Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bradley Manning show trial & May Day

Here are two pieces, both with Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, on the important "show trial" of Bradley Manning, the brave young soldier who is accused of releasing whistle blower information (“aiding the enemy” ) to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Manning allegedly is responsible for allowing the American people to understand the depth of the depravities committed by the US military in Iraq, and for releasing other information about US foreign policy shenanigans.

The first piece is Ratner's article about the Manning trial printed last week in the UK's Guardian, and the second is an interview on Scott Horton's Antiwar Radio from today, where Scott and Michael Ratner discuss the article. The interview is well worth listening to.

Bradley Manning: a show trial of state secrecy
The US government's suppression of all accountability and transparency in prosecuting the WikiLeaks suspect is totalitarian

On 24 April, a hearing in one of the most important court martial cases in decades will take place in Fort Meade, Maryland. The accused faces life in prison for the 22 charges against him, which include "aiding the enemy" and "transmitting defense information". His status as an alleged high-profile whistleblower and the importance of the issues his case raises should all but guarantee the proceedings a prominent spot in major media, as well as in public debate.

Yet, in spite of the grave implications, not to mention the press and public's first amendment right of full and open access to criminal trials, no outside parties will have access to the evidence, the court documents, court orders or off-the-record arguments that will ultimately decide his fate. Under these circumstances, whatever the outcome of the case, the loser will be the transparency necessary for democratic government, accountable courts and faith in our justice system.

In the two years since his arrest for allegedly leaking the confidential files that exposed grand-scale military misconduct, potential war crimes and questionable diplomatic tactics, army private Bradley Manning has been subjected to an extremely secretive criminal procedure. It is a sad irony that the government's heavy-handed approach to this case only serves to underscore the motivations – some would say, the necessity – for whistleblowing like Manning's in the first place.

The most well-known of the leaked files, a 39-minute video entitled "Collateral Murder", depicts three brutal attacks on civilians by US soldiers during the course of just one day of the Iraq war.

Collateral Murder - Wikileaks - Iraq

The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

See: Bradley Manning: a show trial of state secrecy
The US government's suppression of all accountability and transparency in prosecuting the WikiLeaks suspect is totalitarian
for rest of article.

Scott Horton Interviews Michael Ratner
Scott Horton, May 02, 2012

Michael Ratner, President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, discusses his article “Bradley Manning: a show trial of state secrecy;” Manning’s quasi-public trial (which is open to observation, yet vital evidence and court documents are withheld from the media and public); why the NY Times is just as guilty of “aiding the enemy” as Manning and WikiLeaks; how President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made a fair trial impossible; and how you can support Bradley Manning in his time of need.
MP3 here. (15:33)
Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

You can support Bradley Manning by visiting the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Yesterday there were many May Day protests in Major Cities across the US. Just Google the May Day protests, or go to Democracy Now!

The Occupy Guitarmy with Tom Morello

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