27 September 2012, 14:07

Julian Assange: Manning is a patriot

Julian Assange: Manning is a patriot
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Julian Assange, addressing the General Assembly at the United Nations, said a number of amazing things. One of the things – he called Bradley Manning a “patriot”.

Carmen Russell-Sluchansky: That was a guy, he pointed out, whose father had served, he had actually wanted to serve his country as well, so he got into the military intelligence, ended up being sent to Iraq, saw people being tortured and so on. That was what eventually made him leak all that information, because he just simply didn’t agree with a lot of the actions that the US military were taking in Iraq and in the Middle East. But I do think it was interesting to call Bradley Manning a patriot, because, of course, this is considered very different and obviously from the US-line reasoning, in terms of wider holding, Bradley Manning he has been called many things. And, of course, he is charged with treason, which is capital offence with a potential of death penalty.

Jamila Bey: Now to talk a little bit more of what Assange said of Manning – he mentioned that Manning has been detained for 859 days, the legal maximum here in the US is a 120 days of military detention without a trial. And he made a case that the treatment of Manning is illegal, is not in line with what US own regulations are and have been. And he called out for justice for Manning. What that would even look like? I know that’s a little bit tangential, but Manning is detained, he hasn’t gone to trial, there’s no date set for trial.

C.Russell-Sluchansky: They’re in the process. They’ve made hearings to check whether he could stand trial. But, obviously, the point is made that he’s spending a lot more time without a trial, behind bars than is generally allowed under even apparently military tribunal rules. Certainly it’s considered very different from what the US generally considers to be proper habeas corpus, right? It’s written in our criminal code, you’re not supposed to spend very long before you’re given trial. This is where the whole innocence-guilty concept comes from.

J.Bey: Indeed. So another point that Assange made that really seemed audacious, he used the title of President Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope.

C.Russell-Sluchansky: He called Obama “audacious enough” in a lot of points.

J.Bey: Yeah. He says that the US declared him to be the “enemy of the state” and that it’s time for the President to support the forces of change. Looking at the way cases are laid out, the way campaigns are laid out, Assange used some very deliberate rhetorical devices this evening. He laid out the case that WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning were, in part, responsible for the Arab Spring and that the US said they supported the forces of change in the Middle East, those who would overthrow the leaders and then Manning said, “That would be surprising to those who were fighting for change, because the US actually supported the pressers.

C.Russell-Sluchansky: Which was revealed in…

J.Bey: WikiLeaks documents that came out. We’ll get to that in just a minute. I want to stay on the rhetoric of the way he laid that out. Just because calling on Obama to support change absolutely means, “Ok, if you, President Obama, want to allow your people to protest and support those who would tamp down dictators, you have to relinquish your role as someone who was trying to keep WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning and Julian Assange down. You have to take on this responsibility yourself.” That was an incredible charge.

Assange addresses UN General Assembly

The founder of the WikiLeaks Internet resource Julian Assange has addressed representatives of the UN General Assembly via video.In his statement, Mr. Assange condemned Barack Obama for encroaching on the freedom of speech and “persecuting” WikiLeaks.

The video conference was arranged by the Russia Today channel from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

The greater part of Assange’s speech was dedicated to the illegal activities of the US authorities against private Bradley Manning from whom he received materials of the US diplomatic and military correspondence. The private has been kept in prison for 856 days without any charges.

In his statement, Mr. Assange condemned Barack Obama for encroaching on the freedom of speech and “persecuting” WikiLeaks.

“It must have come as a surprise to the Egyptian teenagers who washed American teargas out of their eyes to hear that the US supported change in the Middle East," Assange said. "It's time for President Obama to keep his word ... and for the US to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks.

Assange himself has not left the Ecuadorean Embassy for three months. He fears extradition to Sweden where he is charged with rape and further extradition to the US where he is facing a death sentence.

On Thursday, media cited declassified US documents where US officials referred to Julian Assange and his whistleblower website as enemies of the state, the same label that had been pinned on Al-Qaeda following the 9/11 terror acts and the Taliban, which is currently waging a war against the US in Afghanistan.

Voice of Russia, Vesti.ru, Russia Today, TASS

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