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20130301 Manning Tells Court Public Has Right to Know About US War Crimes

20130301 Manning Tells Court Public Has Right to Know About US War Crimes

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Published by Rolf Auer
21st century information wars. Manning vs US.
21st century information wars. Manning vs US.

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Published by: Rolf Auer on Mar 01, 2013
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05/14/2014

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BACK  March 1, 2013
Bradley Manning Tells Court Public Have thar Crimes
 American Attorney for Julian Assange, Michael Ratner, reports he was in the courtroom and witnessedetailed the outrages that drove him to upload the documents to Wikileaks
 Watch full multipartThe Ratner Report
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Bio
Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New  York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He iscurrently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. He and CCR brought the first casechallenging the Guantanamo detentions and continue in their efforts to close Guantanamo. Hetaught at Yale Law School, and Columbia Law School, and was President of the NationalLawyers Guild. His current books include "Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-FirstCentury America," and “ Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder.” NOTE: Mr.Ratner speaks on his own behalf and not for any organization with which he is affiliated.
Transcript
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay inBaltimore. And welcome to this week's edition of 
The Ratner Report 
with Michael Ratner, who now joins us from New York City.Michael is president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York. He's chairof the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He's also the U.S.attorney for Julian Assange. And he's also a board member of The Real News Network.Thanks very much for joining us.MICHAEL RATNER, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS:Good to be with you, Paul.JAY: So you spent a hell of a emotional day at a remarkable trial of Bradley Manning today. What happened?RATNER: I went down to Fort Meade, and it was an all-day affair. Bradley Manning was in thecourtroom. Most of the press goes to a theater room, but a few of us—I'm not press—go intothe room with Bradley Manning. And it was a special day because it was a day in whichBradley Manning's lawyer and Bradley had decided to plead guilty to certain of the charges, but really lesser included charges, not the top charges of espionage and aiding the enemy andall of that.But I was devastated by the day emotionally. I was devastated by it. But at the same time, youreally saw who Bradley Manning was, what a hero he was, and how when he saw wrong, he
 
 basically acted.Technically what happened today is he pleaded guilty to nine charges. And when you pleadguilty in a court, the court wants to make sure you understand what you're doing, the nature of the plea, and asks you to describe what your actions are. And so Bradley Manning pleadedguilty to many of the distribution or the transferring of documents to WikiLeaks, who is my client, all of the documents from the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan war logs, "Collateral Murder" video, Department of State cables, the Reykjavik 13 cable, etc.But what was amazing about this guilty plea to nine charges is the judge allowed him to read astatement that's probably a 30-page statement—it took two or three hours—that really gave you a sense of who Bradley Manning was. And it was an incredibly moving statement. Hestarted out by when he joined the military, and then he described what his first job was inIraq. And his first job was really compiling and working with something called SigAct, whichare significant activities. And those are the daily log reports of what happens in the field. Andas he read those reports, he got more and more disturbed by what he saw going on in Iraq, theamount of killings, the number of—the fact that they were killing people on a kill list, he said,rather than helping people. And he thought there should be a serious discussion of counterinsurgency, what it meant, what it meant to really help people instead of hurt them. At about the same time as he was looking at these and working—this was part of his work, theIraq War Logs. And of course the Afghan war logs, similar material, were in the same sort of location, so he got to see those as well.The same time that he's doing this, he's also becoming aware of the organization WikiLeaks,and he's primarily becoming aware of it through the fact that they released—I forgot how many tens of thousands of SMSs, those special—you know, the text messages from people who were in the World Trade Center when it was hit. And that was, I guess, an exposure by  WikiLeaks. And then he did some research on WikiLeaks while he was at his computer, and hefound out that in 2008 there was a report done by the U.S. government about how to counter WikiLeaks way back in 2008.So you have these two things going along—him getting disturbed by the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan war logs, and then him being in contact, at least, with WikiLeaks.The first thing that happens is the Iraq War Logs and the Afghan war logs, and what happensis that he gets disturbed by it. He doesn't do anything with it, but he goes to the United Statesat some point with those logs downloaded onto his computer, I guess, or onto a chip, really,like, a little SD card. And he's in Maryland, and there's a snowstorm. He can't decide what todo with it. He talks to someone who was at least his boyfriend for a while and said, what if youhad things that the American people ought to see. The boyfriend is noncommittal. He keeps

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