Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on August 7 for leaking classified US government documents to WikiLeaks. These documents revealed evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses carried out at the behest of the US government. Diplomatic cables leaked by Manning also show the lengths to which the Bush administration was prepared to go to ensure that those responsible for such crimes would remain unreachable under international law. Immunity
Australian foreign Minister Bob Carr finally acknowledged the US grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange on June 5. This investigation will decide whether Assange should be prosecuted for his role in releasing confidential documents through WikiLeaks. Despite the risk to Assange, Carr told a Senate budget estimates committee that the Australian government will not be seeking information from the US government about the grand jury, because “it doesn’t affect Australian interests”.
WikiLeaks released an enormous treasure-trove of classified US government documents in 2010. It included US military logs from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 250,000 diplomatic cables, and Collateral Murder, a video depicting the killing of 12 civilians by a US helicopter gunship in Iraq. The source of the leaks, US Private Bradley Manning, acted on his conscience. He believed that people have a right to see the information he had been privy to as an army intelligence analyst. He was prepared to risk his life and liberty to reveal that information.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd fulfilled his campaign pledge to withdraw Australian “combat” forces from Southern Iraq on June 2008. Rudd used the occasion to condemn former Prime Minister John Howard for joining the war, but US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks show the Rudd government wanted to keep more Australian forces in Iraq than it had withdrawn.
Ten years ago, then Australian Prime Minister John Howard sent 2000 Australian soldiers to join the US-led invasion of Iraq. Like US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Howard lied about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to justify an illegal war of aggression. The Labor Party hoped to gain political advantage by opposing the unpopular war, but did so only on a technicality: the lack of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) authorisation for the invasion.
The Sydney Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition (SAWC) interviewed former Australian attorney-general, Kep Enderby QC, about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Enderby first contacted SAWC to offer his support for our campaign last year. In July, he wrote a statement read out at a rally for Assange and WikiLeaks in Sydney. Enderby became involved in civil liberties and human rights activism while working as a lawyer in London in the 1950s. He championed the cause of African-American singer and radical, Paul Robeson, who was being denied his passport by the US government.
Former chair of the US National Intelligence Council, Thomas Fingar, received the 2013 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence in January for his role overseeing the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran. The NIE report found that all 16 US intelligence agencies judged “with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program”, and has since been credited with stopping a US-Israeli war against Iran.
Former chairperson of the US National Intelligence Council, Thomas Fingar, received the 2013 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence on January 23 for his role overseeing the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran. The NIE report’s finding that Iran had no active nuclear weapons program gave lie to years of US-Israeli anti-Iran rhetoric, and has been credited with preventing a pre-emptive war against Iran.
Former US National Intelligence Council chairperson Thomas Fingar received the 2013 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence on January 23 for his role overseeing the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran. The NIE finding’s that all 16 US intelligence agencies judged “with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program” removed the immediate threat of a US-Israeli military attack on Iran.
Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr, US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich, and writer and activist Eva Cox took part in the ABC’s Q&A on February 25. More than 15 minutes of the program was spent discussing WikiLeaks journalist Julian Assange.