Tag Archives: Alexa O’Brien

The Sentencing of Chelsea Manning: Alexa O’Brien’s Exclusive Interview with Attorney David Coombs

Fort Meade, MD — On August 21, 2013 The Sparrow Project partnered with Jeff Wirth of Burning Hearts Media to produce Alexa O’Brien’s exclusive interview with David Coombs, lead civilian counsel for Private First Class Manning. An excerpt of this interview aired that afternoon on Huffpost Live and was cross-published on The Huffington Post. The next morning, 40 minutes of this interview aired on Democracy Now!. The following is Alexa’s interview with David in its entirety available for embed or download. We welcome bloggers and media outlets to use this footage as it is the only comprehensive long-form interview with Manning’s counsel and sheds an important light on one of the most historic and heartbreaking cases of whistleblower prosecution to date.

As Judge Denise Lind handed down a sentence of 35 years to Pfc. Manning the press pool was already framing the narrative of how the sentence would be reported upon from that moment forward. The prospect of Manning being paroled after 7 years (a hopeful one at best), words like “leniency”, and a misplaced infatuation with Manning’s private life started to bloat and leave little room for the ugly truth. Namely, that a young whistleblower who exposed war crimes was sentenced to decades in prison. A sentence which relied in part on a draconian application of the 1917 espionage act. This reflex by the media to eschew the complexities and embrace convenient or sensational headlines is why an interview with Manning’s Attorney on his terms with the journalist of his choosing was so important.

Regarding the use of male pronouns *

During the pretrial proceedings, Court Martial and sentencing of Pfc. Manning, Chelsea requested to be identified as Bradley and addressed using the male pronoun. In a letter embargoed for August 21, 2013 Chelsea proclaimed that she is female and wished to be addressed from that moment forward as Chelsea E. Manning. This interview pre-dates Chelsea’s public announcement.

Icelandic Parliamentarian, Birgitta Jonsdottir, will Visit NYC in Support of Bradley Manning Despite DOJ Grand Jury Investigation Into Her, Wikileaks

Icelandic Parliamentarian, Birgitta Jonsdottir, will Visit NYC in Support of Bradley Manning Despite DOJ Grand Jury Investigation Into Her, Wikileaks

[NEW YORK, NY]  On Friday, April 5, 2013 Icelandic Parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir will host an evening of art and dialogue in support of jailed Iraq war whistleblower, Pfc. Bradley Manning, at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Sq. South MAP). A 6pm benefit informal art auction & film screening will be followed by a panel discussion at 8pm.

The panel discussion will feature Jonsdottir in conversation with Alexa O’Brien and Kevin Gosztola, journalists who each have provided extensive coverage of the Manning pretrial proceedings at Ft. Meade, MD, along with Peter Hart, a critic with the media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. The panel will be moderated by Sam Seder, host of the political talk show, The Majority Report.

Jonsdottir’s visit comes on the heels of a February 2013 revelation by Iceland’s Justice Minister that, in August 2011, Icelandic lawmakers expelled several FBI agents from the country. An Alexandria, VA Grand Jury Probe is seeking information about Jonsdottir, among others, in relation to Wikileaks, its developers and managers, and Pfc. Bradley Manning. Despite advice from the Icelandic Government not to visit the US until the closure of the Grand Jury, Jonsdottir has chosen to schedule her visit amidst this still-active Grand Jury, citing the urgency of Pfc. Manning’s plight. As Manning’s court-martial trial is scheduled to begin on June 3, 2013, he faces a potential life sentence, if convicted on all counts.

Jonsdottir was instrumental in facilitating Pfc. Manning’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, both in 2012 and again in 2013, with wider support. “I nominated Bradley Manning for the Nobel Peace prize for the first time in 2012 ,with a couple of fellow MPs from Iceland,” said Jonsdottir, “In 2013, I did it again with the same MPs, members from the European Parliament and a former Minster from Tunisia. It is very encouraging to see the growing support for Manning around the world, but most importantly, within the USA.”

Jonsdottir is also suing president Barack Obama over the indefinite detention powers within § 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In September 2012, Judge Katherine Forrest of New York’s Southern District Court enjoined the President from using § 1021(b)(2) in a landmark ruling in favor of Jonsdottir and six other plaintiffs, citing that their work in activism, academia, and journalism could potentially put them at risk of detention under § 1021(b)(2). The Obama administration is currently appealing Judge Forrest’s ruling.

