11 Articles on Bradley Manning | Updated
Dylan Eleven | Truth11.com | Truth11 Films
We have been tricked into fighting perpetual wars of mass genocide for pointless profit. There is no enemy. The enemy is within the US government. All exterior enemies are created to justify the advancing military industrial complex.
There is only one way war will end. The masses must rise up, unite, and demand world peace.
Here is Truth11 Films short film set to The Lotus Eater by Opeth. Perpetual War. This film has footage released by Bradley Manning.
Bradley Manning Court-Martial: Secrecy and Injustice on Trial
By Stephen Lendman – Posted on 04 June 2013
Bradley Manning Court-Martial: Secrecy and Injustice on Trial by Stephen Lendman America honors its worst. It persecutes its best. Manning is heroic. He risked great personal harm. He did so to reveal vital truths. People have a right to know. Washington has no right to conceal them. Secrecy, lawlessness, and contempt for humanity define US policy. Evidence vital to Manning’s defense is prohibited. Information refuting charges of “aiding the enemy” is barred from trial proceedings. Claiming it’s not relevant or harmful to national security doesn’t wash. Excluding it reflects police state justice. On June 3, United States v. Bradley Manning court-martial proceedings began. Pre-trial, Obama pronounced him guilty by accusation. Doing so denies any possibility of judicial fairness. His word is final. “We are a nation of laws,” he claimed. “We don’t let individuals make decisions about how the law operates. (Manning) broke the law.” No nation spurns inviolable laws more egregiously than America. Obama reflects the worst of US governance. He rules by diktat authority. He does so secretly. He’s waging war on humanity. He does so at home and abroad. With a stroke of his pen he could free Manning. Pronouncing guilt by accusation assures his conviction. Doing so publicly leaves no doubt. So do secret trial proceedings. They violate constitutional law. The Sixth Amendment states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” The Constitution mandates ALL criminal prosecutions. Pentagon ones aren’t exempt. Especially high-profile cases like Manning. If convicted, he faces possible life in prison. At issue is convicting him for doing the right thing. Manning’s trial proceedings will be secret, not public. Doing so violates constitutional law. It mandates the right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury. He’s denied both. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) calls for trial within 120 days of restraint and arraignment. The Rule for Court Martial (RCM) 707 mandates the same thing. It’s to assure speedy trial proceedings. Manning’s been held over three years without trial. He’s been isolated throughout much of it. Doing so violates Eight Amendment protection against “cruel and unusual punishments.” US statute laws were violated. So was UCMJ’s Article 13. It prohibits pre-trial confinement conditions “any more rigorous” than what’s minimally needed to ensure the accused appears for court hearings. America should be on trial, not Manning! He revealed war crimes too egregious to be kept secret. He should be honored for doing so. Top culpable civilian and military officials should be held fully accountable. Justice demands no less. Manning faces 22 charges. He pleaded guilty to 10 lesser ones. He denied 12 greater ones. He called war logs given WikiLeaks “some of the most important documents of our time.” He chose ones he believed “wouldn’t cause harm to the United States.” He hoped a national debate would follow his revelations. It’s sorely needed more than ever. America’s “obsessed with capturing and killing people,” he said. “Collateral murder” is policy. US helicopter pilots gunned down innocent civilians. They murdered anyone trying to help them. Shooting wounded victims was like “a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass,” he said. He wanted everyone to know. It’s their right. At issue are high crimes of war and against humanity. They’re too grave to ignore. Manning’s charges include 1917 Espionage Act violations. Doing so contradicts the law’s intent. It doesn’t deter Justice Department or Pentagon officials from using it. It passed shortly after America’s entry into WW I. Over time, it’s been amended numerous times. Originally it prohibited interfering with US military operations, supporting the nation’s enemies, promoting insubordination in the ranks, or obstructing military recruitment. In 1921, its most controversial provisions were repealed. In 2010, Manning was wrongfully charged under the Act. Technically its under Articles 104 and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). It includes parts of the US Code. Colonel Denise Lind is both judge and jury. Official transcripts of proceedings will be kept secret. Weeks earlier, Freedom of the Press Foundation “launched a campaign to crowd-fund a court stenographer.” Manning’s trial “will have an enormous impact on press freedom and the rights of future whistleblowers,” it said. “The government refuses to make its transcripts available to the public.” Floyd Abrams is a constitutional law expert. Yochai Benkler is Harvard Law School’s Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies. In March 2013, their New York Times op-ed headlined “Death to Whistle-Blowers?” At issue is Manning’s trial. If found guilty on serious charges, “the prosecution will establish a chilling precedent: national security leaks may subject the leakers to a capital prosecution or at least life imprisonment.” “Anyone who holds freedom of the press dear should shudder at the threat that the prosecution’s theory presents to journalists, their sources and the public that relies on them.” Former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black one said: “The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.” What’s more destructive than imposing capital penalties or imprisoning heroic whistleblowers for life for doing the right thing. According to Abrams and Benkler, Manning’s “leaks included important disclosures (and) their publication is protected by the First Amendment no less than the publication of the Pentagon Papers was.” “We cannot allow our concerns about terrorism to turn us into a country where communicating with the press can be prosecuted as a capital offense.” Both contributors agreed. WikiLeaks is part of the Fourth Estate. It’s right to publish is no less than any other media organization or contributor. Over 350 media sources submitted applications to witness Manning’s trial. Only 70 got permission. In other words, those considered safe may do so. Others are prohibited. Claiming space limitations denies others doesn’t wash. Proceedings can be held anywhere. According to the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF): “In previous hearings, the Army has opened a public overflow theater with live audio and video streaming of the hearing.” “Additionally, the Army has sole discretion over which room(s) to designate as media rooms – including how many rooms to make available.” FPF enlisted a reputable court stenographer firm. With permission, its stenographers will work in shifts. Doing so will provide a public record. All media sources will have access. Independent alternative ones are most important. People will learn what otherwise they won’t know. On June 1, FPF headlined “Crowd-funded Stenographers Denied Press Passes to the Bradley Manning Court Martial.” It said three of its media partners were denied them. It remains to be seen if FPF’s request discussed above will or won’t fare better. Manning’s trial will be held at Fort Meade, MD. On June 2, Bradley Manning.orgheadlined “Nearly two thousand rally for Bradley Manning at Ft. Meade.” They did so on June 1. Washington charged Manning with indirectly “aiding the enemy.” Saying so defies reason. It mocks fundamental constitutional rule of law principles. Manning’s a political prisoner. Amnesty International (AI) claims otherwise. It refuses to name him a prisoner of conscience. From January 2012 – January 2013, former Hillary Clinton aide Suzanne Nossel headed AI USA. She’s an imperial insider. Interim co-executive directors Bob Goodfellow and Frank Jannuzi replaced her. They’ve acted no less irresponsibly than she did. According to Francis Boyle: “Amnesty International is primarily motivated not by human rights but by publicity. Second comes money.” It relies on corporate foundations and other dubious sources to provide it. Services rendered in return are expected. Conflicts of interest are rife. The Bradley Manning Support Fund is “100%” responsible for his legal expenses. Around 20,000 supporters contributed over $1.25 million. David Coombs represents Manning. On June 2, he said: “On behalf of both myself and PFC Manning, I would like to thank everyone for their continued support over the last three years.” “I especially appreciate the the tireless fundraising and awareness efforts of Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network.” “Finally, a special thank you to those journalists who have been reporting on PFC Manning since the beginning and who have brought worldwide attention to this important case.” “I AM BRADLEY MANNING.” We’re all Bradley Manning! His fate is ours! Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon.
All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour http://www.dailycensored.com/bradley-manning-court-martial-secrecy-and-injustice-on-trial/
I Am Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty to Reporting War Crimes
By Ralph Lopez – Posted on 03 June 2013
Bradley Manning wasn’t committing a crime, he was reporting crimes. First the torture of Iraqi dissidents by the puppet government then firing on wounded being evacuated.
Chase Mader at Huffington Post wrote in 2011:
When Bradley Manning deployed to Iraq in October 2009, he thought that he’d be helping the Iraqi people build a free society after the long nightmare of Saddam Hussein. What he witnessed firsthand was quite another matter.
He soon found himself helping the Iraqi authorities detain civilians for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature” — which turned out to be an investigative report into financial corruption in their own government entitled “Where does the money go?” The penalty for this “crime” in Iraq was not a slap on the wrist. Imprisonment and torture, as well as systematic abuse of prisoners, are widespread in the new Iraq. From the military’s own Sigacts (Significant Actions) reports, we have a multitude of credible accounts of Iraqi police and soldiers shooting prisoners, beating them to death, pulling out fingernails or teeth, cutting off fingers, burning with acid, torturing with electric shocks or the use of suffocation, and various kinds of sexual abuse including sodomization with gun barrels and forcing prisoners to perform sexual acts on guards and each other.
Manning had more than adequate reason to be concerned about handing over Iraqi citizens for likely torture simply for producing pamphlets about corruption in a government notorious for its corruptness.
Like any good soldier, Manning immediately took these concerns up the chain of command. And how did his superiors respond? His commanding officer told him to “shut up” and get back to rounding up more prisoners for the Iraqi Federal Police to treat however they cared to…
Baghdad 2010. Manning sees video hidden in miitary prosecutors disk drive showing a “bunch of [Iraqis] getting shot up,” writing to his then-friend Adrian Lemo:
“At first glance it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter…No big deal … about two dozen more where that came from, right? But something struck me as odd with the van thing, and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer’s directory. So I looked into it.”
What Manning meant by “the van thing” was an American helicopter attack on men attempting to evacuate wounded from the “battlefield,” strictly against the Geneva Convention and explicitely a war crime.
