The Passion of Bradley Manning

Essayist, lawyer, and PULSE contributor Chase Madar’s much-awaited book The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story of the Suspect behind the Largest Security Breach in U.S. History is out this month from O/R Books.

The following is an excerpt from Kelly B. Vlahos’ recent review of the book at Antiwar.com:

It might be too easy to invoke Manning as martyr two days after Palm Sunday, when Christians observe the betrayal, humiliation and crucifixion of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago. While it is not our intention to compare Manning to the Christian Son of God, who according to Gospel, rose from the dead, humanity’s sins forgiven, on Easter Sunday, author Chase Madar lays out a deft argument that Manning has indeed sacrificed everything for his country’s sins in his aptly entitled new book, The Passion of Bradley Manning.

“I wanted to write a full-out defense of his alleged deeds — a political and moral defense,” Madar told Antiwar.com in a recent interview. And he has. As Madar points out, there are “many people in history who have died and sacrificed for their cause.” The Passion makes an industrious case that Manning did what he did for a cause: to give the people the information they need and deserve about what their government is doing in their name. Transparency — Robin Hood style.

“What I find remarkable and praiseworthy is, he was not — despite having this terrible time getting bullied and messed with constantly — leaking these things to get revenge,” Madar said. “He was a true believer in patriotic duty and military service, I think. If you look at the chat logs, he was very clear about his motives for leaking, that this was what the public should know, so that we as a country could make better decisions.”

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The Terrible Beauty of Wikileaks

The following appears in The Arabs Are Alive, edited by Ziauddin Sardar and Robin Yassin-Kassab. 

On 7 December 2010, Tunisian despot Zine el Abidine Ben Ali’s regime blocked internet access to the Beirut daily Al-Akhbar for publishing a US embassy cable which painted the dictator, his wife and her family in a deeply unflattering light. In the July 2009 cable, US ambassador Robert Godec had accused Ben Ali’s regime of having ‘lost touch with the Tunisian people…[tolerating] no advice or criticism whether domestic or international,’ and of increasingly relying ‘on the police for control and focus on preserving power.’ The cable mentioned the growing ‘corruption in the inner circle,’ particularly around first lady Leila Trabelsi and her family, whom it said the Tunisians ‘intensely dislike, even hate.’ It finally concluded that ‘anger is growing at Tunisia’s high unemployment and regional inequities. As a consequence, the risks to the regime’s long-term stability are increasing.’

Ten days later in Sidi Bouzid, 26-year-old street vendor Muhammad Bouazizi immolated himself in front of the local municipality building after his vegetable cart was confiscated by Faida Hamdi, a female municipal official who had then slapped him, spat in his face, and insulted his dead father. Anguished friends and sympathizers soon took to the streets to protest, and Youtube, Facebook and Twitter helped spread the fire further—the long deferred anger of the Tunisians had finally erupted. On 4 January 2011, when Bouazizi succumbed to his wounds, the 5,000 mourners at his funeral were heard chanting, ‘Farewell, Mohammed, we will avenge you. We weep for you today. We will make those who caused your death weep.’ Ten days later, as the protests reached a crescendo, Ben Ali and his wife hoarded their loot and decamped to Saudi Arabia. Some suggested that Wikileaks had drawn first blood.

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Chase Madar: In defense of Bradley Manning

In this TomDispatch.com interview Civil rights attorney and PULSE contributor Chase Madar outlines the case against––and the defense on behalf of––the soldier who allegedly provided the documents for the latest WikiLeaks release as well as the now infamous “Collateral Murder” video, Private First Class Bradley Manning. Also, don’t miss Chase’s brilliant piece on Bradley Manning.

Breaking Australia’s silence: WikiLeaks and freedom

‘Breaking Australia’s silence: WikiLeaks and freedom’ was a public forum held on 16 March 2011 at the Sydney Town Hall. The event was staged by the Sydney Peace Foundation, Amnesty, Stop the War Coalition, and supported by the City of Sydney.

Chaired by Mary Kostakidis, it featured speeches by John Pilger, Andrew Wilkie MP (the only serving Western intelligence officer to expose the truth about the Iraq invasion) and Julian Burnside QC, defender of universal human rights under the law.

The Trials of Bradley Manning: A Defense

For the past seven months, US Army Private First Class Manning has been held in solitary confinement in the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. Twenty-five thousand other Americans are also in prolonged solitary confinement, but the conditions of Manning’s pre-trial detention have been sufficiently brutal for the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Torture to announce an investigation.

Pfc. Manning is alleged to have obtained documents, both classified and unclassified, from the Department of Defense and the State Department via the Internet and provided them to WikiLeaks.  (That “alleged” is important because the federal informant who fingered Manning, Adrian Lamo, is a felon convicted of computer-hacking crimes. He was also involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution in the month before he levelled his accusation.  All of this makes him a less than reliable witness.)  At any rate, the records allegedly downloaded by Manning revealed clear instances of war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, widespread torture committed by the Iraqi authorities with the full knowledge of the U.S. military, previously unknown estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed at U.S. military checkpoints, and the massive Iraqi civilian death toll caused by the American invasion.

For bringing to light this critical but long-suppressed information, Pfc. Manning has been treated not as a whistleblower, but as a criminal and a spy.  He is charged with violating not only Army regulations but also the Espionage Act of 1917, making him the fifth American to be charged under the act for leaking classified documents to the media.  A court-martial will likely be convened in the spring or summer.

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Bradley Manning has been in Solitary Confinement Since July

Kevin Zeese, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network Steering Committee and Executive Director of Voters for Peace appeared today on RT’s The Alyona Show to discuss Bradley Manning’s case. Zeese appears at the 20:30 mark. More commentary about other topics discussed on this segment are found after the jump.

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Robert Meeropol, son of the executed Rosenbergs, on WikiLeaks

by Dennis Bernstein

U.S. citizens Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed under the 1917 Espionage Act in 1953.

The U.S. Justice Department is now considering charging WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange with espionage under the 1917 Espionage Act. In a recent interview, syndicated on PacificaRadio’s Flashpoints show, I spoke to  Robert Meeropol, founder of the Rosenberg Fund For Children. Meeropol is the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the only U.S. citizens to be executed under the 1917 Espionage Act. In a strong defense of Wikileaks, Assange and Bradley Manning, Meeropol released a statement stating:

My parents were executed under the unconstitutional Espionage Act, here’s why we must fight to protect Julian Assange.

In the following interview he talks about the history of the 1917 espionage Act, the execution of his parents and some of the political “Echoes” from the 1950’s red scare days that are reverberating today. Meeropol also talks movingly about how his parents’ unwillingness to cave  in the face of government intimidation, even at the cost of their lives.

I think that resistance is inspirational.  When people resist, they inspire others and if you combined the resistance with the inspiration you end up building a movement of support.

DB: Let’s begin this way, Robert Meeropol.  The U.S. Congress is back in session, the Republicans are in charge of the House, and today they read the Constitution. Would that be relevant in your defense of Julian Assange?

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