What Can I Do?

I’m just one person, what can I do to help save Bradley Manning?

Update 2/3/12: We have just been informed that PFC Manning’s case will be moving to court martial. As such, it’s time to start forming committees to protest the trial. You can visit the page here to register to organize support for Bradley during his trial. More ideas for ways to get involved are below.

Our network is made up of people as well as organizations. Even if you are all on your own, there are many ways you can reach out in your community and beyond.  Below are ideas about ways you can get involved, in brief.

For more information, please check out our activist toolkit.

If you’re interested in volunteering directly with the Bradley Manning Support Network, click here.

How you can help Bradley Manning:

If you have 60 seconds

Sign the petition to free Bradley Manning at www.standwithbrad.org.
Please take five more minutes to e-mail the petition to friends, neighbors, and other members of your organization.

If you have 5 minutes

Visit iam.bradleymanning.org to join our photo petition. You will need simply: 1 digital camera, 1 piece of paper or cardboard, 1 pen or marker

When you are ready to become a leader in the movement to Free Bradley:

Help Plan an Event!
Planning an event is a good way to educate community members, enlist other volunteers to take action, gather signatures for the free Bradley petition, and raise funds for the Defense Fund.  The kind of event you choose to organize depends on the amount of time you can dedicate to event organizing and promotion.  Recommended kinds of events include screenings of the Collateral Murder video, public speaking events, and organized protests. We want to organize demonstrations in major cities nationwide corresponding with Bradley’s upcoming court dates. If you are interested in organizing an event, please contact
[email protected].

Host a dinner party fundraiser!
With the military pushing the trial dates farther out into the future, fundraising has become an especially critical component to maintaining our movement. One way you can both help out with public education efforts AND raise money for the Bradley Manning Defense Fund, is to host a dinner party. You can go here to learn more and get materials that make hosting an event simple.

Other ideas!

Talk to acquaintances and speak out at meetings of an organization you are already a part of. Write letters to the editors of your local newspapers to help raise awareness about Bradley’s inhumane prison conditions and the questionable nature of his charges. Write letters to your congressional representatives and the President voicing your support of Bradley and calling for an immediate end to his inhumane prison treatment.  Use Social Media. You can blog updates on the case, and provide links to the petitions and actions. You can also use facebook, twitter, and other social media sites to post links to our website and our facebook page, savebradleySign up for our e-newsletter (2-3 per month) at couragetoresist.org for the most current updates.

Together, we can make a difference.

66 thoughts on “What Can I Do?

  1. Torture In The Good Old USA

    I hear that, Bradley Manning is now not only in solitary confinement, but has been striped naked in his cold cell. His torturers say it is to stop him harming himself.

    They must think they can con 100% of the people 100% of the time. They think we are all moronic, Forrest Gumps who can be brainwashed at will.

    I’m not saying that 50% of any population can’t be programmed to swallow their nazi crap. You only have to read the sick comments in the racist rags to see that.

    Those war loving rags have convicted, Bradley already. All they need is a length of rope and a lynch mob and they’re in ‘Hang Em High’ heaven.

    Striping a prisoner, keeping him in solitary, using shackles, using death threats… They are all basic torture methods.

    Watch any movie about nazis trying to torture information out of captured resistance fighters.

    Or better still, read the torture manuals printed by the CIA and distributed to military torturers in Chile during, Pinochet’s military dictatorship in the 70s. Military brutes tortured little children in front of their parents and then adopted said children when their parents had been beaten to death.

    Why don’t they hang, Bradley up by his thumbs or strap him to a plank and water board him.

    Military brutes would still say that it was not torture and that, Bradley was being restrained so he will not self harm.

    All Obama’s hollow, sanctimonious speeches about freedom and democracy… And he can not stop one of his own from inhuman torture, from being pre judged by the right wing racist rags?

    Obama and his crew are as phoney as a two cent bank note! His over blown military is out of control… It’s a case of the tail wagging the dog. It’s been that way since the end of the second world war, when a responsible US president used his military as a last resort. Now they use it if some guy looks at them the wrong way.

