Posts Tagged bradley manning
I can’t tell you anymore than this: The Bush regime’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, based on lies, was illegitimate, unjust, and immoral from the start. Barack Obama’s announcement yesterday that the “war is over” is wrong on so many levels. For those on the ground, the millions in Iraq, and the one million US military sent there, it won’t end.
The wealthiest country and military in the world leaves behind billions of dollars worth of trashed equipment, and civil and physical society in shambles.
A young soldier, Bradley Manning, formerly stationed in Iraq, will begin a court martial Friday at Ft. Meade, because the U.S. military claims he released classified information about the war to Wikileaks.
But today, the New York Times reports that 400 pages of classified documents on the interrogation of U.S. Marines about the notorious massacre of civilians in Haditha, in 2006 were
discovered along with reams of other classified documents, including military maps showing helicopter routes and radar capabilities, by a reporter for The New York Times at a junkyard outside Baghdad. An attendant was burning them as fuel to cook a dinner of smoked carp.
Shaun Mullen, a columnist for The Moderate Voice comments
That the true story of the 2005 massacre of 20 Iraqi civilians, including an elderly man in a wheelchair and women and children, has finally come out because an Iraqi was using transcripts of secret interviews with the Marines involved to cook dinner is a fitting coda to a nearly nine-year war that officially ended today.
Says Leon Panetta, current Secretary of Defense for the Obama administration about the war on Iraq
“the cost was high — in blood and treasure of the United States, and also for the Iraqi people. But those lives have not been lost in vain — they gave birth to an independent, free and sovereign Iraq.”
Say what? from 7 of the 8 Iraq veterans CNN interviewed who were deployed to Iraq during the war. Their one sentence pull-outs mirror everything I’ve heard over 8 years:
“I don’t think that the gravity of what we were doing ever really hit me.” Emily Trageser, Army
“We removed one corruption and replaced Saddam with officials who were just as murderous and evil.” Nicholas Panzera, Army
“I lost everything. My wife, my place to live, my friends, and the future I had once seen.” Marc Loiselle, Army
“I have never felt more proud in my life to be a part of something.” Tyler, Army, who is currently in Iraq shutting down bases.
“Although we did depose a dictator, we ruined the country in the process.” Eric Sofge, Army
“The principle excuse to invade Iraq to discover WMD was a non-starter from the get-go.” Jeffrey Tracey, biological weapons inspector
“None of us could see a reason why we were still there. And it just kept going on and on.” Jim Lewandowski, South Dakota National Guard
“I don’t know any soldiers that really have a positive view on any of it.” Spencer Alexander, Army
It’s not over, people. The U.S. is ready to send troops back to Iraq, and will keep thousands on the border of Kuwait. The ceremony is only for public consumption.
I thought Michael Moore had a good idea when he proposed naming Occupy SF after Bradley Manning. Bradley is accused by the U.S. government of leaking to Wikileaks government reports and cables on years of military operations and communications about and with other governments.
He may go before a court martial soon, although there is apparently deep disagreement between different sections of the government over what evidence to let the defense see, and what they will allow to be made public.
Michael’s point is that the “Arab Spring” beginning with the uprising in Tunisia last December, spreading across the Mid East, and continuing now in struggle against highly repressive regimes in Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen, was fueled by revelations posted by Wikileaks. MissionLocal reports
Energizing protesters, he said the origin of the Occupy movement could be traced to Tunisia and the Arab Spring. But the ultimate credit? That belonged to alleged WikiLeaks informant and U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning, whom Moore called the original Occupy instigator for his purported role in leaking thousands of U.S. government cables. Moore even proposed renaming Justin Herman Plaza to Bradley Manning Plaza in his honor.
BradleyManning.org quotes Moore as calling on people to remember the (alleged) contribution of Bradley Manning, saying it’s
“… sad, tragic and criminal that he is still in jail. Has not been charged with a crime or put on trial. Having done a very brave thing, when you draw a line from A to B to C, that we are here in this park today in part to his courage.”
