Update 6/14/12: Government rejects transparency suit, Peace Prize petition, and international solidarity actions
Government rejects transparency suit, says FOIA availability affords sufficient openness. Kevin Gosztola, a party to the legal petition for Judge Lind to make records in Bradley Manning’s case public, writes about the government’s response to the petition, which amounts to arguing that the fact that reporters can FOIA records means the trial is open enough:
The twisted argument the government is using to oppose further transparency in the proceedings involves invoking the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The government contends those signed on to the challenge have “public access to court-martial documents, through the FOIA and therefore extraordinary relief is not appropriate.”
“The FOIA generally provides that any person has the right to obtain access to federal agency records except to the extent those records are protected from disclosure by the FOIA…Indeed, the ‘thrust of the FOIA since its initial enactment has been to provide for disclosure of governmental files unless an exemption is established.’”
It goes on to add that Congrees requires “each agency” to “make the [requested] records promptly available to any person” unless subject to certain limited exemption and Congress “specifically included courts-martial within the definition of an “agency” and subjected them to the FOIA disclosure requirements.” The Department of the Army Freedom of Information Act Program, setup on November 1, 1997, and, specifically, the Judge Advocate General (TJAG), are authorized to “act on any request for records relating to courts-martial.”
But as Kevin notes, reporters have already made FOIA requests for these documents and have not received any information. Reporters could wait for these documents for months or even years, and “Manning might be convicted and in jail” by the time Judge Lind provides basic documents required for reporting on the case. The CCR is filing a formal response. (Read more…)
Petition the Nobel committee to award Bradley Manning this year’s Peace Prize. RootsAction has set up an online petition to urge the Nobel committee to stand up for Bradley Manning, who’s accused of releasing documents which exposed war crimes, helped inspire democratic uprisings, and helped bring an end to the occupation of Iraq. Icelandic Parliament nominated Bradley for the prize in February. Icelandic MP explained the nomination in a letter to the Nobel committee. The award will be announced this fall.
WISE Up documents a week of actions in solidarity with Bradley Manning. The European coalition WISE Up for Bradley Manning has posted photos and accounts of various solidarity actions last week concurring with Bradley’s motion hearing in Ft. Meade. Bradley has a broad base of international supporters, who don’t want to see the United States send someone to prison for life for highlighting what the government is doing illegally and in secret.