Article 12 of the Geneva Convention of 1864 states that:
“…Members of the armed forces and other persons (…) who are wounded or sick, shall be respected and protected in all circumstances. They shall be treated humanely and cared for by the Party to the conflict…Any attempts upon their lives, or violence to their persons, shall be strictly prohibited; in particular, they shall not be murdered or exterminated…”.
Like the Pentagon Papers in Nixon’s era, the information in the Manning document leaks was vetted by Wikileaks, and Wikileaks offered the Pentagon a chance to review and add redactions, which the Pentagon flatly refused. Like the Pentagon Papers, the real objection to the leak is that it is a treasure trove of information documenting the mishandling of the war, incompetence, and lies.
As one example, the Guardian reported in “Afghanistan war logs: US covered up fatal Taliban missile strike on Chinook” that:
The US military covered up a reported surface-to-air missile strike by the Taliban that shot down a Chinook helicopter over Helmand in 2007 and killed seven soldiers, including a British military photographer, the war logs show. The strike on the twin-rotor helicopter shows the Taliban enjoyed sophisticated anti-aircraft capabilities earlier than previously thought, casting new light on the battle for the skies over Afghanistan.
Now everybody has seen Charlie Wilson’s War, a horribly inaccurate portrayal of the US involvement in the Afghan war against the Soviet occupation. In the movie, the insurgents getting surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) is the beginning of the end of the Russians.
Can’t have Americans thinking about that, now, can we?
June 5th, 2013(ActivistPost) – We have spoken to Nathan Fuller at Bradleymanning.org who has given us gracious permission to reprint his daily firsthand reports. Day 2 is posted below. We also will be adding commentary, as well as analyses from other sources to provide a constant update to what is happening in this essential trial for whistleblowers and their mission to reveal the truth. As a part of today’s update, we are also including this new trailer released that includes various celebrities and well-respected media such as Chris Hedges and Matt Taibbi. “I am Bradley Manning.”(Above)Nathan Fuller’s new report, as well as our previous update, are available below…Bradley Manning’s InfoSec write-up never mentioned WikiLeaks: trial report, day 2
by Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. June 4, 2013.
Day 2 of Bradley Manning’s court martial covered his training in information security, his chats with Adrian Lamo, and the forensic investigation of his digital media. Day 1 report here.
Witnesses in Bradley Manning’s trial today testified about the hardware retrieved from Manning’s workstation and housing unit in Iraq, the process for examining forensics of that hardware, his training on classified information, and his online chats with hacker and informant Adrian Lamo.
The proceedings moved quickly – the military’s subject matter expert told us that the government is two days ahead of schedule – because the defense continues to stipulate to expected testimony, which allows the government to simply read what a witness would have testified to without the need for cross-examination. Bradley took responsibility for releasing documents to WikiLeaks in late February 2013, so the defense doesn’t contest much of the basic forensic information for those releases.
Manning’s PowerPoint on Information Security doesn’t mention WikiLeaks
In the first pretrial hearing in December 2011, when the government claimed that Bradley Manning knew that giving documents to WikiLeaks meant giving them to Al Qaeda, it often referred to a PowerPoint presentation that Bradley created while in Army training, implying if not stating outright that in the presentation Bradley mentioned WikiLeaks specifically as a site America’s enemies use to collect information.
But today we saw that PowerPoint, while the parties questioned Troy Moul, the instructor from Bradley’s intelligence analyst training, and nowhere did it mention WikiLeaks – it merely claims that adversaries use the Internet generally to harvest information about U.S. operations.
In fact, Moul admitted, “I had never even heard of the term WikiLeaks until I was informed [Bradley] had been arrested.”
Moul testified at greater length about the instruction Bradley received at Advanced Individual Training (AIT) before he became an intelligence analyst, including the potential damage releasing Secret information could cause and the Non-Disclosure Agreement he signed, vowing to keep classified information secret. But the government has to show that he knew that passing information to WikiLeaks meant he was indirectly passing documents to Al Qaeda. This PowerPoint clearly doesn’t make that connection. In yesterday’s opening arguments, the government discussed an Army Counterintelligence Special Report, which delves into whether WikiLeaks.org is used by adversarial organizations – but as Marcy Wheeler writes,
The report itself is actually ambiguous about whether or not our adversaries were using WikiLeaked data. It both presents it as a possibility that we didn’t currently have intelligence on, then presumes it.
Adrian Lamo confirms chat log comments, Manning’s humanist values
Computer hacker and government informant Adrian Lamo testified about his instant messages with Bradley Manning from late May 2010, which he turned over to the authorities, WIRED magazine, and the Washington Post, leading to Bradley’s arrest.
Both lines of questioning tracked opening arguments. Responding to prosecutor questions, Lamo said his chats with Manning were encrypted, that no one tampered with or manipulated them before he handed them over to Army CID, and that Manning discussed disclosing classified information and communicating with Julian Assange. Lamo frequently gave maximalist and formal responses to government questions – explaining for example that Facebook is a ‘very popular social media website where lots of people connect.’
In cross-examination, defense lawyer David Coombs reviewed several lines of chats that Lamo then confirmed. He recalled that Bradley was a humanist, someone who wanted to investigate the truth, and someone who wanted to disclose information for the public good. He acknowledged that Bradley never indicated an intention to help America’s enemies or intimated any anti-American sentiment.
Lamo was then permanently excused from testifying.
Evidentiary and intelligence analyst witnesses
Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit Special Agents David Shaver and Mark Johnson testified briefly about their expertise with forensically investigating and handling digital media. They were established as experts and then temporarily excused, and I expect they’ll be called back multiple times. The government read more stipulations of expected testimony from those who stored Bradley’s hard drives and computers, and from a fellow student in the AIT.
The government is working its way through the chain of command and through Bradley’s time in the Army, in an apparent effort to show a history of disregard for classified information. But one such example turned up rather fruitless: in Moul’s testimony, prosecutors asked about his need to counsel Bradley for posting a video to YouTube in which he referenced “buzzwords” like “Top Secret,” and “SCIF” (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility). But when asked by the defense whether Bradley divulged (or even knew of any) classified information in the video, Moul said no.
Tomorrow, Warrant Officer 1 Kyle Balonek (whom Alexa O’Brien profiled here), Specialist Jihrleah Showman (O’Brien’s profile) and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hondo Hack (O’Brien’s profile) will testify, and then we’ll be recessed until Monday – likely because the proceedings moved too quickly to schedule witnesses any sooner.
You can donate to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund Here.
The extremely disturbing video below started it all. The video was made public through WikiLeaks, and was retitled to be now commonly known as “Collateral Murder.” Since then, former Army intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, has given new voice to the issue of how far the government is willing to go to silence whistleblowers and make an example out of them through relentless hounding and prosecution.
Bradley Manning’s case and treatment is at the heart of a new U.S. government mission that equates the revealing of truth as aiding and abetting the enemy. It is a tactic which might end up backfiring.
His trial, which could conclude with Manning spending the rest of his life in prison, started today with opening statements by the prosecution and defense.
The defense asserts that Manning sought to expose the horrific collateral damage of the war in which he was enlisted, and that he did so on humanitarian grounds. For this, he has been charged with transmitting over 700,000 classified documents, logs, and videos to the Internet via WikiLeaks and putting the troops and the nation in grave danger.
Manning was arrested at forward operating base Hammer outside Baghdad on 27 May 2010 on suspicion of being the source of the biggest leak of confidential state documents in US history. He faces 22 charges . . .
Manning has now been held for well over 1,000 days. The slow trial was called by Manning’s lawyer ”an absolute mockery” of his rights. His treatment while in custody led 250 legal scholars to sign a letter to the Obama administration that what Manning was being subjected to was tantamount to torture.
Under the terms of his detention, he is kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, checked every five minutes under a so-called “prevention of injury order” and stripped naked at night apart from a smock. (Source)
The Army has essentially been treating Manning as an enemy combatant. Statements by the Army’s prosecuting attorney clarify the military’s view of the seriousness of Manning’s alleged crimes, and presumably have justified his harsh treatment.
“This is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents and dumped them onto the Internet, into the hands of the enemy—material he knew, based on his training, would put the lives of fellow soldiers at risk,” said Army Capt. Joe Morrow, who is prosecuting the case. (Source)
Manning already has pleaded guilty to 10 charges of espionage, computer fraud, and violation of additional laws for which he could receive up to 20 years in prison.
The current trial will determine the far greater crime of deliberately aiding the enemy, for which he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole. The prosecution emphasized that Osama bin Laden obtained some of the information that Manning released, demonstrating aid to the enemy.
The government’s hardline in pursuing Manning as an enemy of the state might show more about the level of embarrassment the Obama administration has endured, as opposed to a sincere effort to assure Americans that Manning indeed put the nation at great risk. Especially since, as noted by the Washington Post, this military trial will be the biggest since the My Lai massacre of the Vietnam War in which 504 unarmed men, women, and children were killed by American soldiers after many were raped and tortured.
Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said he was shocked the government proceeded after the plea offer. “It is like hitting Manning with a sledgehammer,” he said. “They have him for 20 years, and then they go for life. Twenty years is enough for a pound of Manning’s flesh.” (Source)
There will be no public oversight of this trial due to its classified nature, which should only enhance the secrecy for which the government has been criticized throughout Manning’s captivity. Unless there is a plea arrangement, the trial is expected to last for 3 to 4 months. Interestingly, Manning today reasserted his wish to a trial by Judge Denise Lind, and not a jury.
We will update this post as more information about Manning’s trial becomes available.
Please leave your thoughts below if you believe Manning was presenting a threat to America, or if you agree with Manning that he wanted only to “spark a domestic debate over the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.”
