Bradley Manning & Sydney Mardi Gras float
When faced with a question of morality one may push themself to rule right from wrong, based on traditions, laws and of course fear of being punished for doing something wrong. To suggest one’s religion, race or sexuality ‘increases’ their ability to tell right from wrong is not a valid argument, we all have the ability to tell right from wrong.
If questioned on your morality, due to a decision, you should respond to the questioner asking why they believe their ability to tell right from wrong is superior to yours. Just as you cannot conclude someone is immoral due to being a homosexual, you cannot use their sexuality to conclude they have higher morals.
In 2008 a United States soldier Bradley Manning stood in the rain with hundreds of protestors in Syracuse, New York showing support for Californians who lost their newly gained marriage equality and the future from the new surge in activism by the community. Bradley Manning held a hand written placard stating ‘Equality, @ the house, @ the classroom, @ the workplace, @ the battlefield = everywhere’. Bradley was openly gay in his personal life and serving in the military under the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which did not allow openly homosexual persons, only those who didn’t tell.
Bradley Manning was stationed in Iraq as an army intelligence analyst; Bradley had access to hundreds of thousands of documents for his work. In late 2009 he was using WikiLeaks documentation as source material for his work with the Army, at which time he would join the WikiLeaks IRC Channel (Internet Relay Channel – Online Chat). Bradley became interested in WikiLeaks release of the September 11 pager messages, and he came to the conclusion they were authentic. Bradley stated he was in contact with ‘Nathaniel Frank’ whom he believed was from WikiLeaks, starting in late 2009 and continued to communicate for approximately 6 months in which time Bradley said he provided the Collateral Murder Video, US Diplomatic Cables as well as war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to release documents to WikiLeaks Bradley said that had contacted the Washington Post, New York Times and Politico to release the Iraq & Afghan war logs however he believed they were not taking him seriously. Bradley stated in court that no one from WikiLeaks has pressured him into releasing the documents.
Bradley saw wrong, and decided to do the right thing. Bradley used his moral judgement to determine the best action.
Bradley Manning wanted the information to be in the public domain; he believed that it would spark a “domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general,” for the people of the United States. He also stated that he believed it was setting the path for the future of open diplomacy, by embarrassing the US, however I stated he did not believe they would cause “damage to the US” as the cables contained “statements of cliques & gossip,”.
“The most alarming aspect of the video to me was the seemingly delightful bloodlust the aerial weapons team happened to have,” Bradley Manning said as he compared the soldier’s in the Collateral Murder video to the act of “torturing ants with a magnifying glass”.
Since 2007, WikiLeaks has had a clear message on their website about its commitment to source protection, with the secure file uploads and recommendations for source protection. Secure leaks via a HTTPS ‘post’ action ensured the uploaded content was sent over an encrypted channel, however for Medium and High Risk submissions further techniques such as not using your own computer where recommended whilst using the Tor Anonymity Networks Hidden services, a method of encrypted rendezvous pointes to assist the two computers communicating over the internet are unable to know each other’s location. From 2007-2009 WikiLeaks supplied a postal address around the world for ‘Truth Facilitators’. The WikiLeaks website stated “For the highest levels of protection you may wish to use our postal submission network.” “Wikileaks truth facilitators will then upload your submission using their fast internet connection.” “..and then destroy the mailed package.”
The WikiLeaks website boasted for years that their sources had never been revealed; unfortunately over recent years alleged sources have been jailed. Earlier this year Internet activist and computer programmer Aaron Swartz committed suicide; many have blamed the aggressive prosecution by the United States Department of Justice as a major contributing factor to his suicide. The official WikiLeaks twitter account, questioning the aggressive prosecution by the department of Justice and stating that Aaron Swartz had been in contact with Julian Assange , also revealed they had “strong reasons to believe, but cannot prove, that Aaron Swartz was a WikiLeaks source”.
In May of 2010 Bradley made contact with a computer hacker Adrian Lamo who had previously made news over high profile hacks. Chat logs supplied to Wired Magazine by Adrian Lamo suggest that Bradley trusted Adrian enough to not only share information of his ‘gender identity disorder’ but also to confess releasing information to WikiLeaks. Adrian Lamo turned the chat logs into the FBI which resulted in Bradley Manning being arrested the same week of May 2010. He was detained for over one thousand days, charged for releasing classified information. According the UN special rapporteur on torture Bradley’s treatment during his detainment was cruel and inhuman.
Today Bradley has read a thirty-five page statement he himself typed and signed, Bradley explained why he released the documents to WikiLeaks and pleading guilty to some of the charges which could have a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The case is awaiting the Judge to accept the plea, and decision to be made about the further charges.
Julian Assange the editor in chief of WikiLeaks was arrested over 800 days ago, spent over 500 days under house arrest and most recently over 250 days in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Julian Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden over allegations of sexual misconduct, whilst Julian has publicly stated he would be happy to answer questions in London, or return to Sweden under conditions ensuring his rights and guarantee of no onward extradition, the UK & Swedish Governments have not honoured his request. The Ecuadorian Government has acknowledged his genuine fear of persecution by the United States Government and granted him political asylum. The Australian Government has also failed to represent Julian Assange’s requests to the UK and Sweden. The United States Government has not ruled out that it will be seeking to extradite Julian Assange. Earlier this week on Australia’s ABC television show Q&A, Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr and the United States Ambassador to Australia Jeffery Bleich both claimed the US is not trying to get their hands on Julian Assange, despite being presented with documents showing the WikiLeaks Grand Jury number. Senator Carr called it a “CIA Conspiracy” – timely given yesterday Freedom of Information documents from the Bradley Manning trial showed the CIA investigation into Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
A quote by Martin Niemöller which is commonly substituted reads “First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
We will speak out for Bradley Manning on Saturday the 2nd of March in Sydney Australia the Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition, (SAWC) will have a float in this year’s Mardi Gras parade not only in solidarity with Bradley Manning’s stand for Marriage equality of those in California, also for Bradley Manning the American Hero and his fight to set the truth free through revolutionary methods like WikiLeaks secure dropbox which allowed him to show how the first world exploits the third and horrendous war crimes that are otherwise hidden under government classification.
One hundred supporters dressed in rainbow colours will march in the annual Mardi Gras Parade in support of Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
More Information on the Mardi Gras event and Media contacts at sawcsydney.org
Read the full transcript by Alexa O’Brien at Pfc. Bradley E. Manning’s Statement for the Providence Inquiry
Or listen to the text-to-speech of the statement http://youtu.be/MulfU7MJmR0