Bradley Manning support grows

The treatment of Bradley Manning can no longer safely be ignored; if mistreatment is allowed once, it will become the standard treatment for those who speak out.  Bruce Ackerman of Yale has drafted a statement that the legal community is being asked to sign and signing it they are:
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Statement on Private Manning’s Detention

 

Bruce Ackerman

(updated below)

Yochai Benkler and I invite members of the academic legal community to join us in signing the following statement, asking the Administration either publicly to justify, or end, the humiliation and mistreatment of Private Bradley Manning, the suspected whistleblower who is said to have leaked classified government documents to Wikileaks.

For background, you can read this editorial in today’s New York Times, The Abuse of Private Manning and get more details from Soldier in Leaks Case Will Be Made to Sleep Naked Nightly.

If you’d like to add your signature, please send your name and institutional affiliation to manningprofletterjoin@gmail.com. Signatories added below in periodic updates.

220 signatories as of March 19, 5:30pm.

UPDATE:Our initial draft relied on news reports in the major news outlets. Comments we received since then lead us to think that two facts may be overstated in the original draft:
1. The instance of forced nudity overnight and in morning parade apparently occurred once. The continuing regime apparently commands removal of Pvt. Manning’s clothes and his wearing a “smock” at night.
2. The shackling apparently occurs when Private Manning is moved from his cell to the exercise room, but not while walking during the one hour of exercise.

Other responses we have received suggest that there are claims of myriad other abuses that make conditions worse in various ways than we describe. We do not, and cannot, seek to adjudicate these factual claims. The conflicting responses underscore the need for a public, transparent, and credible response to the reported abuse, and cessation of those among them that cannot be justified.

Private Manning’s Humiliation

Bradley Manning is the soldier charged with leaking U.S. government documents to Wikileaks.

He is currently detained under degrading and inhumane conditions that are illegal and immoral.

For nine months, Manning has been confined to his cell for 23 hours a day. During his one remaining hour, he can walk in circles in another room, with no other prisoners present. He is not allowed to doze off or relax during the day, but must answer the question “Are you OK?” verbally and in the affirmative every five minutes. At night, he is awakened to be asked again, “are you OK” every time he turns his back to the cell door or covers his head with a blanket so that the guards cannot see his face. During the past week he was forced to sleep naked and stand naked for inspection in front of his cell, and for the indefinite future must remove his clothes and wear a “smock” under claims of risk to himself that he disputes.

The sum of the treatment that has been widely reported is a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against punishment without trial. If continued, it may well amount to a violation of the criminal statute against torture, defined as, among other things, “the administration or application… of… procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality.”

Private Manning has been designated as an appropriate subject for both Maximum Security and Prevention of Injury (POI) detention. But he asserts that his administrative reports consistently describe him as a well-behaved prisoner who does not fit the requirements for Maximum Security detention. The Brig psychiatrist began recommending his removal from Prevention of Injury months ago. These claims have not been publicly contested. In an Orwellian twist, the spokesman for the brig commander refused to explain the forced nudity “because to discuss the details would be a violation of Manning’s privacy.”

The Administration has provided no evidence that Manning’s treatment reflects a concern for his own safety or that of other inmates. Unless and until it does so, there is only one reasonable inference: this pattern of degrading treatment aims either to deter future whistleblowers, or to force Manning to implicate Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a conspiracy, or both.

If Manning is guilty of a crime, let him be tried, convicted, and punished according to law. But his treatment must be consistent with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. There is no excuse for his degrading and inhumane pre-trial punishment. As the State Department’s PJ Crowly put it recently, they are “counterproductive and stupid.” And yet Crowley has now been forced to resign for speaking the plain truth.

The Wikileaks disclosures have touched every corner of the world. Now the whole world watches America and observes what it does; not what it says.

President Obama was once a professor of constitutional law, and entered the national stage as an eloquent moral leader. The question now, however, is whether his conduct as Commander in Chief meets fundamental standards of decency. He should not merely assert that Manning’s confinement is “appropriate and meet[s] our basic standards,” as he did recently. He should require the Pentagon publicly to document the grounds for its extraordinary actions –and immediately end those which cannot withstand the light of day.
Signed:

