Welcome to the age where copying and pasting a link can land you in jail. In a case that threatens the future of information sharing and journalism, Barrett Brown is facing up to 105 years in prison for sharing a link from one chatroom to another in the course of research he was doing as a journalist.
Foreword: On Sunday 27 May 2012, Swedish state media again attacked Julian Assange, this time in an attempt to link him to an unrelated ongoing murder investigation and to blame him for the difficulties Swedish authorities have had in their investigation.
This latest attack shows how thoroughly Swedish state media are biased against him and how public opinion has been poisoned against him, to the extent it's now inconceivable he can receive a fair trial.
We urge our readers to write to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and bring this to his attention, to ask him to act to protect Julian from unfair extradition. A template letter is provided below - it's based on an earlier petition published by Justice for Assange.
President Obama recently stated that Private Manning’s conditions comply with the Pentagon’s basic standards. Given that those standards apparently permit Private Manning to be subjected to plainly unconstitutional conditions, it is clear that the Department of Defense must adapt its standards to meet the demands of the constitution. - American Civil Liberties Union
“AGAINST VIOLENCE UNDER THE CLOAK OF CARE”
Second open letter to the president of the American Medical Association
Dear Dr. Wilson,
There has been a disappointing and disturbing silence in answer to the registered letter I sent to you and the American Medical Association you represent. In this letter, sent on February 23rd, 2011, I asked the AMA to take all measures in their power to stop the abuse of medical terminology and the medical profession assisting in torture. More specifically, I asked you to speak out against the sale of the torturous ‘prevention of injury’ procedure used on Bradley Manning to the greater public as a form of justified “care”.
We know from professional literature on extreme forms of abuse that it is attractive to many perpetrators to shift labels to conceal the real nature and seriousness of their actions. These relabeling techniques help them to shrug off responsibility, to maintain their position in society and to further disempower their victims by confusing them (see professional literature on e.g. the phenomenon of gaslighting). The following three articles show us how important it is to continue to correctly label the treatment of Bradley Manning as torture and as inappropriate:
Petition from EFF
On Monday, April 11, 2011, EFF launched a petition to the largest Internet companies asking them to stand with their users and be transparent in their practices. Here's a chart showing how they think each of the companies is doing right now — a gold star indicates that the company is doing a stellar job, a half-star indicates they are taking steps in the right direction. This page will be updated as companies change their practices in response to public demand.
Details on what they are asking for:
1. Promise to inform users when their data is sought by the government
Internet companies should promise to tell users when their data is being sought by the government and give users a chance to defend themselves, unless prohibited by law — like Twitter promises to do and did in the Wikileaks investigation.
3. Be transparent about when you hand over data to the government
Companies should publish reports on how often they provide user data to governments worldwide, like Google does. These reports should include all demands that can be disclosed under the law. Companies should also make public the policies they have about sharing data with the government such as guides for law enforcement, like Twitter does.
3. Fight for users' privacy rights in the courts and in Congress
Companies should resist overbroad demands, like Yahoo did recently, and should disclose no more information than required by law. Internet companies should support efforts to modernize electronic privacy laws to defend users in the digital age, like the Digital Due Process Coalition members do.
Click here to sign the EFF petition
For WL Central coverage of the Wikileaks Twitter case, click here.
Petition from Change.org started by Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
On April 3, internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing airport while en route to Hong Kong, and his papers and computers were seized from his studio compound.
We members of the international arts community express our concern for Ai’s freedom and disappointment in China’s reluctance to live up to its promise to nurture creativity and independent thought, the keys to “soft power” and cultural influence.
Our institutions have some of the largest online museum communities in the world. We have launched this online petition to our collective millions of Facebook fans and Twitter followers. By using Ai Weiwei’s favored medium of “social sculpture,” we hope to hasten the release of our visionary friend.
Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation and Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art
Michael Govan, Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Kaywin Feldman, President, Association of Art Museum Directors and Director and President, Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Glenn Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Yongwoo Lee, President, The Gwangju Biennale Foundation
Vishakha Desai, President and Melissa Chiu, Vice President of Global Arts, Asia Society
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate and Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern
Jim Cuno, President and Director of the Art Institute of Chicago
Ann Philbin, Director of the Hammer Museum
Julián Zugazagoitia, Director of the Nelson Atkins Museum
Sign the petition at Change.org
Previous WL Central coverage on Ai Weiwei
Stop Wikileaks Torture - Sign the petition
To President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates:
We call on you to immediately end the torture, isolation and public humiliation of Bradley Manning. This treatment is a violation of his constitutionally guaranteed human rights, and a chilling deterrent to other potential whistleblowers committed to public integrity.