PDF of transcripts Day 1 can be found Here:
Week of Action June 1-8: Schedule
Bradley Manning: the Moral Dimension
By Ray McGovern – Posted on 03 June 2013
Moral Imperative of Bradley ManningJune 3, 2013
Editor Note: Official Washington still glorifies George W. Bush’s “successful surge” in Iraq while ignoring the wanton slaughter inflicted on Iraqis. So, there remains a high-level desire to harshly punish Pvt. Bradley Manning for exposing the horrific truth about that and other war crimes.
By Ray McGovern
Although we had to swelter in the Maryland sun on Saturday, I found the pre-trial rally at Ft. Meade to support Bradley Manning particularly spirit-filled. It seemed there was an unspoken but widely shared consciousness that Manning is as much Biblical prophet as Army private.
I think Manning can be seen as a classic prophet in the Abrahamic tradition. Such prophets take risks to expose injustice and challenge the rest of us to do the same. They also are a very large pain to those who oppress – and a pain, as well, to those of us who would prefer not to have to bother about such things.
Prophets will neither acquiesce in injustice nor hide wrongdoing; they answer to a higher chain of command with very different “rules of engagement.” Take Isaiah, for example, who is described as an eccentric, walking around for three full years “naked and barefoot.” (Hat tip here to Rev. Howard Bess, for his recent reminder in “Rethinking the Genesis Message,” that, whereas Bible stories are largely myth and cannot be read as history, they often witness to truth in a way that mere history cannot.)
What was Isaiah trying to say by his nakedness? Biblical scholars conclude that he sought a vivid way to demonstrate to the Israelites that, if their oppressive practices did not stop they too would be “naked and barefoot, their buttocks shamefully exposed.” (Isa. 20:2-4) Or, more simply: It is not my nakedness that is shameful. It is yours – those of you who have stripped yourselves of the vision with which you were blessed, a vision of justice and shalom.
Can we borrow Isaiah’s eyesight to see and acknowledge that the abuse uncovered and revealed by Bradley Manning – including the torture and slaughter of Iraqi civilians – exposes the buttocks of us Americans? (And I refer not simply those in the chain of command, but the rest of us too. Are you starting to feel a draft on your derriere?)
In suggesting we all need to examine our consciences, I take my cue from a more recent prophet in the tradition of Isaiah, Rabbi Abraham Heschel, who insisted that wherever injustice takes place, “few are guilty, but all are responsible.” Rabbi Heschel drove home the point, adding that, “indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.”
Responsible If Unaware
Those of us Americans who have seen and heard the U.S. Army Apache helicopter gun-barrel video showing the killing of a dozen civilians (including two Reuters journalists) in Baghdad on July 12, 2007, (during President George W. Bush’s much-heralded “troop surge”) can appreciate how that video, which has been given the apt title “Collateral Murder,” leaves our buttocks “shamefully exposed.”
The premier German TV program Panorama, unlike its American counterparts, replayed the most salient parts of the gun-barrel footage, but also put context around the incident in a short 60 Minutes-type segment. Those of us who had some role in the German version begged the producers of Panorama to “undub” the program. They acknowledged the need, made an exception to their corporate policy against “undubbing,” and what emerged is a 12-minute English version titled “Shooters Walk Free, Whistleblower Jailed.”
Lacking any real competition, the 12-minute English version is, in my view, the most straightforward depiction of what happened, including the war crime of murdering the “Good Samaritan,” who stopped to help one of the wounded.
War crime? Yes, war crime. “Justifying” the killing of a dozen people, including two journalists, based on the claim that a camera was mistaken for a gun and that therefore the killing was in keeping with the “Rules of Engagement,” as Defense Secretary Robert Gates claimed at the time, is already a stretch. But killing someone trying to help the wounded stretches that “justification” well beyond the breaking point. It is a war crime.
As Bradley Manning commented later, “The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they [the Apache helicopter shooters] appeared to have.”
What Moved Manning?
As I see it, Manning’s motivation was not necessarily religious, but rather a profoundly human reaction of the kind described in the Cain and Abel story in Genesis. I think most of us understand the imperative to be our brother’s keeper, but I do find the Genesis story helpful in sorting through these thorny issues.
What we need to bear in mind is that Genesis is not the first book of the Bible’s Old Testament that was written; it is one of the last. It was composed during and after the Babylonian captivity (587 to 538 B.C.E.) as a counter-story and repudiation of Babylon’s religion of empire.
That kind of “religion” was based largely on the concept of redemptive violence as the way to defeat evil and stave off chaos until the next time violence would be seen as unavoidably necessary. (How fortunate that we 21st Century sophisticates have long since risen above that primitive concept!)
Counter-stories are often tools designed to repair the damage inflicted on people by abusive power systems. That’s what Genesis was all about. The Israelites desperately needed to teach their children a narrative that would negate the influence of the violence-prone, opulent Babylon – their home for half a century. (Have any of you noticed how seductive the redemptive violence ethos can be, even – or especially – in nations that claim “city-on-the-hill status?”)
One story in Genesis is key to this understanding: Abel meets a violent end at the hands of his brother Cain. When God asks Cain where his brother is, Cain gives a Babylonian-empire-type response: “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
In his Come Out, My People: God’s Call out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond, Wes Howard-Brook highlights the impact of this passage, pointing out that with this question and Cain’s response, “Genesis undermines Babylon’s claim to divinely authorized violence.”
The murderer has no escape when faced with this question because there is someone who hears the victim’s blood crying out. These words, valid for the whole history of humankind, protect the person as a creature of God from other people. No cover story, no rules of engagement, can justify Cain’s act. God hears the cry of victims even from the bloody ground. And, we can add, even from the bloodstained streets and sidewalks of Baghdad.
Howard-Brook makes the point that biblical “myths” can shed light on human behavior – and misbehavior – even today. I am not suggesting that Bradley Manning was consciously motivated by the “Am I my brother’s keeper” story in Genesis. It would be a good question to ask him. I do think this story/myth can provide both guide and warning as to how we humans are to treat one another.
Manning and Goliath
Having just begun his fourth year in prison, the “speedy trial” that is every citizen’s right starts today when Bradley Manning’s actual court martial gets under way at Ft. Meade.
Indignities galore have tainted the pre-trial proceedings. Perhaps the most egregious travesty of justice occurred on April 21, 2011, with what must be the “mother of all command-influence” assertions. At a fundraiser in San Francisco, Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama was videotaped claiming that Manning “broke the law.” Taking their cue from their commander, zealous Army prosecutors down the chain of command are throwing the book at Manning, even accusing him of “aiding the enemy” and demanding a life sentence.
The objective of the Obama administration is transparent. It has little to do with the law, but rather is designed to make an object lesson of Manning. The administration wants to deter others truth-tellers who might also be tempted to reveal information that is labeled secret to hide oppression and abuse – including, in this case, U.S. war crimes.
Despite all this, Manning has kept his cool. Readers may not have learned the following from the “mainstream media,” but on Feb. 28, 2013, when Manning was finally given a chance to speak, after countless “pre-trial” Army court sessions, he said this:
“The video [of the July 12, 2007, Apache helicopter attack] depicted several individuals being engaged by an aerial weapons team. At first I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other war-porn type videos depicting combat. However, the recording of audio comments by the aerial weapons team crew and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck troubled me. …
“The fact neither CENTCOM or Multi National Forces Iraq or MNF-I would not voluntarily release the video troubled me further. It was clear to me that the event happened because the aerial weapons team mistakenly identified Reuters employees as a potential threat and that the people in the bongo truck were merely attempting to assist the wounded.
“The people in the van were not a threat but merely ‘good Samaritans’. The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they [the weapons team members] appeared to have.
“This dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as ‘dead bastards’ and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded.
“Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.
“While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew … repeatedly request authorization to fire on the bongo truck and, once granted, they engage the vehicle at least six times.
“Shortly after the second engagement, a mechanized infantry unit arrives at the scene. Within minutes, the aerial weapons team crew learns that children were in the van and despite the injuries the crew exhibits no remorse. Instead, they downplay the significance of their actions, saying quote ‘Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kid’s into a battle’ unquote.
“The aerial weapons team crew members sound like they lack sympathy for the children or the parents. Later in a particularly disturbing manner, the aerial weapons team verbalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the ground vehicles driving over a body — or one of the bodies. As I continued my research, I found an article discussing the book, The Good Soldiers, written by Washington Post writer David Finkel.
“In Mr. Finkel’s book, he writes about the aerial weapons team attack. As I read an online excerpt in Google Books, I followed Mr. Finkel’s account of the event belonging to the video. I quickly realized that Mr. Finkel was quoting, I feel in verbatim, the audio communications of the aerial weapons team crew.
“It is clear to me that Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his tenure as an embedded journalist. I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as ‘payback’ for an earlier attack that led to the death of a soldier. … For me it’s all a big mess, and I am left wondering what these things mean, and how it all fits together. It burdens me emotionally. …
“I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as me about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare.”
A final comment or two before I leave for the start of Manning’s trial. Is it not transparent what our government wants to keep hidden from us? Is it not a safe bet that the court proceedings will be orchestrated such that what remains hidden will not be revealed? But truth has a way of seeping out. I trust that it will.
Friends in the Los Angeles Catholic Worker have given this very serious issue a light touch with bumper sticker: “Jesus Loves WikiLeaks – Mark 4:22.” Here’s the verse from Mark: “Whatever is hidden away will be brought out into the open, and whatever is covered up will be uncovered.”
Which prompts the question: Where are the leaders of Christian institutions on all this? Deafening silence.
