Bradley Manning apologizes for hurting U.S. on witness …

Updated at 11:14 p.m. ET

FORT MEADE, Md. Pfc. Bradley Manning took the stand Wednesday at his sentencing hearing in the WikiLeaks case and apologized for hurting his country, pleading with a military judge for a chance to go to college and become a productive citizen.

He addressed the court on a day of often emotional testimony from family members about his troubled childhood and from a psychologist who said Manning felt extreme mental pressure in the “hyper-masculine” military because of his gender-identity disorder his feeling that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body.

“I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States,” he said as he began.

The soldier said that he understood what he was doing but that he did not believe at the time that leaking a mountain of classified information to the anti-secrecy website would cause harm to the U.S.

Though he often showed little reaction to court proceedings during most of the two and a half month court-martial, Manning appeared to struggle to contain his emotions several times Wednesday during testimony from his sister, an aunt and two mental health counselors, one who treated him and another who diagnosed him with several problems.

Manning, 25, could be sentenced to 90 years in prison for the leaks, which occurred while he was working as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2010. The judge will impose the sentence, though exactly when is unclear. The next session, for any prosecution rebuttal testimony, is set for Friday.

Speaking quickly but deliberately, Manning took only a few minutes to make his statement Wednesday. He appeared to be reading it from papers he was holding and looked up a number of times to make eye contact with the judge. It was an unsworn statement, meaning he could not be cross-examined by prosecutors.

He said he realizes now that he should have worked more aggressively “inside the system” to draw attention to his concerns about the way the war was being waged. He said he wants to get a college degree, and he asked for a chance to become a more productive member of society.

His conciliatory tone was at odds with the statement he gave in court in February, when he condemned the actions of U.S. soldiers overseas and what he called the military’s “bloodlust.”

Defense attorney David Coombs told Manning supporters that Manning’s heart was in the right place.

“His one goal was to make this world a better place,” Coombs said.

Manning’s apology could carry substantial weight with the military judge, said Eugene Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale.

“He faces extraordinarily long confinement and if he is coming across subjectively as contrite, I think that may do him some real good with the sentencing,” Fidell said.

Manning’s attorneys contend he showed clear signs of deteriorating mental health before and during his deployment that should have prevented commanders from sending him to a war zone to handle classified information.

Manning eventually came out to Capt. Michael Worsley, emailing the clinical psychologist a photo of himself in a long, blond wig and lipstick. The photo was attached to a letter titled “My problem,” in which Manning described his internal struggle and said he had hoped that a military career would “get rid of it.”

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning poses for a picture wearing a wig and lipstick in this undated picture provided by the U.S. Army.

AP Photo/U.S. Army

Worsley testified Wednesday that the soldier was struggling under extreme conditions.

“You put him in that kind of hyper-masculine environment, if you will, with little support and few coping skills, the pressure would have been difficult to say the least,” Worsley said.

Worsley’s testimony portrayed some military leaders as lax at best and obstructionist at worst when it came to tending to soldiers with mental health problems.

“I questioned why they would want to leave somebody in a position with the issue they had,” Worsley said.

Navy Capt. David Moulton, a psychiatrist who spent 21 hours interviewing Manning at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after his arrest, testified as a defense witness that Manning’s gender identity disorder, combined with narcissistic personality traits, idealism and his lack of friends in Iraq, caused him to conclude he could change the world by leaking classified information.

He said Manning was struggling to balance his desire to right wrongs with his sense of duty to complete his Army tasks and his fear of losing his GI benefits and the opportunity to attend college.

“His decision-making capacity was influenced by the stress of his situation for sure,” Moulton said.

Moulton also reported for the first time in open court that Manning has symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome and Asperger syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder.

Also Wednesday, Manning’s sister Casey Major, 36, testified that they grew up with two alcoholic parents in a rural home outside Crescent, Okla. She said their mother attempted suicide with a Valium overdose after Brian Manning left his wife when Bradley Manning was 12.

After looking tearfully at a series of childhood photographs presented by defense attorney David Coombs, Major said Manning has matured since his arrest.

“I just hope he can be who he wants to be. I hope he can be happy,” she said. After the court went into recess, Manning went to his sister, hugged her and said something while touching his right hand to his heart.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the only currency the military will take is Manning’s humiliation, and he believed the apology was forced.

“Mr. Manning’s apology is a statement extorted from him under the overbearing weight of the United States military justice system. It took three years and millions of dollars to extract two minutes of tactical remorse from this brave soldier,” Assange said in a statement.

At least 46 international journalists and 78 spectators were in attendance. Many spectators wore black “Truth” T-shirts.

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Bradley Manning apologizes for hurting U.S. on witness …

Bradley Manning trial: 10 revelations from Wikileaks …

Bradley Manning trial: 10 revelations from Wikileaks documents on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Europe. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, center, is escorted as he leaves a military court at Fort Meade, Md., on Monday.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

In 2010, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was detained in Iraq on suspicion of passing classified U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks. On Monday, after more than three years in military jail, his trial finally began at Fort Meade, Md.

Ryan Gallagher is a journalist who reports on surveillance, security, and civil liberties.

The 25-year-old intelligence analyst admitted earlier this year to passing documents to the whistle-blowing website, though he denies the charge of aiding the enemy, an offense that carries a life sentence or the death penalty. Manning said at a pretrial hearing in February that he leaked information, including diplomatic cables and U.S. military war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, in order to spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy.

Below is a list of 10 revelations disclosed by Mannings leaked documents that offer insight into the breadth and scope of what he revealed, help explain his motivation for leaking, and provide context for the ongoing trial. The list, in no particular order, is far from comprehensive but encompasses some of the most significant information brought to light by the leaked documents.

Although Mannings disclosures totaled some 720,000 recordsthe largest security breach in U.S. historythe leak still amounted to less than 1 percent of the almost 77 million documents reportedly classified by U.S. government agencies in 2010. The soldiers actions are at the center of an ongoing debate about a spike in extreme state secrecy in the U.S. since Sept. 11an issue regularly covered here on Future Tensethat has resulted in several aggressive leak investigations and surveillance of journalists. During the first day of Mannings trial, the government accused the soldier of indirectly assisting al-Qaida and leaking the information to gain the notoriety he craved. Mannings defense attorney described him as young, naive, but good intentioned, passing documents to WikiLeaks in a bid to make the world a better place.

Mannings trial is expected to last through the summer.

Future Tenseis a partnership ofSlate,New America, andArizona State University.

See the rest here:
Bradley Manning trial: 10 revelations from Wikileaks …

Bradley Manning Treatment Ruling – On The Matter Of …

A military judge named Colonel Denise Lind handed down a ruling yesterday in the case of Bradley Manning, the Army private who’s facing life in prison this March for having delivered various secret documents to WikiLeaks. It was the opinion of Colonel Lind that the United States government had imposed upon the imprisoned soldier a regime of incarceration that was “more rigorous than necessary,” and, further, that some of Manning’s treatment while in the brig, “became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests.” For example:

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Manning was kept alone in a windowless 6-by-8-foot cell for 23 hours a day and forced while on suicide watch to sleep in only a “suicide smock,” which military officials said was standard procedure when inmates are believed to pose a risk to their own safety. In March 2011, after eight months of confinement, Manning had quipped sarcastically that he could kill himself with the elastic of his underwear if he wanted to. Manning, 25, has acknowledged contemplating suicide shortly after his arrest but said that he tried to convince guards for month that he was not a threat to himself or anyone else. At Quantico, he was monitored 24 hours a day, at times growing so bored and starved for companionship that he danced in his cell and played peekaboo with guards and with his image in the mirror – activity his defense attorney attributed to “being treated as a zoo animal.”