Bruce Ackerman, Yale Law School
Yochai Benkler, Harvard Law School

Additional Signatories (institutional affiliation, for identification purposes only):
Jack Balkin, Yale Law School
Richard L. Abel, UCLA Law, Emeritus
David Abrams, Harvard Law School
Kirsten Ainley, London School of Economics
Jeffrey Alexander, Yale University
Philip Alston, NYU School of Law
Anne Alstott, Harvard Law School
Elizabeth Anderson, Philosophy and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan
Scott Anderson, Philosophy, University of British Columbia
Claudia Angelos, NYU School of Law
Donald K. Anton. Australian National University College of Law
Kwame Anthony Appiah, Princeton University
Stanley Aronowitz, Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center
Jean Maria Arrigo, PhD, social psychologist, Project on Ethics and Art in Testimony
Reuven Avi-Yonah, University of Michigan Law
H. Robert Baker, Georgia State University
Duncan Bell, Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge
Steve Berenson, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Michael Bertrand, UNC Chapel Hill
Rebecca M. Bratspies, CUNY School of Law
Jason Brennan, Philosophy, Brown University
Talbot Brewer, Philosophy, University of Virginia
John Bronsteen, Loyola University Chicago
Peter Brooks, Princeton University
James Robert Brown, University of Toronto
Sande L. Buhai,Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
Ahmed I Bulbulia, Seton Hall Law School.
Susannah Camic, University of Wisconsin Law School
Alexander M. Capron, University of Southern California, Gould School of Law
Michael W. Carroll, Law American University
Marshall Carter-Tripp, Ph.D, Foreign Service Officer, retired
Jonathan Chausovsky, Political Science, SUNY-Fredonia
John Clippinger, Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Andrew Jason Cohen, Georgia State University
Marjorie Cohn, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Doug Colbert, Maryland School of Law
Nancy Combs, William & Mary Law School
Stephen A. Conrad, Indiana University Mauer School of Law
Thomas P. Crocker, University of South Carolina
Deryl D. Dantzler, Walter F. Gorge School of Law of Mercer University
Benjamin G. Davis, University of Toledo College of Law
Rochelle Davis, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Wolfgang Deckers, Richmond University, London
Michelle M. Dempsey, Villanova University School of Law
Wai Chee Dimock, English, Yale University
Sinan Dogramaci, Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin
Judith Donath, Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Michael W. Doyle, International Affairs, Law and Political Science, Columbia
Bruce T. Draine, Astrophysics, Princeton University
Lisa Duggan, Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU
Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Graduate Center,CUNY
Simon Evnine, Philosophy, University of Miami
Mark Fenster,Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Martha Field, Harvard Law School
Justin Fisher, Philosophy, Southern Methodist University
William Fisher, Harvard Law School
Joseph Fishkin, University of Texas School of Law
Martin S. Flaherty, Fordham Law School
George P. Fletcher, Columbia University, School of Law
John Flood, Law and Sociology, University of Westminster
Bryan Frances, Philosophy, Fordham University
Nancy Fraser, Philosophy and Politics, New School for Social Research
Eric M. Freedman, Hofstra Law School
Monroe H. Freedman, Hofstra University Law School
A. Michael Froomkin, University of Miami School of Law
Gerald Frug, Harvard Law School
Louis Furmanski, University of Central Oklahoma
James K. Galbraith, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
Herbert J Gans, Columbia University
William Gardner, Pediatrics, Psychology, & Psychiatry, The Ohio State University
Urs Gasser, Harvard Law School, Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Julius G. Getman, University of Texas Law School
Todd Gitlin, Columbia University
David Golove, NYU School of Law
James R. Goetsch Jr., Philosophy, Eckerd College
Thomas Gokey, Art and Information Studies, Syracuse University
Robert W. Gordon, Yale Law School
Stephen E. Gottlieb, Albany Law School
Mark A. Graber, University of Maryland School of Law
Roger Green, Pol. Sci. and Pub. Admin., Florida Gulf Coast
Daniel JH Greenwood, Hofstra University School of Law
Christopher L. Griffin, Visiting, Duke Law School
James Gronquist,Charlotte School of Law
Lisa Guenther, Philosophy, Vanderbilt University
Gillian K. Hadfield, Law, Economics, University of Southern California
Susan Hazeldean, Robert M. Cover Fellow, Yale Law School
Kevin Jon Heller, Melbourne Law School
Lynne Henderson, UNLV–Boyd School of Law (emerita)
Stephen Hetherington, Philosophy, University of New South Wales
Kurt Hochenauer, University of Central Oklahoma
Lisa Hajjar, University of California – Santa Barbara
Nathan Robert Howard, St. Andrews ( please check this has little information)
Marc Morjé Howard, Government, Georgetown University
Kyron Huigens, Cardozo School of Law
Alexandra Huneeus, University of Wisconsin Law School
David Ingram, Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago
David Isenberg, Isen.com
Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard Kennedy School
Christopher Jencks, Harvard Kennedy School
Paula Johnson, Alliant International University
Robert N. Johnson, Philosophy, University of Missouri
Albyn C. Jones, Statistics, Reed College
Lynne Joyrich, Modern Culture and Media, Brown University
Eileen Kaufman, Touro Law Center
Kevin B. Kelly, Seton Hall University School of Law
Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School
