Obama: Trust The Government

During a speech Friday President Barack Obama attempted to justify the government’s massive collection of American phone records. His message: Trust us, we’re from the government.

“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here,” Obama declared.

And the people behind the programs cherish our Constitution,” according to the President.

“The last thing they’d be doing is taking programs like this to listen to someone’s phone calls,” he said.

The takeaway for American citizens who are concerned: You’re just being an alarmist.

“You can shout Big Brother or program run amok, but if you actually look at the details, I think we’ve struck the right balance,” he added.

HT: The Examiner

New York Lawmaker Wants It To Be A Felony To ‘Annoy’ A Cop

The New York State Senate has passed a bill that would make it illegal for people in the State to “annoy” police officers; critics believe the bill, if passed by the State’s other legislative body, will enable police to abuse their power.

The bill, sponsored by Republican State Senator Joe Griffo, would make it a felony offense to “harass, annoy, or threaten a police officer while on duty.”

“Our system of laws is established to protect the foundations of our society,” Griffo said. “Police officers who risk their lives every day in our cities and on our highways deserve every possible protection, and those who treat them with disrespect, harass them and create situations that can lead to injuries deserve to pay a price for their actions.”

The lawmaker believes “too many people in our society have lost the respect they need to have for a police officer.”

The bill does state that in order for the harassment charge to be levied, a police officer would have to feel physically threatened by his heckler.

From the bill:

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Police officers in the State have lauded the bill.

“Professionally, I am grateful to see this bill pass through the Senate. Our police officers have a very dangerous job and need the support of our government leaders to help make them safe,” said Utica Police Department Chief Mark Williams. “All too often persons are physically challenging police officers in the line of duty. Currently in those instances where an officer is physically attack (short of sustaining a physical injury) the lawful charge is only a violation.”

While the physical threat aspect of the bill seems clear, many people have cited police incidents in which officers manufactured a threat in order to use heavy handed tactics. One recent example is that of the encounter a hearing-impaired Washington woman had with police when she was pulled over for allegedly using her cell phone while driving. When her disability kept her from hearing an officer’s orders and she jerked away when he grabbed her wrist, another cop promptly delivered a hefty beat down while shouting “Stop resisting!”, a phrase officers seem to love in those sorts of situations.

Perhaps in New York, cops will soon have a new phrase to shout as they bludgeon residents: Stop annoying me!

DHS Report Justifies Warrantless, Suspicionless Searches Of Electronics Near Borders

The Department of Homeland Security has released a long-awaited 2011 assessment of the civil liberties impact of its policy of conducting suspicionless searches of electronic devices at the border in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU calls the results of the DHS assessment “disappointing” for civil liberties advocates.

Credit: PHOTOS.COM

In the redacted Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Impact  Assessment, the government explains why it believes requiring officers to have probable cause to search electronic devices such as cell phones and computers at the border would make America less safe:

[A]dding a heightened [suspicion-based] threshold requirement could be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefit. First, commonplace decisions to search electronic devices might be opened to litigation challenging the reasons for the search. In addition to interfering with a carefully constructed border security system, the litigation could directly undermine national security by requiring the government to produce sensitive investigative and national security information to justify some of the most critical searches. Even a policy change entirely unenforceable by courts might be problematic; we have been presented with some noteworthy CBP and ICE success stories based on hard-to-articulate intuitions or hunches based on officer experience and judgment. Under a reasonable suspicion requirement, officers might hesitate to search an individual’s device without the presence of articulable factors capable of being formally defended, despite having an intuition or hunch based on experience that justified a search.

ACLU attorney Brian Hauss said that the government’s reasoning completely undermines Constitutional rights and is baseless for many reasons.

“Although DHS might fear the prospect of being called into open court to explain its actions, executive accountability before the law is the bedrock on which our system of constitutional self-government is built,” Hauss said.

