As the WikiLeaks saga marches on, federal investigations creep
closer to home. And while the courts still have yet to determine how much
whistle blowing is and isn't legal, Boston
activists are speaking out -- and coming to the defense of Bradley Manning.
Manning, the US Army private accused of downloading and
transferring classified government information to WikiLeaks, attended a party
in Boston University's
"hacker space" just three months before WikiLeaks published the now-infamous "Collateral
Murder" video footage evidencing the US military in killings of Reuters
journalists and Iraqi civilians.
Last Wednesday, the founder of the Boston University Information Lab and
Design Space [BUILDS], was brought before an Alexandria, Virginia,
grand jury to be questioned regarding criminal charges filed against Manning. That
local computer scientist, David House - who also helped start the Bradley Manning Support Network - arranged
the January 2010 BUILDS event that Manning attended. He's one of several area
individuals subpoenaed as part of the WikiLeaks federal grand jury
Early Wednesday evening, the day of House's scheduled grand-jury
session (and, strangely enough, two days after the 40th anniversary of the
official publication of the Pentagon Papers), a group of 40 friends,
supporters, and activists calling themselves Civic Counsel
gathered in Government Center to call attention to the need for whistle-blower
protection and a free press in the preservation of democracy.
Around 6:30 pm, news came out that House had refused to testify,
relying on Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination - "the right to
remain silent." A baby-laden guitarist started a "J-U-S-T-I-C-E" sing-a-long
for WikiLeaks, setting the crowd a bit soft. Seventeen-year-old BU Academy
student M.C. McGrath - a friend of House and a driving force behind Civic
Counsel - passed out vibrantly hand-painted "Reboot Democracy" signs, a message
linking the tech-based charges filed against Manning with an over-arching
concern for the future of journalism and US politics.
House is fighting the executive branch in a case that promises
major implications for the way our government regulates the free flow of
information, as well the lives of everyone involved. He's not alone. The day
after House's grand-jury appearance, McGrath posted his pledge
of alliance on Twitter: "No matter what happens, even if I am targeted, I
will keep fighting! Some of us have to take the risk. #wlsup"