The Persecution of Bradley Manning 148


The thrilling development in the trial of Bradley Manning is that Manning has acknowledged he is the source of the leaked materials, but employed a whistleblower defence. His case is that he was exposing illegal acts and trying to arouse legitimate public debate. However in the kangaroo court trial the prosecution has objected to Manning’s proposed evidence, and claims that Manning’s detailed references to specific war crimes are irrelevant and should not be allowed to be made in court. In other words, the state is seeking to prevent Bradley Manning from presenting his defence, and doubtless the military “judge” will comply with the state.

In order to overshadow Manning’s defence, the government and corporate media brought out, the moment the news of Manning’s defence was announced, the “news” that the government will put in the stand an all-American hero, a US Navy Seal, one of the Zero-Torture-Thirty killers of Osama Bin Laden, who will give evidence that Bin Laden had a stash of the Wikileaks released cables in his home.

That the timing of this piece of propaganda theatre was deliberate to wipe out public perception of Manning’s defence – and his not being allowed to make it – there is absolutely no doubt. But what in any case is the real value of this evidence?

Well, it certainly adds to the mountain of evidence that the US government will go after Assange the moment he leaves the UK. But against Bradley Manning it adds nil. Who would have thought that Bin Laden would not read the Wikileaks cables? Nobody would have thought that. Hundreds of millions of people read them. Many Arab Spring protestors in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen were motivated in part by information in the cables. Is the US government going to bring evidence on that too?

The problem is, of course, that Bin Laden was never convicted of anything. If the Americans had not murdered him, evidence from him about his view of the cables and what he intended to do with them might have been interesting. It may even have helped the prosecution. But they killed him rather than prosecute or question him, so they do not have that.

Perhaps enough time has passed for people to be a bit more dispassionate about the strange killing of Bin Laden. There was absolutely no need to kill him. He had no weapon. His small compound was completely secured by US Marines. At the time they shot Bin laden, there was nobody on the compound who could fire back. Bin Laden was an elderly man in poor health. Trained navy seals could have hauled him alive into the helicopter without adding more than 10 seconds to their mission time – and it seems they had plenty of time, time to go searching for Wikileaks documents anyway. It is perfectly plain that the truth is that Obama had instilled an understanding Bin Laden was to be killed, not captured.

But that makes no sense. If the Americans really believe the entire al-Qaida narrative which has been banged out incessantly by the media this last decade, then Bin Laden alive would have been the most valuable intelligent asset in US history. To kill him needlessly with no attempt at interrogation would be absolutely extraordinary. There was no operational need to do it in the compound that night. Keeping him alive would in no way have further endangered the troops on the operation. They did not want him to talk.

Now for a state to use the alleged intentions of somebody as evidence, when the state killed that person to avoid him giving evidence, is rather remarkable. Only in the Bradley Manning kangaroo court does it make sense.

The US government’s problem is that it has spoonfed to mainstream media journalists for years the lie that the Wikileaks cables release endangered lives. There is then this appalling lie that Assange stated that the informers deserve to be shot – a statement which the host of the small dinner has sworn was never made, and Assange swears he never said. But despite all this propagnda, and despite the fact that they are extremely keen to do so, and every mainstream media organisation in the whole world has worked on it, nobody has produced one credible instance of an individual who was harmed as a result of being named in a Wikileaks cable – unless you include the dictators whose people turned against them.

Part of the reason for this is rather prosaic. The State Department cables were not intelligence material. The media likes to call them intelligence because it sounds exciting and sells papers, but it is not intelligence material. It is just diplomatic reporting. And it is not highly classified. None of it is Top Secret – it is just Restricted or Confidential.

If the release of any material would endanger the life of the source, that material would automatically get classified Top Secret. That is why nobody has been endangered. The system works, The Americans should celebrate that, rather than try Hollywood-linked stunts to demonise Manning.


148 thoughts on “The Persecution of Bradley Manning

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  • Mary

    Thanks for those links Afflictthecomfortable.