  2. I was working on Bussolini’s article Critical Encounter Between Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault in the part on Sacred Substance versus Zone of Indistinction and came to the following conclusion that I hope may come of use in the defense of Bradley Manning.

    A ‘criminal’ like Bradley Manning today is a criminal only to the status quo acting against the people’s right to transparency, that is, to know what those in power are doing against human beings no matter in what corner of the Earth. The United States government stands against Manning’s act because his act reveals their actions against other human beings in other parts of the world. With that action Bradley Manning stands as human consciousness beyond national consciousness and in it resides its legitimacy. It must be so in the wake of globalization and consciousness of our selves as human beings.

    Sacred Substance versus Zone of Indistinction
    Agamben draws on Benveniste’s re-interpretation of the Greek term for oath, ὅρκος, horkos,
    via ὅρκον ὄμνυμαι, horkon omnumai (to swear an oath, call to witness),

    as ‛sacred substance,‛

    rather than the traditional etymology in terms of ἕρκος, herkos, which means ‛fence, barrier,
    bond,‛ in order to clear the ground of a ‛prejudicial misinterpretation‛ that he says impedes
    the archaeology of the oath.72 Benveniste writes that horkos signifies, via his alternate etymo-
    logy, ‛not a word or an act, but a thing, the material invested with the malevolent potency
    which confers to the promise its binding power.‛73 This would seem to be attested given that
    one of the meanings of horkos (Horkos the son of Eris) is ‛the witness of an oath, the power or
    object abjured.‛74 Nevertheless,

    Agamben wishes to counter the almost-unanimous interpre-
    tation according to which the ‛force and efficacy of the oath are sought in the sphere of
    magico-religious ‘powers’ to which it belongs in origin and which is presupposed as the most
    archaic: they derive from it and decline with the decline of religious faith.‛75 He finds this
    unsatisfying since it relies on an ‛imaginary‛ notion of the homo religiosus, a ‛primitive‛ hu-
    man intimidated by the forces of nature and the divine. This is unsatisfying because the sour-
    ces treated, Agamben points out, present a human who is both religious and irreligious—both
    loyal to the oath and capable of perjury.


