In this newly released audio, Private Bradley Manning explains his motives, noting how he believed the WikiLeaks documents showed wrongdoing by the government and how he hoped that the release would "spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan."
"Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation is publishing the full, previously unreleased audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s speech to the military court in Ft. Meade about his motivations for leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks. In addition, we have published highlights from Manning’s statement to the court."
"While unofficial transcripts of this statement are available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning."
"We hope this recording will shed light on one of the most secret court trials in recent history, in which the government is putting on trial a concerned government employee whose only stated goal was to bring attention to what he viewed as serious governmental misconduct and criminal activity. We hope to prompt additional analysis of these proceedings by other journalistic institutions and the public at large. While we are not equipped (technically or as a matter of human resources) to receive leaked information nor do we plan on receiving them in the future, we are proud to publish and analyze this particular recording because it is so clearly matches our mission of supporting transparency journalism."
More at the website, including the unofficial transcript of what is reportedly "leaked" audio of Mannings' court statements.
Federal prosecutors hit Bank of America with a $1 billion lawsuit Wedesday, accusing the bank of mortgage fraud that contributed to the housing crisis. Bank of America became entangled in the scheme -- known as “High-Speed Swim Lane” or “Hustle” -- when it purchased Countrywide Financial in July 2008, just as the economy was slipping into recession. Countrywide, a mortgage lending giant, was already known for approving risky loans when it introduced its “Hustle” program to churn out more loans, effectively eliminating a system that ensured the mortgages were being made to buyers who could afford them. A top U.S. attorney said the bank’s fraud was “spectacularly brazen in scope.”
Wednesday's case, originally brought by a whistleblower, is the U.S. Department of Justice's first civil fraud lawsuit over mortgage loans sold to the big mortgage financiers, which were bailed out in 2008.
It also compounds the legal problems that Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan faces over the second-largest U.S. bank's disastrous July 2008 purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp, once the nation's largest mortgage lender.
According to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, Countrywide in 2007 invented and Bank of America continued a scheme known as the "Hustle" to speed up processing of residential home loans.
Operating under the motto "Loans Move Forward, Never Backward," mortgage executives tried to eliminate "toll gates" designed to ensure that loans were sound and not tainted by fraud, the government said.
This led to "defect rates" that approached 40 percent, roughly nine times the industry norm, but Countrywide concealed this from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and even awarded bonuses to staff to "rebut" the problems being found, it added.
Defaults and foreclosures soared, yet the bank has resisted buying back many of the defaulted loans from the scheme, which ran through 2009, the government added.
After news that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had been designated an "Enemy of the State" by the United States government and that communication with him is considered "communicating with the enemy," protesters in Melbourne decided to visit the United States consulate in order to get some questions answered regarding whether or not they too were considered enemies of the state for supporting WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
They were refused an audience with the consular officials and decided to stage a sit in.
After 3 hours of occupying the foyer and blocking a main entrance to the upper levels, police came in and violently removed the protesters resulting in the arrest of 3, with one of the protesters suffering a dislocated shoulder as a result.
On Sunday, dozens of supporters gathered for an event to raise awareness about the crisis for WhistleBlowers in America and to raise money for Bradley Manning's Defense Fund.
The defense for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, filed a motion calling for all charges with prejudice to be dismissed because the United States government has “trampled upon” Manning’s “speedy trial rights.”
Under military rules, the defense contends the delay of an Article 32 hearing, which was eventually held in December 2011, and its “inexcusable failure to understand its basic discovery obligations have completely flouted” reasonable diligence standards. “If Pfc. Manning’s right to speedy trial is indeed fundamental,” the motion suggests, “There can be no doubt that the government’s tremendous lack of diligence in the processing of this case violated that fundamental right.”
Manning is currently scheduled for trial on February 4, 2013. Manning has been held in military custody for more than two years, much of that in solitary confinement. “The Empire State Building could have been constructed almost two-and-a-half times over in the amount of time it will have taken to bring Pfc. Manning to trial,” the defense notes.
