- Manning, of course, is the courageous Army intelligence
analyst turned whistleblower, who admitted leaking:
- -- "260,000 classified United States diplomatic
cables and video of a (US) airstrike in Afghanistan that killed 97 civilians
last year," and
- -- an "explosive (39 minute) video of an American
helicopter attack in Baghdad that left 12 people dead, including two employees
of the Reuters news agency" - "collateral murder" he felt
obligated to expose.
- It got him in trouble. On June 7, the military in Iraq
arrested him, saying:
- "The Department of Defense takes the management
of classified information very seriously because it affects our national
security, the lives of our soldiers, and our operations abroad."
- Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the leak "potentially
dramatic and grievously harmful....The battlefield consequences of the
release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our
troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships
and reputation in that part of the world. Intelligence sources and methods,
as well as military tactics, techniques and procedures, will become known
to our adversaries."
- Unmentioned was the following:
- -- our attack, invasion and occupation are illegal under
US and international law;
- -- war crimes, including murder, torture, and targeted
assassinations happen daily;
- -- civilian men, women, and children are willfully targeted;
- -- since October 2001, millions of Afghans have been
killed, injured or displaced, their country perhaps the most hellish anyway,
devastated by decades of war, deep poverty, depravation, and unimaginable
human suffering, mostly caused by America;
- -- the same holds for Iraq, Pakistan, and nations where
Washington wages proxy wars; and
- -- our presence and imperial aims cause harm, not Manning
or WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, exposing truths the public has a right
and need to know.
- They deserve praise, not prosecutions, compliments, not
condemnation, and accolades, not accusations. They're heros, risking personal
harm to disclose disturbing truths, what government and media reports suppress,
sanitize and distort, letting warlords plunder lawlessly so war profiteers
can cash in, Americans the worse off for it.
- In his August 4 Anti-Empire Report (www.killinghope.org),
author William Blum asked:
- "So please tell me again: What's the war about?"
Lies, of course, about 9/11 and leaders repeating them, Obama for one last
August 17 saying:
- "But we must never forget this is not a war of choice.
This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting
to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an
even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans."
- On July 28, 2010, he lied again, saying: "the region
from which the 9/11 attacks were waged and other attacks against the United
States and our friends and allies have been planned."
- Rubbish according to Blum, saying:
- "Never mind that out of the tens of thousands of
people the United States and its NATO front have killed in Afghanistan
not one has been identified as having had anything to do with the events
of September 11, 2001."
- "The only 'war of necessity' that draws the United
States to Afghanistan is the need for protected oil and gas pipelines from
the Caspian Sea area, (and) establishment of military bases (there), making
it easier to watch and pressure next-door Iran (besides being a land-based
aircraft carrier to target Russia and China). What more could any respectable
imperialist nation desire? Oh, did I mention that the military-industrial-security-intelligence
complex and its shareholders" will profit handsomely.
- In 1996, America helped the Taliban gain power, funneling
military aid through Pakistan's ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence). Oil
was the hidden agenda, Taliban representatives visiting Unocal in Houston
in December 1997 to negotiate a trans-Afghan pipeline from the oil rich
Caspian area. It was nearly agreed, the kicker being America's refusal
to extend recognition, a small courtesy to avoid war, occupation, and a
deepening unwinnable quagmire.
- On December 14, 1997, London's Daily Telegraph reported:
- "the US government, which in the past has branded
the Taliban's policies against women and children 'despicable,' appears
anxious to please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline
- On December 4, 1997, a BBC correspondent said "the
proposal to build a pipeline across Afghanistan is part of an international
scramble to profit from developing the rich energy resources of the Caspian
- By recognizing the Taliban government, it would have
been built and today's quagmire avoided. Perhaps America's graveyard also,
no invader ever occupying Afghanistan successfully, not the Soviets or
British, the UK government suffering its greatest ever slaughter and defeat
in 1842, losing 16,000 soldiers and civilians, except one man, historians
believing Afghans let him live to recount the horror. As a result, Britain
withdrew all its personnel and left, a lesson now forgotten, about 9,500
UK troops deployed with Americans and other NATO forces.
- Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai was a former Unocal
adviser when pipeline negotiations took place. He was also a CIA asset.
Unocal claimed it abandoned the pipeline project. Secret talks, however,
continued up to a few months before 9/11, Taliban representatives visiting
the State Department, CIA, and National Security Council. They even had
a Queens, New York diplomatic office, and US officials visited Taliban
ones in Islamabad.
- The French newspaper Le Figaro also quoted Arab specialist
Antoine Sfeir, saying CIA operatives met with bin Laden (a CIA asset in
the 1980s) and maintained contact with him until his training camp was
attacked in 1998.
- America's fine line between enemies and friends is their
willingness or reluctance to obey - do what we say or we'll boycott or
bomb you, a threat with teeth, revealed by Manning and WikiLeaks.
- Revealing Disturbing Truths Is Risky
- Held initially in Kuwait, a July 29 Baghdad Pentagon
press release said:
- "US Army officials transferred PFC Bradley Manning
from the Theater Field Confinement Facility in Kuwait to the Marine Corps
Base Quantico Brig in Quantico, Virginia, on July 29. (He) remains in pretrial
confinement pending an Article 32 investigation (like a grand jury or preliminary
hearing) into the charges preferred against him on July 5."
- "The criminal investigation remains open....findings
and recommendations (will determine) whether to recommend (if) the case
(will) be referred to trial by court-martial." For sure, that's what's
planned, the Pentagon and Obama administration to throw the book at him
or worse unless somehow their plans are derailed.
- On August 2, Congressman Mike Rogers (R. MI) told Michigan
radio station WHMI that Manning should be executed, saying:
- "He release(d) this information to a third party
who they say will make the determination that there's nothing harmful in
it, while we know for a fact that there will be people that will likely
be killed because of this information being disclosed. That's pretty serious.
If they don't charge him with treason, they ought to charge him with murder."
- Asked if he should be punished by death, Rogers said:
"Yes, and I would support it 100 percent."
- Federal Charges Against Manning
- In early July, the Pentagon charged him with four noncriminal
offenses, and eight violations of federal criminal law, including one count
of violating the 1917 Espionage Act, accessed through the following link:
- Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) charges included:
- -- eight violations of federal criminal law, including
unauthorized computer access and transmitting classified information to
an unauthorized third party; and
- -- four noncriminal Army regulations violations, governing
the handling of classified information and computers.
- If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 52 years
- The Bradley Manning Support Network
- Access it for information about Manning through the following
- Its purpose is to:
- -- "Harness the outrage felt by millions (viewing)
the 'Collateral Murder' video into a coordinated defense of Manning;
- -- Raise awareness" about his arrest, charges and
- -- "Coordinate" efforts to support him;
- -- "Collect funds (for a) high-quality" defense;
- -- "Provide supporters with accurate, updated information
as the" pretrial hearing and likely trial progress; and
- -- "Provide prisoner support for (him) throughout
- Connected with Assange, he's more vulnerable, a 2008
classified Counterintelligence Center report placing WikiLeaks on "the
list of enemies threatening the security of the United States," discussing
ways to destroy its reputation and effectiveness, saying:
- "Web sites such as WikiLeaks.org have trust as their
most important center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity
of the insider, leaker, or whistleblower. Successful identification, prosecution,
termination of employment, and exposure of persons leaking the information
by the governments and businesses affected by information posted to WikiLeaks.org
would damage and potentially destroy this center of gravity and deter others
from taking similar actions."
- With Manning in custody and facing trial, score one for
the Pentagon, expected to exploit his case to the fullest to set an example
and deter others. He'll likely be convicted and imprisoned, not executed
as Congressman Rogers wants.