Furthermore, the ACLU attorney contends that the Federal government’s fear of court challenges leading to national security leaks is moot: “This line of thought is faulty for a few reasons. DHS claims that giving Americans the opportunity to challenge laptop searches in court would lead to the divulgence of national security secrets, but this is obviously wrong. The government has numerous resources at its disposal to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information. The ‘state secrets privilege,’ to take just one example that is used in court cases, has been criticized on many grounds, but no one has ever seriously suggested that its protections are too anemic.”

While even the most ardent civil liberties advocates understand that security threats at the Nation’s borders sometimes require lower thresholds for 4th Amendment protections; but the Federal government makes it seem as if the Nation’s borders should be treated as a Constitution-free zone. Nearly 190 million citizens live within what the ACLU has previously dubbed “Constitution-free Zones” near the country’s borders.

House Lawmakers Want To Know Why DHS Needs All That Ammo

House lawmakers voted this week to disallow the Department of Homeland Security to enter new contracts for the purchase of millions of rounds of ammunition until DHS can explain to Congress why it needs so much ammo, and how much it is costing American taxpayers.

The move was included in the 2014 spending bill for DHS via an amendment proposed by Representative Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). The lawmaker called the amendment a necessary legislative reaction to news of DHS’s plans to purchase ion excess of 1.1 billion of rounds of ammunition.

“Given this large purchase, the American people and members of Congress rightfully had concerns and questions,” Meadows said. “This is a responsible amendment which ensures that Congress and the American people are aware of the necessity and the cost of ammunition prior to entering into new contracts for procurement.”

The amendment would not impede current ammo purchase contracts, but bars further contracts until DHS officials report to Congress.

Pelosi: Mandatory Healthcare ‘Liberating,’ Think Of All The Wannabe Writers, Photographers

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants Americans to feel better about Obamacare, but she has a strange way of explaining how the “exciting enterprise” will benefit the populace.

During a Capitol Hill Press conference on Thursday, Pelosi gave the following reasons America should “be excited” about Obamacare:

Will premiums go up?

“Well, some of the people don’t have health insurance, and they certainly will have their premiums go up,” Pelosi said.

“But for anyone that that is a challenge, there are subsidies in the exchanges,” she said.

“It’s also about what you get for the money,” Pelosi added.  “In other words, people will be getting no lifetime or annual limits on their coverage, no discrimination because of a preexisting medical condition.  It has a whole array of quality that is in the legislation.”

“But if you don’t have health insurance, and you don’t qualify for a subsidy, and you’re mandated to have health insurance, yes, you will have an increase,” she said.

But the President and Congressional Democrats promised lower premiums for Americans…

“I don’t remember saying that everybody in the country would have a lower premium, because everybody in the country doesn’t have health insurance,” Pelosi continued.  “So how could it be lower?  But the fact is, the value of what you get for the cost that you pay is a reduction in cost to you.”

So, premiums are going up and health insurance is a government mandate. What’s the good news?

“But for everybody it is going to be, again, a liberation, a freedom,” she said, adding the kicker: With Obamacare young people could pursue careers as writers or photographers.

HT: CNS

Rand Paul Bill Would Strengthen 4th Amendment

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), in light of recent government spying scandals, will introduce legislation to strengthen Americans’ 4th Amendment protections against privacy intrusions.

Paul’s Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act of 2013 would extend 4th Amendment guarantees to electronic communications and require specific warrants, granted by judges, in order to obtain electronic communication information.

“In today’s high-tech world, we must ensure that all forms of communication are protected. Yet government has eroded protecting the Fourth Amendment over the past few decades, especially when applied to electronic communications and third party providers,” Paul said in a press release announcing the bill last month. “Congress has passed a variety of laws that decimate our Fourth Amendment protections. In effect, it means that Americans can only count on Fourth Amendment protections if they don’t use e-mail, cell phones, the Internet, credit cards, libraries, banks, or other forms of modern finance and communications.”