Sometimes it takes a compassionate but truth-telling outsider to throw light on our country, its leaders, and its policies. After the attacks of 9/11, Bishop Peter Storey of South Africa, a long-time fearless opponent of the earlier apartheid regime, offered this prophetic word:
“I have often suggested to American Christians that the only way to understand their mission is to ask what it might have meant to witness faithfully to Jesus in the heart of the Roman Empire. …
“American preachers have a task more difficult, perhaps, than those faced by us under South Africa’s apartheid, or by Christians under Communism. We had obvious evils to engage; you have to unwrap your culture from years of red, white, and blue myth.
“You have to expose, and confront, the great disconnect between the kindness, compassion, and caring of most American people and the ruthless way American power is experienced, directly and indirectly, by the poor of the earth. You have to help good people see how they have let their institutions do their sinning for them.
“This is not easy among people who really believe that their country does nothing but good. But it is necessary, not only for their future, but for us all. All around the world there are those who believe in the basic goodness of the American people, who agonize with you in your pain, but also long to see your human goodness translated into a different, more compassionate way of relating with the rest of this bleeding planet.”
A Charism Moment
Bradley Manning has given us a charism-moment – and a chance to reflect on all this. It is up to us now to unwrap the red, white and blue myth and ask ourselves if we are up to taking the kind of risks required by the times, if we really believe we are “our brother’s keeper.”
As we did our best on Saturday to wave our Veterans for Peace flags, I thought back to the President’s May 23 speech on drones and on Guantanamo. With eight American flags behind him and one on his lapel, Barack Obama referred to the “ruthless demagogues who litter history.” He then added that “the flag of the United States will still wave from small town cemeteries … to distant outposts abroad. And that flag will still stand for freedom.”
And I thought of the late Howard Zinn’s observation: “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
Obama concluded his long speech with his customary: “And may God bless the United States of America.” If there is a God of Justice (and I believe there is), we run the risk of forfeiting that blessing, unless and until we stop playing the role of violence-prone Cain; that is, if we fail to recognize, as Bradley Manning did, the mandate to be keepers, not oppressors, of our brothers and sisters.
God will not be mocked – or fooled by flag-waving.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He teaches a course called “Biblical Justice: Is It an Un-American Activity?” at the Servant Leadership School. Earlier, he was an intelligence analyst for almost 30 years.
This article was posted originally on Consortiumnews.com.
Thanking Bradley Manning
By davidswanson – Posted on 29 May 2013
By Kathy Kelly
A few evenings ago, as the sky began to darken here in Kabul, Afghanistan, a small group of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, (APVs), gathered for an informal presentation about WikiLeaks, its chief editor Julian Assange, and its most prominent contributor, Bradley Manning. Basir Bita, a regular visitor to the APV household, began the evening’s discussion noting that June 1st will mark the beginning of Bradley Manning’s fourth year in prison. Two days later his trial will begin, a trial which could sadly result in his imprisonment for a life sentence. June 1st also begins an international week of support and solidarity, aimed at thanking Bradley Manning.#ThankManning!
Basir believes that the vast majority of Afghans are among myriads world-wide who have Manning to thank for information they will need in struggles for freedom, security, and peace. He wishes that more people would find the courage to stand up to military and government forces, especially their own, and act as “whistle-blowers.”
I often hear Afghan individuals and groups express longing for a far more democratic process than is allowed them in a country dominated by warlords, the U.S./NATO militaries, and their commanders. In the U.S., a lack of crucial information increasingly threatens democratic processes. How can people make informed choices if their leaders deliberately withhold crucial information from them? Manning’s disclosures have brought desperately needed light to the U.S. and to countries around the world, including struggling countries like Afghanistan.
Hakim, who mentors the Afghan Peace Volunteers, recalled that Bradley Manning passed on documents that record 91,730 “Significant Actions,” or “SIGACTS” undertaken here by the U.S. /ISAF forces, of which 75,000 were released by WikiLeaks.
These SIGACTS include attacks by drones, sometimes invisible drones, and night raids.
Our group turned to discussing the history of WikiLeaks, how it formed and how it now functions. Those most familiar with computers and internet explained the process of disclosing information by anonymously following a computerized route to a “dropbox.”
In fact, the Afghan Peace Volunteers themselves have been communicating with Julian Assange.
Last winter, Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire had stayed with them shortly before she traveled to London for a visit to Julian Assange. Through Mairead, they had sent Assange a letter of solidarity.
The APVs heard that Manning has been more isolated than Assange; they all shook their heads when Basir reminded them that Bradley Manning was initially in solitary confinement for eleven months.
Ghulamai thought through the ironic process of how governments designate some documents ‘secret,’ and how he would presume that the person who shares those secrets was a ‘criminal.’ But Ali said that governments chiefly hide ‘secrets’ from the public to maintain power. Hakim asked Abdulhai to imagine himself as the head of a government or of a large family. “If you are working for the good of the family or the state, would you need to do things secretly?”he asked.
“No,” Abdulhai replied. “If I have power, and I am truly working for the best interests of my people, I will not need to do things in secret.”
There was a keen conversation about who Bradley Manning was and what he did. Bradley Manning’s own words, which journalists had to actually smuggle out of his pre-trial hearing, described how Bradley’s mind had largely been made up by watching the secret video that he would come to release under the title “Collateral Murder:”
They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote “dead bastards” unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there’s an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.
While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see that the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew– as soon as the individuals are a threat, they repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the bongo truck and once granted they engage the vehicle at least six times.
Together, the APVs watched the deeply disturbing “Collateral Damage” video itself. They were avid to learn what they could do to support and thank Bradley Manning. Yet they’re aware of the risks faced by people who organize public demonstrations in Afghanistan.
It’s far easier to stand up for Bradley where I live, back in the U.S. I hope many more of us will devote the time and energy we owe this young man for risking everything, as he did, to enlighten us and the world.
The Afghan Peace Volunteers are eager for ways to link with others worldwide to express thanks and concern for a remarkably brave and conscience-driven 25-year old man whose courage and whose light is so acutely needed in this darkening time. I’ve seen the fierce light of these young people and, knowing them, I’m certain that others will be seeing it too in the years ahead. Are we readying signals with which to answer them, are we preparing ways to show people like them, and like Julian Assange, and like Bradley Manning, that they are not alone?
Photo caption: Afghan Peace Volunteers with a sign that thanks Bradley Manning
Photo credit: Hakim
Video: Gerry Condon on Bradley Manning and Kimberly Rivera
Icelandic leader supporting Bradley Manning in the U.S.
By davidswanson – Posted on 08 April 2013Hundreds gathered in Judson Memorial Church in New York City to hear Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, who worked with WikiLeaks to produce the ‘Collateral Murder’ video in 2010, discuss the trial and persecution of Army private Bradley Manning. Manning passed the video, which shows U.S. Apache gunners shooting unarmed journalists and civilians in Iraq, to WikiLeaks in 2010 hoping to expose criminal activity and to make Americans more aware of their government’s abuses abroad.Jonsdottir joined a panel, along with FireDogLake’s Kevin Gosztola, independent journalist Alexa O’Brien, and media critic Peter Hart, for a discussion moderated by Sam Seder. They recounted Manning’s legal proceedings and his detention exceeding 1,000 days without trial, including nearly a year of solitary confinement and several mornings of forced nudity — conditions the U.N. torture chief called “cruel, degrading, and inhuman.”In attendance were musicians Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground and Laurie Anderson, documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, investigative journalist Greg Palast, and about 300 others.Before the panel discussion, attendees viewed the Collateral Murder video, Laura Poitras’s short documentary about the video and Manning’s description of it, and they viewed and purchased photo stills from the video. They also bid on artist Molly Crabapple’s portraits of Bradley Manning. Proceeds went to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund, which covers 100% of Manning’s legal costs and is funded by grassroots donations around the world.Bradley Manning recently took responsibility for releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks as an act of conscience, in a guilty plea of 10 lesser offenses which would amount to up to 20 years in prison. However, the government is pursuing all 22 of its original counts against Manning, including “aiding the enemy,” which would carry a life sentence without parole. Manning’s trial is scheduled to start June 3, 2013, at Fort Meade, Maryland. He returns to court this week for a pretrial hearing, from April 10-12.View the recorded panel discussion here, along with more information about the event and the Collateral Murder video itself:http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/pentagon-papers-whistleblower-daniel-ellsberg-invites-you-to-a-bradley-manning-event___________
April 5th, 2013
Three years ago this month, on the 20th of April, 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blew itself to kingdom come.
Soon thereafter, a message came in to our office’s chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, from a person I dare not name, who was floating somewhere in the Caspian Sea along the coast of Baku, Central Asia.
The source was in mortal fear he’d be identified – and with good reason. Once we agreed on a safe method of communication, he revealed this: 17 months before BP’s Deepwater Horizon blew out and exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP rig suffered an identical blow-out in the Caspian Sea.
Crucially, both the Gulf and Caspian Sea blow-outs had the same identical cause: the failure of the cement “plug”.
To prevent blow-outs, drilled wells must be capped with cement. BP insisted on lacing its cement with nitrogen gas – the same stuff used in laughing gas – because it speeds up drying.
Time is money, and mixing some nitrogen gas into the cement saves a lot of money.
However, because BP’s penny-pinching method is so damn dangerous, they are nearly alone in using it in deep, high-pressure offshore wells.
The fire on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Photo via Creative Commons.
The reason: nitrogen gas can create gaps in the cement, allow methane gas to go up the borehole, fill the drilling platform with explosive gas – and boom, you’re dead.
So, when its Caspian Sea rig blew out in 2008, rather than change its ways, BP simply covered it up.