It’s worth thinking about the war crimes revealed, and how putting reality before people really can bring about change in how the perceive injustice, and how they act. Isn’t this what we’ve been working on for years?
Despite the Obama administration’s announcement Friday that U.S. combat troops are finally leaving Iraq — giving rise to the popular perception that “Iraq war is over”– I ask those who are celebrating to consider: where is the joy coming from?
It’s been ten years now since Donald Rumsfeld’s brain went “9/11 = attack Iraq,” apparently minutes after the WTC was hit by airliners. From that moment, when the world’s largest military machine began planning it, through today, after over a million Iraqi deaths, this war and occupation has never been legitimate, just or moral!
Tens of millions of us who care about humanity protested to prevent the Bush regime from getting the coalition it sought to attack Iraq; much of the world was convinced the U.S. was not invading to “save” Iraqis but to advance its own imperial agenda. Our actions did contribute to this loss of legitimacy as the United States military ran into deep geopolitical difficulties in the region (remember, Bush and Cheney planned to sweep through Iraq as a gateway to dominating the rest of the region, including Iran, a strategy that has, shall we say, not gone well.)
The Nobel Peace President, who promised an end to war on Iraq, isn’t exactly blazing a peace trail. The Bush Regime set this time frame of “withdrawal” in 2011.
In fact the Obama administration, through the State Department, pursued very hard the plan to keep U.S. fighting forces in Iraq beyond this year. It was the Maliki government, which in general has been very compliant to its U.S. funders, who balked at allowing U.S. military to stay because the terms demanded by Obama included immunity from local prosecution for the troops.
Think of that: The widest sustained, imperialist government sponsored, mass war crime, destroying a whole country, displacing 4.5 million from their homes, the turning of a secular society into a bloody sectarian battlefield, was to be justified and continued only on the basis of immunity from the victimized country!
Glenn Greenwald specifically attributes the Iraqi government stand to the revelation of a cable
released by WikiLeaks in May, 2011, and, as McClatchy put it at the time, “provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.” The U.S. then lied and claimed the civilians were killed by the airstrike. Although this incident had been previously documented by the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the high-profile release of the cable by WikiLeaks generated substantial attention (and disgust) in Iraq, which made it politically unpalatable for the Iraqi government to grant the legal immunity the Obama administration was seeking. Indeed, it was widely reported at the time the cable was released that it made it much more difficult for Iraq to allow U.S. troops to remain beyond the deadline under any conditions.
War crimes in 2003; war crimes never prosecuted at the hands of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and one can go on into the dozens, as War Criminals Watch does.
I am not celebrating!
More to come on the continued U.S. State Department presence of fighters; the black operations, and the hundreds of thousands of U.S. contractors staying in Iraq.
Remember, George. W. Bush, the master of creating his own reality, announced that it was over on May 1, 2003, in his famous “Mission Accomplished” speech, wearing his pseudo-airman’s costume:
“Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision and speed and boldness the enemy did not expect and the world had not seen before.”
Any commander in chief of an illegitimate occupation should be very careful what he announces.
On March 2, the U.S. military announced 22 more charges against Bradley Manning, the accused Army Private imprisoned in solitary confinement since May 2010. One of the new charges, “aiding the enemy,” is potentially punishable with death. This a most outrageous development, echoing the months of right-wingers screaming for his death. View the charges. Word comes that Brad is now held naked overnight, and forced to stand at attention that way.
The system holding him is nakedly unjust!
The charges themselves expose the extent to which the U.S. military is spread across the world is involved in actions with names like “Operation Hammer,” detailed in tens of thousands of reports stored in the internet. I am not the first to point out the irony that the Obama administration offered praise — growing fainter by the day — to those protesting in streets in Egypt and Tunisia with outrage fueled by the very revelations Manning faces death for exposing.
