Know all ye by these presents that Chelsea Manning is hereby awarded the Corner-Brightener Candlestick, presented by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.
The Sam Adams award is in the form of a candlestick holder, as it celebrates the shining of light into the murkiest areas of human activity. This Chelsea Manning did to tremendous effect. Never before had the potential of the information age to expose the evildoing of the powerful, been so fully exploited and revealedChelsea’s work opened up a new era in the relationship between governors and governed.
Chelsea, you acted from motives of compassion for the victims of war crime and concern that the policy of your country was creating rather than reducing violence and terrorism, while the true facts were consistently withheld from the public. The articulacy, good sense, and
genuine humanitarian concern which characterise your defence statement at your show trial, will eventually be recognised widely as a classic and lasting testimony of the very best of the human spirit.
It says everything you need to know about Barack Obama’s United States that one of its noblest citizens now languishes in one of its jails. Chelsea, you are more free than all those who spend their lives covering up for evil. We applaud your courage, dignity and integrity and we want you to know that, wherever you may be, we are always with you and supporting you. It is an enormous honour for me, Ambassador Craig Murray, to present you with this, the Sam Adams Award.
Presented this 19th day of February 2014 by admirers of the example set by the late CIA analyst, Sam Adams.
Chelsea E. Manning
1300 North Warehouse Road
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 66027-2304
Statement thru Aaron Kirkhouse
For Public Release
The founders of America-fresh from a war of independence from King George lll-were particularly fearful of concentrating power. James Madison wrote that “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” (See: Federalist Papers, No. 47 (1788))
To address these concerns, the founders of America actively took steps when drafting the Constitution and ratifying a Bill of Rights-including protections echoing the Libertarianism of John Locke-to ensure that no person be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
More recently, though, since the rise of the national security apparatus-after a brief hiatus between the fall of the Soviet Union and the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center-the American government has been pursuing an unprecedented amount of secrecy and power consolidation in the Executive branch, under the President and the Cabinet.
When drafting Article lll of the American Constitution, the founders were rather leery of accusations of treason, and accorded special protections for those accused of such a capital offense, providing that “[n]o person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”
For those of you familiar with the American Constitution, you may notice that this provision is under the Article concerning the Judiciary, Article lll, and not the Legislative or Executive Articles, land ll respectively. And, historically, when the American government accuses an American of such crimes, it has prosecuted them in a federal criminal court.
In a recent Freedom of Information Act case (See: New York Times v. United States Department of Justice, 915 F. Supp.2d 5O8, (S.D.N.Y.,2013.01.03)) – a seemingly Orwellian “newspeak” name for a statute that actually exempts categories of documents from release to the public-a federal district court judge ruled against the New York fimes and the American Civil Liberties Union. The Times and the ACLU argued that documents regarding the practice of “targeted killing” of American citizens, such as the radical Sunni cleric Anwar Nasser al-Aulaqi were in the public’s interest and were being withheld improperly.
The government first refused to acknowledge the existence of the documents, but later argued that their release could harm national security and were therefore exempt from disclosure. The court, however, felt constrained by the law and “conclud[ed] that the Government [had] not violated the FOIA by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and [could not] be compelled . . . to explain in detail the reasons why [the Government’s] actions do not violate the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
However, the judge also wrote candidly about her frustration with her sense that the request “implicate[d] serious issues about the limits on the power of the Executive Branch under the Constitution and laws of the United States,” and that the Presidential “Administration ha[d] engaged in public discussion of the legality of targeted killing, even of fAmerican] citizens, but in cryptic and imprecise ways.” In other words, it wasn’t that she didn’t think that the public didn’t have a right to know-it was that she didn’t feel that she had the “legal” authority to compel disclosure.
This case, like too many others, presents a critical problem that can also be seen in several recent cases, including my court-martial. For instance, I was accused by the Executive branch, and particularly the Department of Defense, of aiding the enemy-a treasonable offense covered under Article lll of the Constitution.
Granted, I received due process. I received charges, was arraigned before a military judge for trial, and eventually acquitted. But, the al-Aulaqi case raises a fundamental question: did the American government, and particularly the same President and Department, have the power to unilaterally determine my guilt of such an offense, and execute me at the will of the pilot of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle?
Until documents held by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel were released after significant political pressure in mid-2013, I could not tell you. And, very likely, I do not believe I could speak intelligently of the Administration’s policy on “targeted killing” today either.