Our investigators discovered that the company hid the information from its own shareholders, from British regulators and from the US Securities Exchange Commission. The Vice-President of BP USA, David Rainey, withheld the information from the US Senate in a testimony he gave six months before the Gulf deaths. (Rainey was later charged with obstruction of justice on a spill-related matter.)
Channel 4 agreed to send me to the benighted nation of Azerbaijan, whose waters the earlier BP blow-out occurred in, to locate witnesses who would be willing to talk to me without getting “disappeared”. (They didn’t talk, but they still disappeared.)
And I was arrested. Some rat had tipped off the Security Ministry (the official name of the Department of Torture here in this Islamic Republic of BP). I knew I’d get out quick, because throwing a reporter of Her Majesty’s Empire into a dungeon would embarrass both BP and the Azeri oil-o-crats.
The gendarmes demanded our film, but I wasn’t overly concerned: Before I left London, Badpenny handed me one of those Austin Powers camera-in-pens, on which I’d loaded all I needed. But I did fear for my witnesses left behind in Azerbaijan – and for my source in a tiger cage in the USA: Pvt Bradley Manning.
Only after I dove into deep water in Baku did I discover, trolling through the so-called “WikiLeaks” documents, secret State Department cables released by Manning. The information was stunning: the US State Department knew about the BP blow-out in the Caspian and joined in the cover-up.
Apparently BP refused to tell its own partners, Chevron and Exxon, why the lucrative Caspian oil flow had stopped. Chevron bitched to the office of the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. (George Bush’s cabinet member should not be confused with the 129,000-tonne oil tanker “Condoleezza Rice”, which Chevron named after their former board member.)
The US Ambassador got Chevron the answer: a blow-out of the nitrogen-laced cement cap on a giant Caspian Sea platform. The information was marked “SECRET”. Apparently loose lips about sinking ships would help neither Chevron nor the Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, the beneficiary of millions of dollars in payments of oil company baksheesh.
So what about Bradley Manning?
Manning has been charged with “aiding the enemy” – a crime punishable by death.
But Manning’s sole and only purpose was to get out the truth. It wasn’t Manning who wrote the cover-up memos, he merely wanted to get them to the victims: us.
And since when did the public become “the enemy”?
Had Manning’s memos come out just a few months earlier, the truth about BP’s deadly drilling methods would have been revealed, and there’s little doubt BP would have had to change its ways. Those eleven men could well have been alive today.
Did Manning know about this particular hush-hush cable about BP’s blow-out when he decided he had to become Paul Revere and warn the planet?
That’s unlikely, in the thousands of cables he had. But he’d seen enough evidence of murder and mendacity in other cables, so, as Manning, under oath, told a court, he tried to give it all to the New York Times to have knowledgeable reporters review the cables confidentially for life-saving information.
The New York Times immediately seized on this extraordinary opportunity… to ignore Manning. The Timesonly ran it when the Guardian was going to scoop – and embarrass – the New York hacks.
Though there are limits. While reporter David Leigh put the story of BP’s prior blow-out on page one of theGuardian, neither the New York Times or any other major US news outlet ran the story of the blow-out and oil industry cover-up. No surprise there, though – the most “prestigious” US news programme, PBS Newshour, was sponsored by… Chevron Corporation.
Hanging their source while taking his applause
As a working journalist, and one whose head is likely to be in the foggy gun-sights of some jet jockey or a dictator’s goon squad, I have more than a little distaste for toffs like New York Times‘ former executive editor, columnist Bill Keller, who used Manning documents to cash in on a book deal and land star turns on television while simultaneously smearing his source Manning as, “troubled”, “emotionally fractured”, “vague”, “inchoate” and – cover the children’s ears – “gay”.
Furthermore, while preening about their revelations from the Manning documents, the Times had no problem with imprisoning their source. I do acknowledge that the Times and Keller did editorialise that a sentence of life imprisonment without parole would be “overkill”. How white of them.
When it was mentioned that Manning is no different from Daniel Ellsberg, the CIA operative who released the Pentagon Papers, Keller reassured that the Times also told Ellsberg he was “on his own” and did not object to their source being charged as a spy.
And the Times’ much-lauded exposure of the My Lai massacre? My late good friend, the great investigative reporter Ron Ridenhour, who gave the story to Seymour Hersh, told me that he and Hersh had to effectively blackmail the Times into printing it.
Manning: an aid to the enemy?
Times man Keller writes that Manning, by going to “anti-American” WikiLeaks, threatened the release of, “information that might get troops in the field or innocent informants killed”.
This is the same Bill Keller who admits that he knew his paper’s reports in 2003 that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction were completely false, but that he – as editor – covered up his paper’s knowledge their WDM stories were simply bogus. Those stories validated the Bush propaganda and helped tip the political balance to invade Iraq. Four-thousand US soldiers died. I guess the idea is that releasing information that kills troops is criminal, but that disinformation that kills troops is quite acceptable.
Maybe I’m just cranky because I wouldn’t have seen my own sources vanish and my film grabbed if the Timeshad only run the Manning facts about BP and Caspian when they had the chance.
Look, I’m only picking on the New York Times and PBS Newshour because they are the best in America, God help us.
What other lives have been saved by the Manning revelations? Lots. Watch this space. I promise more aid to the enemies of the state – which is you, by the way.
Greg Palast investigated the BP Deepwater Horizon murders for Channel 4. Those dispatches are contained in his book, Vultures’ Picnic. On April the 5th, there will be a gathering in New York with Daniel Ellsberg and defenders of Bradley Manning. Visit Greg’s Facebook page for more information.
Follow Greg on Twitter: @Greg_Palast
Source: Bradley Manning___________
Bradley Manning’s Nobel Peace Prize
By davidswanson – Posted on 25 March 2013
Whistleblower Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and he should receive it.
No individual has done more to push back against what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism” than Bradley Manning. The United States is the leading exporter of weapons and itself spends as much preparing for more wars as the rest of the world combined. Manning is the leading actor in opposition to U.S. warmaking, and therefore militarism around the world. What he has done has hurt the cause of violence in a number of other nations as well.
And right now, remaining in prison and facing relentless prosecution by the U.S. government, Manning is in need of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Alfred Nobel’s will left funding for a prize to be awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
The intent of the prize was to fund this work. As a result of enormous legal expenses, Bradley Manning is in need of that funding, unlike some other peace prize recipients. In addition, his secret trial — with a potential death sentence — could use all the attention that can be shined on it.
The people of the United States and the rest of the world have learned more about the intentions of the U.S. government from Bradley Manning than from anyone else. “Thanks to Manning’s alleged disclosures, we have a sense of what transpired in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have an image of how Washington operates in the world,” author Chase Madar wrote in his book about Manning’s whistleblowing.
“Thanks to those revelations we now know just how our government leaned on the Vatican to quell opposition to the Iraq War. We now know how Washington pressured the German government to block the prosecution of CIA agents who kidnapped an innocent man, Khaled El-Masri, while he was on vacation. We know how our State Department lobbied hard to prevent a minimum wage increase in Haiti, the hemisphere’s poorest nation.”
Manning revealed a secret U.S. war in Yemen, U.S. records of massive civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, video of a U.S. helicopter attack on civilians and their rescuers in Baghdad, and facts about the corruption of numerous governments including those of the United States, Tunisia, and Egypt. In those last two nations Manning’s revelations contributed to nonviolent pro-democracy movements.
Among the revelations made by Manning through WikiLeaks is the extent of time and energy the U.S. State Department puts into marketing U.S. weapons to the world’s governments. We all have a better understanding of the work that is needed for peace as a result of this exposure of “diplomacy” as consisting so greatly of weapons selling.
The Guardian newspaper and BBC Arabic detailed last week how the United States armed and trained Iraqi police commando units that ran torture centers and death squads. Maggie O’Kane, executive producer of the documentary, said: “I hope this film will be a legacy that actually says, ‘If you want to go to war, this is what war means. It means 14-year-old boys being hung up and tortured. It means men being turned on spits. And that’s called counter-insurgency. . . .’ This would not be coming to light if it hadn’t been for Bradley Manning.”
Not only has Manning done the most to resist militarism, but he has done it for its own sake, and not by chance or for any ulterior motive. This is made clear by his recent statement in court and by his earlier communications in the chat logs that have long been a part of his case. Manning was horrified by crimes and abuses. He believed the public should know what was happening. He believed democracy was more important than blind subservience in the name of a “democracy.”
Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the Movement in the Icelandic Parliament, the Pirates of the EU; representatives from the Swedish Pirate Party, and the former Secretary of State in Tunisia for Sport & Youth. The nomination states, in part: “These revelations have fueled democratic uprisings around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on the foreign and domestic policies of European nations, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S. troops from the occupation in Iraq.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee (send them a note) can either begin awarding the peace prize to opponents of war or continue on its current course — one which already has many questioning, not whether Manning is worthy of the prize, but whether the prize is worthy of Manning.
March 13, 2013
A speech freedom advocacy group has released audio of Bradley Manning’s testimony about his motives for leaking secret US government documents to WikiLeaks. It marks the first time the public has heard Manning’s voice since his 2010 arrest.
Defying the military’s ban on making recordings at Manning’s pre-trial tribunal at the military court at Fort Meade, the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) has released Manning’s February account to the judge explaining why he exposed military secrets.
“We hope this recording will shed light on one of the most secret court trials in recent history, in which the government is putting on trial a concerned government employee whose only stated goal was to bring attention to what he viewed as serious governmental misconduct and criminal activity,” the FPF said in a statement.
While unofficial transcripts of the statement are available, this is the first time anyone outside the court has heard Manning’s own explanation of how and why he gave the Apache helicopter video, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars Logs and State Department Diplomatic Cables to WikiLeaks.
