Atlantans Protest in Support of Wikileaks

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(APN) ATLANTA — On Wednesday evening, December 15, 2010, over 75 activists and concerned citizens braved freezing rain at the CNN Center to publicly stand up for the right to dissent.
Their demands were to stop government harassment of antiwar activists, expose US government cover-ups of war crimes, stop endless US invasions and occupations, and to support both Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, and Bradley Manning, a young private who allegedly downloaded some of the government documents exposed by Wikileaks.
The Defend Dissent Protest was organized by an ad hoc group of Atlantans who value truth and transparency.  Two groups who supplied much of the leadership were Solidarity, and the International Action Center/Atlanta.
“It was the tech-savvy young people who researched the cables, activated the social networking sites, made lots of signs and banners, flyered the community, and were important in developing the protest once they were invited to an organizing meeting by the IAC and Solidarity,” Dianne Mathiowetz with the IAC/Atlanta told Atlanta Progressive News.
Attending the protest were individual members of a cross-section of the organized peace and justice movement, as well as, many who were not part of any official group.
A student named Tom, who asked his last name not be used, with Progressive Student Alliance of Georgia State University, read some of the leaked cables aloud during the protest.
One of the most disturbing leaks concerns the use of US taxpayer dollars being spent on contractors buying child prostitutes in Afghanistan.
Change.org recently released a cable from Afghanistan revealing US government contractor DynCorp threw a party for Afghan security recruits featuring trafficked boys
as the entertainment.
Bacha bazi is the Afghan tradition of “boy play” where young boys are dressed up in women’s clothing, forced to dance for leering men, and then sold for sex to the
highest bidder.  Apparently this is the sort of “entertainment” funded by US tax dollars when DynCorp is in charge of security in Afghanistan.
Another damaging leak at the public reading Wednesday night reveals that Shell Oil controls Nigeria’s government.
The Guardian newspaper (UK) reported that Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians’
every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta.
The revelation about Shell in Nigeria demonstrated the tangled links between the oil firm and politicians in the country where, despite billions of dollars in oil
revenue, 70 percent of people live below the poverty line.
Hundreds of protests have sprung up around the world in support of Manning and Assange and for the continuted release of Wikileaks information.
The Defend Dissent Protest also targeted the September 2010 FBI raid on the homes of seven well-known anti-war and international solidarity activists in Chicago, Illinois, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The FBI took computer hard drives, cell phones, documents, newspapers, and children’s artwork.
The FBI subpoenaed 14 activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan to testify at a grand jury.  According to the FBI, the goal of the raids was to show material support for terrorism charges, but activists claim the US government is trying to put people in jail for anti-war and international solidarity activism and that these people have done nothing wrong.
This is the US government’s attempt to silence those who support resistance to oppression in the Middle East and Latin America, especially injustices in Palestine and Colombia.
Most of the media attention has been on Julian Assange but National Public Radio reports that Bradley Manning is being severely mistreated through a system of solitary
confinement that could lead to permanent psychological damage.
Manning has been in military detention for seven months, first in Kuwait and now at Quantico in Virginia.
Change.org reports that Bradley Manning has not been convicted of a crime, and that what he’s accused of doing–leaking classified documents exposing war crimes and
the US government’s cover up of child rape and torture–would, in a free society, be considered a public service.  But right now he’s being tortured.
Germaine Appel, with the Zeitgeist Movement, told APN, “The government has dropped the ball, people are having a hard time and they are pissed off.  The government is trying to kill the messinger.  How free can we be as citizens when individuals and groups are censored for giving us information to make us aware of why we went to war and why the media did not challenge the lies as they were being told.”
The Zeitgeist Movement is a worldwide grassroots movement which focuses on raising awareness for a global social change, by transitioning society from a monetary-based economy to a new, sustainable social design called a resource-based economy.
Pete DeLorenzo who is not with an organized group said he heard about the protest from friends.  He wanted to show his support for Wilikeleaks, Julian Assange, and all the people in the nation who are standing up for what is right by honoring dissent.    DeLorenzo, 40, summed it up, “I have been tired of wars and the U.S. foreign policy all of my life.   Sooner or later, and I hope sooner, the people have to stop the government’s unjust policies and the destruction.”
While most of Washington condemns WikiLeaks, US Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said, “secrecy is more dangerous than Julian Assange.”  Paul said recently on the House floor that treating Assange as a spy for releasing secret US diplomatic cables was like “killing the messenger for bringing bad news.”
The lively and mostly young gathering chanted “Up with Real Democracy, Down with Lies and Secrecy.”
They held signs for the cars on Marietta Street and Centennial Blvd to see, which read “Wikileaks Good for Democracy Bad for Empire,” “Exposing Government Lies is not a Crime,” “Dear FBI Hands off Peace Activists,” and “Free Bradley Manning Now.”
Other leaked documents expose a US Apache helicopter attact on journalists.  Two Reuters journalists were gunned down by an Army helicopter in Iraq.  The crew were not disciplined.  They said they mistook the camera equipment for weapons.
Almost 400,000 classified US military documents recording the US invasion and occupation of Iraq suggest that evidence of the torture of Iraqis by coalition troops was
ignored and, and they record civilian deaths in more detail than was previously known.
More than 66,000 civilians suffered “violent deaths” between 2004 and the end of 2009, they show, as reported in The Telegraph newspaper (UK).
An internal study about the effects of dumping waste by Trafigura, an oil trading company, discloses that it used amateurish processes while dumping gasoline on the
Ivory Coast and probably would have left dangerous sulphur compounds untreated, The Telegraph reported.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department ordered United Nations diplomats to collect passwords, emails, and biometric data in order to spy on top U.N.
officials and others, likely in violation of the Vienna Treaty of 1961.