Right now, Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning is being tortured in a US military prison. Manning is subjected to utter isolation that can drive many people insane, with short periods each day where he is stripped naked and abused by jeering inmates.
Manning is awaiting trial for releasing secret military documents to Wikileaks – including a video of US soldiers massacring Iraqi civilians. And his brutal treatment appears to be part of an intimidation campaign to silence whistleblowers and crack down on Wikileaks. The US government is split on this issue, with diplomats publicly criticizing the military for Manning's treatment, but President Obama has stood aside so far.
Obama cares about the US's global reputation - we need to show him that it's at stake here. Let's build a massive global call to the US government to stop torturing Manning and uphold the law. Sign the petition below -- our message will be delivered through hard-hitting ads and actions in Washington DC as soon as we reach 250,000 signatures.
Sign the petition here.
Other petitions on WL Central for Bradley Manning are here.
Vote for Julian Assange in The 2011 TIME 100 Poll, here!
As of today, April 8, 2011, Julian Assange is ranked number 8, behind Susan Boyle at number 4, Beyonce at number 3, Jay Chou at number 2 and Rain at number 1. Bradley Manning is ranked at No. 38 out of 203 nominees. The poll asks its readers to: "Cast your votes for the leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes that you think are the most influential people in the world. The winner will be included in the TIME 100. Voting closes on April 14."
In last year's Time Person of the Year poll, Julian Assange was the clear readers' favourite, 148,383 votes ahead of the runner up. (Bradley Manning did not receive a nomination for Person of the Year 2010.) Time ignored the readers votes and chose the tenth placed Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Julian Assange received 382,026 votes, and a 92% average rating, Zuckerberg received 18,353 votes and a 52% average rating. As pointed out by many, Assange's organization takes information from public organizations and gives it freely to private citizens, while Zuckerberg's takes information from private citizens and sells it to public organizations. The distinction was famously acknowledged by Time managing editor Rick Stengel as: "While Assange attacks big institutions and governments through involuntary transparency with the goal of disempowering them, Zuckerberg enables individuals to voluntarily share information with the idea of empowering them. Assange sees the world as filled with real and imagined enemies; Zuckerberg sees the world as filled with potential friends."
In defending the move, Stengel said he felt that “When I make the choice, I think of [what] has actually affected people’s lives the most [in] the past year. Five years from now, who’s going to look smart? Julian Assange has been in the news a lot lately. I think five years from now, he’ll be an asterisk. If you really wanted to, [you would] make [leaker] Bradley Manning. Julian Assange was the wine bottle, and Bradley Manning supplied the wine. In the grand scheme of things, it will be a footnote to history.” He did not however, supply any information in the interview addressing why Bradley Manning was not nominated for Person of the Year, despite his stated opinion that Manning was the real newsmaker.
Last year as the Time Person of the Year vote concluded, Assange was in solitary confinement in a jail in London. Now, as fellow Time 100 nominee Bradley Manning continues in solitary confinement, Assange awaits an appeal trial on July 12 and 13 against his extradition. If it fails, it will most likely result in him being in solitary confinement again, this time in Sweden.
The popular mag invites readers to: "Cast your votes for the leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes that you think are the most influential people in the world. The winner will be included in the TIME 100. Voting closes on April 14" (Source: TIME Magazine).
A letter in support of WikiLeaks from Frontline and others:
We believe that free societies everywhere are best served by journalism that holds governments and corporations to account. We assert that the right to publish is equal to, and the consequence of, the citizen's right to know. While we believe in personal privacy and accept a need for confidentiality, we hold that disclosure in the public interest is paramount. Liberty, accountability and true democratic choice can only be guaranteed by rigorous scrutiny. We defend the right to publish the truth responsibly without obstruction and persecution by the state. The primary duty of journalists everywhere is to advance the cause of understanding, not to assist governments and powerful interests in suppressing information, and never to defer to ingrained habits of secrecy.
ARREST OBAMA ON IRISH SOIL FOR TORTURE RELATED CRIMES
This campaign and petition is for the arrest and prosecution of Barack Obama pursuant to international law on the prevention of torture and cruel and inhumane treatment of human beings, during his state visit to Ireland on May 22nd. Visit the site here.
