Who are Julian Assange, Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, Jeremy Hammond, NATO3, Barrett Brown,
and Why You Should Care

Julian Assange at the Ecuadoran Embassy
 in London with "Free Jeremy Hammond" sign.  
Who are Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning,
 Jeremy Hammond, NATO3, Barrett Brown, and Why You Should Care

by Sue Basko

Update July 2017 and Recap: The Iraq Collateral Damage is posted anew below.  The other one had been removed by Youtube.  Please watch and listen to the video below to understand about this war crime.   This is the video that was freed to the public by Bradley (Chelsea) Manning and Wikileaks.  Additional updates since 2013 are that Bradley Manning is now called Chelsea Manning and has been freed from prison on order of former President Barack Obama.  Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in prison.  Barrett Brown was sent to prison on a plea deal.  While in prison, he wrote magazine articles and won a prestigious writing award.  He is now out of prison and writing a book.  Julian Assange is still living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and there is said to be a secret indictment against him in the U.S.

UPDATED January 13, 2013 - to add Barrett Brown and his indictment for posting a link to materials allegedly hacked from Stratfor.
UPDATED June 19, 2012 - Julian Assange is apparently in the care of the Ecuadorian Embassy as an asylum seeker.
UPDATED June 16, 2012 to explain UK Supreme Court refusal to reopen and possibly move to Court of Human Rights.
UPDATED MAY 30, 2012 to explain the May 30 UK Supreme Court ruling in London.

People close to Julian Assange have asked me to try to help spread the word about his situation. I have found that most people don’t seem to know who Julian is or why they should care.  I will explain the connections of the main players and the very basics:

Julian Assange is an Australian journalist, internet activist, and programmer. He founded WikiLeaks, a ground-breaking website that publishes documents, often documents obtained by hackers or classified documents obtained by other means.  The documents show truth of what our governments are doing.  The mission is to give people truth and transparency about their governments.

Bradley Manning is a U.S. Army soldier.  He was working as a computer analyst.  There was an absolutely horrific war crime committed by U.S. soldiers against civilians in Iraq.  Iraq is the nation in the Middle East that the U.S. invaded in 1990 and then again in 2003.

The war crime can be seen in the video below on this page.  PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW.  The video is of a gunner in a helicopter over an Iraq suburb claiming that people on the ground are armed with AK-47s and shooting, and he asks to “engage” them, meaning kill them. In fact, there are no AK-47s or anything that looks like an AK-47.  There are two men carrying camera bags that look like camera bags.  They were photographers.  After all those people were shot, a family in a van drives up and tries to assist them, and they are also killed. 

The motive of the soldiers in this horrific killing have never been publicly revealed.  Was the gunner hallucinating? Was he on drugs? Was he suffering from PTSD that made him  so fearful of a camera bag that he would kill many people? Or was it malice?  His laughter and enjoyment and blatant lies make this look like malice and a war crime.

Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army computer analyst, allegedly put the video, encrypted, onto a CD labeled “Lady Gaga songs,” and sent it to WikiLeaks.  Anonymous, the hacker collective, allegedly decrypted the video, and WikiLeaks posted it on its website. 

The revelation of these shocking killings from a helicopter led to a hasty end to the war in Iraq.  However, instead of prosecuting the soldier who lied and killed all these people, or admit the U.S. had no business waging war in Iraq, the U.S., in particular U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, focused their attack on Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. 

Bradley Manning is on trial in a Court Martial procedure.  He has been held in solitary confinement in torture conditions for two years as of this writing. 

Julian Assange has been on house arrest in the UK.  The U.S. is trying to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden and then to the U.S. to make him answer for a secret indictment.   Please note that the extradition to Sweden is not for any crimes, but for questioning in two rape allegations, which are situations where the women have stated the FBI questioned them in manipulative ways and they disagree with rape charges against Mr. Assange. Mr. Assange has stated he has agreed to be questioned over the phone, which is allowed under Swedish law, but this has not been done.   Likely, if he is extradited to Sweden, he will then be extradited on to the U.S. to face a secret indictment that awaits him, which is explained below.  It has been reported, as if May 30, 2012, that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in Sweden on June 4, presumably to take custody of Mr. Assange.  Other reports state the U.S. FBI has been questioning Europeans over the past few weeks, trying to build a case against Mr. Assange. (Update June 19, 2012 Julian Assange is apparently in the care of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, seeking asylum, and potentially planning travel to Ecuador.)

The decision whether to allow extradition to Sweden was made by the UK Supreme  Court early this morning (May 30, 2012) in London. The Court voted to allow extradition of Mr. Assange to Sweden, stating that their current rules do not allow them to consider the charges against Mr. Assange, but merely must give authority to a European Judicial Authority, the Swedish prosecutor.  After the ruling, Mr. Assange's lawyer stated to the Court that their ruling was made upon referral to the Vienna Convention, which was not argued by either side in Court, and therefore, she asked for 14 days to apply to reopen the case.