    1st March already. ‘A pinch and a punch, the 1st of the month’. What were the origins of that saying?

    Poor Bradley has probably had many a pinch and a punch. He has been incarcerated for over 1000 days now, ie since May 2010.

    It is probably of little consolation to him that he was voted Person of the Year last year in the Guardian poll.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2012/dec/10/bradley-manning-guardian-person-of-the-year-2012

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_charges_against_Bradley_Manning

  • Jemand - The Power of Prayer

    Guano 

    “Australian police cars are already upside-down Are you going to turn them the right way round?”

    Hah! Yes, that’s the idea. Come to Oz and pitch in.
    . . .

    “.. some Far Eastern Muslim countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei have an animism problem, with belief in spirits occupying locations being taken into consideration with building planning decisions.

    Allah says in the Quran: .. Satan presents obstacles like human relationship problems etc as insurmountable, when in fact not only is Allah fully in control of them but easily able to brush them aside, if supplicated by a sincere believer. The Shayateen are sent to trouble those who do not believe. ‘Faith can move mountains.’”

    I hope I chopped (abbreviated) that right to retain the gist of your statement. The native beliefs of people in those places is a vestigial artefact of pre-Islamic spiritualism. It’s not really a concern of mine as I do not proselytise my atheism directly, but I can understand that it should be one for you as a faithful Muslim. Like a good carpenter, you feel over your job with your hands for rough surfaces and work to make them smooth. These people are not mine to work over.
    . . .

    “The street drain outside my house must now be full not only of hibernating cockroaches but also the shredded business cards of certain psychic Muslim peers/sheikhs/mediums who claim to be able to solve every kind of problem from love to blood pressure and they no doubt sell inscriptions and other totems to externalise their customers’ superstitions, thus increasing the demand for their services instead of prescribing the internal remedies of thikr/remembrance of Allah and prayer.”

    I think that has been going on for a long, long time. Be happy that you get to enjoy the daily frustrations and annoyances of our ancient forefathers. It’s like owning a really shitty old car – totally retro! And we’re all enduring it, so don’t despair. Did Allah promise you an easy life? What man could live his whole life without challenge and then audaciously stand beside those who died, fighting in the cause of righteousness? The burden that you carry and resolve, is the place that you make for yourself in either history or heaven. (ie No pain, no gain)
    . . .

    “Your belief in duality of good and bad is theologically dogy even in Christian terms, and well off the scale of Islam. However whatever takes your fancy… “

    Not duality. When I say that people do things for reasons that are “good or bad”, I mean that everyone makes decisions with imperfect knowledge that are judged (by those with the benefit of hindsight) as both good AND bad (morally and non-morally speaking). In the absence of an objective certainty of what IS good or bad, a person who is in the position of needing to make a decision will make a good or bad decision (like flipping a coin). But whatever the outcome, they are ultimately the best judge as they enjoy or suffer the most from the wisdom (or lack thereof) of their decision. I’m going to coin a term and call this “proximitous right of judgement”. What it means is that ‘he who is closest and most involved in some experience, is the best judge to decide what is good or bad’. 
    . . .

    “You can take a horse to water…”

    Yes you can, but you can’t make him drink anything that is not water.
    . . .

    “I don’t think Obama was thinking the Muslims were going to make a shrine out of OBL’s grave. I think he understood that where there are lies it is human nature to speculate, and shaytan’s job to invent false answers. Drones serve the same purpose by having no perceivable driver. The Muslim is not susceptible to this psychological torture however real the physical torture caused.”

    I am not sure I understand all of what you wrote, but another comment of mine regarding the possible veneration of an OBL gravesite was not well explained. What I meant was that people would be cognizant of the location of OBL’s grave and that awareness would be an ongoing reminder of his struggle and martyrdom. The veneration would have been for his memory, not the physical gravesite. I really didn’t think there would be a Lenin-style shrine for supporters.

    Salaam.