And then, alas, Colonel Lind took something of a dive. She ruled that, based on this treatment, Manning’s eventual sentence would be reduced by 112 days which would be cold comfort if Manning were to get socked for a couple of decades in the slam and she also ruled, spectacularly, that:

Flynn had acted appropriately to ensure that the brig staff followed procedures correctly and that they took the “high ground”. She found that there had been no intention to punish the inmate on the part of the brig staff or the chain of command, who were motivated purely by a desire to ensure that the soldier did not harm himself and that he would be available to stand trial.

This case is a mess, legally, ethically, morally and every other way. We are to believe through this ruling that Manning was treated more rigorously than was necessary and that his treatment was more excessive that legitimate government interests demanded, but that nobody in authority ordered it, nobody in authority countenanced it, and that nobody in authority will be called to account for it. It just happened, like a power outage, or a problem with the plumbing and, if there was somebody ordering it, or countenancing it, or in authority over it, it was all for Manning’s good, anyway. Both things cannot be true. If Manning’s treatment was more rigorous than was necessary and that it exceeded what was required to meet legitimate government interests, then it cannot have been done for Manning’s benefit, and somebody ordered the excesses and somebody countenanced them and somebody carried them out.

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We do not have to be children here. Bradley Manning could have been confined in conventional imprisonment and brought to a simple trial. The only reason to drag this case out, and to engage in the conduct that Colonel Lind described, was to coerce him into implicating other people. Nothing else makes any possible sense. We are not required to disengage our brains in cases like this. We are repeatedly encouraged to do so, however.

We have lost control of our criminal justice system in cases like this. Due process has become so malleable as to lose its internal logic. Between the seemingly endless echoes of the 9/11 attacks through the law, and the improvisational gymnastics the government has undertaken to do what it wants to do anyway, the country’s most fundamental principles have become lost. And yet, we keep trying to gussy up our authoritarian impulses in the robes of the law, to make marble tributes to our undying virtues out of our spontaneous terror that the rule of law is the source of our most dangerous weakness. This is not sustainable. We must be one or the other.

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Bradley Manning is only one person caught in this dim, twilight democracy. Entire legal institutions are beginning to fade into it as well. The invaluable Charlie Savage of The New York Times explored the darkening terrain whereon government lawyers are beginning to discover that the illegitimacy of the prison at Guantanamo Bay may have made it impossible to conduct legitimate trials of some of the last people still held there.

The two defendants were found guilty in 2008 by a tribunal on charges – including “material support for terrorism” – that the Justice Department concedes were not recognized international war crimes at the time of their actions. In October, an appeals court rejected the government’s argument that such charges were valid in American law and vacated the “material support” verdict against one of the men, a former driver for Osama bin Laden. Administration officials are now wrestling with whether to abandon the guilty verdict against the other detainee, a Qaeda facilitator and maker of propaganda videos. He was convicted of both “material support” and “conspiracy,” another charge the Justice Department has agreed is not part of the international laws of war, and his case is pending before a different panel of the same appeals court…Robert Chesney, a law professor at University of Texas at Austin who specializes in the law of war, said the most important part of the debate involved cases where the evidence shows a person joined or supported Al Qaeda but was not linked to a particular attack. The dispute brings to a head a long-building controversy over the ability of military commissions to match civilian courts on this issue, he said. “In the civilian court system we have powerful tools for charging people in preventative circumstances who are not directly linked to an attack, and they are the charges of conspiracy and material support,” Professor Chesney said.

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We can try people for terrorism in civilian courts. We have done that, and we have done it well. All of our clever improvisations have brought us face to face with legal and ethical failure, in the case of Bradley Manning and in the case of the Gitmo prosecutions, and generally everywhere else we have tried to get out from under the commitments we have made to each other by submitting ourselves to the Constitution. We stopped trusting it, and then we stopped trusting each other, and look where that’s gotten us. We look like fools, and worse.

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Bradley Manning Treatment Ruling – On The Matter Of …

Why Does The Media Let Greenwald and Hamsher Do All The …

Yesterday, I became another in a distinguished line of critics openly Twitter-flamed by the illustrious Salon.com blogger, Glenn Greenwald. He took time out from the glorious weather in his home town of Rio de janeiro to hector me publicly for posting this tweet on Twitter.

It was addressed to one of my Twitter followers, who has been quite openly concerned about Wikileaks-related issues. In it, I voiced an opinion which implied that the allegations of inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning were mostly emanating from what has been reported (or alleged) by Greenwald’s blog, or Jane Hamsher’s Firedoglake.com (FDL). From these root sources, a wide array of allegations, suspicions, protests and conspiracy theories have spread out around the globe via the Internet, the mainstream media, and an enormous army of sympathetic voices who see Wikileaks and Manning as their generation’s cultural mash-up of Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, the Rosenbergs, and Rubin Hurricane Carter, all rolled into one big super-sized, link-baited mega-scandal.

Greenwald is always on the lookout for Internet mentions of himself, and is wicked-fast in his responses to them. If he doesn’t immediately post a comment to a critic’s blog, or write some caustic diatribe on Salon, he has gone more directly after people like me on Twitter, often with a bullying tone designed to intimidate or cow, or perhaps only to impress his Twitter followers with another example of his special brand of righteous indignation about something or other. Of course, Twitter is just a fun respite from his typical day, which he more often spends eviscerating any Progressive he sees as consorting with the fascist Obama administration, or saving journalism and the free world by lambasting The Nation over a flawed TSA story, or wired.com for their Wikileaks coverage, both of which failed to measure up to his standards of something or other. While my little micro-blog (Twitter) is not even a gnat on the ass of those acclaimed publications, yesterday was my turn to be swatted at by the Rabble-Rouser from Rio.

And so, the story: I had awakened to find that Glenn responded to the tweet to my friend, and what followed was as disturbing as it was revealing. We had an exchange that many observers found almost comical (if not a little embarrassing for him), as he bullied, badgered, and all but called me names, trying to substantiate his charge that I was asserting falsehoods in my tweet. What was false, in his view, was my assertion that only he and Jane Hamsher found Bradley Manning’s treatment remarkable, implicitly trying to suggest that it was they who were making most of these charges, and much of the me-too media and the global civil liberties lobby were following their lead.

When I didn’t immediately drop to my knees and beg forgiveness for my brash affront to his supremacy in all matters Manning, he attempted to refute my heresy by pasting links to newspapers or organizations like Amnesty International, which had done nothing but report on, or echo his charges, or pledged to “review” them. None of the links he offered suggested anything unique about the story as it was being told and retold by Greenwald and Hamsher. Moreover, none of them said what reporting they themselves had done, what sources they had consulted, what prompted their decision to probe the case, nor even why they were interested at all. It was almost as if the Flying Spaghetti Monster himself came down to earth and enlightened these institutions about the egregious foulness afoot in the dark recesses of a U.S. military brig. But Glenn still felt very smug and satisfied that he had called me out on my vicious falsehoods which no one but him could see.

