Bradley Manning: One year in jail, without trial
Cameron and Clegg refuse to support Manning and his Welsh mother
London - 23 May 2011
"US President, Barack Obama has declared Private Bradley Manning guilty of passing classified information to Wikileaks, even before he has gone on trial and been convicted," said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights lobby, the Peter Tatchell Foundation
"The President, who is a former lawyer, should know better. This would be contempt of court in the UK. Such a high-level assertion that Manning is guilty must seriously prejudice the likelihood that Manning will receive a fair trial," said Mr Tatchell.
United States President, Barack Obama
When questioned about Bradley Manning in San Francisco in April by Logan Price, Obama declared: "He broke the law....he dumped (classified material)."
See the transcript below and this video recording of Obama: http://tiny.cc/3bu2b
"Manning is a US citizen but also a British citizen via his Welsh mother. During the one year he has been in detention, he has received no British consular support. Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg have failed to help him. They never spoke out publicly against the abuse he suffered for many months at Quantico military prison in Virginia. As far as we know, they did not make any private appeals to the US government and military to halt this abuse," said Mr Tatchell
"The coalition government needs to demonstrate its commitment to human rights and civil liberties by pressing the US government to drop all charges on the grounds that what Manning allegedly did was in the public interest and justifiably exposed criminal acts that are illegal under international law," Mr Tatchell added.
There is a House of Commons public meeting in support of Bradley Manning this Tuesday 24 May 2011, 6pm - 7.30pm, Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons. Speakers: Ann Clwyd MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights, David Leigh, The Guardian and Emily Butselaar, Index on Censorship.
"This week marks the first anniversary of the arrest and detention of Bradley Manning, who is accused of passing classified US diplomatic and military documents to Wikileaks," added Mr Tatchell.
"It is alleged that Manning released video footage of a US Apache helicopter attack that gunned down 11 Iraqi civilians in 2007, including two Reuters journalists and men who had gone to the aid of the wounded. Two children were also gravely injured when the US helicopter opened fire on their van in the same attack. The military video records US soldiers laughing and joking at the killings, and insulting the victims. Watch it here: www.collateralmurder.com
"This slaughter had previously been the subject of a cover-up by the US armed forces, which claimed dishonestly that the helicopter had been engaged in combat operations against armed enemy forces.
"It is allegedly only thanks to Bradley Manning that we now know the truth about the killing of these innocent civilians - and about the killing of hundreds of other civilians in unreported and undocumented incidents.
"The US abuses that first triggered Manning's disillusionment occurred soon after he was posted to Iraq in October 2009 as an intelligence analyst. He discovered US military collusion with the repression of dissent in Iraq; in particular "watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police....for printing 'anti-Iraqi' literature." The offending literature exposed corruption in the US-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. When Manning complained that US forces should not be assisting with the suppression of free speech and the right to protest, he was told to keep quiet, with the admonishment that the US armed forces should be doing more to silence opponents of the Maliki regime.
"If Manning blew the whistle on war crimes and cover ups by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, he is a hero. He is a defender of democracy and human rights. His actions are based on the principle that citizens have a right to know what the government is doing in their name. Manning should not be in prison. Instead, the US should put on trial those who killed innocent civilians and those who protected them.
"Even many Americans agree that Bradley Manning is a true patriot, not a traitor. He reveres the founding ideals of the US - an open, honest government accountable to the people, which pursues its policies by lawful means that respect human rights. At great personal risk, he sought to expose grave crimes that were perpetrated and then hidden by the US government and military. These are the characteristics of a man of conscience, motivated by altruism. Any misjudgements he made in his alleged release of certain documents are far outweighed by the positive good overall. Thanks to Manning, we, the people, know the truth.
"Critics say that Wikileaks was sometimes indiscriminate and even reckless in its release of certain documents. This may be true in a small number of cases. Regardless, these releases were done by Wikileaks, not by Manning. He allegedly passed the information in good faith for publication where appropriate. He did not publish the documents. Wikileaks did. Manning cannot be blamed for any shortcomings in the way Wikileaks released the information," said Mr Tatchell.
Further information: Peter Tatchell - 0207 403 1790
Transcript of Obama interview declaring Bradley Manning's guilt:
OBAMA: So people can have philosophical views [about Bradley Manning] but I can't conduct diplomacy on an open source [basis]... That's not how the world works.
And if you're in the military... And I have to abide by certain rules of classified information. If I was to release stuff that I'm not authorised to release, I'd be breaking the law.
We're a nation of laws! We don't individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.
[Q: Didn't he release evidence of war crimes?]
OBAMA: What he did was he dumped...
[Q: Isn't that just the same thing as what Daniel Ellsberg did?]
OBAMA: No it wasn't the same thing. Ellsberg's material wasn't classified in the same way.
End of interview