These new charges only increase our anger at the treatment of Bradley Manning, as it grows clearer by the day how much blood is on the hands of those who accuse him. The very same day charges were being signed, March 1, nine children were killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. As a high school student asked me yesterday, “why did they shoot and kill children?” An apology was quickly issued by General David Petraeus, no doubt to quell protest in Afghanistan. But these killings are part of a systematic pattern. The Collateral Murder footage, which the Army specifically indicts Manning for leaking, “12 JUL 07 CZ ENGAGEMENT ZONE 30 GC Anyone.avi” is in reality, an indictment of U.S. rules of engagement and war-fighting.
Kathy Kelly, who goes to Afghanistan, wrote in Incalculable:
Families rely on their children to collect fuel for heat during the harsh winters and for cooking year round. Young laborers, wanting to help their families survive, mean no harm to the United States. They’re not surging at us, or anywhere: they’re not insurgents. They’re not doing anything to threaten us. They are children, and children anywhere are like children everywhere: they’re children like our own.
An 11-min. German documentary, just translated to English, captures both the horror of Collateral Murder, and the injustice done towards Manning, through interviews with a friend of Manning, and anti-war activist and former CIA briefer Ray McGovern. Ethan McCord, who can be seen in the leaked video rescuing children wounded by the 2007 Apache helicopter operation, talks about that day, and his support of Manning.
It’s important to recognize the escalation represented by these new charges against Manning. Glenn Greenwald in Bradley Manning Could Face Death compares Manning to Daniel Ellsberg, 40 years ago. Greenwald was interviewed on Democracy Now March 3:
The charge of aiding the enemy is really quite disturbing, because what that requires is passing information or disseminating intelligence to, quote-unquote, “the enemy.” And although the charging document doesn’t say who the enemy is here, it’s only two possibilities, both of which are disturbing. Either, number one, they mean WikiLeaks, which is accused of giving intelligence to or classified information to, which would mean the government now formally declares WikiLeaks to be, quote-unquote, “the enemy,” or, number two, and more likely, what it means is that by disseminating this information to WikiLeaks and other news organizations that ultimately published it, it enabled the Taliban and al-Qaeda to read this information and to access it, which would basically mean that any kind of leak now of classified information to newspapers, where your intent is not to aid the Taliban or help them but to expose wrongdoing, is now considered a capital offense and considered aiding and abetting the enemy, in that sense. And that’s an amazingly broad and expansive definition of what that offense would be…
it’s now been 10 months where, despite being convicted of absolutely nothing, he’s been held in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement under the most repressive conditions, not being allowed to exercise in his cell. The one hour a day when he’s allowed out, he walks around shackled in a room by himself and is immediately returned to his cell when it stops. Although the commander of the brig was recently fired and replaced, those conditions have not changed. So they’ve gone on for 10 months. They’re likely to go on for many more months, because the court-martial proceeding is not likely to take place for at least another six months or so, while these proceedings work themselves out. And certainly, someone held under those conditions for that long is going to be seriously psychologically and physically deteriorated, perhaps irreparably so.
Democracy Now also reported newly abusive treatment of Manning:
New information has come to light about the prison conditions of accused U.S. Army whistleblower Bradley Manning, who is being held at the Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia. According to his lawyer, Manning was stripped of all his clothes on Wednesday and then forced to remain naked in his cell for seven hours. Manning’s clothes were returned only after he was forced to stand naked outside his cell during an inspection. Manning’s attorney described the treatment as inexcusable and an embarrassment to the military justice system. The incident occurred just hours after the military filed 22 additional charges against Manning for having allegedly illegally downloaded hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. military and U.S. Department of State documents that were then publicly released by WikiLeaks. One of the new charges, “aiding the enemy,” could carry a death sentence.
All of this argues for a large and determined protest on Sunday March 20, outside the brig at Quantico, VA where Manning is imprisoned. Join us! From Courage to Resist:
Rally at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia to support accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Army Pfc. Bradley Manning on March 20th! Supporters will gather for a 2pm rally at the town of Triangle (map: intersection of Main St. and Route 1), then march to the gates of the Quantico Marine Corps Base. Bradley has been held at the Quantico brig in solitary-like conditions for six months. We stand for truth, government transparency, and an end to our occupation wars… we stand with Bradley! Event endorsed by the Bradley Manning Support Network, Veterans for Peace, Courage to Resist, CodePink, and many others. Buses from Washington DC have been chartered for this event (departing Union Station at 12:30pm)–reserve your seats today for only $10 RT. The day before, on Saturday, March 19th, in Washington DC, we will be joining the noon rally at Lafayette Park and march on the White House to “Resist the War Machine!”