UPDATE June 16, 2012: That appeal was denied, with the UK Supreme Court refusing to reopen the case, thus opening the way for Mr. Assange to be extradited to Sweden    However, Mr. Assange's barrister plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.  I think there is a chance  they could rule in his favor, as he has not been charged with any crime and has been held on house arrest for well over a year.   (Update: After these rulings, Mr. Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and has been there since.)

Jeremy Hammond, a 27 year old hacker and political activist from Chicago, allegedly hacked the website and emails of Stratfor, a private company in Texas that is allegedly hired out by the U.S. to commit spying acts against U.S. citizens in violation of the official U.S. Department of Justice rules on infiltration in citizen groups.  (You can download those rules HERE) Jeremy Hammond is a young man who hacked on a laptop in his little house in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood that he shared with many young activists.  Jeremy Hammond is likely the world’s most gifted and proficient hacker, and his list of alleged hacks is extensive and impressive.  His work was politically motivated.

The hacked emails from Stratfor revealed that Stratfor spies had been hired to infiltrate Occupy camps and groups.  The emails also revealed that a secret Grand Jury had been convened and a secret indictment against Julian Assange exists. 

Jeremy Hammond (Anarchaos), founder of the hacker training website called Hack This Site,   was arrested after being outed by Sabu, whose real name is Hector Monsegur, a relatively unskilled hacker with the group LulzSec.  Sabu, an unemployed father of two living in public housing in New York City, was arrested and quickly turned FBI informant.  While under FBI control, Sabu was doing low level hacks, tweeting hints that he had turned, and engaged in entrapping his online compatriots by urging them to “work with” him on various politically meaningless hacks.  The FBI raided Jeremy Hammond’s  Chicago house and arrested him.  Mr. Hammond was extradited to New York, where he was jailed and where after a few months, a larger indictment was brought against him.  He faces trial or a deal.  Mr.  Hammond is being held without bond in a New York facility.

Before he was arrested, Jeremy Hammond was involved in planning protests for NATO and G8.  As the NATO Summit neared in Chicago, the FBI conducted a campaign of harassment against NATO protesters and journalists.  Infiltrators were placed to entrap protesters from out of town, staying in Bridgeport, in a scheme to produce molotov cocktails, a form of bottle bomb that explodes on impact when tossed.  These charges appear to be pure entrapment.  The 3 men charged have been nicknamed the NATO3.   It has been reported that the FBI was involved in the entrapment of the NATO3, admitted there was no case, and then the prosecution was taken over by the desperate-to-impress Cook County State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez. The case is being prosecuted under the Illinois Terrorism Law, which is so broad it is surely unconstitutional.  Let’s wait and watch – the first step for the lawyers representing the NATO3 should be to challenge this ridiculously broad law.  See this post on ILLINOIS ENTRAPMENT and this on ILLINOIS TERRORISM LAW.  (You can read about the petty harassing police work against the NATO3 at Bridgeport Cops vs The Occupiers.)

IF YOU or your friends were harassed while in Chicago for NATO, keep in mind the mechanism that harassed you is the same mechanism that is holding Bradley Manning captive for telling the truth.  It is the same mechanism that is trying to extradite Julian Assange and put him on trial – for revealing the truth about horrific war crimes.  If you had your door kicked in or had guns pointed at you during Chicago NATO,  please keep in mind you are victim of the same mechanism that is punishing Bradley Manning and Julian Assange  and Jeremy Hammond. You are part of the anti-war movement and/or part of the quest to reveal truth.

War crimes should be revealed, and if it took Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and Wikileaks to reveal this one, that is what it took.  The U.S. should stop tormenting these brave men for showing us the truth.  And the U.S. has no business delegating spy duties to a private company such as Stratfor.  In fact, the U.S. has no business spying on its citizens.

IF YOU WANT TO SHOW SUPPORT for Julian Assange and/or Bradley Manning, you can tweet to @StateDept which is the twitter account for the U.S. State Department and of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  You can attend rallies or spread the word.  Truth is important, and these brave men brought us truth.

 UPDATE January 13, 2013: Now we add to the list:  Barrett Brown, a journalist who sometimes spoke to the press about Anonymous, the hacker non-group.  On December 4, 2012, Barrett Brown, who was already in a Texas jail awaiting trial on federal charges related to internet threats against an FBI officer who was involved in raiding his home months earlier and who refused to return Mr. Brown's computer, was indicted for allegedly posting a link to a cache of materials from the Stratfor hack, which was allegedly conducted by Jeremy Hammond at the urging of Sabu/ Hector Monsegur.  Allegedly, there were a few credit card numbers located within the cache of materials that Barrett Brown linked to on his Project PM website.  Project PM is a collective journalism resource, but federal indictments against Mr. Brown make it sound like a terrorism activity.  Perhaps that is how the U.S. government now views journalism.    This indictment stretches the posting of a single link to 12 criminal counts.  To my knowledge, a link has never been construed as a crime, let alone a single link as 12 crimes.  This bizarrely overreaching prosecutorial conduct would be laughable, except that it is very real and Barrett faces many years in prison.
Video from July 12, 2007, suburb in Iraq