Category Archives: Freedom

The Fifth Estate, the Movie



“It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it’s revolutionized the spread of information. So this film won’t claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment. We want to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age and, we hope, enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked.” by Bill Condon the director of The Fifth Estate.

Julien Assange & Daniel Domscheit-Berg

Julien Assange & Daniel Domscheit-Berg

It was not approved by Julian Assange but it is worth watching. Why? It does not matter if Assange is paranoid or not, if he is manipulative or not, if he is weird or not, etc. What matters is the fact that he and his collaborators, including the author of the book in which the movie was inspired,  Daniel Domscheit-Berg, changed the history of how information is released, making possible to expose tons of war crimes and government’s corruption. What matters is to expose how much we are manipulated with stupid stories just to distract us. What matters is to see that Democrats don’t differ much from Republicans. This is all that matters. Access to the truth that we have the right to. Access to know that real criminals are free while Assange cannot leave the Equator Embassy in London, Chelsea Manning (former Bradley Manning) was tortured by the US Government and will be in jail for 35 years, Edward Snowden is in Russia and we have no idea if he is safe or not, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras are living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and don’t feel safe to come home. This is what matters.

Note: Assange’s son and mother have moved and changed their names. They are not safe.


The Long List of What we Know because of Manning



Written by Greg Mitchell at The Nation:

“”The debate in the media, and in political circles over Edward Snowden—Right or Wrong—often doubles back on references to Pfc. Manning, who was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison on Wednesday. Too often (that is, most of the time), the value and import of the Manning/WikiLeaks disclosures are ignored or dismissed, just as Snowden’s NSA scoops are often derided as “nothing new.”

So for those who either suffer from memory loss or ignorance on this particular score, here is a partial accounting of some of the important revelations in the Manning leak, drawn from my book—with Kevin Gosztola—on the Manning case, Truth and Consequences (the e-book just now updated to include the trial, the verdict, this week’s sentencing and reactions).

The revelations below were compiled for the book in March 2011—many others followed, including the important Gitmo files (see my piece about them) in April 2011.  Here is a New York Times take on just part of those Gitmo files: “What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring American institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal.”  So even this accounting below is far from complete.

And let’s not forget what started it all: the “Collateral Murder” video.

First, just a very partial list from “Cablegate” (keep in mind, this does not include many other bombshells that caused a stir in smaller nations abroad):

• Yemeni president lied to his own people, claiming his military carried out air strikes on militants actually done by the US. All part of giving US full rein in country against terrorists.

• Details on Vatican hiding big sex abuse cases in Ireland.

• US tried to get Spain to curb its probes of Gitmo torture and rendition.

• Egyptian torturers trained by FBI—although allegedly to teach the human rights issues.

• State Dept. memo: US-backed 2009 coup in Honduras was “illegal and unconstitutional.”

• Cables on Tunisia appear to help spark revolt in that country. The country’s ruling elite described as “The Family,” with Mafia-like skimming throughout the economy. The country’s first lady may have made massive profits off a private school.

• US knew all about massive corruption in Tunisia back in 2006 but went on supporting the government anyway, making it the pillar of its North Africa policy.

• Cables showed the UK promised in 2009 to protect US interests in the official Chilcot inquiry on the start of the Iraq war.

* Oil giant Shell claims to have “inserted staff” and fully infiltrated Nigeria’s government.

• US pressured the European Union to accept GM—genetic modification, that is.

• Washington was misled by our own diplomats on Russia-Georgia showdown.

• Extremely important historical document finally released in full: Ambassador April Glaspie’s cable from Iraq in 1990 on meeting with Saddam Hussein before Kuwait invasion.

• The UK sidestepped a ban on housing cluster bombs. Officials concealed from Parliament how the US is allowed to bring weapons on to British soil in defiance of treaty.

• The New York Times: “From hundreds of diplomatic cables, Afghanistan emerges as a looking-glass land where bribery, extortion and embezzlement are the norm and the honest man is a distinct outlier.”

• Afghan vice president left country with $52 million “in cash.”

