Snow-covered peace activists and military veterans --- as well as legendary whistleblowers and former intelligence officers --- were arrested today in front of the White House while protesting the War in Afghanistan and rallying in support of WikiLeaks and for the exposure of war crimes.
The BRAD BLOG spoke with one of those arrested, the FBI's 9/11 whistleblower and TIME's 2002 Person of the Year Coleen Rowley, within the past two hours, shortly after she was released from custody by the Capitol Hill police. Rowley had traveled some 22 hours with a group of about 17 fellow Minnesotans to participate in today's protest and paid a $100 fine for the charge of "refusal to obey a lawful order."
"Over a hundred of us got arrested standing at the White House fence, singing and showing our signs," the former FBI analyst told us. "We sang all 15 versus of 'We shall Overcome', versus that you probably never heard, and sang new words to 'Down by the Riverside' as 'Down at the White House Fence.'"
Also arrested at the protest today were Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg (whom we recently interviewed about WikiLeaks), 27-year veteran CIA analyst Ray McGovern (about whom we recently wrote after last weekend's appearance on CNN) telling host Don Lemon that CNN should "following [WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange's] example" by "seek[ing] out secrets," and Pulitzer prize-winning former New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges.
Rowley will be our guest tomorrow night (Friday) on the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show, which we are again scheduled to co-host.
"We were protesting against war crimes and for exposing war crimes," Rowley explained earlier tonight. She said she made her own sign back home Minnesota before traveling to D.C.. She says her sign had "The War is a Lie" on one side and "Expose War Crimes, Free Bradley Manning" on the back, with photos from WikiLeaks' "Collateral Murder" video revealing a U.S. Army Apache helicopter firing and killing approximately a dozen individuals, including two Reuters employees, and wounding two children. The video is alleged to have been leaked to WikiLeaks by Army PFC Bradley Manning who, Salon's Glenn Greenwald reported yesterday, has been detained and held "in intensive solitary confinement" for the past seven months "under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture," even as he has reportedly behaved as "a model detainee"...
In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America's Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado: all without so much as having been convicted of anything. And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig's medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation.
The...conditions under which Manning is being detained were once recognized in the U.S. --- and are still recognized in many Western nations --- as not only cruel and inhumane, but torture.
These inhumane conditions make a mockery of Barack Obama's repeated pledge to end detainee abuse and torture, as prolonged isolation --- exacerbated by these other deprivations --- is at least as damaging, as violative of international legal standards, and almost as reviled around the world, as the waterboard, hypothermia and other Bush-era tactics that caused so much controversy.
Manning has been reported as the source behind tens of thousands of "war logs" from both Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as some 250,000 diplomatic cables, all leaked to the WikiLeaks organization and published in redacted form by both them and their several media partners such as the UK's Guardian and the New York Times.
In our interview with Ellsberg on December 1, the legendary whistleblower was effusive in his support for what Manning is accused of having done, saying that he's waited forty years for a leak similar to the one he thought he might face a lifetime in prison for in 1971:
Bradley Manning is not a traitor any more than I was. I’m sure from what I’ve read that he in fact is very patriotic, as I was. And indeed the charge of treason in our country, in our Constitution, requires aid and comfort to an enemy with whom you adhere. And adherence to an enemy to the disadvantage of the United States. I don’t think Bradley Manning or I intended at all to be disadvantageous to the United States. Quite the contrary. To do things, as I’ve said, to reveal truths that would reduce the danger that our policies are subjecting Americans to. And Bradley Manning, I’m sure, does not adhere to the Taliban or to al-Qaeda any more than I adhered to the Viet Cong, which was zero. So that charge is ignorant, let’s say, of what the term means in America.
Held in decidedly less inhumane conditions than Manning today, Rowley, who after years as an FBI official found herself on the other side of the law for a brief time this afternoon, appeared on MSNBC's Countdown on Tuesday night to discuss the Manning case. (That video is embedded at end of this article, along with a video of today's White House protest. FULL DISCLOSURE: Rowley has guest blogged at The BRAD BLOG in the past..)
The FBI special agent was widely lauded and named one of three "Persons of the Year" by TIME magazine in 2002, for helping to reveal attempts to warn higher-ups in the FBI about Zacarias Moussaoui as late as August 2001, in hopes of "trying to keep someone from taking a plane and crashing into the World Trade Center," as one inexplicably-ignored memo described it.
Last October she suggested in a Los Angles Times op-ed that 9/11 might have been averted had their been a WikiLeaks "around in 2001." She followed that up with more specifics a few days later in an article at Huffington Post, both with fellow whistleblower Bogdan Dzakovic.
Last week she joined with a number of fellow whistleblowers and former intelligence and diplomatic officials, including Ellsberg and McGovern, to issue a statement in support of WikiLeaks, Assange, and Manning, as we reported at the time.
"No one security official, other than me and my partner on the LA Times op-ed has spoken out to say, 'Yes, information sharing increases security.' In fact, secrecy and creating walls and compartmentalizing information --- in response to WikiLeaks, everything that you're hearing about now --- is exactly the thing we shouldn't be doing," she told us today following her release. "That was what was determined to have been one of the problems leading up to 9/11."
"Does secrecy help security?" she asked rhetorically. "Every security official, if they tell you the truth, they'll say no."
We'll be discussing all of the above and much more with Rowley as she travels the 22 hours back to Minnesota on Friday night's Malloy Show beginning at 9pm ET (6pm PT).
The Mike Malloy Show is heard on air affiliates around the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 and XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.
• More photos from the snowy rally, and the arrests as they took place, have been posted here by Ellen Rachel Davidson.
• Still more photos, these courtesy of VelvetRevolution.us
Video of today's protest at the White House, shot by activist and author of the new book War is Lie, David Swanson --- who we recently interviewed on the Malloy Show as well --- follows below...
Rowley's appearance on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann earlier this week, discussing Bradley Manning, appears below...