Can you imagine the conversation in the Obama administration since the cables have been released by Wikileaks.org? Attorney General Eric Holder, who can’t find a reason to prosecute anyone for actual torture, says ominously, referring to the legal difficulties in possible U.S. prosecution of Julian Assange,
“To the extent there are gaps in our laws, we will move to close those gaps, which is not to say that anybody at this point, because of their citizenship or their residence, is not a target or a subject of an investigation.”
But Robert Gates, whose Pentagon has been threatening Wikileaks openly since the Afghan War Diaries release in July, said on November 30:
“I’ve heard the impact of these releases on our foreign policy described as a meltdown, as a game-changer, and so on. I think those descriptions are fairly significantly overwrought… Many governments — some governments — deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation…Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest.’’
The refrain from the government goes: Wikileaks is guilty of terrible crimes which “endanger national security;” they have blood on their hands…but, for damage control purposes, it’s not such a big deal when what they revealed. Yet pressure was placed on Amazon.com this week to remove Wikileaks from its servers. The site is up now, after being removed from Amazon.com’s servers Wednesday December 1.
The Department of Justice no doubt exerted pressure on Interpol to put out a warrant for Julian Assange on sexual misconduct charges from a prosecutor in Sweden that have been off and on again. Jennifer Robinson, one of Assange’s British attorneys, said the warrant from Sweden was highly unusual for the charges, and that Assange is not in hiding, but is taking care of his personal safety, given threats by people in power against him. See more today on Democracy Now.
Glenn Greenwald, on Salon.com writes about the kinds of attacks on Assange and takes them on:
“The group demanding that Julian Assange be murdered without any charges, trial or due process. There was Sarah Palin on on Twitter illiterately accusing WikiLeaks — a stateless group run by an Australian citizen — of “treason”; she thereafter took to her Facebook page to object that Julian Assange was “not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders” (she also lied by stating that he has “blood on his hands”: a claim which even the Pentagon admits is untrue). Townhall’s John Hawkins has a column this morning entitled ”5 Reasons The CIA Should Have Already Killed Julian Assange.” That Assange should be treated as a “traitor” and murdered with no due process has been strongly suggested if not outright urged by the likes of Marc Thiessen, Seth Lipsky (with Jeffrey Goldberg posting Lipsky’s column and also illiterately accusing Assange of “treason”), Jonah Goldberg, Rep. Pete King, and, today, The Wall Street Journal.
Those who demand that the U.S. Government take people’s lives with no oversight or due process as though they’re advocating changes in tax policy or mid-level personnel moves — eradicate him!, they bellow from their seats in the Colosseum — are just morally deranged barbarians. There’s just no other accurate way to put it. These are usually the same people, of course, who brand themselves “pro-life” and Crusaders for the Sanctity of Human Life and/or who deride Islamic extremists for their disregard for human life.”
In addition to the New York Times and other US mainstream media who are spinning the story of the cables in support of US domination of other countries, there are journalists analyzing the content of the cable leaks from the standpoint of justice. Scott Horton, on Democracy Now December 1, talked about what was revealed over the last years, when the U.S. strongly pressured Spain not to prosecute Bush regime officials over rendition and indefinite detention. Democracy Now summarizes:
U.S. officials were especially alarmed when prosecutors in Spain and Germany began comparing notes on their investigations into CIA extraordinary rendition flights. U.S. officials said, quote, ‘This co-ordination among independent investigators will complicate our efforts to manage this case at a discreet government-to-government level.’ The investigation in Germany was in regard to the CIA abduction and rendition of German citizen Khaled El-Masri. He was wrongly abducted and flown to Afghanistan, where he was held for months without charge. When it looked like 13 CIA agents might be charged in the case, the U.S. embassy in Berlin stepped in and, according to one leaked cable, threatened, quote, that ‘issuance of international arrest warrants would have a negative impact on our bilateral relationship.’