• Shocking levels of US spying at the United Nations (beyond what was commonly assumed) and intense use of diplomats abroad in intelligence-gathering roles.

• Potential environmental disaster kept secret by the US when a large consignment of highly enriched uranium in Libya came close to cracking open and leaking radioactive material into the atmosphere.

• US used threats, spying, and more to try to get its way at last year’s crucial climate conference in Copenhagen.

* American and British diplomats fear Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program — with poor security — could lead to fissile material falling into the hands of terrorists or a devastating nuclear exchange with India.

• Hundreds of cables detail US use of diplomats as “sales” agents, more than previously thought, centering on jet rivalry of Boeing vs. Airbus. Hints of corruption and bribes.

• Millions in US military aid for fighting Pakistani insurgents went to other gov’t uses (or stolen) instead.

• Israel wanted to bring Gaza to the ”brink of collapse.”

• The US secret services used Turkey as a base to transport terrorism suspects as part of its extraordinary rendition program.

• As protests spread in Egypt, cables revealed that strong man Suleiman was at center of government’s torture programs, causing severe backlash for Mubarak after he named Suleiman vice president during the revolt. Other cables revealed or confirmed widespread Mubarak regime corruption, police abuses and torture, and claims of massive Mubarak famiiy fortune, significantly influencing media coverage and US response.

Now, an excerpt from our book on just small aspect of the Iraq war cables. As I noted, this doesn’t even include the release of the “Collateral Murder” video earlier.

Al Jazeera suggested that the real bombshell was the US allowing Iraqis to torture detainees. Documents revealed that US soldiers sent 1,300 reports to headquarters with graphic accounts, including a few about detainees beaten to death. Some US generals wanted our troops to intervene, but Pentagon chiefs disagreed, saying these assaults should only be reported, not stopped. At a time the US was declaring that no torture was going on, there were forty-one reports of such abuse still happening “and yet the US chose to turn its back.”

The New York Times report on the torture angle included this: “The six years of reports include references to the deaths of at least six prisoners in Iraqi custody, most of them in recent years. Beatings, burnings and lashings surfaced in hundreds of reports, giving the impression that such treatment was not an exception. In one case, Americans suspected Iraqi Army officers of cutting off a detainee’s fingers and burning him with acid. Two other cases produced accounts of the executions of bound detainees.

And while some abuse cases were investigated by the Americans, most noted in the archive seemed to have been ignored, with the equivalent of an institutional shrug: soldiers told their officers and asked the Iraqis to investigate…. That policy was made official in a report dated May 16, 2005, saying that ‘if US forces were not involved in the detainee abuse, no further investigation will be conducted until directed by HHQ.’ In many cases, the order appeared to allow American soldiers to turn a blind eye to abuse of Iraqis on Iraqis.

Amnesty International quickly called on the US to investigate how much our commanders knew about Iraqi torture.

A top story at The Guardian, meanwhile, opened: “Leaked Pentagon files obtained by The Guardian contain details of more than 100,000 people killed in Iraq following the US-led invasion, including more than 15,000 deaths that were previously unrecorded.

“British ministers have repeatedly refused to concede the existence of any official statistics on Iraqi deaths. US General Tommy Franks claimed ‘We don’t do body counts.’ The mass of leaked documents provides the first detailed tally by the US military of Iraqi fatalities. Troops on the ground filed secret field reports over six years of the occupation, purporting to tote up every casualty, military and civilian.

“Iraq Body Count, a London-based group that monitors civilian casualties, told the Guardian: ‘These logs contain a huge amount of entirely new information regarding casualties. Our analysis so far indicates that they will add 15,000 or more previously unrecorded deaths to the current IBC total. This data should never have been withheld from the public.’ ” The logs recorded a total of 109,032 violent deaths between 2004 and 2009.

Citing a new document, the Times reported: “According to one particularly painful entry from 2006, an Iraqi wearing a tracksuit was killed by an American sniper who later discovered that the victim was the platoon’s interpreter…. The documents…reveal many previously unreported instances in which American soldiers killed civilians—at checkpoints, from helicopters, in operations. Such killings are a central reason Iraqis turned against the American presence in their country, a situation that is now being repeated in Afghanistan.”