Basic goals and principles
From the petition page:We the undersigned, wish to express our support for the following statements: That, pursuant to a universal respect for human rights, and pursuant to the written law in the U.N Convention Against Torture and other international humanitarian treaties, torture, in any form, or its enablement, or the failure to prevent it or prosecute those responsible, is one of the worst crimes possible, and anathema to the values of our political order. That the wrongness of torture is amplified, and not lessened, by power and influence, and that pragmatic interests must not intervene in the rightful prosecution of those responsible for torture, however inconvenient that may be politically. That Barack Obama has now successfully assumed responsibility for the failure to prosecute torture, and that he is responsible, by omission, for the failure to prevent torture occurring under his own administration, and that this is illegal by international law. That Ireland’s obligations under international and domestic law are clear, and that we must prosecute torturers whenever it is possible to do so. That Barack Obama should be arrested when he sets foot on Irish soil, and made to face the consequences of his acts and of his failures to act.
NOMINATE MOHAMMED NABBOUS FOR 2011 CNN HERO
Everyday People Changing the World
From Wikipedia: NPR social media strategist Andy Carvin called Nabbous "the face of Libyan citizen journalism;" Nabbous was the primary contact of many international media outlets looking for information regarding the situation in Libya. Nabbous was also the founder of the independent internet tv station in Libya: Libya Alhurra TV, broadcasting on Livestream.com.
Nabbous' online news station, Libya Alhurra TV, was the only broadcast coming out of Benghazi when Muammar Gaddafi shut down internet lines when the February 2011 uprising began. Using an illegal satellite connection, Nabbous was able to bypass government blocks on internet in order to broadcast live images from Benghazi across the world. As the independent voice for a Libyan population during the 2011 Libyan uprising, Der Spiegel reporter Clemens Höges called Nabbous "the man who just might be the most important person in the revolution."
If this campaign does not reach $5,200 by 15 Apr 08:32 UTC, no credit cards will be charged.
UPDATE: Great job guys! With your support we have been able to fund one WikiLeaks billboard in Los Angeles and hope to fund more. This particular campaign is to fund a billboard in Chicago to further spread the WikiLeaks cause throughout the nation.
It is my sincere hope that everyone who believes in freedom of speech and transparency in government will take action by supporting this billboard campaign. Our government is treading in dangerous waters on this issue. We need to show our elected officials that we defend WikiLeaks, and demand adherence to the 1st Amendment and transparency in government. I stand behind WikiLeaks. Many Americans do. And though we all love our country, we want the facts and deserve the truth.
Our billboard will demand attention and entice news outlets to cover it. It will compel our elected officials to take notice, as we loudly express our support for WikiLeaks. We have a tremendous opportunity here. We can actually make our voices heard. It's up to us to spread this message.
I am extremely passionate about this campaign, but know that with the help of my fellow Epic Steppers, we can make it even better. I came up with this message: "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act! - George Orwell." While I like this message, I think there could be a better one out there. So, I'd like to ask all you amazing designers and writers out there to come up with witty messages and creative designs. We need to have the best options possible to choose from in order to make our billboard really stand out and capture the hearts, minds, and news cameras this cause so desperately needs.
End the punitive detention of Bradley Manning
Take Action On This Issue
Amnesty International is concerned that the conditions inflicted on Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking information to Wikileaks, are unnecessarily severe and amount to inhumane treatment by the US authorities. Bradley Manning has not been convicted of any offence, but military authorities appear to be using all available means to punish him while in detention. The conditions under which Bradley Manning is held appear to breach the USA’s human rights obligations. Urge the Secretary of Defense to review the conditions under which Bradley Manning is confined and take effective measures to ensure that he is no longer held in 23-hour cellular confinement or subjected to other undue restrictions.
Robert M. Gates (Republican), Barack Obama (Democrat) - President
Customize Your Letter (optional)
Dear [Recepient's Name],
I am writing to urge you to review the conditions under which Private First Class (PFC) Bradley Manning is confined at the Quantico naval brig and take effective measures to ensure that he is no longer held in 23 hour cellular confinement or subjected to other undue restrictions.
To the UN Security Council:
We urge you immediately to impose a no-fly zone on Libya to stop aerial bombings, attacks and the movement of Qaddafi's troops and weapons, which are inflicting a terrible toll on civilians, and to protect the needs and interests of the Libyan people.
As Libyan government jets drop bombs on the civilian population, the UN Security Council will decide in 48 hours whether to impose a no-fly zone to keep Qaddafi's warplanes on the ground.
Two weeks ago Avaaz members sent 450,000 emails to the Security Council, reportedly stunning the President of the Council's office and getting a public response from the US ambassador. Then, we helped win serious targeted sanctions on the Libyan regime - now, to stop the bloodshed, we need a massive outcry for a no-fly zone.
