#SunshineWeek heralds discussion on the need for openness

Manning testimony recording could be a direct leak from the government

“…What is now the focus is his motivation and he obviously was not motivated to aid the enemy, or to harm the US – he made that very clear. He chose cables and videos that had no national security concerns and he released them so we could have this conversation. And I think it is a disgrace every day that he is in jail. It is a disgrace to our military. It is a disgrace to the promises that Obama made in 2008….”

Published time: March 14, 2013 00:34

RT

The quality of the audio recording of Bradley Manning’s plea speech suggests that the tape could have been leaked by the government itself rather than some rogue journalist, WikiLeaks activist Clark Stoeckley told RT.

RT: The media reported what Manning said during the hearing, why is it so significant to actually hear him say it in his own voice?

Clark Stoeckley:  I think it is very important for people to hear Manning’s own voice. So far everything has been processed through journalists and finally we get to hear his tone and the conviction in his voice. We can hear that he is a very brave, intelligent young man. And I think this is a very great thing that this has been released to the world.

RT: Is it going to effect the trial in any way, because it was not supposed to be leaked, is it?

CS: Correct. The court rules say, and every time I go as a journalist, I have to sign a peace of paper that says that I won’t to any recording. I will clarify: I definitely did not record this. I did not leak it. I’m sure that they are going to be clamping down on us.

But I am suspicious as to whether they leaked this audio or not.  The audio to me sounds like it came from the courtroom rather than press room. There is a lot more chatter in the pressroom and I do not hear that in the audio. And it is also a lot crisper and clearer than what I heard in the pressroom. It sounds like it could be a direct recording from the government.

continue reading here

joelmarkharris journalist, novelist, screenwriter and producer – Posted on 03/15/2013

There has been a very alarming threat to journalism and our freedoms recently.

Earlier this year ex-CIA operative John Kiriakou pleaded guilty to violating the Orwellian-sounding Intelligence Identities Protection Act, passed in 1982 to weed out spies.  The guilty plea has given Kiriakou the dubious distinction of being the first CIA agent to be imprisoned for leaking information to a reporter.

A more famous example is Private Bradley Manning who is facing a minimum of twenty years in prison and up to a maximum of a life sentence and this is all for releasing secret documents to Wikileaks. Not even the Cold War spies were treated as harshly as Manning.

Both men are what are called whistleblowers, people who tell the public about illegal or dishonest activity.  Democratic countries needs to protect whistleblowers not vilify them. They are an important part of our societies and are, in part, what makes journalism function. Without whistleblowers, governments and corporations will feel more comfortably  disregarding the rules when it suits them.

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Ten Years On

FREELANCE – March 16, 2013 by Muller

« 

It’s ten years after G.W. Bush and his allies (UK, Australia and a “coalition of the willing”) attacked Iraq and quickly toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime. The war was illegal, weapons of mass destruction have never been found, at least 130,000 Iraqis have been killed, millions displaced. Torture in detention centers, abuse in Abu Ghuraib and elsewhere. The Iraq War Logs, leaked by Bradley Manning and published by WikiLeaks and major main stream media in 2010, must be regarded one of the most significant documents of our time, and its full analysis will take more years if not decades. Responsible figures such as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Blair and others are now retired, never indicted for any war crimes at least in their own countries, but elsewhere, sure.

I’ve just read again my personal account five years after bombing of Baghdad which I had written when memories were still vivid. I want to share these thoughts once again here.

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The War Against Bradley Manning by the Rutherford Institute

Throughout America’s history, brave individuals have opted to defy the American government in order to speak up against slavery, segregation, discrimination, and war. One such “enemy of the state” is Bradley Manning—an intelligence analyst who is being prosecuted for leaking classified government documents which expose systemic corruption within America’s military and diplomatic apparatus. Sadly, as John Whitehead argues in this week’s vodcast, the government’s war against Bradley Manning is a war against all who speak out against injustice.

https://www.rutherford.org/multimedia/on_target/the_war_against_bradley_manning/

original post here

Engineering Evil – Intel Portal for Weighted Data and Information

  • Ed Pilkington in New York
  • guardian.co.uk, Friday 15 March 2013 13.26 EDT

– Posted on March 15, 2013

William Leonard, who oversaw state secrecy under George W Bush, says successive US presidents have abused system

 US national security

Leonard said new executive powers had been created without congressional oversight or judicial review. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters

Successive US presidents, including Barack Obama, have abused the system for handling classified information to expand their executive powers, the former senior official who oversaw state secrecy under George W Bush has claimed.

William Leonard, who was entrusted with ensuring proper treatment of state secrets by government agencies in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, said that over the past decade both the Obama and the previous Bush administrations had manipulated their classification authority to create new executive powers without congressional oversight or judicial review.

Leonard, the former head of the Information Security Oversight Office from 2002 to 2007, said that what was at stake was “the abuse of the very form of government we are operating under, as unilateral executive powers go unchallenged.”

He said: “Governments have decided under the cloak of secrecy to unleash the brutality of violence in our name and that of our fellow citizens. So extra judicial kidnapping becomes ‘rendition’, torture becomes ‘enhanced interrogation’, detainees are held on information that barely qualifies as hearsay, and assassination becomes ‘targeted killing’.”

Human rights investigations – March 16, 2013

entire post reproduced below, original here

Whistleblowers perform a vital public service exposing government complicity in torture, terrorism, corruption, war and other human rights abuses.

Recently a group of whistleblowers gave a talk at the Oxford Union. These genuine public servants, realising their bosses were betraying the public and engaging in wrong-doing, sacrificed their careers for the public interest.

For many of them, despite the persecution they faced, this has been a liberating experience.

Introduced by Ray McGovern (CIA) the speakers include Annie Machon (MI5), Tom Drake (National Security Agency), Ann Wright (US diplomat), John Brady Kiesling (US diplomat) and Craig Murray, (British Diplomat):

In her speech, Annie Machon explains how she revealed some of the crimes and utter incompetence of the unaccountable British spy community.

Tom Drake explains how narrow ‘intelligence’ is being hidden behind a veil of secrecy instead of shared, leading to its use by the powerful in the interest of militarism and against the public interest. He contrasts this with genuine intelligence which insists on telling truth to power.

Ann Wright resigned in opposition to the illegal war on Iraq after years in the government and now puts her experience to use as an active citizen protesting against the US government including the drone assassination campaign.

John Brady Kiesling also resigned in opposition to the illegal war on Iraq and advises the students in the audience to go into public service inside the system for 20 years and then raise the cost for poiticians of going against the public interest by resigning at the opportune moment.

Craig Murray blasts the Oxford students for not demonstrating against war criminal John Bolton but protesting against whistleblower Julian Assange. He explains how he resigned/was sacked as a result of his opposition to torture and extraordinary rendition. Whistleblowers are needed as governments can’t be trusted and governments regularly use smear tactics against whistleblowers to undermine their message. Whistleblowers, and Wikileaks in particular, is also needed as the mainstream media is dominated by militaristic interests.

Unlike other human rights groups, which dilly dally around these issues, Human Rights Investigations fully supports whistleblowers and recognises them as performing an essential role in defending human rights. In particular, we support the work of Wikileaks and recognise Bradley Manning as a prisoner of conscience.

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