Editorials
2014-02-18
  NSA and GCHQ spying on WikiLeaks
2013-12-09
  Second release of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement documents
2013-11-29
  WikiLeaks consultant Gottfrid Svartholm Warg extradited from Sweden after alleged access to NSA contractor CSC
2013-11-29
  WikiLeaks Calls for US to Drop Grand Jury
2013-11-15
  Hammond Support Letter from World Media
2013-11-15
  US, Australia isolated in TPP negotiations
2013-11-07
  Announcing Australian Preview Release of Mediastan - WikiLeaks’ Fifth Estate Challenger
2013-11-06
  Statement by Sarah Harrison
2013-11-03
  Video: Snowden meets with German MP regarding being witness in NSA spying investigation
2013-11-01
  Press Release: German Release of Mediastan - WikiLeaks’ Fifth Estate Challenger
2013-10-25
  El Ingeniero: Communicado de Prensa
2013-10-24
  Announcing preview of "The Engineer"
2013-10-23
  Comunicado de Prensa: WikiLeaks estrena el desafía "El Quinto Poder": Mediastan - Un 'Road Movie' de WikiLeaks
2013-10-17
  Press Release: US Release of Mediastan - WikiLeaks’ Fifth Estate Challenger
2013-10-12
  Video: Edward Snowden wins Sam Adams award
2013-10-11
  Watch MEDIASTAN
2013-10-11
  Press Release: WikiLeaks Releases Fifth Estate Challenger: Mediastan - A WikiLeaks Road Movie
2013-10-09
  RELEASE: Julian Assange Correspondence with The Fifth Estate Star Benedict Cumberbatch
2013-10-09
  First Letter from Julian Assange to Benedict Cumberbatch Over The Fifth Estate
2013-09-30
  The Fifth Estate
2013-09-16
  Editorial: Release Barrett Brown
2013-09-06
  Swedish Police Open Investigation into Seizure of War Crime Evidence
2013-09-03
  WikiLeaks Files Second Criminal Complaint in Germany
2013-09-03
  Swedish Police Opens Criminal Complaint File ahead of Wednesday’s Obama Visit to Sweden
2013-09-02
  Press Release: WikiLeaks Launches Criminal Investigation ahead of Wednesday’s Obama Visit to Sweden
2013-08-27
  Op-ed: Google and the NSA: Who’s holding the ‘shit-bag’ now?
2013-08-27
  Op-ed: The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’
2013-08-21
  Statement by Julian Assange on today’s sentencing of Bradley Manning
2013-08-15
  Response to Today’s Bradley Manning Statement
2013-08-01
  Statement on Snowden’s Successful Russian Asylum Bid
2013-07-30
  Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial
2013-07-12
  Statement by Edward Snowden to human rights groups at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport
2013-07-03
  MasterCard breaks ranks in WikiLeaks blockade
2013-07-02
  Edward Snowden submits asylum applications
2013-07-01
  Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow
2013-06-26
  Further Statement From Baltasar Garzón
2013-06-26
  Transcript of WikiLeaks Press Conference on Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong
2013-06-24
  Statement From Baltasar Garzón
2013-06-23
  WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong - UPDATED
2013-06-23
  Profile: Sarah Harrison
2013-06-23
  WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong
2013-06-22
  Statement by Julian Assange after One Year in Ecuadorian Embassy
2013-06-04
  Assange Statement on the First Day of Manning Trial
2013-06-03
  Bradley Manning Trial FAQ
2013-05-24
  WikiLeaks Leaks the Annotated Transcript of Universal’s WikiLeaks Documentary Ahead of Opening Tomorrow Night
2013-05-11
  For the next 49 days you can donate to WikiLeaks
2013-04-22
  Transcript of secret meeting between Julian Assange and Google CEO Eric Schmidt
2013-02-07
  Eight FBI agents conduct interrogation in Iceland in relation to ongoing U.S. investigation of WikiLeaks
2012-12-20
  Statement by Julian Assange after Six Months in Ecuadorian Embassy
2012-12-16
  WikiLeaks declares war on banking blockade
2012-12-05
  Julian Assange Presentation to EU Parliament on Corruption Revealed in Cablegate
2012-11-29
  Assange statement regarding CNN’s Erinn Burnett show comment on Ecuador
2012-11-27
  European Commission enabling blockade of WikiLeaks by U.S. hard-right Lieberman/King, contrary to European Parliament’s wishes
2012-11-26
  WikiLeaks donations now tax deductible EU wide
2012-11-20
  European Parliament votes to protect WikiLeaks
2012-10-10
  WikiLeaks GI Files Presidential Campaign Release
2012-10-03
  Press Statement: In this election, vote with your wallet, Vote WikiLeaks
2012-09-27
  Transcript of Julian Assange Address to the UN
2012-09-26
  US Military Refers to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as the "enemy" with the "victims" being "society"
2012-09-26
  Background for UN Talk - Ongoing Investigation into WikiLeaks
2012-09-11
  Inside the secrets and lies behind ’Secrets and Lies’
2012-09-10
  The public relations state: full details of WikiLeaks & Assange Ofcom complaint over "WikiLeaks: Secrets & Lies"
2012-08-23
  Statement on U.K. intentions and pressures prior to Ecuadorian embassy siege
2012-08-19
  Official Statement by Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy
2012-08-16
  Statement on UK threat to storm Ecuadorian embassy and arrest Julian Assange
2012-07-18
  Press Release: WikiLeaks opens path through banking siege. Donations open.
2012-06-29
  Press Statement: By Julian Assange Defense Fund Outside the Ecuadorian Embassy
2012-06-28
  Press Release - WikiLeaks: Beat the Blockade CD
2012-06-21
  Wikileaks has launched a case against Valitor hf. (formerly VISA Iceland)
2012-06-19
  Effective Declaration of Abandonment from Australian Government
2012-04-18
  Smear and Enjoy
2012-04-17
  Press Release - 500 Days of the WikiLeaks Banking Blockade
2012-04-05
  Assange Submissions to the Leveson Inquiry
2012-03-06
  Kristinn Hrafnsson: The Great WikiLeaks War on Sweden?
2012-03-06
  Press release: WikiLeaks on Recent Fabricated Stories in the Swedish Press
2012-02-15
  WikiLeaks denounces UNESCO after WikiLeaks banned from UNESCO conference on WikiLeaks
2012-01-23
  New Assange TV Series
2011-12-16
  Statement on Bradley Manning Case
2011-11-30
  Guardian’s "WikiLeaks: Secrets and Lies" Documentary:
2011-10-23
  WikiLeaks Press Statement: WikiLeaks vs the Banks
2011-09-22
  Julian Assange: Statement on the Unauthorised, Secret Publishing of the Julian Assange "autobiography" by Canongate
2011-09-19
  WikiLeaks Launches the First of Four Fundraising Auctions
2011-08-24
  US espionage investigation against WikiLeaks: PATRIOT Act order unsealed
2011-06-15
  In Conversation with Julian Assange Part II
2011-05-24
  "WikiSecrets" Julian Assange Full Interview Footage
2011-05-23
  In Conversation with Julian Assange Part I
(on 2013-06-04)