Gareth Porter dug into the disinformation U.S. diplomats put out on Iran in Russians Refuted U.S. Claim of Iranian Missile Threat to Europe. Glen Ford takes apart US policy towards Iran in American Racism on Display in WikiLeaks Iran Cable:
Jeremy Scahill, this morning on Democracy Now, spoke to the open lies of the United States, specifically the Obama administration, in denying that the U.S. has military operations going on now in Pakistan. The cables show otherwise. Democracy Now. Scahill exposes the Pakistani government’s blatant lies to its own people, while the U.S. behind the scenes, orchestrates two drone programs in Pakistan, allegedly a sovereign country.
Julian Assange, Wikileaks, and Brad Manning – whose execution is now being demanded by Mike Huckabee — must be defended, as a really key part of our movement to end the wars and war crimes. This is just the beginning, on both sides of this battle over truth and empire.
We — all of us– need to keep digging into those cables and exposing the real crimes they cover.
I signed this statement, New Evidence Demands End to Wars, and urge you to come out to The White House on Thursday, December 16.
“Cablegate,” the huge leak of U.S. Embassy cables from 1966 to this year, began coming from Wikileaks.org Sunday. This ongoing project, building on the leaks from earlier this year about the U.S. occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan, is huge not only for the amount of information released, but for its import. I suspect we won’t know that fully until we have a chance to dig into more. Wikileaks has helpfully organized the search by country, date, and topic.
What does the leak reveal? More than just one administration’s practices; more than dirty tricks, individual opinions, “rogue” spies and diplomats, what I’ve seen already confirms a pattern, a system, of an un-checked superpower conducting “business as usual” behind secrecy, using diplomacy as yet another weapon.
Der Spiegel described it as “a political meltdown for American foreign policy” that leaves “the trust America’s partners have in the country … badly shaken.” USA Today reports Hillary Clinton
“condemned the WikiLeaks release of once-classified diplomatic documents as nothing less than an attack on the United States and its allies.”
Private individuals are entitled to privacy, despite the actions of the Bush & Obama administrations, and governments may be entitled to secrecy. But everything from “dirty tricks” ala Dick Nixon to CIA assasinations are crimes by governments, and should be exposed.
Once again, we owe a debt to Wikileaks and the source of the leaks, for providing us the basis to see behind the lies. Bradley Manning is charged with these leaks, and sits in military prison at Quantico VA, awaiting a court martial. It is up to us to defend Manning, and do good with the revelations, by acting to stop the crimes through visible, vocal, public protest, just what World Can’t Wait exists for.
But the pro-war Congress leader Peter King wants Julian Assange tried for espionage as a “terrorist.” Harold Koh, the State Department legal counsel who defends the Obama administration’s targeted assassination as compatible with international law, says the leaks will
“place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals,” and “place at risk on-going military operations.”
Nancy A. Youssef, in Officials may be overstating the danger from WikiLeaks, challenges that assertion.
“American officials in recent days have warned repeatedly that the release of documents by WikiLeaks could put people’s lives in danger.But despite similar warnings ahead of the previous two massive releases of classified U.S. intelligence reports by the website, U.S. officials concede that they have no evidence to date that the documents led to anyone’s death.”
Glen Greenwald wrote earlier today on damage to civilians,
“Many of the same people who supported the invasion of Iraq and/or who support the war in Afghanistan, drone strikes and assassination programs — on the ground that the massive civilians deaths which result are justifiable “collateral damage” — are those objecting most vehemently to WikiLeaks’ disclosure on the ground that it may lead to the death of innocent people. For them, the moral framework suddenly becomes that if an act causes the deaths of any innocent person, that is proof that it is not only unjustifiable but morally repellent regardless of what it achieves. How glaringly selective is their alleged belief in that moral framework.”