Daniel Kevles, Yale University
Heidi Kitrosser, University of Minnesota Law School
Gillian R. Knapp, Princeton University
Seth F. Kreimer University of Pennsylvania Law School
Alex Kreit, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Stefan H. Krieger, Hofstra University School of Law
Mitchell Lasser, Cornell Law School
Mark LeBar, Philosophy, Ohio University
Brian Leiter, University of Chicago
Mary Clare Lennon, Sociology, The Graduate Center, CUNY
George Levine, Emeritus, Rutgers University
Sanford Levinson, University of Texas Law School
Margaret Levy Political Science, University of Washington
Tracy Lightcap, Political Science, LaGrange College
Stacy Litz, Drexel University
Fiona de Londras, University College Dublin, Ireland
David Luban, Georgetown University Law Center
Peter Ludlow, Philosophy, Northwestern University
Colin Maclay, Harvard University, Berkman Center
Joan Mahoney, Emeritus, Wayne State University Law School
Chibli Mallat, Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School
Phil Malone, Harvard Law School
Jane Mansbridge, Harvard Kennedy School
Dan Markel, Florida State University
Daniel Markovits, Yale Law School
Richard Markovitz, University of Texas Law School
Ruth Mason, University of Connecticut School of Law
Jamie Mayerfeld, Political Science, University of Washington
Diane H. Mazur, University of Florida Levin College of Law
Jason Mazzone, Brooklyn Law School
Jeff McMahan, Philosophy, Rutgers University
Agustín José Menéndez, Universidad de León and University of Oslo
Hope Metcalf, Yale Law School
Frank I. Michelman, Harvard University
John Mikhail, Georgetown University Law Center
Gregg Miller, Political Science, University of Washington
Eben Moglen, Columbia Law School and Software Freedom Law Center
Charles Nesson, Harvard University
Joel Ngugi, Law, African Studies, University of Washington
Ralitza Nikolaeva, ISCTE Business School, Lisbon University Institute
John Palfrey, Harvard Law School
Adrian du Plessis, Wolfson College, Cambridge University
Patrick S. O’Donnell, Philosophy, Santa Barbara City College
Hans Oberdiek, Philosophy, Swarthmore College
Philip Pettit, University Professor of Politics and Human Values, Princeton
Frank A. Pasquale, Seton Hall Law School
Leslie Plachta, MD MPH, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Matthew Pierce, University of North Carolina
Thomas Pogge, Yale University
Giovanna Pompele, University of Miami
Joel Pust, Philosophy, University of Delaware
Margaret Jane Radin, University of Michigan and emerita, Stanford University
Aziz Rana, Cornell University Law School
Calair Rasmussen, Affiliation: Political Science, University of Delaware
Daniel Ray, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Jeff A. Redding, Saint Louis University School of Law
C. D. C. Reeve, Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Bryan Register, Philosophy, Texas State University
Cassandra Burke Robertson, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
John A. Robertson, University of Texas Law School
Corey Robin, Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center
Clarissa Rojas, CSU Long Beach
Kermit Roosevelt, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Susan Rose-Ackerman, Law, Political Science, Yale University
Norm Rosenberg, History, Macalester College
Clifford Rosky, University of Utah
Brad R. Roth, Poli. Sci. and Law, Wayne State University
Barbara Katz Rothman, Sociology, City University of New York
Bo Rothstein Political Science, University of Gothenburg
Donald Rutherford,Philosophy, University of California, San Diego
Leonard Rubenstein, JD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
DeWitt Sage, Flimmaker
Cindy Skach, Comparative Government and Law, Oxford
William J. Talbott, Philosophy, University of Washington
Natsu Taylor Saito, Georgia State University College of Law
Dean Savage, Queens College, Sociology, CUNY
Kent D. Schenkel, New England Law
Kim Scheppele, Princeton Univeristy
Jeffrey Schnapp, Harvard University
Jeffrey Selbin, Yale Law School
Wendy Seltzer, Fellow, Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy
Jose M. Sentmanat, Philosophy, Moreno Valley College, California
Omnia El Shakry, History, University of California
Scott Shapiro, Yale University
Stephen Sheehi, Languages, Lit. and Cultures, University of South Carolina
James Silk, Yale Law School
Robert D. Sloane, Boston University School of Law
Ronald C. Slye, Law, Seattle University
Matthew Noah Smith, Philosophy, Yale University
John M. Stewart, Emeritus, Psychology, Northland College
Alec Stone Sweet, Yale Law School
Mateo Taussig-Rubbo, SUNY-Buffalo Law School
John Torpey, CUNY Graduate Center
Frank Thompson, University of Michigan
Matthew Titolo, West Virginia University College of Law
Vilna Bashi Treitler, Black & Hispanic Studies, Baruch College, City
Laurence H. Tribe, Harvard University
David M. Trubek, University of Wisconsin (emeritus)
Robert L. Tsai, American University, Washington College of Law
Peter Vallentyne, Philosophy, University of Missouri
Joan Vogel, Vermont Law School
Paul Voice, Philosophy, Bennington College
David Watkins, Political Science, University of Dayton
Jonathan Weinberg, Wayne State University
Henry Weinstein, Law, Literary Journalism, University of California,
Christina E. Wells, University of Missouri School of Law
Lauris Wren, Hofstra Law School
Elizabeth Wurtzel, Attorney and author
Betty Yorburg, Emerita, City University of New York
Benjamin S. Yost, Philosophy, Providence College
Michael J. Zimmer, Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago
Lee Zimmerman, English, Hofstra University