 Large-format prints of single frames from the now infamous “Collateral Murder’” video (disclosed by Manning, published by Wikileaks and co-produced by Jonsdottir) depicting the killing of unarmed Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists by US Apache gunfire, will be displayed and sold in benefit of Pfc. Manning.

Bradley Manning Print by Molly Crabapple Limited-edition 17″ x 22″ giclée prints by celebrated social justice artist and illustrator, Molly Crabapple, will also be sold as part of the benefit. For those who want to support the benefit but cannot attend the New York City event on April 5th.  Crabapple’s prints are currently available online to bid upon HERE.  The first 200 highest bids will receive these prints.

The event aims to raise awareness about Manning, now 25 years old, who recently explained in a court statement that he leaked the documents as an act of conscience; to uncover U.S. abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan and to help people in America better understand wars abroad. The event also hopes to raise money for Bradley’s defense fund, a fund for the families affected by the massacre captured in the “Collateral Murder” video , and money for Ethan McCord, the soldier who helped save the children wounded in the attack.

For a list of additional events in NYC with Birgitta Jonsdottir click HERE. To RSVP to Friday’s event via Facebook click HERE.

 

To arrange an interview with Brigitta Jonsdottir while she is in the USA, please contact Andy Stepanian via email at andy@sparrowmedia.net or by phone at 631.291.3010

 

The Homeland Battlefield: ‘Hedges v. Obama’ Lawsuit Challenging NDAA Begins in NYC

The Homeland Battlefield: ‘Hedges v. Obama’ Lawsuit Challenging NDAA Begins in NYC

New York, NY —  The first rounds of statements from seven high-profile plaintiffs suing President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, House Speakers and DOD Representatives for injunctive relief barring the implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)‘s “Homeland Battlefield” provisions of indefinite detention and suspension of Habeus Corpus will be heard in federal court today, March 29, 2012.

The hearings will begin at 9am at the US District Court Building at 500 Pearl Street in Manhattan (Room 15A) and will be immediately followed by a press conference outside the court at 2:30pm  beside the center statue at nearby Foley Square (Junction of Center Street & Federal Plaza map link).  Taking questions at the press conference will be Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and plaintiff Chris Hedges, film maker Michael Moore, author Naomi Wolf, lead counsel for the plaintiffs Carl Mayer, as well as other plaintiffs and their activist supporters.  At 3pm, following the press conference, activists with Occupy Wall Street are expected to stage at the square for an anti-NDAA protest action.

The plaintiffs in Hedges v. Obama include: New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges,  Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, celebrated writer and linguist Noam Chomsky, Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, Tangerine Bolen founder of the activist media group RevolutionTruth, Occupy London activist Kai Wargalla, and Alexa O’Brien founder  of the web campaign “US Day of Rage.”  Each of the plaintiffs share common narrative that their constitutionally protected work, either in activism or in journalism will be chilled by the over-broad provisions set forth under the NDAA.  Naomi Wolf and Dr. Cornel West are in the process of becoming plaintiffs in this lawsuit; Wolf will read her statement in court today.

“I have had dinner more times than I can count with people whom this country brands as terrorists. But that does not make me one,” said Hedges “if there is no rolling back of the NDAA law we cease to be a constitutional democracy. Totalitarian systems always begin by rewriting the law. They make legal what was once illegal.” He continued, “Crimes become patriotic acts. The defense of freedom and truth becomes a crime. Foreign and domestic subjugation merges into the same brutal mechanism. Citizens are colonized. And it is always done in the name of national security. We obey the new laws as we obeyed the old laws, as if there was no difference. And we spend our energy and our lives appealing to a dead system.”

“The Homeland Battlefield Law is as Orwellian as its name implies.  America is not a “battlefield”; it is a democratic republic.  This law is unconstitutional because it violates the free speech and due process rights of American citizens” says Carl Mayer, lead attorney on the case.

You can read or print a copy of the plaintiffs lawsuit at THIS LINK  the text of the NDAA in it’s entirety is available at THIS LINK.  For more information on the case and it’s plaintiffs visit www.stopNDAA.org