    76 Thus he believes that this traditional explanation is
    in need of further exploration, and in particular he wishes to dispel the interpretation in terms
    of recourse to a ‛magico-religious sphere.‛
    Agamben notes that even scholars as ‛perspicacious‛ as Benveniste and Bickermann
    have erred in uncritically repeating the explanation by recourse to the sacred, indicating that
    they several times refer to that explanation as one which is ‛always and everywhere‛ given to
    account for the oath.77 The problem with this explanation refers back to Agamben’s earlier
    work on the sacred (sacer), especially in Homo sacer: il potere sovrano e la nuda vita. At issue are
    the insufficiency and the contradictions of the doctrine of the ‘sacred’ elaborated in the scien-
    tific and historical studies of religion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Much of the
    confusion, he says, comes from the encounter and uncritical mixing between the Latin sacer
    and the Melanesian concept of mana seized upon by anthropologists. Citing Robert Henry
    Coddington and Max Müller, Agamben indicates that mana became the way in which ‛the
    idea of the infinite, of the invisible, and of that which we will later call the divine, can appear
    in vague and nebulous terms among the most primitive peoples.‛78 Agamben attributes this
    to a lack of historical and interpretive knowledge on the part of the scholars, rather than to any
    actually-existing concept or category. He also points out that, by uncritically joining the con-
    cepts (sacer and mana), such commentators failed to pay heed to both contexts of study.
    He says that mana pertained to contexts outside the cultural frame of reference of these
    European scholars and sacer to contexts beyond their historical knowledge (often, specifically,
    as that which was cast as ‛pre-history‛ or ‛pre-law‛ or the like). As, by the end of the 19th
    century and for those seeking to establish a science or history of it, religion in Europe had be-
    come something so ‛extraneous and indecipherable,‛ these scholars sought the keys to it in
    concepts such as mana.79 They found it easier to assume that the ‛primordial‛ religious con-
    texts of Europe must be similar to the ‛magico-religious‛ life of the so-called ‛primitives,‛
    thus failing carefully to examine the historically specific genealogy of religion in each context.
    Because of this he says that ‛they could not help but to reestablish, as if in a specter, the same
    extravagant and contradictory imagination that these scholars had projected.‛80 A more fruit-
    ful understanding of the concept, he says, would await the pivotal interpretation of Claude
    Agamben maintains that Levi-Strauss put the understanding of the concept of mana
    (and associated ones like orenda and manitou) on new ground because, unencumbered by the
    same attachment to the notion of the ‛sacred substance,‛ he was able to recognize the crucial
    facet of the concept: its indeterminateness. Levi-Strauss equates the term to those such as truc
    and machin in French (which Agamben renders as coso and affare in Italian)—‛thing‛ and
    Agamben, Sacramento, 18.
    Ibid., 19.
    Ibid., 20.
    Ibid., 22.
    Ibid. He says that the sway of this interpretation was such that it manifests in different ways in the work of
    Durkheim, Freud, Rudolf, Otto, and Mauss (page 21).
    Foucault Studies, No. 10, pp. 108-143.
    ‛contraption, thingamajig, doohickey, gadget‛ in English—words which, notably, stand in for
    something else, or refer to an unspecified quality. Agamben says they are ‛unknown objects
    or objects whose use we can’t explain… a void of meaning or an indeterminate value of signi-
    fication… whose sole function is to fill a gap between signifier and signified.‛81 So, rather than
    a pervasive magical force, Agamben, following Levi-Strauss, thinks that such concepts have
    more to do with an indeterminate, ad hoc, function in language on the part of anthropologists
    and historians of religion. It is on this basis that Levi-Strauss commented that in the thinking
    of the scholars, mana really is mana, implying that there it did function as a pervasive magical
    Citing Louis Gernet’s concept of pre-law and Paolo Prodi’s ‛primordial indistinction,‛

    fuller understanding is given to the ‛ultra-historical fringe‛ as a phase in which law and reli-
    gion were indistinct.

    The difficult part, says Agamben, is using these concepts in a way that
    doesn’t simply involve the simple retrospective projection of current notions of religion and
    politics onto this fringe, such that we see it as the simple addition of two parts. He recom-
    mends ‛a type of archeological epoché to suspend, at least provisionally, the attribution of
    predicates with which we usually define religion and law.‛82 Instead he’d like to pay heed to
    the zone of indistinction between them, trying to understand this as an internal limit that may
    give rise to a new interpretation.
    As against the interpretations of the oath that distinguish between an ancient religious
    rite and a modern inclusion in law,

    Agamben notes that the oldest documents in our posses-
    sion show it to have an unmistakably juridical function, even if also serving religious ones.
    He says that ‛in the oldest sources the Latin tradition allows us to reach, the oath is a verbal
    act destined to guarantee the verity of a promise or an assertion,‛ and that the ‛same goes for
    the Greek tradition.‛84 He also reminds us that for the Romans the sacred sphere was con-
    sidered an integral part of law. On the basis of several examples he maintains that
    the entire problem of the distinction between the juridical and the religious, in particular for
    the oath is, therefore, wrongly put. Not only do we not have grounds to postulate a pre-
    juridical phase in which the oath belonged only to a religious sphere, but perhaps our whole
    habitual mode of representing to ourselves the chronological and conceptual relation
    between law and religion should be reexamined.

    Elena: It’s good to find this unity in religion and the juridical. I think I’ve been looking for it all along! I don’t quite understand his argument against previous researchers on the exclusively religious and mana, it seems that if the oath is indeed both religious and juridical it would not stop the connection with the religious and would in fact presuppose it. “Agamben indicates that mana became the way in which ‛the
    idea of the infinite, of the invisible, and of that which we will later call the divine, can appear
    in vague and nebulous terms among the most primitive peoples.”