As long as Qaddafi's gunships are in the air, the civilian death toll will rise. Many European and Arab nations support a no-fly zone, but the politics of the Security Council requires unity to pass a resolution. A powerful public demand from all corners of the planet can push all the governments on the Council to take action. We have just 48 hours left -- sign now and forward this email widely.
Note from WL Central
Sign the Open Letter to the United States Government, Demand that they Stop Prosecution of Assange and WikiLeaks
Open Letter to the United States Government Regarding WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and the Fundamental Tenets of Democracy and Open Societies.
To President Obama, US Senators and Congressmen and women, Attorney General Eric Holder, the Department of Justice, and all of those involved in the attempt to prosecute Julian Assange, founder of the nonprofit news organization WikiLeaks.org:
We are a diverse group of people from around the world who have come together for a common purpose: to defend WikiLeaks, to ask the United States to cease its attempts to manufacture a case against Julian Assange, and to defend democratic principles and our fundamental rights guaranteed therein. We are professionals, homemakers, activists, students, and others who believe that government derives its power from the consent of the governed, as stipulated in the Declaration of Independence, but that citizens can only give meaningful consent if they are fully informed about their government's actions. Nothing more violates American principles, which inspire both those of us who are and are not American citizens, than the idea that "government knows best" and has the right to deceive its own people.
Stop the Massacre - Save the Libyans
To: His Excellency Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations
The international news organizations are broadcasting atrocities that are being committed against unarmed civilians in Libya that could be considered crimes against humanity.
This country has been ruled with an iron fist for the past 42 years by the notorious regime of Muammar Gaddafi. While claiming to have a unique form of direct democracy, the regime has never tolerated any dissent, and has carried out many atrocities over the decades it has been in power oppressing its people, including public hangings, long-term imprisonments without trial, and the infamous massacre of 1270 prisoners in the Abusleem prison in Tripoli in 1996. Libya has no constitution, parliament, elections or free press. All political activities and parties are banned.
The Libyan people have risen in a wide wave of protests since February 15th that are turning into a bloodbath due to the vicious repression of these protests that the rulers of Libya have unleashed on its citizens. Hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries are being reported, with graphic evidence posted all over the Internet. This has got to stop. Nobody believes the denials and feeble excuses of the Libyan government's representatives.
We demand that all free world governments and international organizations take immediate action to:
• Condemn all military actions against civilians all over Libya, and demand that the Libyan regime immediately stop all such actions and stop repression of any free peaceful protests
• Demand that the Libyan rulers allow international media and international humanitarian organizations free, unhindered and safe access to all parts of the country
"BLOW THE WHISTLE! on TWITTER"
@Carwinb has compiled a list of Senators, who are on Twitter, and who have not yet responded to: "Did you place an anonymous hold on the Whistleblower Protection Act?" Now you can tweet them, and ask them yourself.
On December 22, 2010, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act Bill S.372) was killed by an unknown United States Senator, who placed an anonymous hold on the bill (reported here on WL Central).
WNYC has posted a table, "containing the names, states, and contact information for the 87 [United States] Senators still serving that could have put the anonymous hold on this bill." You can find it here.
They are asking the American public to "call, write, [or] email their Senators and ask them 'did you kill this bill?'” Then, regardless of the Senator's reply, they request you email firstname.lastname@example.org with an update.
"FREE ASSANGE! FREE MANNING! FREE SPEECH!"
Four Days of Action announced for Julian Assange and Bradley Manning 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th February.
Cyber, anti-war and human rights activists will today descend on the Australian High Commission and on Monday/Tuesday on the Woolwich magistrates court, while on Saturday there will be a public meeting in Harringay, north London.
FOUR DAYS OF ACTION ANNOUNCED
"FREE ASSANGE! FREE MANNING! FREE SPEECH!"
Friday 4 February: Cyber, anti-war and human rights activists will today descend on the Australian High Commission and on Monday and Tuesday 7 and 8 February on the Woolwich magistrates court, attached to the Category A Belmarsh Prison, to demand freedom for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, presently on restrictive bail and facing extradition, and also for Bradley Manning, the young soldier who is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico Marine Base in USA. The activist groups will join others from WikiLeaks London Support group outside the court.
Saturday 5 February: a public meeting will be held at Harringay's Giuseppe Conlon Hall, which also serves as a 'house of hospitality' for refugees and others in need of help and support. Speakers will include former political prisoner of the US, Ciaron O'Reilly, and a speaker from the support group 'UK Friends of Bradley Manning'. Footage from the 'Collateral Murder' video Manning is accused of leaking will be shown and there will also be live music.
IRISH DISARMAMENT ACTION MENTIONED IN WIKILEAKS