As president Obama prepares to give his nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on September 6th, protesters will be busy occupying his local campaign offices all across the country.
The Bradley Manning Support Network, along with Afghans for Peace and San Francisco Bay Iraq Veterans Against the War, have called for nationwide actions to demand “amends for the unlawful torture of Bradley Manning” and that President Obama “pardon the accused whistle-blower, taking into consideration his 800 days of pretrial confinement.”
The action repeats that of a previous call put out by the organization on August 16th, upon which protesters locked themselves inside Obama campaign offices in Portland, Oregon and Oakland, California, read aloud a list of demands, and then refused to leave until negotiators convinced them to do so. Twelve were arrested between those two protests. Others were said to have taken place in Los Angeles, California and Tacoma and Seattle, Washington.
During August’s Oakland action, an ugly scuffle broke out between the protesters and several female Obama campaign staffers, who were clearly startled by the imposition of the protesters’ occupation of their workplace.
Manning, a United States Army soldier, currently faces trial after being arrested in May of 2010 for providing classified materials – including the footage used in the infamous “Collateral Murder” video -- to the whistleblower website Wikileaks.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange remains secluded inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, after fleeing charges of rape and sexual assault in Sweden. Ecuador granted Assange diplomatic asylum in its country in June, citing the “unfair trial” Assange could face in the United States, but the UK has refused safe passage to Ecuador in the meantime. Ecuador’s action only protects Assange from arrest on its own soil; if Assange steps outside the country’s embassy in London, he still risks British arrest and extradition to Sweden and possibly to the US.
Manning and Assange have both received widespread support from political advocacy groups on the left, including from those in the hacker community.
Last Thursday, a hacker claiming to be a supporter of Julian Assange attacked the police websites in Hertfordshire and Nottinghamshire in the UK and is said to have leaked logins and passwords of police officers through a public Pastebin posting online. The Pastebin page included an “OpFreeAssange” banner; the hacker claimed that s/he is not part of the Anonymous hacker collective.
Anonymous has however claimed responsibility for previous actions in support of both Manning and Assange, the most notable having been Operation Payback, in which PayPal, Visa and Mastercard were attacked for their refusal to process donations to Wikileaks.
In his capacity as legal counsel for Anonymous in a press release that was posted on AnonNews in April 2011, Kevin Zeese, who is also legal advisor for the Bradley Manning Support Network, speculated that the “smear campaign” against Julian Assange may have been part of an inappropriate deal, driven by corporate greed, between the United States and Sweden.
Operation Want is an online think-tank of Anonymous researchers, writers and artists that are specifically interested in transparency of government and the political relationships between Sweden and the U.S. concerning the case of Julian Assange and the coordinated smear campaign against WikiLeaks. […]
Operation Want began as a freelance investigation into the reasons and persons behind the international charges filed against WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. Why were apparently fraudulent accusations that were dismissed and forgotten reopened? Why did Interpol become involved, rating him at their top red level? Why is the Swedish judiciary pursuing Assange with such ferocity? What interests are involved in this case? What is their motive? Through assessing all of the published Wikileaks cables from the Stockholm Embassy, we believe we can illuminate the machinations as to who has the means and motive.
NASDAQ OMX Group is valued at over $14 trillion. The makeup of the 15 member Board of Directors has lost their balance between industry, non-industry and public interest. For the past five years there has been a power struggle over control and a considerable amount of personal greed. Two of the wealthiest 1% are fighting for ultimate control at the expense of the public trust. The end-game of the struggle within NASDAQ OMX will result in a Swedish-based cartel, which will prevent majority voting abilities within the world's largest global financial trading body.
Months later, Zeese also took aim at United States policies and at President Obama, while at a press conference to support Manning. “I can’t imagine a juror who wants to have a future in the military … going against the statement of [guilty] made by his or her commander-in-chief,” Zeese said in November 2011.
At a press conference last week, members of the Bradley Manning Support Network, which has raised money for Manning’s defense, argued that public comments that President Obama made earlier this year suggesting that Manning is guilty constituted illegal command influence on the military court from the nation’s commander in chief.
Obama told an audience in April , “If I was to release stuff, information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law.”
This Thursday’s nationwide actions being simultaneously coordinated around the DNC by the Bradley Manning Support Network will again call on Obama to retract his April 2011 statement about Manning’s involvement in sharing classified information with Wikileaks, as well as for Manning's pardon from Obama.
Given the high-profile venue during which the actions are scheduled this time around, and their nationwide targets, we can likely expect even greater theatrics than seen in August 16th's performance. Let's hope the screaming, shoving, and chair-wielding aren't a return feature for Act Two.