You can see the entire exchange here,as it was favorited to my backup account:

http://twitter.com/#!/Shoqq/favorites Update #1: A more complete version is here: http://chirpstory.com/li/593

True to past form, Glenn rushes off to grab his formidable word whacker in order to lash out at me and Miami Herald columnist, Joy-Ann Reid, in another one of his legendary hissyfits. His supporters have come to adore these rants for their pontifical, libertarian righteousness about all the things he despises, particularly Barack Obama, the US Government, and anyone critical of anything Glenn ever saysor how he says it.

I suspect he included me among his various matters screed not only because he knew he’d best blow some smoke over his silly Twitter spectacle, but also so that he could avail himself of yet one more opportunity to label another critic as an evil Obama apologist, using little more than a single tweet without much context. Realizing that his attempt to Twitter-flame me had backfired a bit, and that my simple request for any hard evidence made him look unprepared, he was going to make the most of what the event had offered. I dared to challenge him to provide some evidence that these other accounts had originated from anything other than the world-wide attention generated from the claims of inhumane treatment coming from both he and FDL, and now I was going to feel his wrath.

I am just a lowly technology consultant. I’m not a journalist, and certainly not a professional writer, and neither do I play those roles on Twitter. I am just a commoner with an anonymous cat avatar, and arguably, a minor talent for mocking Republicans. I have no other stature, standing, or even one of those icky dogs in this hunt. Whether Manning is or is not being humanely treated is not within my expertise or my pay grade to know. That is for professional journalists and/or investigators to probe and decide.

My issue and complaint are over how these two bloggerslet’s call them Team Manninghave made these charges week after week, and the mainstream media have done little more than take stenography from them about Manning’s treatment. Go and Google Manning and Greenwald and you’ll get 216,000 hits. Then peruse a few dozen of the stories which have appeared in the media and try to find any facts not directly attributed to Team Manning. Let me know what you find. I ask rhetorically because I’ve tried. It won’t be much. What you will find is endless retelling of Team Manning’s regular reports, harangues and condemnations, often framed as exposes, which are always aimed directly at a global news audience that they kmnow to be primed and ready to devour anything Manning and/or Wikileaks.

Among other things I am not, is a journalism professor or a media critic, but to my untrained eye, some of the Team Manning stories have seemed like such ginned-up polemics, that I can imagine serious journalists blanching at the reaching, supposition, speculations or just self-righteous moral posturing around which many of their stories revolve. Even when the facts appear to be sound, the conclusions spun from them seem painted with such an uncritical or hyperbolic brush that they come off as mere ideological joy rides on the way to a red herring eating contest. As journalism, they feel more like train wrecks.

Is Team Manning right? Is Bradley Manning, who is being held for possible espionage against these United States, being treated so badly that it rises to the level of inhumane imprisonmentor even torture? I really have no idea. But if they are, I sure don’t know it from Team Manning’s hyperbolic and often inflammatory reporting, nor from the worldwide echo chamber reverberating from it each day in the mainstream media. If there is any agenda behind my writing this post, beyond merely venting my spleen about what has been an excessive amount of really shoddy Wikileaks coverage from most sources in general, it is that I’d like to start a larger discussion about the many ways our media is failing us. It’s a failure that happens far too often, with far too many impacts, and in too many ways that are not being adequately offset by bloggers, citizen journalists, or other alternative media. And if we don’t find a way to improve this sad state of affairs, we might as well just surrender now, and let the much more media-savvy Fox Party take over. They probably will anyway.

Having voiced my pretensions toward loftier purpose, let me descend back to earth as a simple Corpizen who just wants some responsible reporting from our media. With respect to Manning, that means getting more than the daily agenda-laden diatribes of two bloggers who are consistently contemptuous of the Obama administration, and work tirelessly to condemn any and all examples of its executive overreach, or any other abuses of power that they can find, allege, speculate, and most of all, furiously fulminate about.

What they do each day is not, to my mind, anything like journalism, nor even good blogging. It’s pure political agenda hawking that masquerades as journalism, and it’s not a whole lot different from what Fox News does all day long. They find sensational and titillating charges, rumors, or innuendo that supports or confirms their political point of view, and use their broad visibility to make as much self-promoting noise as possible.

That it drives huge traffic to their very successful websites, and promotes their careers as talking heads on the cable news shows, or pumps the coffers of their various political action committees is just an inconvenient truth we’re never supposed to notice. This kind of single-focus blogging, day after day, month after month, we are to believe, is purely about truth, justice and the American way. Got that?

Alternatively, let’s keep it real. With the tenacity with which Team Manning have pursued the Wikileaks/Manning saga, you might think that the Team itself would become a story for someone with a more journalist chops than I have. Wikileaks is a global story, and Team Manning found a way to climb aboard that gravy train with relative ease. All it took was taking up the case of Bradley Manning’s supposed torture at the hands of the evil American empire.

Greenwald and Hamsher, and their readers, supporters, and assorted acolytes, collectively comprising the dedicated Team Manning syndicate, have aggressively dogged this story, using not much moreas far as I have been able to find than the impassioned and subjective accounts of Manning’s personal friend, David House, and Manning’s attorney, David Coombs. Yet, day by day, both Greenwald and FDL put up deeply emotional and compelling posts asserting this or that abuse, with little more than House’s or Coombs’s interpretations of what some commander or jail psychologist said about this Manning condition, or that jailer’s response to it. Often, I have been frustrated by the lack of documentation for some of these assertions.

Just yesterday, for example, we heard that the Military “admits” Manning was punished, and yet, the statement they claim military officials made is not even copied, nor linked for their readers to evaluate for themselves. You’re on your own to evaluate the assertion. Similarly, in other stories, sensational headlines seem to mostly derive from something Coombs said someone else had said. But it always sounds really dramatic, until you parse the story for any really meaningful evidence that substantiates their claimsor reveals just why what is claimed is really all that unique or serious, beyond their grim-faced insistence that it is.

Other times, Team Manning can just take dramatic liberties with facts. Consider this story, where an FDL blogger directly quotes the U.S. Uniform Code Of Military Justice (UCMJ) to support his contention that Manning is being held or treated contrary to its own Article 13, while trying to (unsuccessfully) debunk a very detailed Gawker story that challenged many of the more sensational charges made by Team Manning. The FDL blogger writes:

In fact, there is statutory authority directly on point to this effect, Article 13, UCMJ, prohibits: (1) intentional imposition of punishment on an accused before his or her guilt is established at trial; and (2) arrest or pre-trial confinement conditions that are more rigorous than necessary to ensure the accuseds presence at trial. (See: United States v. Crawford, 62 M.J. 411).