The legislation, which will be introduced when the Senate returns to session on June 7, would provide protections that could have prevented abuses such as the recently revealed secret seizure of call records of millions of Americans, without warrant or probable cause, by the National Security Agency, according to the Senator.

“The bill restores our Constitutional rights and declares that the Fourth Amendment shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause,” he said.

Tax Dollars Study Gay Dad Sex; High School Student Shocks With Prayer; Burqini Contest!; Holder Not Stepping Down; Iowa City Bans Robocops: Thursday Morning News Roundup 6-6-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Tax dollars at work: President Barack Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus law financed a $431,363 grant in Representative Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco-area Congressional district to study the “psychological distress” of homosexual fathers. After three years the study concluded: Gay fathers have less time for sex.

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Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Bilderberg Group Meeting This Week, Makes Feeble Attempts At Transparency

The infamously secretive gathering of global elites known as the Bilderberg Group is underway this week at the Grove Hotel, a golf resort in the United Kingdom’s Watford, Hertfordshire.

Each year since 1954 between 120-150 political leaders and major players in international industry, finance and academia have gathered for the Bilderberg conference in a heavily-guarded location. Billed as an informal discussion amongst some of the world’s most influential denizens, Bilderberg organizers say the meeting is intended as an opportunity to discuss “megatrends and the major issues facing the world.”

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Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reportedly attended the Bilderberg meeting in Virginia in 2008. Credit: Truthout

This year, according to the Bilderberg group website, around 140 participants from 21 European and North American countries are in attendance at the meeting.

The group lists key topics of discussion as follows:

•    Can the US and Europe grow faster and create jobs?
•    Jobs, entitlement and debt
•    How big data is changing almost everything
•    Nationalism and populism
•    US foreign policy
•    Africa’s challenges
•    Cyber warfare and the proliferation of asymmetric threats
•    Major trends in medical research
•    Online education: promise and impacts
•    Politics of the European Union
•    Developments in the Middle East
•    Current affairs

Critics of Bilderberg’s secretive meetings credit Bilderberger’s with clandestine manipulation of international affairs over the decades causing military conflict and strife for certain populations. Some people also believe that Bilderbergers have an especially heavy interest in global economic manipulation and are even involved in picking candidates for U.S. Presidential elections.

The late journalist Jim Tucker spent 25 years working to lift Bilderberg’s veil of secrecy. In his 2005 book, Bilderberg Diary, Tucker offers readers a backstory on some of the powerful elite with strong ties to the conference. He also explains how the group may have had a direct hand in the implementation of the U.S.’s Federal Reserve system:

The roots of Bilderberg go back centuries, when international moneychangers would secretly manipulate the economy to enrich themselves and enslave ordinary people.

The Rothschilds of Britain and Europe have met secretly with other financiers for centuries, as did the Rockefellers of America.

In the beginning, the Rothschilds were “Red Shields” because of the ornament on their door and the Rockefellers of Germany were “Rye Fields” because of their crops.

One of the most significant such meetings took place in the spring of 1908, led by Sen. Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island, whose family married into the Rockefeller clan, accounting for the late Gov. Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller’s given name. It was held on Jekyll Island off the Georgia coast.

The late B.C. Forbes, editor of Forbes magazine, reported what transpired at this meeting of the world’s wealthy. With Aldrich were Henry Davidson, of J.P. Morgan and Co.; Frank Vanderlip, president of the National City Bank; Paul Warburg, of Kuhn Loeb and Co., and A. Piatt Andrew, assistant secretary of the treasury.

They emerged from this secret meeting with a plan for “a scientific currency system for the United States.” They had the power to pressure Congress into establishing the Federal Reserve Board, a private group of bankers who meet to shape the money supply.

But in 1954, the international financiers decided that the world had become so small, and their interests intersected so often, that they must have regular, annual meetings. That year, they met at the Bilderberg Hotel in Holland, and took the name “Bilderberg” for themselves.