Speaking via videolink from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed a side meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday evening. In his remarks, Assange gave thanks to the United Nations for its treaties on political asylum and denounced the U.S. treatment of alleged Army whistleblower Bradley Manning. Assange also accused President Obama of exploiting the Arab Spring and called on the U.S.to end its persecution of WikiLeaks and its supporters.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may have been designated an "enemy of the state" by the United States. U.S. Air Force counterintelligence documents show military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or its supporters may be at risk of being charged with "communicating with the enemy," a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death. The designation is the same legal category as al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
The report came just before Julian Assange spoke via videolink to a side meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday. Assange spoke from inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Ecuador granted him diplomatic asylum to prevent Assange from being extradited to Sweden over sex crime accusations. Assange is seeking asylum because he fears extradition to Sweden may lead to his transfer to the United States, where, he is concerned, he could potentially face charges relating to WikiLeaks.
Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow! also speaks with Julian Assange’s attorney Michael Ratner after the UN Speech.
Full transcript of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressing a side meeting of the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday night is below the fold.
Behind the Recall: The Rise and Fall of Scott Walker: Made in the style of a "Behind the Music" episode, this video is a shocking account of Scott Walker's tarnished legacy. It traces his rise to Tea Party stardom, and his bitter fall from grace with average Wisconsinites.
More on Scott Walker from Daily Kos, The Underreported Story of Scott Walker and Foreclosure Fraud: Do you know someone whose life has been affected by foreclosure? Chances are, in 2012, you do. That's why it's so important that you know the story of what Scott Walker did with the funds meant for victims of foreclosure fraud.
Woman Who Couldn’t Be Intimidated by Citigroup Wins $31 Million: "By 2006, the bank was buying mortgages from outside lenders with doctored tax forms, phony appraisals and missing signatures, she says. It was Hunt’s job to identify these defects, and she did, in regular reports to her bosses.
Executives buried her findings, Hunt says, before, during and after the financial crisis, and even into 2012." Full report here.
OCCUPY LA: Banners went up on Day 4 of the Siege on the CCA last night!! We had around 100 activists peacefully assemble right at the doorstep of the ONE-PERCENT’S LOBBY.
Occupy Skid Row, LA CAN, Occupy the Hood, and Occupy Los Angeles held it down with lots of guests to the action. We had several NEWCOMERS who attended the GA, took the streets, and occupied for the first time! There were also several occupiers from around the state (SF, Ventura, Riverside, Long Beach, Venice) and country (Oregon, New York, Arizona).
A Fracking Foreclosure: "Help us keep the River in Riverdale": Day of Action for Riverdale, Monday, June 4: International Day of Solidarity with the Riverdale Community on Monday, June 4 Riverdale residents and supporters are calling for an international day of solidarity action in support of the Riverdale community this Monday, June 4. As relocation resister Deb Eck has put it, you are invited...
Thank a Union: 36 Ways Unions Have Improved Your Life: "Let's get one thing straight...
Employers and Corporations did not feel generous and decide to give you two days off every week to have a social/personal life. (We now call them weekends). Corporations did not just feel like being nice one day and give their employees paid vacations. CEOs didn't get together in a board room and say "Let's give our employees more rights at work" or "Maybe there should be laws to limit our power over an employee". Read full post here.
"Minneapolis police were braced for a violent confrontation with Occupy Minnesota activists intent on reclaiming a home the police had seized. Instead, the police were peacefully serenaded while a pastor from across the street led the crowd in prayer."
This has been a fascinating case to watch. Local police seem determined to boot out the occupiers and the owner of the home, but Occupy Minnesota is just as determined to win this fight against the banks.
"Twenty-three have been arrested during five eviction attempts in the last week as part of an ongoing defense of the Cruz family’s home that has garnered national attention. Monday June 4, Occupy DC has organized a demonstration in front of the Freddie Mac office in Washington, DC." More here.
"As hundreds of protesters arrested during months of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations get their day in court, their arresting officers aren't even bothering to show up. When they have, as in the first two cases to go to trial, the NYPD testimony was disproved with photographic and video evidence, resulting in both protesters getting acquitted."