To my reading of the context, the blogger wants to imply that any form of disciplinary or precautionary measures during his incarceration would violate Article 13. But let’s now look at the verbatim text from the actual UCMJ statute:

No person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence, but he may be subjected to minor punishment during that period for infractions of discipline.(bold emphasis mine)

For reasons not clear to me, the blogger redacts the “other than confinement” part in his summary of the statute. Why does he make this seemingly simple adjustment, I wondered? Why not let the reader see the full and unredacted statute and let them decide for themselves what it meant, especially when it’s the very statute upon which many of your arguments and protestations are based upon? Perhaps, I speculate, it is clear that the purpose of the statute is to prevent the brutal beatings and solitary confinements (of the “hole” variety), which are much closer to torture than mere segregation from other inmates, which is often necessary to ensure an inmate’s safety. And by redacting the confinement part, the casual reader is less likely to focus on the specific intent of the statute, and is more likely to just dwell on how unjust it is to have any form of punishment inflicted on a pre-trial detainee, almost as if he were not actually in prison yet, and thus subject to any of the safety or disciplinary rules which applied therein. (The Military has consistently maintained that Manning’s pre-trial treatment is no different than any other espionage suspect they have held in Quantico, or other brigs.)

Now, I have had 3 friends read that blog post independently, and 2 saw my point, and 1 did not. And that’s part of my point. When you selectively massage the full and unexpurgated facts, you can change the very essence of what something means or implies. It’s poor journalism and/or scholarship, and it can lead to confusion, misinformation, or suspicions of explicit or implicit manipulation.

I have come cross other representations, distortions, or omissions on some of the other charges that Team Manning have made, and I rarely see the Team post anything that might be used to dispute, mitigate, or suggest alternative framing of their sensational allegations. Here are just a other examples:

That Manning is not a suicide risk: All they provide as evidence of this is David Coombs’s statement that 3 brig experts have said he wasn’t. Perhaps I missed it, but I have yet to see the actual statements of these experts in several accountings. And we know from earlier stories that other experts said he was.

Could professionals differ in their opinions? Of course. Hamsher has also maintained that despite these countless testimonials from psychiatrists (from the same three? Or someone else? She doesn’t tell us), Manning was recently placed on a Suicide Watch, improperly (once). Though a single instance of such a watch hardly seems like cruel and unusual punishment anyway, even the Washington Post, perhaps more experienced at practicing journalism than Ms Hamsher, has noted yet another of those messy details conveniently omitted from her FDL account:

A Quantico spokesman, First Lt. Scott Villiard, said that he did not know why Averhart recommended the suicide watch, but that the determination was “based on input from more than one person.” That included medical professionals, mental health professionals and the Marine guards who watch detainees, he said.

Averhart “has a responsibility to make sure that these detainees are safe, secure and make it to trial,” Villiard said.

Does the Team Manning reporting even suggest that there might be a valid concern that a young prisoner, possibly facing a big chunk of his life behind bars, might actually be a suicide risk? Or that perhaps Military brig commanders, who deal with such questions every day, might have a legitimate concern to worry about? Nah.

And is there any cause to worry? You betcha. Just last February, in still another fact that Team Manning doesn’t bother to look for, another prisoner in that very same Quantico Brig that is holding Bradley Manning committed suicide. And military jails, like prisons of all kinds, are known to have suicides, often carried out with great creativity by inmates using everything from shredded linens as nooses, to ingesting shoelaces, to smashing their own heads into commodes. The tragic fact is, prisoners off themselves all the time. You would think that conscientious journalistsor just people interested in seeking the truthwould point out such mitigating factoids to their readers, and maybe even speculate that perhaps a brig commander actually cares that a celebrity prisoner like Bradley Manning will live to even see a trial. You might think that, but Team Manning doesn’t. To them, it’s entirely inconvenient to their Obama Military Tortures Bradley Manning narrative.

That Manning conditions are harsh and unusual: this can only be claimed with the caveat that these are pre-trial conditions. As the Gawker article pointed out, this nation has a long and storied career when it comes to incarcerating people, especially in solitary confinement. But more importantly, their story gets very much to the weaknesses of some Team Manning claims, and with a precision one wouldn’t normally expect from a glorified gossip site that uses snarky, but none-the-less accurate pokes like this one:

Manning sleeps on a mattress with a built-in pillow and an uncomfortable blanket, a state of affairs that Greenwald described as a “vindictive denial of a pillow or sheets.”

Now, you might ask, what does a gossip site like Gawker know about how prisoners should be treated? And you’d be right. So just take a look at this:

United Nation’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners

After browsing the standards for yourself, go back and read some of the more sensational Team Manning accounts that you’ve read or heard about concerning Manning’s treatment, pillows, exercise, and all the other unpleasant things that are supposedly harming his mind as they’ve been so frequently alleged by Team Manning.

I was hard pressed to find anything that clearly violates the requirements or spirit of the standards set therein, with the possible exception of prisoners being allowed to workif they want to. But the UN clearly states these are only guidelines, and there are often good reasons why some things can’t be done, or always done, as written. Until I know that Manning has even asked to work, and heard the brig’s reasons why he’s not working, I hardly think this is a very pressing concern. It’s certainly not any evidence of “inhumane treatment.” Claiming that it is only serves to help desensitize us to the true brutalities of genuinely inhumane incarceration.

But that hasn’t slowed up Team Manning even a little bit. Without any really compelling evidence, they continually try to make as much as they can of Manning’s physical situation, decrying such things as the “petty, vindictive denial of a pillow or sheets.”

Greenwald would consider it monstrous and Redstate-y of me to point out that Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton had no pillows or swank accommodations in jail either. Never mind that Redstate.com’s Eric Erickson has publicly rebuked me for making his early CNN days a “living hell,” I just must be a sympathetic tool of those authoritarian-lovin’ wingnuts if I even suggest that, historically, unappealing prison hardships are as common as the well intentioned activists who condemn them. The best of those activists would seek to do so for all prisoners, and not just one celebrity defendant who is explicitly connect to a global cause clbre, and whom Team Manning has vigorously helped propel to a minor level of martyrdom.

You don’t have to be a conservative wingnut, or watch more than 100 episodes of MSNBC’s Lock-up to know that life in prison just fucking sucks. And that’s why I pay my taxes, and don’t punch out many Republicans that I meet on movie lines. And all this high moral posturing that “he hasn’t been convicted of anything,” completely ignores the fact that a) Manning is a high-profile detainee who should expect to be guarded with a maximum eye toward his personal safety, and b) the U.S. military has never been obligated to follow many civilian rules about matters of law, justice, and confinement. (Just one more reason I loathe our warrior culture in the U.S.)

That Jane Hamsher and House were harassed and prevented from visiting Manning: this yarn, widely reported all over the world (says FDL), is really rather entertaining. Jane Hamsher and David House show up at Quantico to visit Manning and to deliver a petition demanding that he be treated better. A summary accounting was was posted on FDL which neatly encapsulated a so very dramatic play by play that was being live- tweeted and blogged on FDL. I was told this spontaneous event was completely unplanned, though Jane and House were both tweeting it aggressively, as were her many FDL fans, and even, I was told, an FDL publicist who was on hand for the fun (which I can’t confirm, but I haven’t tried, either).

All these accounts make it seem that two big dogs on Team Manning were being harassed and detained without provocation or cause whatever. We were told there was a little mix-up over a silly insurance card which Hamsher only had an electronic copy of. Only later, thanks to real reporters at the Washington Post, that the more serious offense was expired license plates. This even gets echoed at the bottom of the play by play by an FDL commenter:

Just cant believe this would happen in America . . . hey, your tweets seemed to leave out the fact that your car had expired tags? Sure it was just a mistake and not a deliberate omission.

As you might expect, this was played all over the world as a dramatic event that had some meaning, but from what I’ve seen so far, the expired plates are downsized to some “minor traffic violation.” As the story rolls, those big bad U.S. Military bastards were preventing them for seeing Manningthe torture victim.