And now, re the Afghanistan war logs, another book excerpt:

The Times highlighted it as “The War Logs” with the subhed, “A six-year archive of classified military documents offers an unvarnished and grim picture of the Afghan war.” Explicitly, or by extension, the release also raised questions about the media coverage of the war to date.

The Guardian carried a tough editorial on its website, calling the picture “disturbing” and raising doubts about ever winning this war, adding: “These war logs—written in the heat of engagement—show a conflict that is brutally messy, confused and immediate. It is in some contrast with the tidied-up and sanitized ‘public’ war, as glimpsed through official communiques as well as the necessarily limited snapshots of embedded reporting.”

Elsewhere, the paper traced the CIA and paramilitary roles in the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan, many cases hidden until now. In one incident, a US patrol machine-gunned a bus, wounding or killing fifteen. David Leigh wrote, “They range from the shootings of individual innocents to the often massive loss of life from air strikes, which eventually led President Hamid Karzai to protest publicly that the US was treating Afghan lives as ‘cheap’.”

The paper said the logs also detailed “how the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.” Previously unknown friendly fire incidents also surfaced.

The White House, which knew what was coming, quickly slammed the release of classified reports— most labeled “secret”—and pointed out the documents ended in 2009, just before the president set a new policy in the war; and claimed that the whole episode was suspect because WikiLeaks was against the war. Still, it was hard to dismiss official internal memos such as: “The general view of Afghans is that current gov’t is worse than the Taliban.

Among the revelations that gained prime real estate from The New York Times: “The documents…suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders.” The Guardian, however, found no “smoking gun” on this matter. The Times also reported that the US had given Afghans credit for missions carried out by our own Special Ops teams.””

Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell writes a daily blog for The Nation focusing on media, politics and culture. He is the former editor of Editor & Publisher and author of thirteen books. His latest book, on the 2012 Obama-Romney race, isTricks, Lies, and Videotape. His other books include Atomic Cover-UpThe Campaign of the Century (winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize), two books related to WikiLeaks and a pair of books with Robert Jay Lifton on Hiroshima and the death penalty in America. His Twitter feed is @GregMitch and he can be reached at: His personal blog is Pressing Issues.

Modern Day Slavery by Lisa Kristine


“Kofi is free today. He was enslaved and rescued at a very young age. He is with his family again (Ghana). Kofi laughs out loud, long and often. It is contagious.” – Lisa Kristine


"Kofi is free today. He was enslaved and rescued at a very young age. He is with his family again (Ghana). Kofi laughs out loud, long and often. It is contagious." - Lisa Kristine

Kofi, Ghana

“This body of images documents the pain of modern day slavery and the hope of freedom, allowing us to bear witness to the most horrible abuses imaginable and the most astonishing glimpses of the indomitable human spirit. Proceeds from these images directly help fight slavery through Free the Slaves.” – Lisa Kristine

Modern Day Slavery - Lisa Kristine

Modern Day Slavery – 1 – Lisa Kristine


Modern Day Slavery - Lisa Kristine

Modern Day Slavery – 2 – Lisa Kristine


Early to Rise? Ordinary and Happy. Late-to-Bed-Late-to-Rise? Intelligent and Depressed.


According to the University of Madrid and the London School of Economics, those who wake up early have more time just to mediocrity. Those who sleep later and wake up later are generally smarter.


Those who sleep late and wake up late have better analytical thinking, conceptual and critical. Despite some exceptions, such as Thomas Edison and Ernest Hemingway, the morning people are generally good servants while night people are better at more intellectual, creative, scientific, and artistic work. Famous night owls: Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Keith Richards, Elvis Presley.

In the study of Madrid, 32% are night owls and 25% are morning larks, the rest do not fit into any category. Some scientists say that night people have superior intelligence due to the recent evolution of human behavior with activities after the sunset since the introduction of artificial lighting that attracts people with mind more curious, restless and inquisitive.

