Michael Ratner: Bradley Manning’s Defense Makes Case to Dismiss Aiding the Enemy Charge
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Update: Judge Upholds Aiding the Enemy Charge in Bradley Manning Trial
In recent weeks, attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild achieved two significant victories for the rights of protesters faced with police brutality and unlawful repression. The first came when the city of Oakland settled a class action lawsuit for more than $1 million. The second victory occurred in early July when Oakland City Council approved a settlement for $1.17 million in another lawsuit arising from police actions at protests. As part of these settlements, the Oakland Police Department is now legally obligated to follow a crowd control policy. This policy, which already existed but lacked enforcement, outlines limits on police use of force and the ability to make mass arrests in protest situations.
Attorney Rachel Lederman:
- The first case has to do with the demonstration that occurred on the day Johannes Mehserle was sentenced for the death of Oscar Grant. That’s the BART officer who shot Oscar Grant in the back as he was restrained face down on the subway platform.
- There’s a movie out about the last day in the life of Oscar Grant called Fruitvale Station that I would highly recommend seeing; it’s playing all over the country now.
- The death of Oscar Grant sparked a large number of demonstrations. November 5, 2010 was the date that Mehserle was sentenced and he was given a very minimal sentence for involuntary manslaughter of 2 years, 11 months with time served.
- There was a demonstration planned for that evening; it was actually a very small demonstration. OPD had planned to not allow a march after dark.
- There was a rally that was permitted in downtown Oakland and then about 200 people started marching in the direction of the Fruitvale BART station where the shooting had occurred. As soon as the march started the police began to set up for mass arrests.
- When a police line would be erected in front of the march people would naturally turn another direction. This went on for a while, where the march was re-routed.
- Eventually the OPD herded people to a residential area where they didn’t intend to go. The police announced it was a crime scene and began arresting everyone.
- The Oakland City Police have been under consent decree since January 2003, mandating a reform process.
- We’ve had this crowd control policy in place but basically every single provision of the crowd control policy was violated in the Occupy Oakland incident and the Oscar Grant incident.
- We brought those cases to try to enforce the crowd control policy. A lot has changed in the last six months.
- There’s also been a shake-up of police command; there’s a new acting chief.
Guest – Rachel Lederman, a California-based National Lawyers Guild attorney who worked on both cases. Rachel first got involved in police misconduct civil rights cases as a result of her criminal defense work with political demonstrators. In 1989, Dennis Cunningham and Rachel Lederman successfully sued the San Francisco Police to obtain justice for AIDS activists who had been brutalized and unlawfully detained in what became known as the “Castro Sweep.”
What is the history and context of surveillance in the United States? Last week, Scott Horton explained how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court devolved into a panel of judges making decisions in secret that influence federal law. Returning guest Alfred McCoy traces the US surveillance apparatus back to the late 1800s and brings us up to understanding the context of leaked NSA documents by whistleblower Ed Snowden. In his latest article titled “Surveillance Blowback: The Making of the U.S. Surveillance State 1898-2020,” Al McCoy, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison details the surveillance timeline beginning with the US occupation of the Philippines and makes the connection to US imperialism abroad and apathy at home.
- Four years ago I published a book called Policing America’s Empire which started in the Philippines and started the history of US domestic surveillance through what I call surveillance blowback.
- It’s the trajectory of history that allows you to see this.
- In the late 19th century, America had what I call our first information regime, which was really a brilliant synergy of discoveries.
- Thomas Edison’s quadruplex telegraph and Remington’s typewriter allowed the transmission of information around the world, across the nation, absolutely accurately at 40 words a minute.
- The Gamewell Corporation, for a half century during the 19th century, was the world leader in the development of police telegraph and telephone communication – those police boxes that used to be on the streets of every American city.
- The Gamewell Corporation had 900 of these boxes in operation and collectively they sent 41 million messages in the year 1900.
- When the US intervened in the Philippines, we were suddenly faced with this massive insurgency, this guerrilla underground. We smashed the regular military formations but we couldn’t break the insurgency.
- The US military, in order to pacify that country, created the first field intelligence unit in its 100-year history.
- They appointed an obscure medical doctor, Captain Ralph Van Deman, to be the head of the Division of Military Information.
- He decided he would map the entire Filipino political elite.
- William Howard Taft passed very draconian sedition and libel legislation and created a powerful colonial secret police called the Philippines Constabulary. It took about 10 years to accomplish, 1898-1907.
- They had to track down the Filipino politicians and manipulate them.
- 10 years after that process, the US joined WWI, in April 1917.
- The United States was the only army on either side of the battlefield that didn’t have an intelligence service of any description.
- We turn now to Colonel Van Deman, who applied his Philippines experience to developing a very elaborate counter-intelligence apparatus inside the United States.
- Mr. and Mrs. Van Deman ran a private intelligence service that had Army file clerks and regular FBI liaison officers dropping by.
- And from their home they compiled files on 250,000 suspected subversives.
- They divided the world. Basically, North America and Latin America became the purview of the FBI for counter-intelligence; the rest of the world became the purview of US military intelligence and of course the CIA and then NSA.
- That division of the word remain in effect until December 2011.
- 3 million Afghani iris scans and fingerprints are housed in a mainframe computer in West Virginia.
- So, we developed this very efficient system of surveillance and digital monitoring overseas.
- During the war on terror, we now know the Bush Administration, beginning in October 2001, authorized the NSA to start massive tapping of all digital communications.
- In March of this year, it was 97 billion emails that were tapped by the NSA.
- This began migrating home very, very quickly.
- When Obama came into office, even though he criticized this illegal wiretapping, instead of cutting it back like the Republicans did in the 1920s, he decided to build upon it.
- What he’s building is an architecture for the exercise of global power through a significant advantage in information control and information warfare.
- Obama wants to cut back on the appropriations for the big behemoths, the heavy tanks, the big ships, and he wants to shift us into an agile form of information warfare and global information control.
- The NSA is spending $1.6 billion for the world’s biggest data farm in Bluffdale, Utah.
- The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency has a nearly $2 billion-dollar headquarters with 16,000 employees in DC.
- The Obama administration has launched a new generation of light, low cost, very agile satellites that can be remotely controlled from the ground, serving ground force commanders.
- The Obama Administration is also building an armada of 99 Global Hawk drones with 24 hour flight capacity. These are surveillance drones with a 100-mile range for sucking audio communications.
- With the combination of drones sucking up the local two-way radio, cell phone communication with the tapping of the fiber optic cables within the US by the NSA, and internationally by the “Five Eyes” coalition, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Britain, means that the NSA will have a total global surveillance system for the first time in human history.
Guest – Alfred McCoy, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His recent book, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (2009), draws together two strands in his research–covert operations and Philippine political history–to explore the role of police, information, and scandal in the shaping both the modern Philippine state and the U.S. internal security apparatus. In 2011, the Association for Asian Studies awarded Policing America’s Empire the George McT. Kahin Prize, describing the work as “a passionate, elegantly-written book.” He’s also the author of Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation From the Cold War to the War on Terror and The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. The first edition of his book, published in 1972 as The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, sparked controversy, but is now regarded as a classic work about Asian drug trafficking.