There is a problem with this level of secrecy, obfuscation, and classification or protective marking, in that they supposedly protect citizens of their nation; yet, it also breeds a unilateralism that the founders feared, and deliberately tried to prevent when drafting the American Constitution. Now, we have a “disposition matrix,” classified military commissions, and foreign intelligence and surveillance courts-modern Star Chamber equivalents.
I am now accepting this award, through my friend, former school peer, and former small business partner, Aaron, for the release of a video and documents that “sparked a worldwide dialogue about the importance of government accountability for human rights abuses,” it is becoming increasingly clear to me that the dangers of withholding documents, legal interpretations, and court jurisprudence from the public that pertain to the right to “life, against such human rights abuses.
When the public lacks the ability to access what its government is doing, it ceases to be involved in the governing process. There is a distinct difference between citizens, in which people are entitled to rights and privileges protected by and from the state, and sublects, in which people are placed underthe absolute authority and control of the state. In essence, this is the difference between tyranny and freedom. To echo a maxim from Milton and Foes Friedman: a society that puts secrecy-ln the sense of state secrecy-ahead of transparency and accountability will end up neither secure nor free.
CHELSEA E. MANNING
January 16, 2014
The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) have voted overwhelmingly to present the 2014 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence to Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.
A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, U.S. Army Pvt. Manning is the 25 year-old intelligence analyst who in 2010 provided to WikiLeaks the “Collateral Murder” video – gun barrel footage from a U.S. Apache helicopter, exposing the reckless murder of 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists, during the “surge” in Iraq. The Pentagon had repeatedly denied the existence of the “Collateral Murder” video and declined to release it despite a request under the Freedom of Information Act by Reuters, which had sought clarity on the circumstances of its journalists’ deaths.
Release of this video and other documents sparked a worldwide dialogue about the importance of government accountability for human rights abuses as well as the dangers of excessive secrecy and over-classification of documents.
On February 19, 2014 Pvt. Manning — currently incarcerated at Leavenworth Prison — will be recognized at a ceremony in absentia at Oxford University’s prestigious Oxford Union Society for casting much-needed daylight on the true toll and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq; human rights abuses by U.S. and “coalition” forces, mercenaries, and contractors; and the roles that spying and bribery play in international diplomacy.
The Oxford Union ceremony will include the presentation of the traditional SAAII Corner-Brightener Candlestick and will feature statements of support from former SAAII awardees and prominent whistleblowers. Members of the press are invited to attend.
On August 21, 2013 Pvt. Manning received an unusually harsh sentence of 35 years in prison for exposing the truth — a chilling message to those who would call attention to wrongdoing by U.S. and “coalition” forces.
Under the 1989 Official Secrets Act in the United Kingdom, Pvt. Manning, whose mother is British, would have faced just two years in prison for whistleblowing or 14 years if convicted under the old 1911 Official Secrets Act for espionage.
Former senior NSA executive and SAAII Awardee Emeritus Thomas Drake has written that Manning “exposed the dark side shadows of our national security régime and foreign policy follies .. [her] acts of civil disobedience … strike at the very core of the critical issues surrounding our national security, public and foreign policy, openness and transparency, as well as the unprecedented and relentless campaign by this Administration to snuff out and silence truth tellers and whistleblowers in a deliberate and premeditated assault on the 1st Amendment.”
Previous winners of the Sam Adams Award include Coleen Rowley (FBI); Katharine Gun (formerly of GCHQ, the National Security Agency’s equivalent in the UK); former UK Ambassador Craig Murray; Larry Wilkerson (Col., US Army, ret.; chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell); Julian Assange (WikiLeaks); Thomas Drake (NSA); Jesselyn Radack (former ethics attorney for the Department of Justice, now National Security & Human Right Director of the Government Accountability Project); Thomas Fingar (former Deputy Director of National Intelligence, who managed the key National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 that concluded Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon four years earlier); and Edward Snowden (former NSA contractor and systems administrator, currently residing in Russia under temporary asylum).
The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence are very proud to add Pvt. Manning to this list of distinguished awardees.
By Ray McGovern, originally published on Aug. 15, 2010, reposted Aug. 22, 2013 with the following note from consortiumnews.com editor Robert Parry:
“From the Archive: A vengeful U.S. military has sentenced Pvt. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for disclosing unpleasant truths about the Afghan and Iraq wars and other government deceits. Manning’s bravery inspired ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern in 2010 to reflect on an earlier dilemma between secrecy and truth.”
By Daniel C. Maguire, June 4, 2013
By Ray McGovern, June 3, 2013