    What all that is telling me is that they are both dealing with the dimension of the sacred and the dimension of the juridical and that there is no opposition in that continuity. They are the same “lawfulness” in different dimensions and are ‘connected’ by the human being. In the realm of the sacred, the infinite dimension, within each and every human being, in the realm of the juridical, society, the lawfulness with which the individual from his inner connectedness with the ‘divine’ acts in the plane of the earthly: society: the divine divided into multiple human entities acting on each other, ‘climbing’ towards self consciousness. But why? If the human being already possesses the divine within why do we have to ‘climb’ towards its consciousness? Is it a ‘climbing’ or an ‘actualizing’? And then the possibility of ‘failing’, of ‘falling’, in breaking the oath and attracting ‘the malevolent potency’ in the religious sphere and ‘crime’ in the juridical sphere do not contradict each other, on the contrary, they would attest for the fact that the individual commits an act of crime only when he or she “falls” outside of the ‘infinite’ ‘invisible’ ‘divine’ or the ‘whole’ ‘God’ in the religious sphere and the ‘integrity’ of the human in the juridical sphere. The homo sacer is outside of the law because he has fallen out of the circle and death inflicted on him is ‘lawful’ but when those inflicting death on the homo sacer are themselves outside of the circle killing those who are inside the circle, when the status quo is upside down and backwards to lawfulness, then that society has turned against his and her own integrity and is in a process of destruction. In suicide cults the self-annihilation shows the inability of the people to affirm the process of life and hold to its legitimacy. In the process of unhealthily separating from the rest of mankind, cult members gradually implode: they condemn themselves to the homo sacer status and self annihilate. It is interesting that as a reaction (meaning a mechanical response to the status quo), cults tend to self annihilate although the initial aim is to recover the lost integrity that people perceive in the status quo. Gadafy killing his own people is in a similar process of self-destructiveness within the nation.

    Interesting also that the hero usually stands against a status quo that has turned against the integrity of the whole and privileges a few. The hero re-invokes the whole and calls on the spirit of the people to reinstate it in society overthrowing the status quo.

    All that would bring us back to the circle, the whole. What those in power appropriate is the ‘whole’ represented in the divine authority with which they claim to act in ‘governing’ the people. Their acts are justified because they are supposed to own the sovereignty to exercise, ‘own’ it in their personal qualification: their ‘being’. ‘Sovereignty’ implies the lawful connectedness with the ‘whole’ ‘God’ ‘the people’ or ‘the human’ and it is what gives legitimacy to the ‘rule’ and its expression in the earthly sphere: the juridical status quo. When those in power lack the consciousness of the whole and appropriate a great deal for themselves against the well being of the many, they are acting without the ‘being’, that is, the consciousness of the whole and consequently, their acts are in themselves, outside of the whole: criminal. “Criminal” is each and every act that is performed outside of consciousness and consciousness is the awareness of the whole. The capacity of the human being to ‘fall’ out of consciousness and act against the ‘whole’ whether it is acting against their own self or that of others is ‘apparently’ what we are here to check! The ‘oath’ would come in as the “intention” to act lawfully and accept ‘punishment’ if unable to. This reminds me of the practice of suicide in high-ranking Japanese culture in which it is legitimate to take one’s life if one has dishonored the sovereignty of ones role.

    All these would bring us to further questions on the meaning of life itself. Is life meant to be a process of realizing consciousness? Of walking from one’s self to our selves? That is, from individuality to sociability through one’s work? Is that not education? The preparation to legitimately participate in society through one’s work and action? Is that not what people are ‘prepared’ for, educated for? At birth, is the human being an individuality with the potential of becoming conscious of ‘the human’ in his own particular reality as much as internalizing and externalizing the reality of all human beings? Is ‘essence’, that is, all that is innately human at birth, the seed of consciousness but only the seed? Is life the road between the ego and the self? “Life”, the social earth on which the individual actualizes the human, the soil on which consciousness is developed through the actualization of the infinite wholeness within every individual in the practice and experience of a lawful life? What is a ‘lawful life’ if not the capacity of the individual to strengthen the whole through his and her life’s work? The ‘community’, NOT the status quo that acts against it but the integrity of the people that co-participate in it. A ‘criminal’ like Bradley Manning today is a criminal only to the status quo acting against the people’s right to transparency, that is, to know what those in power are doing against human beings no matter in what corner of the Earth. The United States government stands against Manning’s act because his act reveals their actions against other human beings in other parts of the world. With that action Bradley Manning stands as human consciousness beyond national consciousness and in it resides its legitimacy. It must be so in the wake of globalization and consciousness of our selves as human beings. Like all heroes before and after him, Manning stands for the well being of the whole of mankind versus individual interests.