Saturday, March 2, 2013Stephen Lendman
Activist PostHe’s one of America’s best. He risked great personal harm. He did so to expose vital truths.He’s a true American hero. He deserves praise, not prosecution. In February 2012, Movement of the Icelandic Parliament (MIP) members nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.They felt compelled to recognize his important contribution to world peace. They called nominating him a “great honor.” They’re indebted for what he did.He deserves Washington’s Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It’s awarded “for especially meritorious contributions to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
War criminals often get it. Peacemakers are spurned.
British MP George Galloway said Manning should “be getting a Nobel Prize instead of being tortured, and what is the British government doing about this torture of the Welshman, Bradley Manning?”
“What they’re doing is intriguing and plotting with the Swedish government and the US government to send Julian Assange to join him on the torture tables and in solitary confinement for the next 50 years.”
“And we call ourselves the land of the free.”
Paul Craig Roberts called Manning “a window into the American soul.” It reveals “total evil. The US government constitutes Satan’s Chosen People. Nothing else can be said for those who rule and oppress us.”
Manning’s a latter-day Daniel Ellsberg. “I was Bradley Manning of my day,” he said. “I too faced life in prison for exposing classified government lies and crimes.”
Ultimately all charges were dropped. It was “because of criminal government misconduct” in his case. Manning deserves no less.
Whistleblowers, social justice advocates, and war resisters reflect America’s best. Washington treats them like criminals.
Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark says “Our jails are filled with saints.” Some of America’s best and brightest are persecuted and abused.
Law Professor Francis Boyle says US government lawlessness demands civil resistance. It’s lawful, necessary, and right. “US government officials are the outlaws,” he says. Doing the right thing requires challenging them.
Law Professor Marjorie Cohn calls Manning’s heroism “uncommon courage.” He did what he had to do because it’s right. He spoke for the second time publicly. More on that below. His own words confirm “a very brave young man.”
Center for Constitutional Rights President Emeritus Michael Ratner calls Manning’s court martial a “show trial of state secrecy.”
The public’s right to know is denied. Evidence is kept secret. Transparency is spurned. So is accountability. Court documents, orders, and off-the record arguments will decide Manning’s fate.
Ratner attends his hearings. He calls them the “theater of the absurd.” They involve lengthy off-the-record conferences. They’re secretive and suppressed. An in-court summary conceals what’s most important to explain.
A pre-trial publicity order details what lawyers may or may not say. “Even the degree to which proceedings (are) kept secret is secret.”
Doing so reflects Plato’s Cave. People lived chained to a wall. It was blank. They remained there all their lives. Shadows replaced reality. The public’s right to know reflects allegorical injustice.
Denying transparency violates constitutional and statute law. The Supreme Court ruled criminal trials must be public. Democracies die behind closed doors.
Proceedings are rigged to convict. Manning doesn’t have a chance. Expect prosecutors to throw the book at him. Expect hanging judge complicity to go along.
For heroism above and beyond the call of duty, he faces 22 counts under America’s Espionage Act. He’s also accountable under Articles 92 and 124 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
They include aiding the enemy. It’s a potential capital offense. Prosecutors said they won’t seek the death penalty. Manning faces potential life imprisonment.
He was held incommunicado for 10 months. He was subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment. He was isolated 23 hours a day.
He was allowed outside, alone, shackled, and permitted to walk in circles. He was returned to his cell the moment he stopped.
He was stripped of all rights. He was denied most other activities. He was prohibited from exercising in his cell. He was video and visually monitored 24 hours a day. He was forced to sleep naked.
He was denied a pillow and sheets. He was awakened at night for being out of full view. He was forced to respond to guard inquiries every five minutes all day.
He was tortured and abused for doing the right thing. He took everything America threw at him and stood tall. It doesn’t get any better than that.
He’ll be remembered as one of America’s best. At great personal risk, he exposed US war crimes. Everyone has a right to know. They include systematically murdering civilians in cold blood.
It’s standard practice. Rules of engagement order combatants to shoot all military aged men on sight. Drone operators do so indiscriminately.
International, constitutional, US statute and military laws are violated. Nuremberg standards aren’t imposed.
Accountability is long overdue. Pursuing justice more than ever is vital. Legions of Mannings are needed.
His Support Network provides regular updates. He’s denied civil justice. His military tribunal trial begin June 3.
On February 28, he pleaded guilty to 10 lesser charges. He can withdraw any of them before trial. He denied 12 greater ones.
He called war logs given WikiLeaks “some of the most important documents of our time.” He chose ones he believed “wouldn’t cause harm to the United States.”
He hoped what he did would launch a national debate. It’s sorely needed and much more. He “became depressed with the situation” in Iraq.
America’s “obsessed with capturing and killing people,” he said.
“Collateral murder” is policy. US helicopter pilots gunned down innocent civilians. They murdered anyone trying to help them. Shooting wounded victims was like “a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass,” he said.
He wanted everyone to know. It’s their right. Back home on leave, he contacted the Washington Post and New York Times. He hoped they’d report what he knew. They published Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers. That was then. This is now.
They spurned him. They’re in lockstep with imperial lawlessness. They’re complicit in suppressing US war crimes. Doing so shares guilt.
Journalism demands truth and full disclosure. Managed news misinformation substitutes. Fundamental ethical standards are violated.
Exposing high crimes and misdemeanors is verboten. Scoundrel media editors and commentators are guilty on all counts.
They support wealth, privilege, power and dominance. They oppose peace, equity and justice. They shame themselves disgracefully. They operate no other way.
Manning enlisted WikiLeak’s help. He had many conversations with someone called “Nathaniel.” He believed it was Julian Assange. No one pressured him to do anything.
He did what he believed right. He did it on his own. “I take full responsibility,” he said.
Judge Denise Lind presides over his pre-trial hearings. His “naked plea” waved his Sixth Amendment and Rule of Court Martial (RCM) 707 rights, she said. They include speedy trial protections.
His plea involved no government agreement. Prosecutors don’t have to prove his admissions. They can use them to pursue greater charges.
Manning read his entire 35-page statement. Judge Lind calls his motives irrelevant. Doing so denies him whistleblower protections. Obama’s war on them strips them of all rights.
Manning pleaded guilty to unauthorized possession of one classified army intelligence memo, more than 20 classified CIDNE (Combined Information Data Network Exchange) Iraq documents, another 30 CIDNE Afghanistan ones, more than five relating to an Afghanistan Farah province military operation, and the Collateral Murder video.
He also pleaded guilty to willfully communicating to unauthorized personnel.
On February 23, international protests marked his 1,000th day in prison without trial. Constitutional and Court Martial rights demand speedy ones.
Defense counsel David Combs represents Manning. He said his “statutory and constitutional speedy trial rights were trampled on with impunity.”
Washington made an “absolute mockery” of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights, RCM 707, and Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 10.
Clear evidence shows his due process rights were violated. Judge Lind can dismiss charges with or without prejudice. Doing so with prevents refiling.
Without prejudice permits doing so later. Usually it’s done if more evidence is obtained.
Prosecutors deliberately delayed Manning’s trial. It was done to punish him. It’s just cause to dismiss.
Manning’s been incarcerated since May 2010. Holding him this long without trial is unconscionable. Doing so to inflict cruel and inhumane treatment reveals America’s true face.
State terrorism is policy. Crimes of war, against humanity, and genocide reflect it. So does police state repression. Manning’s victimized for doing the right thing.
Expect kangaroo trial proceedings to mock justice. Dozens of government witnesses will testify. They’ll lie. They’ll claim national security was compromised. Saying so turns truth on its head.
Many witnesses will testify wholly or in part in secret. Doing so denies the public the right to know. It exposes government contempt for judicial fairness.
Combs is prohibited from calling military or government witnesses able to contradict prosecutor arguments. Trial procedures are rigged to convict.
Manning is guilty by accusation. At issue on what charges and length of sentencing. Minimally expect it to be long term. Obama may demand he’s imprisoned for life.
Tyranny reflects today’s America. The criminal class in Washington is bipartisan. Dissent is endangered.
Rule of law principles provide no protections. Police states operate that way. America is by far the worst. There’s no place to hide.
RELATED ACTIVIST POST ARTICLE:
Top 10 Most Influential Whistleblowers
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. 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 at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/
Thursday, May 5 2011 – Other Important NewsCampaign ends torturous treatment of Bradley Manning
Supporters of accused WikiLeaks source vow to fight on for open trial and freedom
May 5, 2011
By the Bradley Manning Support Network
Published at Couragetoresist.org
Hundreds of thousands of individuals globally celebrate today the confirmation that their efforts to end the torturous pre-trial confinement conditions inflicted upon US Army PFC Bradley Manning have been successful. Manning’s lead defense attorney, David E. Coombs of Rhode Island, has personally verified that Manning is indeed being held in Medium Custody confinement at the Joint Regional Corrections Facility (JRCF) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as claimed by the Army last week.
“We won this battle because 600,000 individuals took the time to write letters and sign petitions, because thousands called the White House switchboard, because 300 of America’s top legal scholars decried Bradley’s pre-trial conditions as a clear violation of our Constitution’s 5th and 8th Amendments,” declared Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network. “We won this battle because over a hundred concerned citizens engaged in civil disobedience at the White House and at Quantico, and because our grassroots campaign shows no sign of slowing.”
These new conditions reflect a dramatic improvement for Manning following his transfer to Fort Leavenworth on April 20, 2011, after having suffered extreme solitary-like confinement at US Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. During the nine months at Quantico, Manning was denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, sunlight, and was at times kept completely naked. These conditions were unique to Manning and were illegal under US military law as they clearly amounted to pre-trial punishment.