They have met behind sealed-off walls and armed guards at plush resorts ever since. Secrecy prevailed briefly, until the late journalist, Westbrook Pegler, exposed Bilderberg in 1957. However, Chatham House rules have remained in effect, whereby meetings are held privately and attendees are prohibited from talking on the record about what transpired.

With no access for journalists— except for the heads of major media organizations who are members of the conference, and sworn to secrecy— little can be known about what happens behind closed doors during the conference. This year, however, the conference organizers reportedly set up a zone in close proximity to the conference, provided journalists with a list of attendees and even a “media contact” email address. Reports indicate that the contact address was then promptly removed from the website and many queries went unanswered.

Charlie Skelton, writing for the British news outlet The Guardian, said that he was one of the lucky journalists to receive a reply—even if it leaves much to be desired:

Before the media contact was snatched away, I did manage a friendly email exchange, and my questions were promptly answered by a spokesman for the conference. The gist of the answers was this: none of the delegates pay to attend; no delegates join by phone or satellite; the conference programme “never includes any entertainment or performances”; and, as for the food, it’s “buffet only, all days, all meals”.

Skelton also reports that there may be a substantial amount of internal pressure from some Bilderberg attendees to provide more public information about the goings on of the conference.

But the massive security presence, checkpoints and restricted access areas outside of the conference in Watford this year make it clear that if transparency is on the agenda, it will come slowly.

Find below a list of attendees provided by Bilderberg organizers:

Chairman: Henri de Castries, Chairman and CEO, AXA Group

Paul M. Achleitner, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG

Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Board, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd

Marcus Agius, Former Chairman, Barclays plc

Helen Alexander, Chairman, UBM plc

Roger C. Altman, Executive Chairman, Evercore Partners

Matti Apunen, Director, Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA

Susan Athey, Professor of Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, Columnist, Milliyet Newspaper

Ali Babacan, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Financial Affairs

Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

Francisco Pinto Balsemão, Chairman and CEO, IMPRESA

Nicolas Barré, Managing Editor, Les Echos

José Manuel Barroso, President, European Commission

Nicolas Baverez, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Olivier de Bavinchove, Commander, Eurocorps

John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford

Franco Bernabè, Chairman and CEO, Telecom Italia S.p.A.

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon.com

Carl Bildt, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs

Anders Borg, Swedish Minister for Finance

Jean François van Boxmeer, CEO, Heineken

Svein Richard Brandtzæg, President and CEO, Norsk Hydro ASA

Oscar Bronner, Publisher, Der Standard Medienwelt

Peter Carrington, Former Honorary Chairman, Bilderberg Meetings

Juan Luis Cebrián, Executive Chairman, Grupo PRISA

Edmund Clark, President and CEO, TD Bank Group

Kenneth Clarke, Cabinet Minister

Bjarne Corydon, Danish Minister of Finance

Sherard Cowper-Coles, Business Development Director, International, BAE Systems plc

Enrico Cucchiani, CEO, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA

Etienne Davignon, Belgian Minister of State; Former Chairman, Bilderberg Meetings

Ian Davis, Senior Partner Emeritus, McKinsey & Company

Robbert H. Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor, Institute for Advanced Study

Haluk Dinçer, President, Retail and Insurance Group, Sabancı Holding A.S.

Robert Dudley, Group Chief Executive, BP plc

Nicholas N. Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy, American Enterprise Institute

Espen Barth Eide, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Investor AB

Thomas Enders, CEO, EADS

J. Michael Evans, Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs & Co.

Ulrik Federspiel, Executive Vice President, Haldor Topsøe A/S

Martin S.Feldstein, Professor of Economics, Harvard University; President Emeritus, NBER

