Help crowd-fund a court stenographer for the trial of accused Wikileaks source Bradley Manning

The trial of Bradley Manning begins on June 3, 2013, and will have profound impact on press freedom and the rights of future whistleblowers throughout the world. The Freedom of the Press Foundation (I'm a board member) is crowd-funding donations to hire a court stenographer to record trial transcripts. The US has refused to make the government's taxpayer-funded transcripts available to the public, but we believe it's important that an open record of this trial be freely available to the world.

Donations to this project are tax-deductible, to the extent permitted by US law. You can donate online by credit or debit card, Paypal, Bitcoin, or you can send a check or money order.

When the trial starts on June 3rd, we will post the transcripts online as soon as they become available for each day.



  1. Gee, this is like a Roman prison or something where we have to bribe the guards so our imprisoned family member doesn’t starve to death. Well, it’s not exactly like that. But you know what I mean.

    1. Yeah, we’re only bribing the guards to find out the reason why he is eventually going to be allowed to starve to death.

      1. Yeah, I saw that later, but I was hoping there would be a general idea of the ongoing costs, or how much $50K covers, or something like that. Mea culpa, regardless.

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    1. Or the judge tells the stenographer that they’re not allowed to write down every word said in the court. Or they can, but it will be seized.

      Something I’m curious about: I assume the rules of the court are that you can’t bring electronic recording devices in. So what happens when hearing aids start storing everything they hear?

  3. I’m sending a money order with fake info on it. No way am I sending a check, and I wouldn’t trust online payments either for something like this.

    It’s probably illegal to put fake info on a money order, but money orders with fake info will clear anyway. So the good guys get the money anonymously.

    1. To hell with the screws, I’m sending money right out in the open.  If they want to come after me for this, well, that’s why one should support the Freedom of the Press Foundation in the first place.  

      Feds:  Feel free to e-mail me directly if you need my address.  Try to come before I leave in the morning though so you don’t disturb the neighbors.

  4. They don’t understand the concept of a fair trial, now do they?  Everything that happens in court is supposed to be recorded and publically accessible.  If you don’t, they might just as well have had StateSec disappear him in the middle of the night.  At least Russia is pretending to have fair trials.

  5. Yes, the government was hiding things.  Some of those things were bad things.  I don’t see how Manning is a victim or hero.  It’s not like he alerted the world to a major and specific human rights abuse like Abu Ghraib.  He indiscriminately leaked a wealth of information without fully considering the possible ramifications of doing so.  I’m a liberal, I believe in greater government transparency, I think that a lot of what is done behind closed doors is downright sinister.  Nonetheless, I believe that what Manning did is treason, plain and simple, and that Assange is a zealot who cares more about the impossible ideal of complete freedom of information more than he cares about humanity.  It’s easy to idealize these people because they’re rebels fighting a shadowy establishment.  Everyone needs to keep in mind that fighting the bad guys doesn’t automatically make you the good guy.  

    1.  His actions are separate from the necessity that his trial be fair.  How will we know he has been fairly tried for his alleged crimes if we cannot access the proceedings?

      1. I could have made that more clear.  I agree that the trial should be properly recorded and it’s incredibly saddening that we have to fight to guarantee this man the fair trial he is entitled to.  I just wanted to say that I think the outpouring of support for him and Assange is misguided.  As Xeni said in the post, we need to defend the rights of whistleblowers, but does that mean that we should make  it legal to spill government secrets to the world, or award Manning a Nobel Peace Prize, as many have apparently suggested?  No.  Again, being a whistle blower is not automatically an act of heroism.

    2. That’s not Treason, by any real definition of the word. 

      The traditional (english) legal definition is “The betrayal of one’s own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies.”
      So what Manning did in no way constitutes Treason.  A crime, certainly; perhaps bad or hasty judgment, but not treason.  Now Cheney with his torture regime.. is another matter.

    3. “Assange is a zealot who cares more about the impossible ideal of complete freedom of information than he cares about humanity.”

      No. Assange has repeatedly said that the issue isn’t privacy, it’s asymmetry. His view isn’t in total freedom of information- it’s in total transparency for large, powerful, public organizations- governments, militaries, and corporations. He supports privacy for small private organizations and private citizens. 

      There’s a power difference there, and it’s a significant one.

      1. “Total freedom of information” may have been an exaggeration, but I maintain that Assange and his supporters value an ideology above just about everything else else and in that way are little different from the governments they seek to hold accountable.  

        I’m not sold on the idea that large organizations have a privileged amount of secrecy.  Governments and Corporations may have more resources than smaller organizations that they can use to hide information, but smaller organizations by virtue of their size can often remain unnoticed.

        Let’s not pretend that small private organizations are all mom and pop businesses.  I trust Wikileaks about as much as I trust the CIA.  Both organizations want to play world police, trade in secrets and lurk in the shadows.  

        …I don’t know why I’m so worked up about this message board conversation. I’m done, I swear.

        1. Well, they do… and that’s an ideology called “classical liberalism”. I’m one of those supporters, and if believing unconditionally that the powerful should be held to account is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

  6. Facebook community – Convict Bradley Manning

    I tired of the pro-Manning propaganda long ago.  Retired USAF here, I know what options Manning had available to him; Inspector General, DoD hotlines, SIPRnet for classified complaint filing, etc.  Do not buy into the hype that Manning had no choice; that is simply not the truth.

    MSgt Todd Scheve, USAF Retired.

    1. Saying that he had those options is like saying that protesting Chinese workers have the option of going to their (state-controlled) labor union or petitioning the local party cadres. When the system is corrupt, those “options” are useless. He didn’t have any meaningful choice.

    2. Indeed. Those people who cry ‘Bradley Manning is innocent’ are quite wrong:  he is splendidly and magnificently guilty, and he should be convicted. I would also add that he should then be set free and given a medal, but that’s just me. 

  7. I’m for freedom of the press and so is the Obama administration; but I do not support traitors giving away our state secrets. Doing so is a threat to the country and could result in the loss of American lives. Don’t letthe right wing B.S. con you.

  8. Manning was a punk kid who thought he could achieve “hero”  status with his buddies on the left by “leaking” classified data that showed American capabilities and methods.

    What he got instead, as is entirely appropriate, is criminal charges.
    Specialists (glorified privates) don’t get to decide for themselves what should and should NOT be classified.

    Manning knew Damn well what he was doing. And what the consequences were. He was stupid enough to think that it wouldn’t happen to him. -WRONG.

    The only travesty of justice in this case is the treatment of a prisoner under the UCMJ (Which is tantamount to torture) and the denial of a speedy trial.

    Manning should have been charged, convicted (or HIGHLY UNLIKELY) acquitted a very long time ago.

    I go with conviction and a very long sentence to tell the next dipshit E-4 that judgement calls about classification have a place. But not the place of releasing that info to the intarwebs willy-nilly, which is exactly what Manning did.

    I realize of course, that 99.9% of people reading this have never worn a uniform and put their own asses on the line. As one of those who has, I’ll thank you to take your silly assed opinions to your elected representatives. Which is exactly where questions on over-classification belong.

    “Information wants to be free” has no place in a national security structure. It’s up to the civilians who CONTROL that structure, to make that information free as they warrant within constraints of national security. Not some dipship E-4 with his head up Assange’s ass.

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