Bradley Manning on Trial as the Senate Passes a Bill Allowing the Indefinite Detention of US Citizens; Anonymous Takes Action
After eighteen long months in torturous, inhumane, degrading, & unconstitutional conditions, Bradley Manning has completed his first day in court earlier today in Fort Mead, Maryland. The preliminary hearings are to determine whether or not Manning’s alleged “crimes” are worthy of a full court martial. Manning is charged with “aiding the enemy” by allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military documents including the now infamous video titled “Collateral Murder” which depicted US troops murdering reporters with the mentality of stoned teenagers playing a video game.
Manning has been facing an uphill battle ever since his initial arrest back in May of 2010 as he was serving a tour of duty for the Military Industrial Complex during the US’s decade long occupation of Iraq. He has faced some of the worst of what the US military has to offer, as far as prisoner housing goes. After spending months in solidarity confinement, the soldier was forced to strip naked nightly before he was finally transferred to a medium-security facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
His struggle continues as he fights to have the current investigating officer, Lt Colonel Paul Almanza, removed from the case for what Manning describes as being biased as the military judge also holds a position as a prosecutor for the US department of justice, yeah the same guys going after Julian Assange and Wikileaks. According to Ed Pilkington and Matt Williams in Fort Meade, the judged later ruled that he would not be removed from the case by saying “a reasonable” person would not find that he was incapable of conducting an impartial investigation into the charges against Manning.
Manning requested to have President Obama testify at his hearing as a witness due to the case closing comments the Commander-in-Chief made to members of The Bradley Manning Support Network during a campaign fundraiser earlier this year. The Nobel Peace prize winning president is not expected to show up to court, so I plan on showing up at the White House with a few friends to let him know we will never stop fighting for Bradley Manning until the day he walks free.
Manning is due back in court tomorrow morning, his twenty-fourth Birthday.
As Bradley Manning begins his trial on whether or not his actions amount to acts of terror, the Senate has passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, a bill that will allow the federal government to detain American citizens indefinitely with out trial, declares the United States as a battle field and even allows for “enhanced interrogation” techniques (Dick’s fancy words for torture) to be used on pretty much anyone they feel might be a “terrorist.”
Exactly 220 years to the day after the Bill of Rights was created, the house voted a staggering 86-13 in favor of the bill that will strip away any and all remaining civil liberties Americans have enjoyed for the previous couple centuries, or at least the last 30 or so years.
The Internet collective known as Anonymous quickly stepped up and began a campaign to expose the public servants who voted for this draconian bill. The cyber collective of human rights and liberty activists posted the twitter handles of the Senators who voted in favor of the bill, here. They were even nice enough to organize the names by state to make it easier for you to find your representative and tweet her/him what your feeling. Use #OpAccountable when tweeting.
Another freedom striping bill being discussed and protested by Anonymous is called the Stop Online Piracy Act. SOPA will give the US department of Justice and individual copyright owners unprecedented power to shut down whole websites and blogs that contain content protected by copyrights. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Mozilla, the Brookings Institute, Reporters Without Borders, the ACLU, and Human Rights Watch all appose the bill saying it would cause “an explosion of innovation-killing lawsuits and litigations.”
Anonymous has launched what they are terming “#OperationBlackout” and are inviting Americans to join together in protest to stop this legislation from passing. Anonymous hacktivists have threatened to take direct action against members of congress who support this bill; direct action most likely meaning ddos attacks, embarrassing internet leaks, and perhaps thousands of faxes of an illustration of a cat holding a gun to the head of a rat who is about to flip the internet kill switch, or something.