François Fillon, Former French Prime Minister

Mark C. Fishman, President, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

Douglas J. Flint, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc

Paul Gallagher, Senior Counsel

Timothy F Geithner, Former Secretary of the Treasury

Michael Gfoeller, US Political Consultant

Donald E. Graham, Chairman and CEO, The Washington Post Company

Ulrich Grillo, CEO, Grillo-Werke AG

Lilli Gruber, Journalist – Anchorwoman, La 7 TV

Luis de Guindos, Spanish Minister of Economy and Competitiveness

Stuart Gulliver, Group Chief Executive, HSBC Holdings plc

Felix Gutzwiller, Member of the Swiss Council of States

Victor Halberstadt, Professor of Economics, Leiden University; Former Honorary Secretary General of Bilderberg Meetings

Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Simon Henry, CFO, Royal Dutch Shell plc

Paul Hermelin, Chairman and CEO, Capgemini Group

Pablo Isla, Chairman and CEO, Inditex Group

Kenneth M. Jacobs, Chairman and CEO, Lazard

James A. Johnson, Chairman, Johnson Capital Partners

Thomas J. Jordan, Chairman of the Governing Board, Swiss National Bank

Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., Managing Director, Lazard Freres & Co. LLC

Robert D. Kaplan, Chief Geopolitical Analyst, Stratfor

Alex Karp, Founder and CEO, Palantir Technologies

John Kerr, Independent Member, House of Lords

Henry A. Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.

Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO, Alcoa

Klaas H.W. Knot, President, De Nederlandsche Bank

Mustafa V Koç,. Chairman, Koç Holding A.S.

Roland Koch, CEO, Bilfinger SE

Henry R. Kravis, Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

Marie-Josée Kravis, Senior Fellow and Vice Chair, Hudson Institute

André Kudelski, Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group

Ulysses Kyriacopoulos, Chairman, S&B Industrial Minerals S.A.

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

J. Kurt Lauk, Chairman of the Economic Council to the CDU, Berlin

Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School

Thomas Leysen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, KBC Group

Christian Lindner, Party Leader, Free Democratic Party (FDP NRW)

Stefan Löfven, Party Leader, Social Democratic Party (SAP)

Peter Löscher, President and CEO, Siemens AG

Peter Mandelson, Chairman, Global Counsel; Chairman, Lazard International

Jessica T. Mathews, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Frank McKenna, Chair, Brookfield Asset Management

John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist

Thierry de Montbrial, President, French Institute for International Relations

Mario Monti, Former Italian Prime Minister

Craig J. Mundie, Senior Advisor to the CEO, Microsoft Corporation

Alberto Nagel, CEO, Mediobanca

H.R.H. Princess Beatrix of The Netherlands

Andrew Y.Ng, Co-Founder, Coursera

Jorma Ollila, Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell, plc

David Omand, Visiting Professor, King’s College London

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Soli Özel, Senior Lecturer, Kadir Has University; Columnist, Habertürk Newspaper

Alexis Papahelas, Executive Editor, Kathimerini Newspaper

Şafak Pavey, Turkish MP

Valérie Pécresse, French MP

Richard N. Perle, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

David H. Petraeus, General, U.S. Army (Retired)

Paulo Portas, Portugal Minister of State and Foreign Affairs

J. Robert S Prichard, Chair, Torys LLP

Viviane Reding, Vice President and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, European Commission

Heather M. Reisman, CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.

Hélène Rey, Professor of Economics, London Business School

Simon Robertson, Partner, Robertson Robey Associates LLP; Deputy Chairman, HSBC Holdings

Gianfelice Rocca, Chairman,Techint Group

Jacek Rostowski, Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister

Robert E. Rubin, Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Secretary of the Treasury

Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister

Andreas Schieder, Austrian State Secretary of Finance

Eric E. Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google Inc.