Never mind that House and Hamsher had both visited him before, and that no one seems to have said they couldn’t come back and try again with plates that were not expired. But of course, that wouldn’t sound nearly dramatic. Better to play victim and make the narrative all about the unjust harassment of Manning’s valiant protectors. Could Jane have seen this coming? I mean, is showing up at one of America’s most secure military bases with a great big box, but without a regular insurance card, or valid license plates, something she might have anticipated as a potential problem? It’s not like the base is just another base:

Quantico is one of the largest U.S. Marine Corps bases in the world. Home to Marine Corps Combat Development Command and HMX-1 (the presidential helicopter squadron), DEA Training Academy, FBI Academy and FBI Laboratory. The base is known as the “Crossroads of the Marine Corps. Source

More importantly, it’s not like Hamsher and House, having traveled all this way, did not have prior access to the information that any military person, or their families, nor anyone else that has ever visited any U.S. Base knows all too well: have your shit together.

Above, I’ve tried to list just a few of the things that have been reported by Team Manning which are just never quite as urgent or outrageous as they first seemed, once some thoughtful questions are asked, or mitigating facts are considered. Those are things good journalists are supposed to do for us before we think we need them. If a crowd-sourced wiki were to be set-up on this subject, a few thousand people could probably pick apart most of what Team Manning has reported in the past 6 months.

And that might be useful, because the mainstream media is clearly not interested in debunking or de-sensationalizing topics like these. Knowing that Wikileaks is very big news, and very big traffic, they have no motive to vet such things. For them, Team Manning is just a factory for more free content, and a source of more links they can sprinkle around the Internet. And for the many well meaning liberals and civil libertarians all over the world who are following these stories? They seem to have very little inclination to question much of it. Sympathetic to many of the emerging Wikileaks memes and issues, they eagerly accept what Team Manning produces as intuitive or obvious.

And what makes that so maddening to me is that I share many of the concerns of those same civil libertarians. I am deeply troubled about where our nation is heading, and many of the issues that Team Manning often touches on are very important to our free societyas long as it lasts. All the more reason why the reporting should be thorough, balanced, and as hyperbole-free as possible. These stories and their underlying facts should be as well vetted as they can be, and it really shouldn’t be up to amateur fact checkers like me to police the reporting. We generally need a better process for doing that, and people like Scott Rosenberg and his Mediabugs project are working on it.

But in the meantime, Team Manning would do us all a much better service if they would stop making themselves or their beliefs and agendas the story quite so often, and just try and guide all of us to the salient facts as they find them, without always trying to pump-up each little emerging development as if it were the next big stop-the-presses moment. The rest of us, for our part, should be tweeting and bitching the crap out of the mainstream media until they responsibly follow up on what bubbles up from that process.

Though they have pissed me off many times, I have absolutely nothing personal against either Glenn Greenwald or Jane Hamsher. I think Glenn can be spot on target sometimes about other issues (most recently, his discussion of Clarence Thomas’s ethical fails). I value his place in the many conversations we are all having about the future of America. That said, I also think he can be a comic-book-level pugnacious narcissist and bully who has a very unprofessional habit of labeling any critic of anything he says as an Obama-loving sycophant.

For the record, and for readers who don’t follow my Twitter stream, I have many criticisms of Obama, even more of Democrats, and an unbridled, Chris Hedges-level fury at the corporatists who run almost every show in this country. I simply believe the problems facing this nation require that Democrats, feeble as they may be right now, still maintain control of government so that we have even the smallest prayer of fixing any of those problems, despite the long odds. They will never be fixed by these loopy Teaparty Republicans. Period. And as long as that holds true, I will urge constructive criticism that aims to encourage Obama to move as left as he can, without turning the whole mess back over to the people who created it. I do not see the relentless administration bashing, nor the Team Manning brand of winner-take-all idealism, which there is no progressive mandate to actually achieve right now, as being even marginally helpful toward that end. And I more strongly believe that the incessant, anti-establishment, anti-government, anti-capitalist, stick-it-to-the-man style libertarian cum-nihilist wing of the Fuck Anything Or Anyone That Impedes My Personal Liberties Party, who are constantly rallying around Greenwald and Hamsher on Twitter, are hardly the people who will find solutions to our problems, and probably not support them if we ever find any.

And I do have my doubts about Hamsher’s motivations, but perhaps I am just cynical over her Hollywood past, and her tendency to show up on TV whenever a chance to bash Obama or the administration pops up. And I have still not forgiven her for palling around with Grover Norquist.

Finally, I have no complaints with most of the other bloggers at Firedoglake or Salon. I try to look at each blogger’s work independently. While of course, Jane has her soldiers and standard bearers at FDL, there are fine bloggers like Marcy Wheeler and Spencer Ackerman whose work on other topics has often stood apart from Hamsher’s daily agenda and her steady stream of polemical angst.

I never meant this post to turn into this epic. But I don’t regret writing it. Thanks for getting this far. Now I want to get back to thinking about how we might fix what’s mostly wrong with America. And for me, that’s not Barack Obama, Wikileaks, or the treatment of someone who violated his duty oath and is now imprisoned as an espionage suspect awaiting military due process. I am strenuously opposed to torture or human abuse in any form, and if Bradley Manning is in fact being mistreated, I would welcome responsible journalistic or legal efforts to reveal it so that it might be stopped.

I wish Bradley Manning well. He probably did think he was doing a righteous thing, revealing something that the world needed to see. But was one more of the many unfortunate massacres of innocent civilians, which happen with every war really worth this personal sacrifice? I don’t think so. As with the Phoenix project, the Bay of Bigs, the Gulf of Tonkin, Pat Tillman, and other abuses of government in wartime, these things probably would have surfaced in other ways.

But then I’m not Bradley Manning. But if I were he, and I really did believe what he said he believed, then I would have fully prepared myself for the criminal consequences that I would surely face before I engaged in what any service member knows is a clear and unambiguous crime against their government.

I would do it with fear. I would do it with pride. I would do it with a conviction that I had a higher purpose in life. But I would not do it without expecting a swift and severe punishment for it.

I am hardly the first to call out Greenwald and FDL for the sensational polemics they put out in pursuit of some larger political agenda; one which they seem all too eager to drape over Manning and Wikileaks. And like many of them, I expect I will shortly face yet another of Glenn’s scathing word-dumps denouncing me for my vicious lies, smears, or my fascistic obsequiousness. I am sure he will again use me as an example of “how bad things are,” without ever seeing himself as part of those things.

Just to give context to that precious moment, when and if it does come, here are just a few related items you can find on the web about Glenn, Jane, Team Manning, or other things I’ve discussed herein:

Lt. Villiard said to me that he enjoys his job, and enjoys the opportunity to be “as transparent as humanly possible” about the work of the Dept. of Defense. He noted that the cause of transparency is harmed when journalists like Greenwald write op-eds and make misleading claims. It diminishes trust in the relationship between reader, journalist, and the subject who is interviewed.

“You are not being tortured if you are denied access to a newspaper.”

“Greenwald and the people at FDL are actually reducing our ability to call foul on real corruption. After all, if everything is a scandal, nothing is a scandal.”