Assange Statement on the First Day of Manning Trial

Monday 3rd June 2013, 22:00 GMT

Statement by Julian Assange

As I type these lines, on June 3, 2013, Private First Class Bradley Edward Manning is being tried in a sequestered room at Fort Meade, Maryland, for the alleged crime of telling the truth. The court martial of the most prominent political prisoner in modern US history has now, finally, begun.

It has been three years. Bradley Manning, then 22 years old, was arrested in Baghdad on May 26, 2010. He was shipped to Kuwait, placed into a cage, and kept in the sweltering heat of Camp Arifjan.

"For me, I stopped keeping track," he told the court last November. "I didn’t know whether night was day or day was night. And my world became very, very small. It became these cages... I remember thinking I’m going to die."

After protests from his lawyers, Bradley Manning was then transferred to a brig at a US Marine Corps Base in Quantico, VA, where - infamously - he was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of his captors - a formal finding by the UN. Isolated in a tiny cell for twenty-three out of twenty-four hours a day, he was deprived of his glasses, sleep, blankets and clothes, and prevented from exercising. All of this - it has been determined by a military judge - "punished" him before he had even stood trial.

"Brad’s treatment at Quantico will forever be etched, I believe, in our nation’s history, as a disgraceful moment in time" said his lawyer, David Coombs. "Not only was it stupid and counterproductive, it was criminal."

The United States was, in theory, a nation of laws. But it is no longer a nation of laws for Bradley Manning.

When the abuse of Bradley Manning became a scandal reaching all the way to the President of the United States and Hillary Clinton’s spokesman resigned to register his dissent over Mr. Manning’s treatment, an attempt was made to make the problem less visible. Bradley Manning was transferred to the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

He has waited in prison for three years for a trial - 986 days longer than the legal maximum - because for three years the prosecution has dragged its feet and obstructed the court, denied the defense access to evidence and abused official secrecy. This is simply illegal - all defendants are constitutionally entitled to a speedy trial - but the transgression has been acknowledged and then overlooked.

Against all of this, it would be tempting to look on the eventual commencement of his trial as a mercy. But that is hard to do.