Rudolf Scholten, Member of the Board of Executive Directors, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG

António José Seguro, Secretary General, Portuguese Socialist Party

Jean-Dominique Senard, CEO, Michelin Group

Kristin Skogen Lund, Director General, Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University

Peter D. Sutherland, Chairman, Goldman Sachs International

Martin Taylor, Former Chairman, Syngenta AG

Tidjane Thiam, Group CEO, Prudential plc

Peter A. Thiel, President, Thiel Capital

Craig B. Thompson, President and CEO, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Jakob Haldor Topsøe, Partner, AMBROX Capital A/S

Jutta Urpilainen, Finnish Minister of Finance

Daniel L. Vasella, Honorary Chairman, Novartis AG

Peter R. Voser, CEO, Royal Dutch Shell plc

Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan Province, Canada

Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman, Investor AB

Kevin Warsh, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Galen G.Weston, Executive Chairman, Loblaw Companies Limited

Baroness Williams of Crosby, Member, House of Lords

Martin H. Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator, The Financial Times

James D. Wolfensohn, Chairman and CEO, Wolfensohn and Company

David Wright, Vice Chairman, Barclays plc

Robert B. Zoellick, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Schumer Wants Rewards For Criminal Illegals; Obama Flips Conservatives The Bird; ‘IRS’ IS ‘New N-Word’; Defending Manning; And No Free Speech For Bloggers: Personal Liberty Digest ™ P.M. Edition 6-5-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Schumer: Let’s Make Alien Criminals Citizens

Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, has a novel plan for dealing with illegal aliens in the United States who are caught with forged identification documents and fake Social Security numbers: Make them citizens. Read More…

Obama Gives Conservatives The Finger Appoints Rice As National Security Advisor

On Wednesday, a “thrilled” President Barack Obama appointed Susan Rice—notoriously linked to the White House’s Benghazi terror attack cover-up— to the as the Administration’s national security advisor. Read More…

Watch: Celebrities, Journalists, Activists Defend Whistleblower Bradley Manning

As U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning faces his court-martial for leaking 700,000 documents to the website WikiLeaks, celebrities and supporters have released a video in a show of solidarity with the whistleblower. Do you support Manning? Comment Here…

Liberal Stooge Martin Bashir Says ‘IRS’ Is ‘The New N-Word’

Martin Bashir said Wednesday on his MSNBC show that Republicans are slaking their thirst for racist venom by using the IRS scandal to veil their racist tendencies. Watch…

Lindsey Graham On Bloggers: ‘Do They Deserve First Amendment Protection?’

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said to reporters on Tuesday that he’s pained by the question of whether bloggers’ freedom of speech is covered under the 1st Amendment. Then he tweeted a clarification in order to bolster his proposal that Congress pass a “shield law” to protect the press from government attacks. Read more…

Watch: Celebrities, Journalists, Activists Defend Whistleblower Bradley Manning

As U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning faces his court-martial for leaking 700,000 documents to the website WikiLeaks, celebrities and supporters have released a video in a show of solidarity with the whistleblower.

Among the faces in the video are entertainers Maggie Gyllenhaal, Russell Brand and Wallace Shawn; director Oliver Stone; musicians Moby and Tom Morello; author Alice Walker; and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg.

“It’s an absurd charge,” Ellsberg says in the video. “I was Bradley Manning.”

“If you know nothing about Bradley Manning, you should find out,” Morello, a Harvard political science major turned anti-establishment rock star, says at the end of the video. “And then you should help me bust him out of jail.”
 

The video directs viewers to the website iam.bradleymanning.org, where they make the case for Manning’s release:

Amidst courtroom secrecy, whistleblower and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning is on trial after three years of confinement.

The information that Bradley gave to the public has been a catalyst for pro-democracy movements in the Arab world, exposed the unjust detainment of innocent people at Guantanamo Bay, shown us the true human cost of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and changed journalism forever.

There is no evidence that anyone died as a result of the leaked information, yet Bradley faces life in prison or possibly death. The greatest charge against him is that of “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense. As the public who benefited from this information, does that make us the enemy? What price will future whistleblowers pay?

Do you support Manning, or feel he should be further disciplined? Let us know in the comment section below.