The fact that anyone defends Obama on the grounds that he is a good person is a ‘follower’ who lacks the perfect intellectual purity of the Holy Greenwald and his flock.

Originally posted here:
Why Does The Media Let Greenwald and Hamsher Do All The …

Bradley Manning: ‘I Am Chelsea Manning. I Am Female’

A day after being sentenced to 35 years in prison, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning announced in a statement to “Today” that she identifies as female and wants to be known as Chelsea Manning.

“I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back,” said Manning.

Also read: Bradley Manning’s Attorney Asks Obama to Pardon Him

On Tuesday, David Coombs, Manning’s attorney, called on President Obama to pardon Manning or commute her sentence to time served. It was unclear whether Manning identifying as female would change the location of her imprisonment.

During his trial, Manning’s attorneys presented evidence that their client struggled with gender identity disorder, a strong feeling of being trapped in the body of the opposite gender. They presented evidence of Manning’s struggle that included a picture of the private in a blond wig and lipstick (above).

Also read: WikiLeaks Mole Bradley Manning Convicted of Espionage, Acquitted of Aiding the Enemy

Manning had argued in court that he was trying to inform the public about military and government wrongdoing when he supplied WikiLeaks with more than 700,000 pages of classified information in 2010, and did not intend to aid the enemy.

Here is the full text of the letter:

Subject: The Next Stage of My Life

I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund , or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.

As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.

Thank you,

Chelsea E. Manning

Related Articles:

Bradley Manning’s Attorney Asks Obama to Pardon Him

WikiLeaks Mole Bradley Manning Convicted of Espionage, Acquitted of Aiding the Enemy

Original post:
Bradley Manning: ‘I Am Chelsea Manning. I Am Female’

State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley decries Bradley …

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning

AP/Grpahics Bank

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET with comments on Manning’s treatment from President Obama.

State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley, speaking at an academic event regarding new media and foreign policy Thursday, called the treatment of accused Wikileaks leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid,” according to reporting from BBC reporter Philippa Thomas.

Crowley was speaking at an event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when he was asked about the treatment of Manning, who is currently detained at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.

Crowley criticized the Defense Department’s handling of Manning but added that “Nonetheless Bradley Manning is in the right place.” Crowley continued that “there is sometimes a need for secrets… for diplomatic progress to be made.”

A State Department official told CBS News that Crowley’s comments reflected his personal opinion and do not reflect the official policy of the U.S. government.

Manning has been held in restrictive conditions at Quantico since July 2010, and some have questioned why the legal proceedings against him have taken so long to begin. Earlier this month, the Army filed 22 new charges against Manning and for the first time formally accused Manning of aiding the enemy, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reported.

Following news that Manning is being forced to sleep without clothes in his cell, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) charged that the miilitary’s treatment of Manning is comparable to the abuse carried out at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

UPDATE:In a press conference today, President Obama said the Department of Defense has assured him that Manning is being treated appropriately.

“With respect to Private Manning, you know, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards,” Mr. Obama said. “They assured me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.”

2011 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Originally posted here:
State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley decries Bradley …

Bradley Manning: Sometimes You Have to Pay a Heavy Price to …

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: A military judge has sentenced Army Private Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking more than 700,000 classified files and videos to WikiLeaks about the U.S. wars overseas and U.S. foreign policy. Mannings leaks included a video showing a U.S. military helicopter in Iraq shooting at two vans and killing civilians, including two Reuters journalists. Mannings documents were released in an effort to open the eyes of Americans to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and provoke a more intense debate, Manning said.

The 35-year sentence has been widely criticized by human rights group, legal and press freedom groups. The sentence is much longer than any punishment given to previous U.S. government officials who have leaked information to the media. The editors of The New York Times described the sentence as excessive, pointing out Manning was sentenced to a longer prison term than Michael Behenna, a U.S. soldier who killed an unarmed Iraqi man who was being questioned. Behennas original sentence was 25 years; it was then reduced to 15. The Guardian compares Mannings sentence to that of Army Reserve Corporal Charles Graner, who was convicted of abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Graner was sentenced to 10 years and released after six and a half.

In Mannings case, Army prosecutors initially sought a sentence of life without parole plus more than a hundred years. With parole, the 25-year-old Manning could be released on parole in about seven years.

On Wednesday, defense attorney David Coombs announced he plans to ask President Obama to pardon Manning. At a news conference outside Fort Meade, Coombs read a statement from Manning.

DAVID COOMBS: The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. Weve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact weve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracythe Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment campsto mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, ‘There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.’

I understand that my actions violated the law. I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all and he puts in here women and men are created equal.

AMY GOODMAN: Attorney David Coombs reading a statement from Bradley Manning yesterday. The statement is part of Mannings plea to President Obama for a pardon.

Read the original:
Bradley Manning: Sometimes You Have to Pay a Heavy Price to …

Bradley Manning adopts new gender, name: now Chelsea …

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“I am Chelsea Manning.”

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in the statement. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.”

While his supporters may back Manning, the Army said Thursday it won’t.

One Army official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about Manning’s case, said the private remains a male in the eyes of the Army. Another said Manning would be treated like any other prisoner.

“A lot of the inmates have issues they’re dealing with,” said the second official, who also was not authorized to speak publicly about Manning’s case. “Even if you have gender identity disorder, you still serve your sentence.”

That includes access — like any other inmate — to mental health professionals like psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and behavioral expects, said Kimberly Lewis, a spokeswoman at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where Manning will be held.

She added those diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the medical term for those who identify with another gender, “must still complete their sentence” without hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery provided by the Army.

The Human Rights Campaign, though, insisted Thursday that the military should grant Manning’s wishes.

“The care she receives should be something that she and her doctors — including professionals who understand transgender care — agree is best for her,” the campaign said, using the pronoun Manning asked to be identified by. “There is a clear legal consensus that it is the government’s responsibility to provide medically necessary care for transgender people and the military has an obligation to follow those guidelines.”

Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, told “Today” that he’ll take action if the Army doesn’t provide the hormone therapy Manning has requested.

“I’m hoping Fort Leavenworth would do the right thing and provide that,” Coombs said. “If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so.”

Gender identity issues

The issue of Manning’s gender identity repeatedly surfaced during the court-martial. A widely circulated picture released by the military showed Manning wearing a blond wig.

The image came from an e-mail Manning sent to a superior titled “My Problem.”

“It’s not going away, it’s haunting me more and more as I get older,” Manning wrote in the e-mail. “Now, the consequences of it are dire, at a time when it’s causing me great pain in itself. As a result, I’m not sure what to do about it.”

An Army psychologist called by the defense said Manning appeared to be isolated and under intense pressure as a male soldier struggling with gender identity issues.

Speaking during the sentencing phase of the court-martial last week, Manning said the decision to leak the documents came while “dealing with a lot of issues” — a reference to the gender identity crisis.

Reaction

Manning’s announcement brought a range of reaction.

On Twitter, where “Chelsea Manning” was a hot topic of discussion, user onekade wrote of being “pretty much in awe of Chelsea Manning’s bravery, on so many fronts.”

Others were less supportive.

“Chelsea Manning,” conservative pundit John Podhoretz tweeted. “This country has officially jumped the shark.”

Coombs told “Today” that Manning did not intend to make a public issue of his desire to live as a woman.