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Bradley Manning support grows

USA vs wikileaks: Round Two

There will be a round two of the fight to suppress wikileaks: The hammer has come down on the tier one service providers, with unbelievable pressure and scare tactics being used to keep wikileaks from being mirrored. Here is the coverage at Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Keep in mind the wikileaks people are pretty resourceful, and they may have a surprise or two.  So, pressure is applied to stem the avalanche of people volunteering to host a wikileaks mirror:

Wikileaks Mirror Taken Down: Host Buckles Under Demands from Upstream Provider
Commentary by Marcia Hofmann

Wikileaks isn’t the only site struggling to stay up these days because service providers are pulling their support. It appears that at least one person who wants to provide mirror access to Wikileaks documents is having the same trouble.

Recently we heard from a user who mirrored the Cablegate documents on his website. His hosting provider SiteGround suspended his account, claiming that he “severely” violated the SiteGround Terms of Use and Acceptable Use Policy. SiteGround explained that it had gotten a complaint from an upstream provider, SoftLayer, and had taken action “in order to prevent any further issues caused by the illegal activity.”

SiteGround told the user that he would need to update his antivirus measures and get rid of the folder containing the Wikileaks cables to re-enable his account. When the user asked why it was necessary to remove the Wikileaks folder, SiteGround sent him to SoftLayer. The user asked SoftLayer about the problem, but the company refused to discuss it with him because he isn’t a SoftLayer customer. Finally, SiteGround told the user that SoftLayer wanted the mirror taken down because it was worried about the potential for distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks. When the user pointed out that no attack had actually happened, and that this rationale could let the company use hypothetical future events to take down any site, SiteGround said that it was suspending the account because a future DDOS attack might violate its terms of use.

If this sounds like a lame excuse, that’s because it is a lame excuse. It’s incredibly disappointing to see more service providers cutting off customers simply because they decide (or fear) that content is too volatile or unpopular to host. And the runaround that this user received from his host and its upstream provider demonstrates the broader problems with the lack of any real transparency or process around such important decisions.

Internet intermediaries — whether directly in contract with their users or further up the chain — need to stick up for their customers, not undermine their freedom to speak online. As we’ve said before, your speech online is only as free as the weakest intermediary.

This incident shows that censorship is a slippery slope. The first victim here was Wikileaks. Now it’s a Wikileaks mirror. Will a news organization that posts cables and provides journalistic analysis be next? Or a blogger who posts links to news articles describing the cables? If intermediaries are willing to use the potential for future DDOS attacks as a reason to cut off users, they can cut off anyone for anything.

USA vs wikileaks: Round Two

Why didn’t all of our Representatives say something like this?

I don’t usually agree with Ron Paul.  So I kind of wish someone else had written this. But it is good someone has said this, and asked the questions he has asked.  It is a strange day when I like a right wing libertarian, but this little speech is a gem:

“WikiLeaks release of classified information has generated a lot of attention in the past few weeks. The hysterical reaction makes one wonder if this is not an example of killing the messenger for the bad news. Despite what is claimed, the information that has been so far released, though classified, has caused no known harm to any individual, but it has caused plenty of embarrassment to our government. Losing our grip on our empire is not welcomed by the neoconservatives in charge.