- Law Professor Francis Boyle "believe(s) a treason
charge wo(n't) stick (because) Congress has not declared war." The
best outcome for military resisters he helped defend was to "get them
off of prison time, out of the military, or else minimum time served."
He and others also got Amnesty International to designate Capt. Dr. Huett
Vaughn, Staff Sgt. Mejia, and Lt. Ehren Watada Prisoners of Conscience
- Watada was the first commissioned officer refusing to
deploy to Iraq, saying: "as an officer of honor and integrity, (he
could not participate in a war that was) manifestly illegal....morally
wrong (and) a horrible breach of American law."
- As a result, he faced court-martial, a possible dishonorable
discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and seven years in prison,
but got off thanks to Boyle and others. Before his Article 32 hearing,
he publicly called the war illegal. Not wanting that revealed in testimony,
the presiding judge declared a mistrial. He'd lost control, knew Watada
was right, and had to suppress the truth to avoid an acquittal possibility
on constitutional grounds.
- Afghanistan is also illegal, Boyle explaining that Congress
never declared war. The UN Security never authorized it under Article 51,
and the Taliban never "attacked the United States or authorized or
approved such an attack." In public testimony, FBI Director Robert
Mueller, and CIA's then Deputy Director John McLaughlin admitted finding
no link between the Taliban and 9/11.
- Nonetheless, the Bush administration preemptively attacked
in violation of US and international law. Obama is a war criminal pursuing
and escalating it, expanding it cross border into Pakistan, and continuing
the Iraq conflict and occupation.
- American forces may refuse to serve, citing US and international
law, including Army Field Manual (FM) 27 - 10, incorporating the Nuremberg
Principles, Judgment and Charter and The Law of Land Warfare (1956).
- FM's paragraph 498 states that any person, military or
civilian, who commits a crime under international law is responsible for
it and may be punished. Paragraph 499 defines a war crime. Paragraph 500
refers to a conspiracy, attempts to commit it and complicity with respect
to international crimes. Paragraph 509 denies the defense of superior orders
in the commission of a crime, and paragraph 510 denies the defense of an
"act of state" to absolve them.
- These provisions apply to all US military and civilian
personnel, including top commanders, the Secretary of Defense, his subordinates,
and the President and Vice President. Boyle calls resisting lawlessness
"our Nuremberg moment." Those refusing them and exposing crimes
should be praised, not prosecuted.
- Manning provided evidence and may denounce the war's
illegality, perhaps using it as a defense. He found crimes, needing to
be exposed, acting honorably and heroically doing it as did WikiLeaks by
publishing them anonymously.
- In edited chat logs posted by Wired.com, Manning admitted
"want(ing) people to see the truth....regardless of who they are....because
without information, you cannot make informed decisions...." He never
considered selling it to foreign powers or anyone, saying: "information
should be free....it belongs in the public domain....if it's out in the
open....it should be a public good," exposing crimes and corruption
to generate "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms."
- That's honor, not espionage or treason, Manning saying:
- "Everywhere there's a US post, there's a diplomatic
scandal (to) be revealed. World-wide anarchy in CVS format. It's Climategate
with a global scope, and breathtaking depth. It's beautiful and horrifying.
(The documents describe) almost criminal political back dealings. (They
belong) in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark corner
in Washington, DC (or the Pentagon. Our government is involved in) incredible
things, awful things."
- He exposed cold-blooded civilian murders, the public
unaware that Pentagon rules-of-engagement (ROEs) target them like combatants
in every warfare theater. Waging permanent wars of aggression, America
acts lawlessly and recklessly. The public has a right to know. Manning
and Assange are heros, deserving plaudits for their courage.
- A Final Note
- On Sunday, August 8, a public rally will be held outside
the Quantico, VA Marine base, supporting Manning. War criminals remain
free uncharged. Manning, an American hero, faces 52 years in prison for
exposing their crimes.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
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