“She never really wanted this to be public to begin with,” Coombs said. “When the information came out, you need to understand that she gave it to Adrian Lamo in a very private setting, in a one-on-one chat, never expecting this to be public. Now that it is, unfortunately, you have to deal with it in a public manner.”

Lamo is a former hacker from California who pleaded guilty in 2004 to breaking into The New York Times secure computer network. In 2010, Lamo, in California, and Manning, in Iraq, chatted over a few days, Lamo has said.

Legal issues

The issue of taxpayers being required to pay for gender reassignment surgery has come up repeatedly in recent court cases.

Earlier this year, a federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit brought by a transgender prisoner in Virginia, where a prison had refused to allow her to undergo sex reassignment surgery.

Last year, a federal judge ordered Massachusetts to pay for a sex change operation for a convicted murderer. The state is appealing that decision.

There are few good statistics on the number of transgender inmates in U.S. prisons, according to Vincent Villano of the National Center for Transgender Equality. A study of California prisons identified 330 transgender inmates in an overall prison population of 160,000, he said.

The center believes those numbers are higher, he said.

At Fort Leavenworth, Manning can’t alter his clothing to reflect a desire to be seen as a woman.

Lewis noted that Army regulations require all prisoners wear a “distinctive … uniform (with) a white name tag with black letters spelling the last name of the prisoner over the right picket of the shirt.”

The letters won’t change for Manning.

But, as Lewis said, Manning could otherwise go through the courts to legally change his first name — to Chelsea.

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Bradley Manning adopts new gender, name: now Chelsea …

Linda Sarsour Backs Traitor Bradley Manning for Senate …

Pro-sharia extremist Linda Sarsour put her support behind U.S. traitor Bradley Manning for his Senate run and not a single person is shocked.They are two peas in a pod.

How strange, though, that a Muslim would support a transgender person knowing full well that her religion allows for throwing them off of buildings. Perhaps Sarsour is ignoring that particular inconvenience and latching on to what she shares with Manning: hisanti-Americanism.

Before he announced his Senate bid as Chelsea in a disturbing ad you cant unsee Manning was formulating his agenda on Twitterwith messages like f*** the police. This further proves hehas no loyalty to the U.S. military, enjoys committingespionage, and thinksthe police are domestic occupiers. That’s a lot of hate for people in uniform for someone who loves dressing up as a woman.

If this is the best the Democratic Party can muster, then, bring it on. We Republicans “got this.”

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Linda Sarsour Backs Traitor Bradley Manning for Senate …

Bradley Mannings Strange World American Free Press

By Victor Thorn

Drag Queens, Transsexuals, Cross Dressing, Homosexual Computer Hackers, Gays in the White House and Rebellion Against the Militarys Dont Ask Dont Tell Policy

Did Bradley Manning leak classified military secrets because he was suffering a severe psychotic breakdown due to conflicts resulting from his desire to undergo a sex change operation? Mannings attorneys think so, describing him as a deeply troubled soldier struggling with issues of gender identity.

Indeed, Mannings sexual identity deteriorated to such an extent that he adopted an online alter-ego named Breanna, ordered female hormone treatments while in Baghdad, and became a transvestite during military leaves. He told one acquaintance, I cross-dressed, full onwig, breast-forms, dress, the works. Manning then photographed himself wearing womens clothing and gave the pictures to Master Sergeant Paul Watkins. In addition, he ordered a book from Amazon.com that instructed males on how they could use reconstructive surgery to look more feminine, while also considering the possibility of electrolysis.

This information, though troublesome, is crucial because Bradley Mannings entire identity revolved around his homosexuality and feelings of seething rage at the U.S. military for not facilitating his transgender lifestyle. Prior to hacking into government computers, Manning punched a female intelligence officer named Casey Fulton in the face, threw violent tantrums, overturned a table and broke computer monitors, hurled chairs in a fit of rage, and experienced three possible nervous breakdowns. He eventually received a demotion for his behavior, whereas other officers recommended that he forfeit his firearm.

Mannings extremely fragile condition was no doubt fueled by being bullied, mocked, verbally smeared and physically attacked by fellow soldiers. Unable to function, the diminutive soldier often curled into a fetal tuck at night and wet the bed as he screamed into his pillow.

Feeling increased animosity, Manning characterized his colleagues as homophobes and a bunch of hyper-masculine trigger happy ignorant rednecks. This hostile environment also led Manning to sneer at his cohorts by calling military intelligence an oxymoron. Filled with disdain at those surrounding him, Manning delivered these shocking words. I am not a piece of equipment. Take me for who I am, or face the consequences. Revenge soon followed.

Mannings worries about transitioning from male to female actually began prior to his deployment in Iraq, leading him into a sordid web of homosexual computer hackers. The young privates introduction to this shadowy realm came via his former lover, Tyler Watkins, a drag queen and computer hacker that operated out of the Boston area.

Later, after deciding to penetrate the Armys computer files, Manning revealed his secret to Adrian Lamo, a notorious bisexual hacker that was convicted in 2004 of breaking into computers at Microsoft and The New York Times. Lamo then went on to become a member of San Franciscos Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) and Queer Youth Task Force.

Alarmed by the gravity of his risky communications with Manning, Lamo contacted his former boyfriend, Timothy Douglas Webster, who had been employed in the past by Army counterintelligence. Lamo told Webster, What I saw in those chats [with Manning] was an admission of acts so egregious that it required a response.

In addition, Lamo started funneling copies of his correspondence with Manning to Wired magazines senior editor Kevin Poulsen, another convicted hacker who, in 1994, plead guilty to money laundering, obstruction of justice, mail fraud and other cyber-crimes. After the Wikileaks scandal broke, Lamo stated that many of the primary figures involved were gay, or a velvet espionage ring, as he put it.

To illustrate the depths of Mannings allegiance to his gay rights agenda, he boasted of smuggling downloaded data taken from military computers on CDs marked Lady Gaga. To those not familiar with pop music, Lady Gaga is an openly bisexual singer and gay rights proponent plagued for years by transgender rumors. Similarly, Manninggoing by the name Bradass87once described himself to transsexual blogger Xeni Jardin as such: [My] CPU is not made for this motherboard.

Mannings obsessive battle against the militarys Dont Ask Dont Tell (DADT) policies even extended into the White House, where he befriended President Obamas openly gay Director of Specialty Media Shin Inouye, who was tasked with outreach to the LGBT community. According to conversations with transgendered blogger Zinnia Jones, Manning said that Inouye was a source within the White House that kept him informed on Obamas progress in repealing DADT. Manning then revealed, He [Inouye] tried to sleep with me.

Furthermore, after bragging about being connected to influential members of Washington, D.C.s gay political scene, Manning also leaked military data to Chris Johnson, a reporter for D.C.s gay newspaper The Blade. To show how ingrained this lifestyle was to him, the disgruntled activist G.I. marched in gay parades and attended Democratic gay rights fundraising events.

Columnist Ginger Thompson summarized this situation in an Aug. 8, 2010 article for The New York Times. Mannings social life was defined by the need to conceal his sexuality under DADT. He became obsessed with the repeal of DADT. On the other hand, the website Gawker.coms Adrian Chen wrote on Dec. 16, 2011 that Manning saw himself as a cunning sexual strategist, screwing and seducing his way to influence among D.C.s quasi-closeted military and political scene.

