Army PFC Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years
Our own Michael Ratner reports back from Fort Meade, Maryland on the day Army PFC Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified information to Wikileaks. As reported by Michael Ratner, Manning faced a maximum of 90 years in prison after his conviction last month on charges of espionage, theft and fraud. Now, his sentence goes the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, where he may seek a reduction of his prison term.
35 years is a completely off-the-wall sentence. He shouldn’t have been prosecuted at all.
That’s been the Center for Constitutional Rights’s position. That’s my position.
He’s a whistleblower; he exposed torture, criminality, killing of civilians.
Then, they over-prosecute him, charge him with espionage, make whistleblowers into spies.
They charge him with all these years, then people are relieved when gets 35 years.
It’s a very long sentence for someone who actually gave us the truth about Iraq, about Iran, about the helicopter video of the killing of a Reuters journalist, about the diplomatic cables that gave us the secret war in Yemen, the revelations about the corrupt Ben Ali government in Tunisia that helped bring on the Arab Spring.
He’s a hero. The people who committed the crime are sadly still in our government enjoying their lives, they’re the ones that ought to be prosecuted.
We’re in a time where there is a sledgehammer taken to whistleblowers.
The demand now is that Obama pardon him or give him clemency. That’s from the Bradley Manning Support Committee.
Because of Bradley Manning, people like Ed Snowden came forward. They understood that when they see criminality, they’re young people of conscience and they act on it, and we should be very proud of each of these people.
Guest – Law and Disorder Co-host Michael Ratner, President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and president of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), based in Berlin. Ratner and CCR are currently the attorneys in the United States for publishers Julian Assange and Wikileaks. He was co-counsel in representing Guantanamo Bay detainees in the United States Supreme Court, where, in June 2004, the court decided his clients have the right to test the legality of their detentions in court. Ratner is also a past president of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the author of numerous books and articles, including the books The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book, Against War with Iraq and Guantanamo: What the World Should Know, as well as a textbook on international human rights.
Journalist Barrett Brown has spent more than 330 days in pretrial detention and faces charges that add up to a 105-year sentence. What Barrett Brown did was merely take a link from a chat room and copied that link then pasted it to a chat room for a wiki-based crowd source group called Project PM. The link was to the Stratfor hack information of 5 million emails. He needed help to sift through the data and posted the link that was already publicly out there to the attention of the editorial board of Project PM. There were unencrypted credit card numbers and validation codes within those emails and the government is claiming that Barrett Brown was engaged in credit card fraud. Why go after Barrett Brown? The backstory begins with Bank of America being concerned that Wikileaks had specific information. They go to the Department of Justice who led them to a big law firm in Washington, DC, then to a private intelligence firm. Meanwhile, a defense fund for Barrett Brown continues to raise money for his case.
- Barrett Brown is an investigative journalist and freelance writer who has had a career writing for the Huffington Post, The Guardian and many other places.
- Through his observing the media landscape over the last ten years in America, I think he grew very dissatisfied with things, so when this phenomenon called Anonymous popped up in 2010, making major news headlines, he attached himself to it.
- All he was doing was looking at this information leaked by Jeremy Hammond out of Stratfor as part of his journalistic inquiry into the world of private intelligence firms.
- The fact that they can indict someone on identity theft and credit card fraud just for sharing a link of information…there’s no allegation that he sought to profit from it.
- Project PM, over its lifespan was a number of different things, but that’s what it eventually evolved into.
- A crowd-sourced project with a wiki that was devoted to investigating the state-corporate alliance on surveillance. This was known as Team Themis, a consortium of these firms.
- This all started when Wikileaks said it had information from Bank of America.
- Barrett was investigating. There are other journalists who do very good work on this. He was one of the most vocal who was involved in investigating all these relationships between the private intel firms and the DOJ. He was using leaked emails to do so.
- I think they were very upset to see these things revealed.
- Barrett recognized that this was a threat and he was looking into it.
- Before the court right now is a motion for a media gag order which was presented by the prosecution, which would silence Barrett and his attorneys from making statements to the media.
Guest – Kevin Gallagher, writer, musician and systems administrator based in western Massachusetts. He graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He’s currently pursuing activism on issues related to digital rights, freedom of information, privacy, and copyright; while also taking an interest in information security. He is the director and founder of Free Barrett Brown, a support network, nonprofit advocacy organization and legal defense fund formed for the purpose of assisting the prominent internet activist and journalist, Barrett Brown, who is the founder of Project PM.
Native Hawaiian Prisoner Transfer to Arizona Private Prison
Hawaii is know for sending more prisoners across state lines than any other state. According to the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, a disproportionate number of those prisoners are Native Hawaiian inmates. Because of overcrowding, Native Hawaiian inmates are being transferred from a Hawaii state prison to a for-profit Corrections Corporation of America prison in Arizona. This particular CCA private prison was built specifically for Native Hawaiian inmates, yet they’re denied cultural and religious rights. Additional negative transfer effects include difficult reentry back into Hawaii, being away from family and homeland, and no opportunity for proper atonement.