(APN) ATLANTA — On Wednesday evening, December 15, 2010, over 75 activists and concerned citizens braved freezing rain at the CNN Center to publicly stand up for the right to dissent.

Their demands were to stop government harassment of antiwar activists, expose US government cover-ups of war crimes, stop endless US invasions and occupations, and to support both Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, and Bradley Manning, a young private who allegedly downloaded some of the government documents exposed by Wikileaks.

The Defend Dissent Protest was organized by an ad hoc group of Atlantans who value truth and transparency.

Two groups who supplied much of the leadership were Solidarity, and the International Action Center/Atlanta.

“It was the tech-savvy young people who researched the cables, activated the social networking sites, made lots of signs and banners, flyered the community, and were important in developing the protest once they were invited to an organizing meeting by the IAC and Solidarity,” Dianne Mathiowetz with the IAC/Atlanta told Atlanta Progressive News.

Attending the protest were individual members of a cross-section of the organized peace and justice movement, as well as, many who were not part of any official group.

A student named Tom, who asked his last name not be used, with Progressive Student Alliance of Georgia State University, read some of the leaked cables aloud during the protest.

One of the most disturbing leaks concerns the use of US taxpayer dollars being spent on contractors buying child prostitutes in Afghanistan.

Change.org recently released a cable from Afghanistan revealing US government contractor DynCorp threw a party for Afghan security recruits featuring trafficked boys as the entertainment.

Bacha bazi is the Afghan tradition of “boy play” where young boys are dressed up in women’s clothing, forced to dance for leering men, and then sold for sex to the highest bidder.

Apparently this is the sort of “entertainment” funded by US tax dollars when DynCorp is in charge of security in Afghanistan.

Another damaging leak at the public reading Wednesday night reveals that Shell Oil controls Nigeria’s government.

The Guardian newspaper (UK) reported that Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians’ every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

The revelation about Shell in Nigeria demonstrated the tangled links between the oil firm and politicians in the country where, despite billions of dollars in oil revenue, 70 percent of people live below the poverty line.

Hundreds of protests have sprung up around the world in support of Manning and Assange and for the continued release of Wikileaks information.

The Defend Dissent Protest also targeted the September 2010 FBI raid on the homes of seven well-known anti-war and international solidarity activists in Chicago, Illinois, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The FBI took computer hard drives, cell phones, documents, newspapers, and children’s artwork.  The FBI subpoenaed 14 activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan to testify at a grand jury.

According to the FBI, the goal of the raids was to show material support for terrorism charges, but activists claim the US government is trying to put people in jail for anti-war and international solidarity activism and that these people have done nothing wrong.

This is the US government’s attempt to silence those who support resistance to oppression in the Middle East and Latin America, especially injustices in Palestine and Colombia.

Most of the media attention has been on Julian Assange but National Public Radio reports that Bradley Manning is being severely mistreated through a system of solitary confinement that could lead to permanent psychological damage.

Manning has been in military detention for seven months, first in Kuwait and now at Quantico in Virginia.

Change.org reports that Bradley Manning has not been convicted of a crime, and that what he’s accused of doing–leaking classified documents exposing war crimes and the US government’s cover up of child rape and torture–would, in a free society, be considered a public service.  But right now he’s being tortured.

Germaine Appel, with the Zeitgeist Movement, told APN, “The government has dropped the ball, people are having a hard time and they are pissed off.  The government is trying to kill the messenger.  How free can we be as citizens when individuals and groups are censored for giving us information to make us aware of why we went to war and why the media did not challenge the lies as they were being told.”

The Zeitgeist Movement is a worldwide grassroots movement which focuses on raising awareness for a global social change, by transitioning society from a monetary-based economy to a new, sustainable social design called a resource-based economy.

Pete DeLorenzo who is not with an organized group said he heard about the protest from friends.  He wanted to show his support for Wikileaks, Julian Assange, and all the people in the nation who are standing up for what is right by honoring dissent.

DeLorenzo, 40, summed it up, “I have been tired of wars and the U.S. foreign policy all of my life.   Sooner or later, and I hope sooner, the people have to stop the government’s unjust policies and the destruction.”

While most of Washington condemns WikiLeaks, US Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said, “secrecy is more dangerous than Julian Assange.”  Paul said recently on the House floor that treating Assange as a spy for releasing secret US diplomatic cables was like “killing the messenger for bringing bad news.”

The lively and mostly young gathering chanted “Up with Real Democracy, Down with Lies and Secrecy.”
They held signs for the cars on Marietta Street and Centennial Blvd to see, which read “Wikileaks Good for Democracy Bad for Empire,” “Exposing Government Lies is not a Crime,” “Dear FBI Hands off Peace Activists,” and “Free Bradley Manning Now.”

Other leaked documents expose a US Apache helicopter attack on journalists.  Two Reuters journalists were gunned down by an Army helicopter in Iraq.  The crew were not disciplined.  They said they mistook the camera equipment for weapons.

Almost 400,000 classified US military documents recording the US invasion and occupation of Iraq suggest that evidence of the torture of Iraqis by coalition troops was ignored, and they record civilian deaths in more detail than was previously known.

More than 66,000 civilians suffered “violent deaths” between 2004 and the end of 2009, they show, as reported in The Telegraph newspaper (UK).

An internal study about the effects of dumping waste by Trafigura, an oil trading company, discloses that it used amateurish processes while dumping gasoline on the Ivory Coast and probably would have left dangerous sulfur compounds untreated, The Telegraph reported.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department ordered United Nations diplomats to collect passwords, emails, and biometric data in order to spy on top U.N. officials and others, likely in violation of the Vienna Treaty of 1961.

(END / 2010)

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