Category Archives: Advocacy

Bradley Manning’s Legal Duty to Expose War Crimes

News Analysis by Marjorie Cohn

Originally published at Truthout

The court-martial of Bradley Manning, the most significant whistleblower case since Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, has begun. Although Manning pled guilty earlier this year to 10 offenses that will garner him 20 years in custody, military prosecutors insist on pursuing charges of aiding the enemy and violation of the Espionage Act, carrying life in prison. The Obama administration, which has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all prior presidencies combined, seeks to send a strong message to would-be whistleblowers to keep their mouths shut.

A legal duty to report war crimes

Manning is charged with crimes for sending hundreds of thousands of classified files, documents and videos, including the “Collateral Murder” video, the “Iraq War Logs,” the “Afghan War Logs” and State Department cables to Wikileaks. Many of the things he transmitted contain evidence of war crimes.

The “Collateral Murder” video depicts a US Apache attack helicopter killing 12 civilians and wounding two children on the ground in Baghdad in 2007. The helicopter then fired on and killed the people trying to rescue the wounded. Finally, a US tank drove over one of the bodies, cutting the man in half. These acts constitute three separate war crimes.

Manning fulfilled his legal duty to report war crimes. He complied with his legal duty to obey lawful orders but also his legal duty to disobey unlawful orders.

Iraq War Resister Kimberly Rivera sentenced to 14 months in military prison after deportation by Harper government

This press release was sent out a short time ago by the War Resisters Support Campaign of Canada

Iraq War Resister Kimberly Rivera sentenced to 14 months in military prison after deportation by Harper government

TORONTO—On Monday afternoon, during a court-martial hearing at Fort Carson, Colorado, Kimberly Rivera was sentenced to 14 months in military prison and a dishonourable discharge after publicly expressing her conscientious objection to the Iraq War while in Canada.

Under the terms of a pre-trial agreement, she will serve 10 months of that sentence.

The Uncommon Courage of Bradley Manning

By Marjorie Cohn

Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to 10 charges including possessing and willfully communicating to an unauthorized person all the main elements of the WikiLeaks disclosure. The charges carry a total of 20 years in prison. For the first time, Bradley spoke publicly about what he did and why. His actions, now confirmed by his own words, reveal Bradley to be a very brave young man.

When he was 22 years old, Pfc. Bradley Manning gave classified documents to WikiLeaks. They included the “Collateral Murder” video, which depicts U.S. forces in an Apache helicopter killing 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists, and wounding two children.

“I believed if the public, particularly the American public, could see this it could spark a debate on the military and our foreign policy in general as it applied to Iraq and Afghanistan,” Bradley told the military tribunal during his guilty plea proceeding. “It might cause society to reconsider the need to engage in counter terrorism while ignoring the human situation of the people we engaged with every day.”

Support actions for Bradley Manning requested as court-martial nears

After more than two and a half years in jail — some of that in solitary confinement under barbaric conditions — Bradley Manning is finally approaching trial. Pre-trial hearings have been going on for several months, and more will be held in January and February, 2013. Currently, his court-martial is scheduled to begin on March 6, and it is expected to run through mid-April. (The court-martial date has been postponed in the past, and the current date isn’t set in stone.)

The Bradley Manning Support Network is planning demonstrations at Ft. Meade, Maryland, where the hearings and court-martial are to be held, and has called on supporters who cannot come to Meade to organize local demonstrations or other events. As the schedule develops, information will be available at www.BradleyManning.org.

This case is not only about the future of a brave young soldier, but also about our government’s commission of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, crimes made public by WikiLeaks on the basis of the information allegedly leaked by Manning. The Military Law Task Force encourages supporters to attend the demonstration and court-martial at Ft. Meade, or to join in support demonstrations in their area.

Letter writing campaign for Iraq War Resister Kimberly Rivera


This message is from the Kimberly Rivera Support Committee.


 

Dear friends,

We are writing to you on behalf of Kimberly Rivera, an Iraq War resister.

Kimberly, from Mesquite, Texas, deployed to Iraq in 2006. After several months, she found that she could not in good conscience continue to participate in the war. While in the US on leave, she and her family sought asylum in Canada. Unfortunately, the Canadian government denied her asylum and on September 20th, she and her family voluntarily returned to the US. She was arrested at the border and is currently at Fort Carson, Colorado, awaiting a decision by her command as to what her fate will be.

We are reaching out to you today to ask if you would be willing to write a letter of support for Kim.

Here is a bit of background about Kim, and below are guidelines for letters of support:
Kim and her husband Mario have four young children: Christian, 10; Rebecca, 8; Katie, 3; and Gabriel, 18 months.
Kim’s objection to the war grew out of her experience in Iraq, and her faith.
Kim’s separation from her family is causing tremendous hardship for all of the family.
Kim was diagnosed with PTSD following her tour in Iraq, and incarceration would only exacerbate her symptoms.

In peace and solidarity,

Bill Sulzman

of the Kimberly Rivera Support Committee

———————
GUIDELINES FOR LETTERS IN SUPPORT OF KIMBERLY RIVERA

Dear friends and supporters of Kimberly Rivera,

Kimberly Rivera is currently at Fort Carson, Colorado. She is part of a unit but her future is uncertain. She likely will face a military court-martial (and if convicted a lengthy prison sentence), but there are other options for command.

We are asking friends and supporters of Kimberly to write letters of support in the hopes of persuading the military authorities to not prosecute her, but instead give her a discharge.

Letters should be sent to Kimberly’s attorney at the contact point below. Her attorney will present the letters to her command as they come in, but also may use them as mitigating evidence for sentencing/clemency purposes if her case does go to trial.

Guidelines:

– Address letters to “To whom it may concern.” 

– Please be polite and civil in your letter. It is ok to express emotion, but angry/hateful letters will not be helpful.  

– Please avoid political statements in your letters. The focus needs to stay on Kimberly and her plight. 

– If you know Kimberly personally, please say so in your letter. (Please also be sure and tell stories that illustrate the kind of character she has and why she should be back home with her family).

– If you are military veteran, please say so in your letter. 

– Please include your full name and contact information in your letter. 

– Please state in the letter that you believe that Kimberly should be immediately discharged from the Army and not prosecuted.

Letters should be sent to:

Postal:
James M. Branum
Attorney at Law
PO Box 721016
Oklahoma City, OK 73172
USA

Email:  girightslawyer(at)gmail(dot)com (please include “Kimberly Rivera” in the subject line)

Fax: 1-866-757-8785