  3. Thinking about this situation with Bradley, it seems that what needs to be pointed out is that he is outside the law of the United States in as much as he is under the law of human integrity and decency. No person can be punished for acting for the well being of all of mankind even against his family, friends or nation. The hero stands above the institutions and reinstates the vital principles of human life. There is a greater law than that of the nation and it is the one that encompasses the integrity of the human being as a whole. Nations acting against the people of other nations as clearly showed the videos of army men killing civilians, are not lawful and an individual exposing their action cannot be a criminal. The crime is in the militaries who allowed for such crimes. Transparency in power is what legitimizes power. When power turns against the people, a process of self-destruction takes place within the society suffering it.

  4. Another suggestion – put ‘Free Bradley Manning’signs or your fences or gateposts, or the front of your houses.

    Obama is a massive disappointment, no better than a mouthpiece of the Pentagon. Rather than accept their assurances, shouldn’t he at the least send someone with an ounce of human decency to check on Bradley Manning’s treatment and wellbeing.

    Respect for Mr Crowley. Many more people working for the Administration and the military should also resign in protest, or threaten to do so unless Manning is freed or his conditions greatly improved.

  5. I hope that the world will continue to change; thinking about what has happened in the arab world only this year and nobody could imagine it in december: I can not see that 52 years forward are possible to plan in these days. Just now it looks as if there is a manual to follow, with prison and punishment as the only ingredients, but I believe there will happen a lot of surprises in our future and turn around even the strongest features. Expect surprise!

  6. Both my sons were born in the U.S. They now live in Australia. I cannot tell you how ashamed they are of their birth country. It beggars belief that the “home of the brave and the land of the free” can treat anyone in such a degrading, cruel and sadistic way as Bradley Manning! It is sickening! Shame, Shame, Shame!!!

    The sheer hypocrisy of the United States is just jaw dropping – can only talk the talk – incapable of walking the walk when it comes to freedom, liberty and just treatment for all.
    I thought one of the by-products of the “liberation” of Iraq by the U.S and its allies was to put an end to exactly this kind of despicable treatment of an individual by its Government.

  7. Valerie Plame was ‘outed’ and how much money was paid by taxpayers…no one went to jail for her ‘outing’…below is an excerpt about her ‘Investigation Hearing’.
    Bradley Manning IS an American Hero.
    House Oversight Committee hearing

    On March 8, 2007, two days after the verdict in the Libby trial, Congressman Henry Waxman, chair of the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform, announced that his committee would ask Plame to testify on March 16, in an effort by his committee to look into “whether White House officials followed appropriate procedures for safeguarding Plame’s identity.”[54][55]

    On March 16, 2007, at these hearings about the disclosure, Waxman read a statement about Plame’s CIA career that had been cleared by CIA director Gen. Michael V. Hayden and the CIA, stating that she was undercover and that her employment status with the CIA was classified information prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958.

    Subsequent reports in various news accounts focused on the following parts of her testimony:

    * “My name and identity were carelessly and recklessly abused by senior government officials in the White House and state department”; this abuse occurred for “purely political reasons.”[56]
    * After her identity was exposed by officials in the Bush administration, she had to leave the CIA: “I could no longer perform the work for which I had been highly trained.”[57]
    * She did not select her husband for a CIA fact-finding trip to Niger, but an officer senior to her selected him and told her to ask her husband if he would consider it: “I did not recommend him. I did not suggest him. There was no nepotism involved. I did not have the authority….”[57]

  8. Oh no, not another stupid war!

    We now have countries, including my own, sucked into yet another shooting war. They say it’s to protect the innocents on the ground… a ‘No Fly Zone’ no less, but isn’t that how all wars start. The Vietnam disaster started with CIA goons paying locals for communist heads. So many dollars for a sack full of gory heads. The local thugs got rich removing heads from none communist rivals they owed money to. In the mean time, real communist forces were planning a massive attack in the North.

