Heidi Boghosian Updates on RNC/DNC Demonstrations
Michael Ratner: Julian Assange and Bradley Manning Update
We continue to look into the the Bradley Manning story, the biggest whistleblower case in US history. Attorney Chase Madar joins us in the studio. He’s the author of The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story of the Suspect Behind the Largest Security Breach in U.S. History. The book moves through Manning’s childhood and up to what led him to allegedly upload volumes of classified secret information to Wikileaks. Madar highlights the value of publicly exposing criminal and immoral actions while government secrecy spins out of control, classifying 77 million documents a year. He also asks what can be done to protect Bradley Manning as a whistle-blower. Since his arrest 2 years ago, Manning’s formal court martial proceedings are not scheduled to begin until February 2013, and as many listeners know the most lethal charge is aiding the enemy.
Attorney Chase Madar:
- I worked as a staff attorney for many years at a great non-profit in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, doing all kinds of low-tech services for Spanish speaking immigrants.
- I quit that and have been writing about foreign affairs. I got put on the case of Bradley Manning by Tom Engelhardt, who edits the great TomDispatch web project.
- So many important issues collide in this case, whether it’s the comparative risk to our security of secrecy versus leaks. How we judge threats, how we mis-assess threats. How we use solitary confinement as punishment–is it an acceptable punishment?
- What power does information have, anyway? A lot of intellectuals think that information has an incredible catalytic effect.
- Bradley Manning enlisted in the Army in October 2007. He’s deployed to Iraq after all kinds of training in Army intelligence in 2009.
- He allegedly begins leaking things in early 2010 and he’s arrested in late May 2010, over 2 years ago now. He was held in solitary confinement, very strict punitive isolation in Quantico Marine Corps base in Virginia, from July 2010 to April 2011.
- We’re looking at 2.5 years of pretrial confinement.
- You can divide up the Wikileaks leaks allegedly supplied by Bradley Manning in three categories. Iraq material, thousands of war logs: raw reports filed by soldiers, Afghan war logs. It’s a composite of a war that’s weirdly aimless.
- Obama did campaign as the whistleblower’s best friend, and he has prosecuted twice as many as all previous administrations.
- Here’s one theory I find persuasive. It’s important for Obama to have the intelligence services on his side. This was a way for him to show the CIA that he would go along with them.
- I would like to see a serious change in foreign policy which has gone off the rails.
- We haven’t the kind of course correction with Obama that many had hoped for.
- I hope Wikileaks does disrupt foreign policy more. There’s been all kinds of smack talked about Bradley Manning–he’s a weirdo, a malcontent, he did what he did because he’s screwed up, he did it because he’s gay.
- His motives are very plain to see in the chat logs between him and the informant.
- The Manning chat logs – they read like a tragic novella.
- So much of our secrecy law is designed to keep the American public in the dark.
- I think we have badly confused being clueless with being safe.
- He comes across as an immensely thoughtful, courageous and very principled young man. In some ways he’s an extreme version of the millennial generation who have a lot of education and potential but find themselves not doing too well.
- His father was in Naval intelligence and he’d grown up with a sense of patriotic responsibilities.
- What makes him turn on the inside and leak these things?
- He’s asked to look into the arrest and capture by the Iraqi authorities a group of non-violent Iraqi protesters who were handing out pamphlets that were all about corruption in Iraqi government.
- We are light years away from total transparency.
- The main thing is to make records of the court proceedings publicly available.
- I think a guilty conviction and a heavy sentence of at least 50 years is a foregone conclusion.
- The wages of government secrecy, not security but disaster.
- It looks like the court martial won’t begin until January or February.
- Go to the Bradley Manning support network website. Send him a postcard.
- It’s your patriotic duty to browse the leaks.
- “Legal Atrocities” – by Chase Madar
Guest – Attorney Chase Madar, a TomDispatch regular and author of the new book The Passion of Bradley Manning (OR Books). He’s also a contributor to the London Review of Books and Le Monde Diplomatique.