Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Bradley Manning: Will UK Intervene?

The Guardian today runs a two-page spread; 'From Wales to a US jail, via Iraq, the story of Bradley Manning' - an extract from a book they're publishing and serialising; Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's War Against Secrecy *
It's the first piece in The Guardian that has mentioned Manning is gay (Though it was mentioned in one online piece).
This seems most odd as it's a matter of record, Manning was an out and very proud gay man, and his sexuality appears to be germane to the case; his alleged whistle-blowing is thought to be spurred in part by anger at 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', and he was introduced to the hackers' world by his "first, serious boyfriend", Tyler Watkins.
The book breaks one fact about Bradley in the national press that will hopefully prove important; Manning has dual UK citizenship as his mother is Welsh.*
The Guardian runs a separate news item about this - and on today's front page; 'Government asked to intervene on behalf of alleged WikiLeaks source on grounds that he is UK citizen'
"Amnesty International called on the government to intervene on Manning's behalf and demand that the conditions of his detention, which the organisation calls 'harsh and punitive', are in line with international standards."
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen tells The Guardian; “His Welsh parentage means the UK government should demand that his ‘maximum custody’ status does not impair his ability to defend himself, and we would also like to see Foreign Office officials visiting him just as they would any other British person detained overseas and potentially facing trial on very serious charges.”
With a cruel irony, it was the latest WikiLeaks that showed us that - as in the case of computer hacker Gary McKinnon - the UK's influence on the US is fuck all.

* NB The Guardian has fallen out with Julian Assange - The Daily Telegraph are now publishing The US Embassy WikiLeaks. Some are speculating publishing the book is The Guardian's revenge...

** This point had been raised by the new group/blog, UK Friends Of Bradley Manning

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