“I was able to tour the [Fort Leavenworth] facility and meet with PFC Manning last week. PFC Manning is now being held in Medium Custody. He is no longer under… harsh pretrial confinement conditions. Unlike at Quantico, PFC Manning’s cell has a large window that provides adequate natural light….PFC Manning is able to have all of his personal items in his cell, which include his clothing, his legal materials, books and letters from family and friends….Each pre-trial area (including PFC Manning’s) has four cells, and each pre-trial detainee is assigned to his own cell. The cells are connected to a shared common area, with a table, a treadmill, a television and a shower area….PFC Manning and his group are taken to the outdoor recreation area [for approximately two hours daily],” explained Coombs on his blog at www.armycourtmartialdefense.info hours ago.
“President Obama’s recent pronouncement that Bradley Manning ‘broke the law’ amounts to Unlawful Command Influence, something clearly prohibited because it’s devastating to the military justice system. Manning will eventually be judged by a jury of career military officers and noncommissioned officers. Will they be able to set aside the declaration of their commander in chief?” explains attorney Kevin Zeese, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network. “Along with the illegal pre-trial punishment already inflicted upon Bradley, the government has more than enough legal basis to drop the prosecution. Instead, the death penalty or life in prison hangs over Manning’s head.”
After nearly a year in confinement, the Army is expected to soon announce Manning’s first public hearing, an Article 32 pre-trial proceeding, which will be held in the Washington DC area. Scores of international solidarity events are already being planned.
US Army intelligence analyst Private First Class Bradley E. Manning, 23-years-old, was arrested in Iraq on May 26, 2010. He still awaits his first public court hearing, now expected to begin in June 2011. Over 4,300 individuals have contributed over $333,000 towards PFC Manning’s legal fees and related public education efforts. The Bradley Manning Support Network is dedicated to thwarting the military’s attempts to hold a secret court martial, and to eventually winning the freedom of PFC Manning.
Monday, April 11 2011 – Civil Liberties-Police StateBradley Manning: top US legal scholars voice outrage at ‘torture’
Obama professor among 250 experts who have signed letter condemning humiliation of alleged WikiLeaks source
by Ed Pilkington in New York
April 10, 2011
More than 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his “degrading and inhumane conditions” are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.
The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America’s foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.
Tribe joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago.
He told the Guardian he signed the letter because Manning appeared to have been treated in a way that “is not only shameful but unconstitutional” as he awaits court martial in Quantico marine base in Virginia.
The US soldier has been held in the military brig since last July, charged with multiple counts relating to the leaking of thousands of embassy cables and other secret documents to the WikiLeaks website.
Under the terms of his detention, he is kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, checked every five minutes under a so-called “prevention of injury order” and stripped naked at night apart from a smock.
Tribe said the treatment was objectionable “in the way it violates his person and his liberty without due process of law and in the way it administers cruel and unusual punishment of a sort that cannot be constitutionally inflicted even upon someone convicted of terrible offences, not to mention someone merely accused of such offences”.
The harsh restrictions have been denounced by a raft of human rights groups, including Amnesty International, and are being investigated by the United Nations’ rapporteur on torture.
Tribe is the second senior figure with links to the Obama administration to break ranks over Manning. Last month, PJ Crowley resigned as state department spokesman after deriding the Pentagon’s handling of Manning as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”.
The intervention of Tribe and hundreds of other legal scholars is a huge embarrassment to Obama, who was a professor of constitutional law in Chicago. Obama made respect for the rule of law a cornerstone of his administration, promising when he first entered the White House in 2009 to end the excesses of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism.
As commander in chief, Obama is ultimately responsible for Manning’s treatment at the hands of his military jailers. In his only comments on the matter so far, Obama has insisted that the way the soldier was being detained was “appropriate and meets our basic standards”.
The protest letter, published in the New York Review of Books, was written by two distinguished law professors, Bruce Ackerman of Yale and Yochai Benkler of Harvard. They claim Manning’s reported treatment is a violation of the US constitution, specifically the eighth amendment forbidding cruel and unusual punishment and the fifth amendment that prevents punishment without trial.
In a stinging rebuke to Obama, they say “he was once a professor of constitutional law, and entered the national stage as an eloquent moral leader. The question now, however, is whether his conduct as commander in chief meets fundamental standards of decency”.
Benkler told the Guardian: “It is incumbent on us as citizens and professors of law to say that enough is enough. We cannot allow ourselves to behave in this way if we want America to remain a society dedicated to human dignity and process of law.”
He said Manning’s conditions were being used “as a warning to future whistleblowers” and added: ”
I find it tragic that it is Obama’s administration that is pursuing whistleblowers and imposing this kind of treatment.”
Ackerman pointed out that under the Pentagon’s own rule book, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Manning’s jailers could be liable to prosecution for abusing him. Article 93 of the code says “any person who is guilty of cruelty toward any person subject to his orders shall be punished”.
The list of professors who have signed the protest letter includes leading figures from all the top US law schools, as well as prominent names from other academic fields. Among them are Bill Clinton’s former labour secretary Robert Reich, President Theodore Roosevelt’s great-great-grandson Kermit Roosevelt, the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union Norman Dorsen and the novelist Kwame Anthony Appiah.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
We have spoken to Nathan Fuller at Bradleymanning.orgwho has given us gracious permission to reprint his daily firsthand reports, which you can find below with additional updates, commentary, and video.
Day 6 was a government witness-packed day, which included cross examination, and focused on the computer forensics behind Manning’s logs and communications.
Also included was an examination by an Apache helicopter pilot of the “Collateral Murder” video; he stated that much could be gleaned from that video by the enemy about the operational abilities of the Apache.
While a few links appear to have been established between Manning and WikiLeaks via Manning’s computer records, there still does not appear to be the overwhelming evidence that points to an anti-American desire to specifically aid the enemy.
The trial is in recess until June 17th when we will most likely see this line of government inquiry into the tactics, techniques and procedures used by Manning to communicate with WikiLeaks and release information, as well as what specific type of aid he offered to the enemy that could have increased their understanding of how the United States operates in theaters of war.
Bradley Manning’s chats and emails; authorized access: trial report, day 6Several more government witnesses testified today about Bradley Manning’s online activity, access to various programs, and what the Apache video revealed. Court is in recess until Monday, June 17.By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. June 12, 2013.
Another long, witness-packed Wednesday made room for another long weekend in Bradley Manning’s trial: after today’s session, court is in recess again until Monday morning.
Army CCIU special agent Mark Johnson testified for the entire morning session at Ft. Meade, discussing his forensic examination of Bradley Manning’s personal MacBook Pro and his search for connections to WikiLeaks.
On the unallocated (deleted) portion of the laptop, he discovered chats between an account associated with Bradley Manning and an account with the handle ‘pressassociation,’ which the government contends is connected to Julian Assange (along with the alias Nathaniel Frank), ranging from March 5, 2010, and March 18, 2010.
The two discussed government information, and prosecutors focused on ‘pressassociation’s comment about the United States’ Open Source Center, “that’s something we want to mine entirely.”
But on cross-examination, Johnson confirmed that ‘pressassociation’ never actually asked Manning for anything, and never asked him about his direct access to any information.
Johnson also found emails, encrypted and un-, between Bradley and Eric Schmiedel, discussing State Department cables, the Iraq War Logs, the Collateral Murder video, and on the unallocated portion, WikiLeaks. The defense established that Bradley never looked at websites associated with terrorism or anti-American beliefs – more testimony going against the government’s claim that Bradley had knowledge that WikiLeaks releases would end up in the hands of the enemy.
Defense lawyers also gleaned that the only evidence of a connection between Bradley and WikiLeaks’ submission page can be found for April 10-12, 2010. They also confirmed that files referencing Farah (see yesterday’s revelation on that video) on his MacBook Pro would have to have arrived after January 31, 2010, because that’s when Bradley wiped his computer, including its free space, and everything predating that would be gone. This lends itself further to the defense claim that Bradley sent the Farah video to WikiLeaks in April 2010, not November 2009.
Collateral Murder reveals Apache techniquesThe government read stipulated testimony from Jon LaRue, a former Apache helicopter pilot who reviewed the infamous ‘Collateral Murder’ Apache video after its release. He said the release of the video, which is unclassified, revealed TTPs, or Techniques, Tactics, and Procedures. TTPs, he said, are “pieces of a puzzle,” so with other pieces, a potential adversary could put together that puzzle and be able to learn about how U.S. Apaches operate.Manning and password decryptionThe government recalled its forensic expert David Shaver to talk about Bradley’s ability to access the administrative privileges on his computer, which are more broad than his user rights and which he’d need a password to access. That password is broken up, for security’s sake, into a SAM file and a system file. While the government spent significant time proving Bradley’s installation of a Linux operating system, which allowed him to access the SAM file, the defense quickly showed on cross-examination that he never accessed the system file and therefore couldn’t have accessed any passwords.Wget and Bradley’s “authorized access”More and more testimony on Wget didn’t provide the final word on whether Bradley “exceeded authorized access” by adding programs to his SIPRNet computer. He added software called Wget to rapidly increase downloading of files from the network, and Wget wasn’t on a list of pre-authorized programs that soldiers could have on their work computers. However, soldiers frequently added movies, music, and (more importantly, since they’re similar to Wget in file type) video games to the shared drive. Captain Thomas Cherepko, who managed Information Assurance for Bradley’s unit, testified that even after he deleted those unauthorized files from the shared drive, soldiers would re-add them, due to a “command laxity” about enforcing those rules.Court resumes Monday, June 17, at 9:30 AM.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013Stephen Lendman
Whistleblowing reflects doing the right thing. It exposes wrongdoing. It does so because it matters.