  • Mary

    Time for Outrage

    Each week we see reasons for outrage and, thankfully, more and more people are joining the culture of resistance.

    Tuesday, the judge in the Bradley Manning case turned more than 1,000 days in prison, one-third of it in tortuous conditions in Kuwait and Quantico, into 90 days. The judge allowed excuses for the delays based on the complexity of the case and the secret documents involved so that it fell just under the 120 statutory limit for a speedy trial. Judge Denise Lind does not publish her opinions, (also outrageous) but read for two hours in court, making it almost impossible to analyze the basis of her making 1,000 = 90.

    People are outraged at the treatment of Manning and in more than 70 cities, people protested.
    [..]
    Jeremy Hammond is being held in prison for leaking 5 million StratFor intelligence documents to Wikileaks. He was entrapped by a government informant, and at 28 years of age, he faces life in prison. Hammond is outraged at the treatment of Aaron Swartz who committed suicide and wrote an open letter about Swartz while Hammond sat in solitary confinement.

    People are outraged at the treatment of Hammond and Aaron Swartz.
    [..]
    We end where we began, with the wisdom of Stephane Hessel:

    It’s time to take over! It’s time to get angry! . . . Let us not be defeated by the tyranny of the world financial markets that threaten peace and democracy everywhere. I wish all of you to find your reason for indignation. This is a precious thing.

    Time for Outrage!

    by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers / March 1st, 2013
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/03/time-for-outrage/

  • doug scorgie

    guano
    1 Mar, 2013 – 11:17 am

    “Allah says in the Quran: Kaida shaytana dha’eefa/ Satan’s plan is weak.”

    Which language are you quoting the Quran from here?

  • guano

    Doug Scorbie
    Google Chrome is getting much much dumber than I remember it being before.

  • Smeggypants

    Come on Craig, Osama Bin Laden was not assassinated by American mercenaries in 2011. Bin laden has been dead at least since late 2001.

  • doug scorgie

    guano
    1 Mar, 2013 – 9:57 pm

    “Google Chrome is getting much much dumber than I remember it being before.”

    I don’t use Google chrome.

    I have a copy of the Quran.

    You haven’t answered my question. What language were you using?

    I am beginning to suspect that you are not a Muslim at all.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Dougie :

    How does it feel to be always suspecting something?

    I suspect you’re from Alpha Centauri.

  • Villager

    Hi Macky, good to see you. Shall we pick up sometime on our chat–you can give me a sign. Meantime stay well!

  • Arbed

    Hey, I’ve just realised something. Bradley Manning’s statement says when he uploaded the Afghan War Diaries and Iraq War Logs to Wikileaks he included a note he had already prepared for sending to the Washington Post (his first choice for leaking). The note includes this sentence:

    “It’s already been sanitized of any source identifying information”

    So if Julian Assange had already received this information with the leak, why on earth would he go on to tell David Leigh at a dinner at El Moro “they’re informants – they deserve to die”?

    Of course, he wouldn’t say any such thing – he already knew there were no sources/informants who would be vulnerable in the War Logs to start with. (The 100 names that slipped through the process set up to redact the documents (because the Guardian’s journalists didn’t flag them up) were just villagers answering basic questions from soldiers like “Are there any Taliban in this village?”. Any answer, like “no”, is tagged as a “source” in the SIGACTs docs.)

    Despite having been informed by his source the documents had already been scrubbed of compromising info on informants, Assange still agreed to hold back 15,000 of the 91,000 SIGACTs for a closer look. Clearly, he was being ultra-responsible and accommodating over any fears that anyone could get hurt by Wikileaks’ disclosures.

    Ha ha, MORE evidence that David Leigh made up shit in an effort to libel JA to divert attention away from the Guardian’s own extremely cavalier misbehaviour and the breaking of their partnership contract with Wikileaks.

