Oxford Union Weds 19th Feb 6pm – 7.30pm
20th Feb Report on the evening now in this post here
19th Feb The Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence has been awarded tonight to Chelsea.
You can now read Chelsea’s Acceptance Speech, read by her friend Aaron Kirkhouse, who received the award on her behalf, on this page here, and see Edward Snowden’s tribute to her ‘extraordinary act of public service at an unbelievable personal cost’ here.
At a gathering of the Associates and former recipients of the award and whistleblowers, Ray McGovern showed the video of Collateral Murder; Craig Murray, Annie Machon, Todd Pierce and Col Ann Wright spoke; Edward Snowden sent a video tribute; and Chelsea’s friend Aaron Kirkhouse read an acceptance speech she had prepared, which was described as ‘excellent & eloquent’. (transcripts, where available, to follow, but the Oxford Union do usually put video up on YouTube a few days after the event).
Surely no-one could deserve the attributed term – Integrity – more than Chelsea Manning.
19th Feb Edward Snowden has sent Oxford Union a video message to congratulate Chelsea – follow live tweets from @silkiecarlo and try checking back here for possible others…
As we celebrate the fourth anniversary (18th Feb) of the very first document published from all the information Chelsea shared with the public through WikiLeaks – the ‘Icesave’ cable – it’s good to know that Chelsea Manning is this year’s recipient of the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.
The 2014 presentation ceremony will be at the Oxford Union map on Weds 19th Feb from 6pm – 7.30pm, when Chelsea Manning will be presented (in her absence) with this year’s award. Obviously much deserved.
CHELSEA’S FRIEND, AARON KIRKHOUSE, TO READ HER ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
As Chelsea plainly can’t attend, being as she is paying a very high price for her integrity, she has asked her friend, Aaron Kirkhouse, to accept the award on her behalf writes David Coombs (Chelsea’s lawyer) on his blog. Coombs reports that Chelsea has written an acceptance speech that Aaron will read for her. Judging by her former communications, that should definitely be something to look forward to.
PREVIOUS AWARD WINNERS, WHISTLEBLOWERS, WILL ALSO SPEAK
There should also be some other speeches worth paying attention – previous awardees, some of whom will speak, are a stellar band (see below), as you would expect from those who have received an ‘Integrity in Intelligence’ Award.
Thomas Drake speaking at the event last year with Coleen Rowley and Craig Murray seated
Jesselyn Radack, who arrived in the country on Monday to a hostile reception from UK Border Agency, when she discovered she is on an ‘inhibited fly list’ (as Jen Robinson – Julian Assange’s lawyer – previously discovered she also was), will be there, as will Thomas Drake.
Jesselyn Radack discussed the incident at Heathrow on Democracy Now! today (18th Feb) here and explained why it was on another level to anything she had previously experienced when travelling.
On the same DemocracyNow! programme, the latest GCHQ and NSA Snowden revelations regarding the persecution of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange &c, and the news that apparently anyone visiting wikileaks.org is considered ‘fair game’ for surveillance, are responded to here by Julian Assange and Michael Ratner. Julian Assange also issued a response on the website.
INTERNATIONAL LAUNCH OF ‘THE WHISTLER’ TUES 18TH FEB
And, as another associate, Annie Machon, (M15 whistleblower) said this week, it seems to be the ‘week of the whistleblower’ over here.
For a start, another important whistleblower event is taking place on Tuesday 18th Feb.
Compassion in Care, Cure the NHS, Courage Foundation and CIJ (Centre for Investigative Journalism) will launch the the international network in London (City University, Room A109 at 6pm) of a sound new whistleblower support network called The Whistler, which has evolved out of the WhistleblowersUK network that Gavin McFadyen and Eileen Chubb formed. (There will also be a dedicated UK launch will be on 20th March).
CHRIS HEDGES: ‘THIS HOUSE WOULD CALL EDWARD SNOWDEN A HERO’
And then back to Oxford, and on Thursday 20th Feb, Chris Hedges is over here to be the proposer in an Oxford Union debate: ‘This House would call Edward Snowden a hero’. This will also involve William Binney, another NSA whistleblower. More info on that here.
Chris Hedges on the Manning verdict
Press Release from Sam Adams Associates:
ASSOCIATES VOTED ‘OVERWHELMINGLY’ FOR CHELSEA
The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) have voted overwhelmingly to present the 2014 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence to Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.
A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, U.S. Army Pvt. Manning is the 25 year-old intelligence analyst who in 2010 provided to WikiLeaks the “Collateral Murder” video – gun barrel footage from a U.S. Apache helicopter, exposing the reckless murder of 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists, during the “surge” in Iraq. The Pentagon had repeatedly denied the existence of the “Collateral Murder” video and declined to release it despite a request under the Freedom of Information Act by Reuters, which had sought clarity on the circumstances of its journalists’ deaths.
RELEASES PROVOKED WORLDWIDE DIALOGUE
Release of this video and other documents sparked a worldwide dialogue about the importance of government accountability for human rights abuses as well as the dangers of excessive secrecy and over-classification of documents.
CHELSEA WILL BE RECOGNISED AT CEREMONY FOR CASTING LIGHT
On February 19, 2014 Pvt. Manning – currently incarcerated at Leavenworth Prison – will be recognized at a ceremony in absentia at Oxford University’s prestigious Oxford Union Society for casting much-needed daylight on the true toll and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq; human rights abuses by U.S. and “coalition” forces, mercenaries, and contractors; and the roles that spying and bribery play in international diplomacy.
STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT
The Oxford Union ceremony will include the presentation of the traditional SAAII Corner-Brightener Candlestick and will feature statements of support from former SAAII awardees and prominent whistleblowers. Members of the press are invited to attend.
AN UNUSUALLY HARSH SENTENCE
On August 21, 2013 Pvt. Manning received an unusually harsh sentence of 35 years in prison for exposing the truth — a chilling message to those who would call attention to wrongdoing by U.S. and “coalition” forces.
EVEN THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT WOULD ONLY CARRY 14 YEARS MAX
Under the 1989 Official Secrets Act in the United Kingdom, Pvt. Manning, whose mother is British, would have faced just 2 years in prison for whistleblowing or 14 years if convicted under the old 1911 Official Secrets Act for espionage.
Former senior NSA executive and SAAII Awardee Emeritus Thomas Drake has written that Manning
“exposed the dark side shadows of our national security regime and foreign policy follies .. [her] acts of civil disobedience … strike at the very core of the critical issues surrounding our national security, public and foreign policy, openness and transparency, as well as the unprecedented and relentless campaign by this Administration to snuff out and silence truth tellers and whistleblowers in a deliberate and premeditated assault on the 1st Amendment.”
Previous winners of the Sam Adams Award include:
Coleen Rowley (FBI);
Katharine Gunn (formerly of GCHQ, the National Security Agency’s equivalent in the UK);
Craig Murray (former UK Ambassador);
Larry Wilkerson (Col., US Army, ret.; chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell);
Julian Assange (WikiLeaks);
Thomas Drake (NSA);
Jesselyn Radack (former ethics attorney for the Department of Justice, now National Security & Human Right Director of the Government Accountability Project);
Thomas Fingar (former Deputy Director of National Intelligence, who managed the key National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 that concluded Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon four years earlier);
Edward Snowden (former NSA contractor and systems administrator, currently residing in Russia under temporary asylum).
The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence are very proud to add Pvt. Manning to this list of distinguished awardees.