The University of Toronto, however, shows that morning types are happier – which is consistent with minds less curious and inquisitive. Another interesting fact is that the morning types feel healthier than night owls – plus more adjusted, since the expectations of the society are more organized around the time of a typically morning person. Another explanation for the greatest happiness of the morning type may be that the nocturnal type body clock comes with a kind of social jet-lag.

Another study, this one from the University of Rio Grande do Sul, shows that people with higher intelligence and nocturnal habits are three times more likely to develop depression.
Finally, these studies are in line with the popular quotes “what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over”, “do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” among other quotes much more polemical and aggressive.

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can work in freedom” – Albert Einstein

Liberty is obedience to the law which one has laid down for oneself” – Jean Jacques Rosseau

Ignorance is the necessary condition of human happiness, and it has to be admitted that on the whole mankind observes that condition well. We are almost entirely ignorant of ourselves; absolutely of others. In ignorance, we find our bliss; in illusions, our happiness” – Anatole France


#ActForManning Free Bradley Manning Chicago July 27 2013



#ActForMannig #FreeBradley #BradleyManning #StopWarOnWhistleblowers #EdwardSnowden #SaveBrad

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#‎Wikileaks‬ ‪#‎FreeBrad‬ ‪#‎Manning‬ ‪#‎DefendBrad‬ ‪#‎PardonBrad‬‪#‎FreeBradleyManning‬ ‪#‎BradleyManning‬ ‪#‎DropTheCharge‬‪#‎Iraq‬ ‪#‎Afghanistan‬ ‪#‎Gitmo‬ ‪#‎Bush‬ ‪#‎Obama‬

Take Action for Bradley Manning: July 27, 2013


Bradley Manning

“Please join us in what will likely be the last internationally coordinated show of support for Bradley before military judge Col. Denise Lind reads her final verdict–which we expect some time in August.

On July 26 there will be a rally for Bradley Manning in Washington, DC in front of Maj. General Buchanan’s office. Buchanan is the new convening authority in the trial and he has the power to reduce any possible sentence given to Bradley should he be found guilty.

The July 27 ”International Day of Action” coincides with the anticipated sentencing phase of Bradley’s trial. The outcome of that phase of the trial will result in Bradley receiving any outcome from time served to life in prison.

The end of July also marks the third anniversary of the release of the Afghan War Diary which revealed the realities of pain and abuse suffered by many thousands in Afghanistan.

A thousand supporters marched on Fort Meade at the start of  Bradley Manning’s trial. Now we are asking supporters to organize events in communities across the globe. Looking for an idea for an event? Consider putting on this street theatre performance written by Claire Lebowitz which was performed at NYC Pride and other solidarity events. It only requires 2 performers and its a wonderful way to charge your event and catch peoples interest!

Contact campaign organizer Emma Cape at if you are interested in organizing a solidarity event or action in your community. Help us send a message to Judge Lind that millions stand with Bradley!

View list of solidarity events around the world.

– By the Bradley Manning Support Network. June 27, 2013

Bradley Manning is My Hero

A corajosa ação de Edward Snowden: Onde fica o Brasil?


Edward Snowden

Manifestação de Pablo Ortellado ao ministro Gilberto Carvalho em sessão de diálogo Governo-Sociedade Civil no Palácio do Planalto:

“Gostaria, em primeiro lugar, de saudar a iniciativa de uma política nacional de participação social e espero que os ventos de junho permitam que essa medida possa se tornar verdadeiramente efetiva.
Gostaria também de chamar atenção para um dos elementos que é condição para a participação social que é a transparência governamental.
Recentemente, vimos uma corajosa ação de um ex-funcionário do governo americano que denunciou um programa ilegal desse governo que monitorava todas as comunicações digitais de cidadãos e instituições públicas e privadas brasileiras.
A corajosa ação de Edward Snowden para dar publicidade a esse programa é convergente com os esforços que muitos de nós fazemos na sociedade civil por mais transparência governamental – ele é um membro da nossa comunidade.
Esse membro da nossa comunidade está hoje nuna situação vulnerável num espaço de trânsito no aeroporto de Moscou com muita dificuldade de fazer valer o seu direito de asilo que é respaldado pelo direito internacional.
Além desses importantes esforços de transparência e participação, o governo brasileiro daria um inequívoco sinal de compromisso com a transparência se concedesse asilo ao nosso companheiro Edward Snowden.
No cenário atual, o governo brasileiro é hoje um dos poucos governos ao mesmo tempo independente e forte o suficiente para que uma oferta de asilo político seja eficaz.
Gostaria assim de pedir ao Ministro Gilberto Carvalho transmitir à presidenta Dilma esse apelo com muita ênfase.