Hunger/AIDS Medication Striker to Trinity Church: "Forgive Us Our Trespasses" : "Jack Boyle's hands are nothing but trouble. Not only is his right thumb bent completely out of shape, injured during his forcible eviction from Zuccotti Park in November, but his fingertips are increasingly numb, as his peripheral neuropathy kicks in more, and more. It's been twelve days since he took his medication and eight days since he's eaten, and he is starting to feel it. He used to take Truvada once daily and Lexiva and Norvir twice daily. He says the "a" at the end of Truvada and Lexiva like "er," the way many of his fellow fifty-something native New Yorkers would. But he won't take any of those pills ever again, unless Trinity Church forgives him and his friends their trespasses." Continue reading here.
The NYPD Tapes Confirmed: The report police hid for nearly two years that corroborates a Voice investigation — and vindicates a whistle-blower the NYPD tried to destroy.
While working out of the 81st precinct in Brooklyn, Adrian Schoolcraft became aware of a pattern of crime victims getting caught up in bureaucratic hurdles that seemed to have purposely been set up to make it difficult to report serious crimes. Schoolcraft reported a number of these incidents to investigators:
In October 2009, Schoolcraft met with NYPD investigators for three hours and detailed more than a dozen cases of crime reports being manipulated in the district. Three weeks after that meeting-which was supposed to have been kept secret from Schoolcraft's superiors-his precinct commander and a deputy chief ordered Schoolcraft to be dragged from his apartment and forced into the Jamaica Hospital psychiatric ward for six days.
Now go read the rest, it's worth it, and no doubt better than the "movie of the week" version that I highly anticipate turning up.
Bank of America NA prevented homeowners from receiving mortgage-loan modifications under a federal program in order to avoid millions of dollars in losses while benefitting from financial incentives for participating in the program, according to a complaint unsealed in federal court Wednesday.
Now, how long until the whistleblower gets hit with criminal charges?
The joint Wikileaks, Anonymous release of over 5 million leaked Stratfor emails on Monday confirms what many suspected since the detention of Julian Assange ...that the U.S. would press possible charges of espionage or conspiracy related to the release of hundreds of thousands of leaked state department cables. Stratfor emails reveal the U.S. not only already holds a sealed indictment of Assange, they've been patiently sitting on it for over 12 months.
UNITED States prosecutors have drawn up secret charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a confidential internal email obtained from a private US intelligence company, Stratfor.
In the email, sent to Stratfor intelligence analysts on January 26 last year, the company's vice-president for intelligence, Fred Burton, responded to a media report concerning US investigations targeting WikiLeaks. He wrote: "We have a sealed indictment on Assange."
Underlining the sensitivity of the information - apparently obtained from a US government source - he wrote "Pls protect" and "Not for Pub[lication]".
Mr Burton is a well-known expert on security and counter-terrorism with close ties to US intelligence and law enforcement agencies. He is a former chief of counterterrorism in the US State Department diplomatic security service.
The Wikileaks founder awaits the British Supreme Court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden for questioning regarding claims of sexual assault, although to date, he has not been charged with any crime.
Julian Assange will play himself in the 500th episode of The Simpsons, according to Entertainment Weekly. The episode will air Feb. 19th, 2012. Assange is still under house arrest in England, and reportedly recorded his lines in an undisclosed location. But if the Simpsons team could get Thomas Pynchon on the show, nothing is beyond their superpowers.
In the milestone episode, Homer and Marge discover that the residents of Springfield are holding a secret town meeting to kick them out of Springfield for all of their shenanigans over the years. As a result, “the Simpsons go off the grid to this very rugged place where they meet [Assange], who’s sort of their new Flanders,” explains Jean. And how exactly is he like pious neighbor Ned? “Well, he lives next door,” quips Jean. “The similarities end there… He invites them over for a home movie and it’s an Afghan wedding being bombed.”
Assange is scheduled to appear before Britain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday to appeal extradition to Sweden over sexual-assault allegations.