We no longer need to comprehend the "Kafkaesque" through the lens of fiction or allegory. It has left the pages and lives among us, stalking our best and brightest. It is fair to call what is happening to Bradley Manning a "show trial". Those invested in what is called the "US military justice system" feel obliged to defend what is going on, but the rest of us are free to describe this travesty for what it is. No serious commentator has any confidence in a benign outcome. The pretrial hearings have comprehensively eliminated any meaningful uncertainty, inflicting pre-emptive bans on every defense argument that had any chance of success.

Bradley Manning may not give evidence as to his stated intent (exposing war crimes and their context), nor may he present any witness or document that shows that no harm resulted from his actions. Imagine you were put on trial for murder. In Bradley Manning’s court, you would be banned from showing that it was a matter of self-defence, because any argument or evidence as to intent is banned. You would not be able to show that the ’victim’ is, in fact, still alive, because that would be evidence as to the lack of harm.

But of course. Did you forget whose show it is?

The government has prepared for a good show. The trial is to proceed for twelve straight weeks: a fully choreographed extravaganza, with a 141-strong cast of prosecution witnesses. The defense was denied permission to call all but a handful of witnesses. Three weeks ago, in closed session, the court actually held a rehearsal. Even experts on military law have called this unprecedented.

Bradley Manning’s conviction is already written into the script. The commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces, Barack Obama, spoiled the plot for all of us when he pronounced Bradley Manning guilty two years ago. "He broke the law," President Obama stated, when asked on camera at a fundraiser about his position on Mr. Manning. In a civilized society, such a prejudicial statement alone would have resulted in a mistrial.

To convict Bradley Manning, it will be necessary for the US government to conceal crucial parts of his trial. Key portions of the trial are to be conducted in secrecy: 24 prosecution witnesses will give secret testimony in closed session, permitting the judge to claim that secret evidence justifies her decision. But closed justice is no justice at all.

What cannot be shrouded in secrecy will be hidden through obfuscation. The remote situation of the courtroom, the arbitrary and discretionary restrictions on access for journalists, and the deliberate complexity and scale of the case are all designed to drive fact-hungry reporters into the arms of official military PR men, who mill around the Fort Meade press room like over-eager sales assistants. The management of Bradley Manning’s case will not stop at the limits of the courtroom. It has already been revealed that the Pentagon is closely monitoring press coverage and social media discussions on the case.

This is not justice; never could this be justice. The verdict was ordained long ago. Its function is not to determine questions such as guilt or innocence, or truth or falsehood. It is a public relations exercise, designed to provide the government with an alibi for posterity. It is a show of wasteful vengeance; a theatrical warning to people of conscience.

The alleged act in respect of which Bradley Manning is charged is an act of great conscience - the single most important disclosure of subjugated history, ever. There is not a political system anywhere on the earth that has not seen light as a result. In court, in February, Bradley Manning said that he wanted to expose injustice, and to provoke worldwide debate and reform. Bradley Manning is accused of being a whistleblower, a good man, who cared for others and who followed higher orders. Bradley Manning is effectively accused of conspiracy to commit journalism.

But this is not the language the prosecution uses. The most serious charge against Bradley Manning is that he "aided the enemy" - a capital offence that should require the greatest gravity, but here the US government laughs at the world, to breathe life into a phantom. The government argues that Bradley Manning communicated with a media organisation, WikiLeaks, who communicated to the public. It also argues that al-Qaeda (who else) is a member of the public. Hence, it argues that Bradley Manning communicated "indirectly" with al-Qaeda, a formally declared US "enemy", and therefore that Bradley Manning communicated with "the enemy".

But what about "aiding" in that most serious charge, "aiding the enemy"? Don’t forget that this is a show trial. The court has banned any evidence of intent. The court has banned any evidence of the outcome, the lack of harm, the lack of any victim. It has ruled that the government doesn’t need to show that any "aiding" occurred and the prosecution doesn’t claim it did. The judge has stated that it is enough for the prosecution to show that al-Qaeda, like the rest of the world, reads WikiLeaks.

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people," wrote John Adams, "who have a right and a desire to know.”

When communicating with the press is "aiding the enemy" it is the "general knowledge among the people" itself which has become criminal. Just as Bradley Manning is condemned, so too is that spirit of liberty in which America was founded.

In the end it is not Bradley Manning who is on trial. His trial ended long ago. The defendent now, and for the next 12 weeks, is the United States. A runaway military, whose misdeeds have been laid bare, and a secretive government at war with the public. They sit in the docks. We are called to serve as jurists. We must not turn away.

Free Bradley Manning.

No copyright has been asserted for this document. Julian Assange has entered it into the public domain.

emailSend to Friend printPrint