- We’ve been involved in a lawsuit for 2 years concerning the impact of Hawaii’s policy of transferring Native Hawaiian inmates to the mainland.
- Native Hawaiians are the indigenous people of the state of Hawaii. They have a similar experience to American Indians on the continent.
- Our firm focuses on Native Hawaiian rights and the focus on what self-determination remains despite the history.
- Native Hawaiians are disproportionately incarcerated. They are transferred more often than any other racial group.
- The state of Hawaii creates a menu of prisoners, for private prisons to select.
- Our focus on the transfer is very narrow: the Native Hawaiian prisoners who still want to adhere to native traditions and practices.
- In Arizona you don’t have access to cultural teachers and spiritual advisers who could provide the kind of guidance or counseling, really the kind of instruction of passing on a tradition.
- The Native Hawaiian women were being transferred for a period of time, but there were so many sexual assaults, the state finally brought them back.
- You’re taking away the men, breaking the cultural transmission because many of these men are fathers, grandfathers. Yes, they would be in prison here, but there is a difference when your family can see you on the weekends.
- In effect, it’s a form of cultural genocide.
- I’m beside myself as to why this hasn’t been rectified at this point. There’s not even a plan, really.
- This is an issue that is personal for me. I am Native Hawaiian, and know what it’s like to have someone in your community, in your family, affected by the criminal justice system.
Guest – Attorney Sharla Manley, with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation. Sharla Manley joined NHLC as a staff attorney in 2010. Before joining NHLC, Sharla was an associate at an international law firm in Los Angeles, in its global litigation department, for over three years. In addition to handling commercial litigation matters, she also took pro bono cases, involving voting rights, asylum, and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. Sharla was also an associate at a plaintiff-side class action firm where she primarily handled appeals of wage and hour cases before state appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit. Before law school, Sharla was a policy analyst on Native Hawaiian rights at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. She focused on water rights and the impact of military activities on cultural resources in Makua Valley.
Solidarity Sing-Along: Wisconsin Labor Protests Continue
The noontime sing-along has protested Gov. Scott Walker’s policies daily at Wisconsin’s Capitol since March 11, 2011. However, a new round of arrests began two weeks ago and more than 100 citations have been issued to protesters by Capitol Police. But this is in addition to nearly 200 citations already issued since July 2012, when the Department of Administration began enforcing new permitting requirements for gatherings in state facilities. What is the noontime solidarity sing-along protest?
Attorney Jonathan Rosenblum:
When you have a new governor who within weeks in office describes his legislation as a bomb, which was to end collective bargaining for public sector workers, this led to more than a hundred thousand people, multiple times on the square where I’m sitting right now here on Wisconsin Avenue.
Beyond the anti-union agenda, this governor has come in with a pedigree from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. He as a legislator in the same building was a member of ALEC, was a proponent of its agenda.
His agenda was to remove vast numbers of children from Medicaid. He claimed his jobs agenda would bring Wisconsin to the top in the United States; instead it plunged to the bottom.
He eliminated funding for high speed trains; instead the trains for Wisconsin are now sitting in Oregon.
The main point about this governor is about closing the doors of this government to the public.
Even the union legislation that led to the crowds was passed in violation of a Public Meetings Act.
Let me take you to March 11, 2011, when it all started. I was standing there with my friend Steve Burns. Folks had slept in the capitol for weeks; the anti-union legislation was passed and signed that day and Steve had printed up a few copies of a songbook that had the dome of the capitol opening up with musical notes on the cover of it and 10 tunes, the classics of the civil rights movement.
Several of them were modified in the great Wobbly tradition.
This sing-along has preceded from that day, March 11, 2011 without skipping a beat, every single weekday since that date. More than 650 consecutive sing-alongs.
The sing-along is a joyful conglomeration. It’s reached about 300-400 daily as the crackdown has actually caused a surge of concerned citizens to join us.
We Don’t Want Your Millions, Mister.
A Long Range Acoustic Device is being used. The police have started to use the recordings of Chief Irwin’s declaration of unlawful assembly to blast into the rotunda so nobody misses it.
They use the siren that ramps up to 150 db to disable people. They haven’t put it to that level yet.
The State Capitol Police are in a bind. They have their orders; most are executing them with a little more zeal than they should. Some of them seem to be maintaining friendships that they had before with the singers.
Guest – Jonathan Rosenblum, PRWatch.org contributor, an author, award-winning journalist, and practicing lawyer. His book, Copper Crucible: How the Arizona Miners’ Strike of 1983 Recast Labor-Management Relations in America (Cornell University Press, 1995; Second Edition, 1998) was named as one of Princeton University Library’s “Ten Noteworthy Books in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics” in 1996.