    No wonder he’s resorted to telling the German magazine DW that “Wikileaks is dead” – “Nothing to see here, move along please…”

  • Arbed

    Nice article on Bradley Manning by Marjorie Cohn, ex-President of the National Lawyers Guild and now a Law Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of War, Deputy Secretary General for external communications of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and US representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists:

    The Uncommon Courage of Bradley Manning
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/01

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)
    2 Mar, 2013 – 9:16 pm

    @ Dougie :
    “How does it feel to be always suspecting something?
    I suspect you’re from Alpha Centauri.”

    It is a necessity to have a suspicious mind when surrounded by lies and liars from the establishment and others – like some posters on this blog.

    I have reason to suspect that guano is not a Muslim but then perhaps he is a friend of yours and you are defending him.

    Let guano answer for himself!

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    “It is a necessity to have a suspicious mind when surrounded by lies and liars from the establishment and others…”

    Yes yes, I know, the whole world’s a conspiracy against you and your thirst for true knowledge.

    Lucky for you that Mary and the other Eminences are here to keep you on the path of true knowledge, right?

    Chump.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    “I have reason to suspect that guano….etc”

    “Reason to suspect” – isn’t that the language used by police, prosecutors and others of whom I suspect you don’t approve?

    Who cares what you suspect?

    Pompous twit.

  • Kempe

    “The 100 names that slipped through the process set up to redact the documents (because the Guardian’s journalists didn’t flag them up) were just villagers answering basic questions from soldiers like “Are there any Taliban in this village?”. Any answer, like “no”, is tagged as a “source” in the SIGACTs docs.”

    Of course there’s no possibility that alone is enough for the Taliban to consider them as informants…

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)
    2 Mar, 2013 – 9:16 pm

    @ Dougie :
    “How does it feel to be always suspecting something?
    I suspect you’re from Alpha Centauri.”

    Habbabkuk
    3 Mar, 2013 – 8:05 pm

    “Yes yes, I know, the whole world’s a conspiracy against you and your thirst for true knowledge.”

    “Lucky for you that Mary and the other Eminences are here to keep you on the path of true knowledge, right?”

    Chump.

    Habbabkuk
    3 Mar, 2013 – 8:08 pm

    “I have reason to suspect that guano….etc”

    “Reason to suspect” – isn’t that the language used by police, prosecutors and others of whom I suspect you don’t approve?”

    “Who cares what you suspect?”

    “Pompous twit.”

    Habbabkuk you are letting your true purpose show through (i.e. TROLL).

    Why does guano not reply to my original question?

    Why do you feel a need to defend him?

    Are you one and the same?

    Have I hit the nail on the head?

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    filed yesterday….

    “Although EPIC does not bear the burden of conducting a segregability analysis, the government has described records that appear readlly segragable. Example, the government is seeking to protect the names of witnesses, law enforcement personnel, foreign officials and individual targets of investigations…snip…..However names and id info, opinions portions of docs are frequently redacted under FOIA, leaving the remaining portions free to be disclosed.”

    http://legaltimes.typepad.com/files/epic-wiki.pdf

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    In support of Bradkey Manning.

    Bradley Manning’s Own Words: Blowing the Whistle on War Crimes
    by Nathan Fuller / March 8th, 2013

    [..]His plea is not part of a deal with the government. In fact, military prosecutors attempted to block Bradley from even reading the statement, arguing it was “irrelevant.” The Army has since announced that they are proceeding on all 22 counts–including the egregious “aiding the enemy” charge, as well as the Espionage Act-related charge–that could land Bradley in jail for life without parole.

    So when Bradley’s court martial comes on 3 June 2013, the proceedings will focus a little less on the forensics of what happened and more on why it happened, and what effect it had. It couldn’t be clearer. Bradley Manning did not “aid the enemy,” but aided the public in making better-informed decisions regarding our government’s secret abuses, and the horrors of war.

    Bradley deserves gratitude and celebration, not prosecution and continued incarceration. Join us June 1st at Fort Meade, and demand he be freed. (live link)

    /..
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/03/bradley-mannings-own-words-blowing-the-whistle-on-war-crimes/

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