    Who are the people we call innocents on the ground? Does anybody know, does anybody care?

    As far as I can see, these so called innocents are shooting guns and firing shells too. Where did they get their weapons? What is their agenda? To many questions, to few answers.

    Of course there’ll be more war crimes and those crimes will be hushed up by both sides. The people who uncover said war crimes will be called nasty names, will be attacked by the right wing media, will be stripped of their clothing, will be stripped of their rights, will be thrown into solitary confinement to ponder their fate.

    Bradley Manning is not the first brave man to see the brutality of war, the futility of war, and he’ll not be the last.

    Bradley: “Do we learn nothing from history?”

    War Monger: “What history?”

  9. When you get a staff person/volunteer you may want to begin developing an archive of pertinent media about Bradley Manning.

    ‘s spokesman quits over comments

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s chief spokesman resigned Sunday, three days after he publicly criticized the treatment in confinement of WikiLeaks suspect Army Pfc. Bradley Manning as “counterproductive and stupid.”

    In a prepared statement, P.J. Crowley said his remarks about Manning’s treatment, made at an appearance Thursday in Cambridge, Mass., were meant to highlight the effect of actions by U.S. security agencies “on our global standing and leadership.”

    Lawyers for Manning, who is charged with unauthorized sharing of classified information, allege that he has been mistreated, including being forced to sleep naked, while in confinement at a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.

    A Pentagon spokesman has said the conditions of Manning’s confinement comply with U.S. laws, and suggested that officials are concerned that Manning might try to hurt himself.

  10. Heidi Lucken is quite right, the official response from this Pentagon spokesman was…

    ‘A Pentagon spokesman has said the conditions of Manning’s confinement comply with U.S. laws, and suggested that officials are concerned that Manning might try to hurt himself.’

    It all sounds legal and above board, but ask yourselves this question; Why would Bradley Manning try to hurt himself?

    He is a brave man, a moral man… He did the only thing a brave, moral man could do in his situation. Most military people close their eyes and say; “That’s war.” When they know it’s nothing of the kind.

    Please read this true account of other brave servicemen first… URL follows.



    Bradley did what those 3 servicemen did in Vietnam when they saw their own soldiers herding women and children into a ditch. They knew what they were seeing was a nazi style atrocity. They reported it to the military. The military didn’t like their men slaughtering unarmed civilians, they didn’t want to make it public either. The News media did that, when those 3 brave men made their evidence and statements available.

    The American military needs to decide what kind of men they want in their ranks. Torturers, morons, rapists, baby killers… or people like the 3 Vietnam servicemen. Honorable men who did not close their eyes to cold blooded murder. Loyalty and patriotism has it’s limits.

    Or maybe not… We will see.

  11. Listed below is the mailing address and name of all the people on the ‘Armed Services Committee’ for the U.S., that’d be the people that agree to give the US military money…maybe we should start writing to some of them…i.e., Carl Levin & John McCain?
    jes sayin’, while there is ‘media momentum’…

    United States Senate Armed Services Committee
    Room SR-228, Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510-6050
    202-224-3871 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 202-224-3871 end_of_the_skype_highlighting



    Carl Levin (Michigan)

    Joseph I. Lieberman (Connecticut)
    Jack Reed (Rhode Island)
    Daniel K. Akaka (Hawaii)
    Ben Nelson (Nebraska)
    Jim Webb (Virginia)
    Claire McCaskill (Missouri)
    Mark Udall (Colorado)
    Kay R. Hagan (North Carolina)
    Mark Begich (Alaska)
    Joe Manchin III (West Virginia)
    Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire)
    Kirsten E. Gillibrand (New York)
    Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut)