Pablo Ortellado

Pablo Ortellado é doutor em filosofia, professor do curso de Gestão de Políticas Públicas e do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Estudos Culturais da Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades da Universidade de São Paulo (EACH-USP).

Who is the Colored Man? By Léopold Sédar Senghor


Dear white brother,

When I was born, I was black,
When I grew up, I was black,
When I am in the sun, I am black,
When I am sick, I am black,
When I die, I will be black.

While you, white man,
When you were born, you were pink,
When you grew up, you were white,
When you go in the sun, you are red,
When you are cold, you are blue,
When you are scared, you are green,
When you are sick, you are yellow,
When you die, you will be grey.

So, between you and me,
Who is the colored man?

Cher frère blanc,

 Quand je suis né, j’étais noir,
Quand j’ai grandi, j’étais noir,
Quand je suis au soleil, je suis noir,
Quand je suis malade, je suis noir,
Quand je mourrai, je serai noir.

Tandis que toi, homme blanc,
Quand tu es né, tu étais rose,
Quand tu as grandi, tu étais blanc,
Quand tu vas au soleil, tu es rouge,
Quand tu as froid, tu es bleu,
Quand tu as peur, tu es vert,
Quand tu es malade, tu es jaune,
Quand tu mourras, tu seras gris.

Alors, de nous deux,
Qui est l’homme de couleur ?

My Birthday with Steve McQueen


It is not everybody that is keen of contemporary art but – for sure – everyone is capable of appreciating it. All we need is sensitivity and education.  The Black British artist Steve McQueen is only a little more than 40 years old but already acclaimed all over the world. So, today was my birthday and I gave myself a promenade in his exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, and I caught myself again in love with his art.

The Black British Artist Steve McQueen

The Black British Artist Steve McQueen

“Queen and Country” (2007/2009) is a huge and massive wood drawer with about 100 vertical drawer divided in the two sides (front and back). Steve contacted 115 families, and received the permission to use their deceased family member’s picture in this exhibition. They all died during the recent war in Iraq. The drawer is interactive and invites you to open them and see the 160 facsimile stamp with the picture of the man or the woman who died serving their country – UK. Note that each stamp comes with the silhouette of the Queen, the same one that hasn’t approved the real circulation of these stamps but McQueen intention’s is to produce them all, and it is just a matter of time. We all know that one day it will happen but until there his art is unfinished.

Another installation that was striking for me: Static (2009) (check the link!), an unstable video of the aging Liberty Statue… speechless!

MqQueen is also the director of Shame (2011) and Hunger (2012), and they are both about the absence of freedom. The non freedom inside a British prison (Hunger) and the non freedom inside a “free” body (Shame). Both movies are shocking and disturbing. Hunger talks about the IRA volunteers, prisoners that had never received the status of political prisoners. They were so strong about their cause that they found themselves with no choice but to do a hunger strike. The astonishing performance of Michael Fassbender playing Bobby Sands shows us the decay of a human body in an agonizing and slow road to death because the British government under Margaret Thatcher’s command refused to give them back their status of political activists and political prisoners. Only after 10 deaths, the prisoners regained some rights but never the recognition for their political status. On the other hand, the director shows the other side of the bars, and how miserable some men working with those prisoners were felling, and some of them committed suicide. Hunger makes a dialogue with Steve McQueen’s other movie, Shame, where a man totally officially free lives incarcerated in his body and his compulsion for sex.

“There is no such thing as political murder, political bombing, political violence.  There is only criminal murder, criminal bombing, and criminal violence.  There will be no political status.”

– By Margaret Thatcher

Lady Liberty: Under Arrest