On Nov. 27, 1978, San Francisco supervisor Dan White murdered Mayor George Moscone and a gay legislator named Harvey Milk. As his defense, Whites lawyers claimed that he consumed too many sugary snacks that led to his clinical depression. This failed strategy came to be known as the Twinkie Defense.

Interestingly, one of Bradley Mannings computer passwords was Twink1492 [slang for effeminate gay men]. In this updated and exploited version of the Twinkie Defense, Mannings attorneys assert that because the military didnt accommodate his desire to become a transgendered female, their client experienced a psychotic crack that led to his self-destructive acts. When coupled with a deluge of abuse from fellow soldiers in Baghdad, Mannings deterioration caused him to seek revenge against those he saw as tormenters.

In this sense, Mannings detractors insist that he didnt divulge classified secrets as an act of conscience, but instead lashed out at an institution that made him feel powerless and frail. Critics further explained that Manningdepressed, alienated and lonelywasnt motivated by love of country or patriotism, but rather an extreme homosexual agenda that allowed him to commiserate with the enemy.

Stated differently, akin to the Iraqi people or those in third world countries that were underfoot of the U.S. military, he too felt victimized as a closeted man trapped in a womans body that the U.S. military ran roughshod over via their DADT policies.

In this vein, the Twinkie Defense unequivocally contends that Manning cannot be held responsible for any actions he committed because of pressures he felt from his surroundings. But is such an approach fair to thousands of other gays serving in the military that didnt steal state secrets? In essence, Mannings lawyers are arguing that homosexuals cant be trusted with classified documents because the military is homophobic, therefore corrupting them into committing criminal acts.

Since Manning and many of his colleagues were computer hackers, did they feel any loyalty to their country? Mannings betrayer Adrian Lamo confessed quite tellingly: patriotism is something of a dirty word in the hacker community.

In this context, was Manning suckered in by an even larger scheme than the transgender agenda he so embraced? Sanjiv Bhattacharya of AOL News brought this issue full circle on July 21, 2010. As it happens, [Adrian] Lamo was uniquely qualified to lead Manning on. All hackers are adept at manipulation: they play roles when they penetrate security systemsits called social engineering, and it often involves pretending to be someone else entirely. Consequently, manipulation and betrayal are not uncommon among hackers.

Manning frequently referred to himself as a ghost, an actor in a body that actually wasnt his. In fact, Mannings counselor said that his patient felt he was female and that a host of gender identity struggles caused him to feel like a monster. But after being introduced to, and then exploited by, a subterranean netherworld of homosexual computer hackers, Mannings image is no longer transparent as he faces a lifetime in prison.

Following a seven-day trial in mid-December at a makeshift Fort George G. Meade courtroom, Lt. Col. Paul Almanza will soon make recommendations to his military commander as to whether private first class Bradley Manning should face a court martial in regard to the theft of over 250,000 government documents that were eventually released to Wikileaks. The 22 counts brought against Manning include aiding the enemy and illegally stealing government secrets. The embattled soldier could face life imprisonment if found guilty of pilfering the battlefield reports in question.

As a former Army analyst, Manning sent shockwaves through the military and mainstream media in Apr. 2010 when Wikileaks posted video footage that later became known as Collateral Murder. Filmed in 2007, U.S. helicopter pilots were captured strafing Iraqi civilians with gunfire as they joked about and called their victims dead bastards.

The exposure of these damning actionsrecorded from the cockpit of an Apache helicoptercaused the Army a great deal of embarrassment as they now had the blood of 11 innocent citizens on their hands. Antiwar critics unloaded on the Bush administration over these senseless casualties. In no time, a frantic manhunt was underway to find an individual that some called public enemy number one. Others referred to this whistleblower as the greatest hero of free speech since Daniel Ellsberg delivered his cache of Pentagon Papers to The New York Times and other publications.

In May 2010, federal officials arrested Manning on Iraqi soil for violating a top-secret security clearance that allowed him access to classified data. They were led to him after Adrian Lamo, the computer hacker that corresponded with Manning, snitched to a member of Army counterintelligence (see related story).

Shortly thereafter, Manning found himself imprisoned in Quantico, Va.s Marine Corps brig where he claimed to have experienced prolonged abuses and inhumanities. His supporters allege that Manning was forced to endure solitary confinement for 23 hours a dayoftentimes nakedwith no personal belongings in his cell. Then, at night, wardens allowed him to only wear a smock and sleep on a cot that had no sheets or covers.As news of this treatment leaked out, the Pentagon was faced with another public relations disaster that created unwanted headlines. With no other option, Army superiors transferred Manning to the U.S. penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Up until the date of his trial, Manning had spent a total of 19 months behind bars.

Ever since the Bradley Manning scandal erupted, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has adamantly denied having any contact with the young Army private that stole hundreds of thousands of government documents. During an Oct. 25, 2010 interview at Londons Frontline Club, Assange dismissed any possibility that he had knowledge of Mannings involvement in the controversial hacking and high-tech thievery. Then, again on Dec. 17, 2010, Assange took it a step further by claiming that he had never even spoken with Manning.

However, at Mannings court martial trial at Fort George G. Meade, prosecutors provided a plethora of evidence that they contend proves an ongoing cyber-relationship between Manning and Assange. This information is crucial because if Assange did conspire with Manning to obtain classified data, he could be charged with violating the U.S. Espionage Act.

This direct collaboration on Assanges behalf undeniably complicates his stance that Wikileaks merely acted as a conduit to publish anonymously received material. But, if Assange failed to tell the truth and his role went beyond that of a mere journalistic endeavor, Wikileaks status as an innocent bystander in this affair is seriously jeopardized.

To prove the governments case, digital forensics contractor Mark Johnson of the Armys Computer Crime Investigative Unit provided 15 pages of correspondence between the two parties that was extracted from Mannings personal MacBook Pro. Of particular interest in these online chats is Mannings knowledge of Assanges Internet user name and his Icelandic phone number.

Even more damning is a Mar. 8, 2010, conversation where Manning seeks Assanges assistance in cracking the password of a government computer so that he can retain anonymity. Assange responded by providing a tool that was useful in deciphering the password in question. Later, after penetrating the militarys system, Manning informed Assange, Im throwing everything Ive got on Guatanamo at you now. The upload is about 36 percent. These documents would later appear on Wikileaks.

Taken one step further, Manning relayed to Adrain Lamothe computer hacker that eventually snitched on himhow he had been in contact with Assange. Lamo responded by chiding Manning about this interaction, adding thatat least in his opinionAssange was using Manning to do his dirty work for him.

If true, the conclusion to this scenario is clear. As Catherine Fitzpatrick wrote for the website Wired State on Dec. 19, Julian Assange has now been definitely caught in a lie, and the implications of the chat logs published by Wired are now validated: Manning has been found to be directly in touch with someone named Julian Assange in chat, and had his contact information on his computer. Julian Assange and his lawyers, of course, have continued to lie about this. Assange claims he never got directly in touch with Manning. Thats so he can appear to keep his distance from the crime of inciting hacking.

As a side note, its more than curious that Julian Assange has attacked 9-11 truth-seekers in the past, even going so far as to tell the Belfast Telegraph on July 19, 2010, Im constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies like 9-11.

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Bradley Mannings Strange World American Free Press