    John McCain (Arizona)
    Ranking Member

    James M. Inhofe (Oklahoma)
    Jeff Sessions (Alabama)
    Saxby Chambliss (Georgia)
    Roger F. Wicker (Mississippi)
    Scott P. Brown (Massachusetts)
    Rob Portman (Ohio)
    Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire)
    Susan M. Collins (Maine)
    Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)
    John Cornyn (Texas)
    David Vitter (Louisiana)

  12. Carl Levin US Senator
    269 Russell Office Building
    U.S. Senate
    Washington, DC 20510-2202
    Phone (202) 224-6221
    Fax (202) 224-1388
    TTY (202) 224-2816
    8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m

    Levin is head of the ‘Arms Committe’ alongw with McCain
    poc above -hl

  13. I just called in 202 456 1111 and left a message. Plus, I sent an email as the ‘waiting queue’ message suggested to whitehouse.gov/contact, I just copy/pasted the voice mail message into the email.
    Plus, I asked Barry to turn in his manhood card and his bar card b/c as a ‘constitutional law’ attorney he’s knows better than to allow no touch torture to a kid like Manning! But that was just my email -hl

  14. Obama takes ‘unprecedented’ aim at leaks: experts
    by Lucile Malandain, Agence France-Presse 3.23.11.
    WASHINGTON DC – Elected on a promise of a more transparent government, President Barack Obama has taken “unprecedented” aim at leakers who divulge classified information to journalists, critics say.

    “We’ve seen the current president bringing five prosecutions so far… against people for whistleblowing, for leaks of classified information,” said Daniel Ellsberg, famous for his 1971 leak of the “Pentagon Papers,” which helped turn the tide of public opinion against the Vietnam War.

    “All previous presidents put together brought three prosecutions… We see a campaign here against whistleblowing that is highly unprecedented in legal terms.”

    The White House declined to answer questions about its policy towards those who leak government secrets.

    The five prosecutions include the case of US soldier Bradley Manning, who is accused of having handed hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks.

    Manning, 23, was arrested in June while deployed to Iraq, amid suspicions he was responsible for passing a trove of secret US government documents to the whistle-blowing website, many of which were then published around the world.

    Earlier this month, the military unveiled 22 additional charges against Manning including “aiding the enemy,” which carries a potential death sentence, though the army said it would not seek capital punishment.

    US investigators have failed so far to establish a direct link between the Manning and the website, which began publishing the documents last year.

    Rights groups have criticized the conditions of Manning’s detention at a Marine base in Quantico, Virginia.

    And earlier this month State Department spokesman PJ Crowley was forced to resign after publicly criticizing the “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid” way in which he is being treated.

    Another accused leaker facing possible prison time is Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA operative accused of passing US secrets to the New York Times.

    And Thomas Drake is said to have revealed the existence of the George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. His trial is set to begin in Baltimore next month.

    Despite the barrage of prosecutions, experts say the government will have a heavy burden in proving its case under a 1917 espionage law.

    “One of the statutes says that you have to give this information… ‘with the intent or reason to believe that this information is to be used to the injury of the US’,” said Andrew Contiguglia, an expert on constitutional law.

    “In the situation that you have here, there are former CIA operatives, military operatives, taking the information and giving it off to press people, not spies,” he said.

    “What makes us think that when we give information to the press, that info is going to be used to the injury of the US?”

    He goes on to argue that the leaks are part of the American system.

    “It’s important that in order to strenghten our democracy, we have to keep our government honest, and the only way to keep our government honest is to give access to that information,” he said.

    Dan Marcus, a law professor at the American University in Washington, says it’s possible to read too much into the administration’s probes.

    “All presidents and all national security branch officials worry about unauthorized leaks,” he said.

    “There’s always been a great concern in the governments about leaks of damaging national security information, and I don’t think that’s changed dramatically from one administration to another.”

    He added that there is a bit of a double standard at play.

    “There is a certain amount of hypocrisy,” Marcus said.

    “There are good reasons for the government trying to keep certain information secret (but) government officials often leak some information when they believe it is in the interest of the government to do so.”