The danger to civilians is in being militarily occupied, economically controlled and dominated by an unchecked superpower. Everything we can do to rouse people living in the United States to act to end these occupations is needed, now!
worldcantwait.net will be covering the ongoing revelations.
Wednesday December 1: 2pm EST/11 am PST
Live From Frontline Club, London, a webcast on Wikileaks: The U.S. Embassy Cables
Following the release this weekend of 251,287 confidential United States embassy cables, this month’s First Wednesday debate will focus on the revelations of this latest leak from whistle-blower website WikiLeaks. We will be joined by: WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson; James Ball a data journalist who has been working with WikiLeaks; Nicky Hager, author and Investigative journalist; Additional panelists to be confirmed.
The award-winning documentary, “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” was shown today by Resistance Cinema and will be shown twice more in the next few weeks. The film chronicles Ellsberg’s transition from a war hawk to a principled critic who risked prison to spread the truth about US-Vietnam relations.
The release of the Pentagon Papers can be compared, indeed should be compared, with Wikileaks’ recent release of the Afghan war logs: new revelations, smear campaigns, state suppression, and a complex role by corporate media.
The next showing of the Ellsberg film is at 7:00 pm, Monday, September 20 at the Conference Room, NYU Dept of Sociology, the Puck Building at 295 Lafayette St. (at Houston), 4th Floor, and will be free and open to the public (with photo ID). Another showing will be on PBS October 5.
World Can’t Wait will follow up the NYU event by showing “Collateral Murder” outdoors in Washington Square Park following the Ellsberg film.
It is important that as many people as possible see the video–to reach beyond the internet. A specific purpose of the showing is to Support Bradley Manning, accused of leaking the video on which “Collateral Murder” is based. Brad is currently in the brig at Quantico, VA and is faced with a court martial for being a hero, as great or greater than Ellsberg–for these are different times. He will surely face prison if the charges against him are sustained.
World Can’t Wait showed “Collateral Murder” indoors last Thursday, on that very stormy night. The crowd was small but EVERYONE said how important it was to see it. It is video to see with others–to discuss its implications, and to provide finacial and moral support for Brad.
When an activist from World Can’t Wait sent me a link to Thursday’s Pentagon press conference, and called Geoff Morell, their spokesman a “pompus ass,” I thought that wasn’t really a news flash.
But really, to get the full impact of the government’s threat to Julian Assange & Wikileaks for revealing the government’s “property,” you have to see Morell’s sneer as the Pentagon reacted to Wikileak’s posting of its huge “insurance” file, presumably designed to make sure the information is still available if their sites are shut down, or they are rounded up.
The press corps pushed Morell to answer why the Pentagon wants Wikileaks to physically turn over material that’s been viewed and downloaded by millions, and is in the possession of major world newspapers, and what would happen to Julian Assange in particular. Morell ominously repeated that Wikileaks has to “do the right thing” and comply… or else.
For his part Assange is assuredly firm in his motivations for releasing the documents detailing the every day operations of the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan in War Diaries (wardiary.wikileaks.org). In a video interview with The Economist Assange says “true information does good.” And below, the Guardian interviews him, headlining, “Julian Assange on the Afghanistan war logs: ‘They show the true nature of this war.’”
“All of the people involved in releasing these WikiLeak documents are taking heroic actions to tell the world about the crimes U.S. imperialism is committing in Afghanistan. They are literally risking their lives. And it is up to anyone with a sense of moral responsibility to humanity-to not turn their eyes, to not change the channel- but instead to act with real resolve to put an end to such crimes.”
Some passersby walked by slowly, stopping just long enough to see what we were doing – but then as they kept going they’d start talking about it. A guy commented to his friend “Oh that’s Wikileaks, the helicopter video.” Couples would start exchanging views about the war in Iraq. A group headed into a restaurant would be chatting about wine and vacations — then suddenly they were talking about Wikileaks and what each other thought about the whistleblowers leaking war documents.