "Bradley Manning"

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