There is now more information confirming that Saudi Arabia is a principal supporter and financier of al Qaeda, and that this should set off alarm bells since we guarantee its Sharia-run government. This emphasizes even more the fact that no al Qaeda existed in Iraq before 9/11, and yet we went to war against Iraq based on the lie that it did. It has been charged by experts that Julian Assange, the internet publisher of this information, has committed a heinous crime, deserving prosecution for treason and execution, or even assassination.

But should we not at least ask how the U.S. government should prosecute an Australian citizen for treason for publishing U.S. secret information that he did not steal? And if WikiLeaks is to be prosecuted for publishing classified documents, why shouldn’t the Washington Post, the New York Times, and others also published these documents be prosecuted? Actually, some in Congress are threatening this as well.

The New York Times, as a results of a Supreme Court ruling, was not found guilty in 1971 for the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Daniel Ellsberg never served a day in prison for his role in obtaining these secret documents. The Pentagon Papers were also inserted into the Congressional record by Senator Mike Gravel, with no charges of any kind being made of breaking any national security laws. Yet the release of this classified information was considered illegal by many, and those who lied us into the Vietnam war, and argued for its prolongation were outraged. But the truth gained from the Pentagon Papers revealed that lies were told about the Gulf of Tonkin attack. which perpetuated a sad and tragic episode in our history.

Just as with the Vietnam War, the Iraq War was based on lies. We were never threatened by weapons of mass destruction or al Qaeda in Iraq, though the attack on Iraq was based on this false information. Any information which challenges the official propaganda for the war in the Middle East is unwelcome by the administration and the supporters of these unnecessary wars. Few are interested in understanding the relationship of our foreign policy and our presence in the Middle East to the threat of terrorism. Revealing the real nature and goal of our presence in so many Muslim countries is a threat to our empire, and any revelation of this truth is highly resented by those in charge.

Questions to consider:

Number 1: Do the America People deserve know the truth regarding the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen?

Number 2: Could a larger question be how can an army private access so much secret information?

Number 3: Why is the hostility mostly directed at Assange, the publisher, and not at our governments failure to protect classified information?

Number 4: Are we getting our moneys worth of the 80 Billion dollars per year spent on intelligence gathering?

Number 5: Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths: lying us into war or Wikileaks revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?

Number 6: If Assange can be convicted of a crime for publishing information that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the first amendment and the independence of the internet?

Number 7: Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on Wikileaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?

Number 8: Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in a time of declared war, which is treason, and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death and corruption?

Number 9: Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it is wrong?

Thomas Jefferson had it right when he advised ‘Let the eyes of vigilance never be closed.’ I yield back the balance of my time.”

Why didn’t all of our Representatives say something like this?

The Disinformation Campaign Against wikileaks (Some facts could go a long way)

There are many lies about wikileaks being spread around the net about wikileaks. The one I see most often re: cablegate is that the wikileaks dump was indiscriminate without any redactions, etc.  The actual facts are different, though.  Wikileaks has actually released less than 1% of the cables they have.  The article  “This case Must not Obscure what Wikileaks has told Us” by Johann Hari at the Independent actually covers the facts:

“Each of the wikileaks revelations has been carefully weighed to ensure there is a public interest in disclosing it. Of the more than 250,000 documents they hold, they have released fewer than 1000 – and each of those has had the names of informants, or any information that could place anyone at risk, removed. The information they have released covers areas where our governments are defying the will of their own citizens, and hiding the proof from them.”

The Disinformation Campaign Against wikileaks (Some facts could go a long way)

Wikileaks has a Lot of Friends

Well, from a start of just a few days ago, wikileaks facebook group has 1,192,279 likes.  That’s alot of likes.  They should stop calling everyone who supports wikileaks a terrorist.

Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is one, apparently.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has criticised the arrest of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as “an attack on freedom of expression”.

President Lula said the internet publication of secret US cables had “exposed a diplomacy that appeared untouchable”.

He also criticised other governments for failing to condemn the arrest.

Mr Assange was detained in the UK on Tuesday over alleged sex offences in Sweden.

“They have arrested him and I don’t hear so much as a single protest for freedom of expression”, President Lula said at a public event in Brasilia.

Wikileaks has a Lot of Friends