Edward Joseph Snowden follows a noble tradition. Others before him established it. Daniel Ellsberg called his NSA leak the most important in US history. More on him below.
Expressions of patriotism can reflect good or ill. Samuel Johnson said it’s the last refuge of a scoundrel. Thomas Paine called dissent its highest form. So did Howard Zinn.
According to Machiavelli:
When the safety of one’s country wholly depends on the decision to be taken, no attention should be paid either to justice or injustice, to kindness or cruelty, or to its being praiseworthy or ignominious.
In our day the feeling of patriotism is an unnatural, irrational, and harmful feeling, and a cause of a great part of the ills from which mankind is suffering; and consequently, this feeling should not be cultivated, as is now being done, but should, on the contrary, be suppressed and eradicated by all means available to rational men.
Philosophy Professor Stephen Nathanson believes patriotism involves:
- special affection for one’s own country;
- a sense of personal identification with the country;
- special concern for the well-being of the country; and
- willingness to sacrifice to promote the country’s good.
Socrates once said:
Patriotism does not require one to agree with everything that his country does, and would actually promote analytical questioning in a quest to make the country the best it possibly can be
The best involves strict adherence to the highest legal, ethical and moral standards. Upholding universal civil and human rights is fundamental. So is government of, by and for everyone equitably. Openness, accountability and candor can’t be compromised.
When governments ill-serve, exposing wrongdoing is vital. It takes courage to do so. It involves sacrificing for the greater good. It includes risking personal harm and welfare. It means doing what’s right because it matters. It reflects patriotism’s highest form.
Daniel Ellsberg, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are best known. So is Mordechai Vanunu. More on him below. Few remember Peter Buxtun. He’s a former US Public Health Service employee.
He exposed the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. About 200 Black men were infected. It was done to watch their progression. They were left to die untreated. Whistleblowing stopped further harm.
A. Ernest Fitzgerald held senior government positions. In 1968, he exposed a $2.3 billion Lockheed C-5 cost overrun. At issue was fraud and grand theft. Nixon told aides to “get rid of that son of a bitch.”
Defense Secretary Melvin Laird fired him. Fitzgerald was a driving force for whistleblower protections. He fought for decades against fraud, waste and abuse. He helped get the 1978 Civil Reform Act and 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act enacted.
Gregory Minor, Richard Hubbard and Dale Bridenbaugh are called the GE three. They revealed nuclear safety concerns. So did Arnold Gundersen, David Lochbaum and others. At issue then and now is public safety over profits.
Mordechai Vanunu was an Israeli nuclear technician. He exposed Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program. He paid dearly for doing so.
He was charged with espionage and treason. In 1986/87, he was secretly tried and sentenced. He was imprisoned for 18 years. He was confined in brutalizing isolation. He’s been harassed and deprived of most rights since.
Daniel Ellsberg called him “the preeminent hero of the nuclear era.” In July 2007, Amnesty International (AI) named him “a prisoner of conscience.” He received multiple Nobel Peace Prize nominations.
Vanunu said “I am neither a traitor nor a spy. I only wanted the world to know what was happening.” People have every right to know.
Mark Whitacre was an Archer Daniels Midland senior executive. He exposed price-fixing, wire and tax fraud, as well as money laundering.
He had his own cross to bear. He was prosecuted and imprisoned. He lost his whistleblower immunity. After eight and a half years, he was released on good behavior.
Jeffrey Wigand was Brown & Williamson’s research and development vice president. He went public on 60 Minutes. He exposed deceptive company practices. He was fired for doing so.
B & W enhanced cigarette nicotine content. It was done without public knowledge. At issue was increasing addiction. Wigand told all. He received death threats for doing so. He now lectures worldwide and consults on tobacco control policies.
Gary Webb was an award-winning American journalist. His investigative work exposed CIA involvement in drugs trafficking. His book “Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion” told what he knew.
New York Times, Washington Post, and other media scoundrels assailed him. They did so wrongfully and viciously. Then and now they support CIA crimes. They abhor truth and full disclosure. They ruined Webb’s career. They did so maliciously.
In December 2004, Webb was found dead at home. He died of two gunshot wounds to the head. Reports called it suicide. Critics believe otherwise. Two wounds suggest murder. Doing the right thing involves great risks. Webb paid with his life.
Swiss lawyer Marc Hodler was International Ski Federation president and International Olympic Committee member.
In 1998, he exposed 2002 Salt Lake City winter games bid-rigging. Olympism profiteering, exploitation and corruption is longstanding.
Deceptive hyperbole promotes good will, open competition, and fair play. Olympism’s dark side reflects marginalizing poor and other disenfranchised groups, exploiting athletes and communities, as well as sticking taxpayers with the bill for profit.
Harry Markopolos exposed Bernie Madoff’s hedge fund operations. He called them fraudulent. He obtained information firsthand. He got them from fund-of-fund Madoff investors and heads of Wall Street equity derivative trading desks.
He accused Madoff of operating “the world’s largest Ponzi scheme.” Large perhaps but not the largest.
Wall Street firms make money the old fashioned way. They steal it. They do so through fraud, grand theft, market manipulation and front-running. They scam investors unaccountably. They bribe corrupt political officials. In return, they turn a blind eye.
Compared to major Wall Street crooks, Madoff was small-time. Others mattering most control America’s money. They manipulate it fraudulently for profit.
Coleen Rowley’s a former FBI agent. She documented pre-9/11 Agency failures. She addressed them to Director Robert Mueller. She explained in Senate Judiciary Committee testimony. She now writes and lectures on ethical decision-making, civil liberty concerns, and effective investigative practices.
Joseph Wilson’s a former US ambassador. He exposed Bush administration lies. He headlined a New York Times op-ed “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.”
“Did the Bush administration manipulate intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs to justify an invasion of Iraq,” he asked?
Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.
Bush administration officials accused Wilson of twisting the truth. So did Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and other scoundrel media editors. They front for power. Wilson explained what people have a right to know. He was unjustifiably pilloried for doing so.
Wendell Potter was a senior CIGNA insurance company executive. He explained how heathcare insurers scam policyholders. They shift costs to consumers, offer inadequate or unaffordable access, and force Americans to pay higher deductibles for less coverage.
Sibel Edmonds is a former FBI translator. She founded the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC). She did so to aid “national security whistleblowers through a variety of methods.”
The ACLU called her “the most gagged person in the history of the United States.” She knows firsthand the consequences of secret, unaccountable government operations.
Her memoir is titled “Classified Woman: the Sibel Edmonds Story.”
Previous articles discussed Mark Klein. He’s a former AT&T employee turned whistleblower. He revealed blueprints and photographs of NSA’s secret room inside the company’s San Francisco facility. It permits spying on AT&T customers.
Karen Kwiatkowski’s a retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel. She exposed Defense Department misinformation and lies. She discussed how doing so drove America to war.
Ann Wright’s a former US Army colonel/State Department official. In 1997, she won an agency award for heroism.
She’s more anti-war/human rights activist/person of conscience than whistleblower. In 2003, she resigned from government service. She did so in protest against war on Iraq.
Edward Joseph Snowden continues a noble tradition. On June 8, London’s Guardian headlined “Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower: ‘I do not expect to see home again.’ ”
He leaked information to The Guardian and Washington Post. He exposed unconstitutional NSA spying. He served as an undercover intelligence employee.
Asked why he turned whistleblower, he said:
The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting.
If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things.
I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.
NSA spies globally, he said. Claims about only doing it abroad don’t wash. “We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians,” he said.
Previous articles said NSA works with all major US telecom companies. They do so with nine or more major online ones. They spy on virtually all Americans.
They target everyone they want to globally. NSA capabilities are “horrifying,” said Snowden. “You are not even aware of what is possible.”
“We can plant bugs in machines. Once you go on the network, I can identify (it). You will never be safe whatever protections you put in place.”
Asked what he thought might happen to him, he said “Nothing good.”
He left America. He moved to Hong Kong. He fled for his safety. He knows he can’t hide. If US authorities want him targeted, they’ll act no-holds-barred.
If they want him arrested, they’ll find him. If they want him disappeared, imprisoned and tortured, he’s defenseless to stop them. It they want him dead, they’ll murder him. Rogue states operate that way. America’s by far the worst.
DNI head James Clapper accused Snowden of “violat(ing) a sacred trust for this country.I hope we’re able to track whoever is doing this,” he said.
These type comments expose America’s dark side. So does unconstitutional NSA spying and much more. Washington flagrantly violates fundamental rule of law principles. It does so ruthlessly. At stake is humanity’s survival.
Snowden fears recrimination against his family, friends and partner. He’ll “have to live with that for the rest of (his) life,” he said.
I am not going to be able to communicate with them. (US authorities) will act aggressively against anyone who has known me. That keeps me up at night.
Asked what leaked NSA documents reveal, he said:
That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America.
America “hacks everyone everywhere.” he said. “(W)e are in almost every country in the world.”
“Everyone, everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten – and they’re talking about it.”
On June 9, London Guardian editors headlined “Edward Snowden: more conscientious objector than common thief,” saying:
What’s next is certain. US authorities “will pursue Snowden to the ends of the earth.” America’s “legal and diplomatic machinery is probably unstoppable.”
Congress should eagerly want to hear what Snowden has to say, said Guardian editors. They should “test the truth of what he is saying.”
They know full well. Many or perhaps most congressional members are fully briefed on what goes on. They’re condone it. So do administration and judicial officials.
Obama could stop it with a stroke of his pen. So can congressional lawmakers. Supreme Court justices could uphold the law.
Lawlessness persists. Moral cowardice pervades Washington. America’s dark side threatens everyone. There’s no place to hide.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class WarAlso visit his blog site atsjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/
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