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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  • Jonangus Mackay


    ‘Poverty must use democracy to destroy the power of property, or property in fear of poverty will destroy democracy’—Putney Debates, 1647.

    ‘Time for Outrage,’ sold millions of copies. It inspired the global Occupy movement. Its author died today at the age of 95.: 

  • Arbed

    Craig, 9.22pm

    Can I have your thoughts please on why the US chose to go in and kill Osama bin Laden at that particular time, given that – I agree with you – they knew exactly where he was all along and weren’t looking for him.

    I’ve always wondered whether it was precipitated (or perhaps speeded up?) by Wikileaks’ publication of the Gitmo files on 24 April 2011, exactly a week before the raid on 1 May. One detainee’s file showed that the US was aware as early as 2003 that bin Laden’s courier at one point moved his family to Abbottabad, presumably to be near his boss.

    Al-Libi’s Guantanamo file, dated 10 September 2008, states: “In July 2003, detainee [al-Libi] received a letter from UBL’s designated courier, Maulawi Abd al-Khaliq Jan, requesting detainee take on the responsibility of collecting donations, organizing travel, and distributing funds to families in Pakistan.

    “UBL stated detainee would be the official messenger between UBL and others in Pakistan.”

    In mid-2003, al-Libi “moved his family to Abbottabad, PK and worked between Abbottabad and Peshawar,” according to the file.

    In 2001 and 2003, he arranged “save havens” for bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is currently still at large.

    It may not be a coincidence that the “safe haven” where bin Laden was finally caught was in the Pakistani garrison town where al-Libi lived in 2003.

    Once this became public knowledge in a way that could not be easily handwaved away (authentic documentation an’ all that) the jig was up that the US was more or less complicit in bin Laden being sequestered away, so they had to kill him before news got out to the wider public.

  • Villager

    Lysias, i know what you mean. Don’t forget Musharraf was Chief of Army GHQ till 2007, in addition to being President, so during that period was in direct control of the ISI. He was wily enough to have pulled off delivering OBL imho to the US and said to the World and his own electorate ‘what a good boy am I’ at any time rather than having been forced by the US to step down as President. Also, do you really think Kayani preferred to have Zardari as President, and thus prevented Musharraf from grabbing OBL? Bear in mind that Kayani was Musharraf’s man and that Musharraf would’ve had his own direct and deep relationships into the Army and indeed the ISI, even if he didn’t have day-to-day command.

  • Arbed

    “the US was aware as early as 2003 that bin Laden’s courier at one point moved his family to Abbottabad”

    Sorry, that should be “as early as 2008”. Actually, I think al-Libi’s file shows that the intelligence came from interrogations carried out in either 2004 or 2007 – can’t remember which offhand.

  • lysias

    I was a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. Lieutenant Commander (O4) in the Navy equates to Major in the Army.

  • Ruth

    When Gadaffi was killed his body was put on display to ensure that all Libyans could understand that he was dead. When Bin Laden ‘was killed’ his body was concealed and dumped in the sea. Bearing in mind the burgeoning belief that 9/11 was an inside job it would surely have been wiser to give the world irrefutable evidence that Bin Laden had really been killed.

  • Villager


    ”I haven’t heard of the rank “lieutenant commander” before. Nationality? Service?”

    Habby its good to see you displaying your ignorance (and limitations of self-research), as well as your politeness, in Craig’s presence at the same time.

    You should bow to Mary’s contributions, if nothing just based on the high-quality and energy behind her research. It would probably pre-qualify her hor the head of Global Research at JP morgan, but she’s donig a noble job in supporting Craig and this ‘community’ in getting across the compassionate activists’ voice.

    I hope you regret that forked/viper-tongue remark of yours with the adjunctive of the Saint Mary bit. As a self-professed catholic, aren’t you making a bit of a mockery of your own Church in these rather serious troubled times?

    Life is beautiful but its also bloody serious business with the injustices that abound due to corruption of Power. The word(s) ‘La Vita È Bella!’ is not the thing. You have much clarifying of your conscience to do, sans malice.

  • karel


    in a bout of dementia, I have landed again on the New statesman website and was struck by the viciousness and imbecility of the comments posted there. This revelation makes me appreciate the civility and tolerance of what is normally posted here and for that you deserve a congratulation. Even the Halibaba residents seem to shine here like noble knights full of wit and intellectual vigour when compared to the miscreants who bother to post their mental exretions to the New Statement site. Funny that George Galloway is often called there a racist. Do Israelis constitute a race? I thought they are almost all Khazars and so far I have not heard anyone, and would like to be proven wrong, that Khazars have an acclaim to be a of distinct racial origin.


    I suspect that you read too much heroic literature of the kind that ruined the mind of Don Quijote. How could have Seals killed Osama who is in fact a lodger in my holliday cottage? The last time I saw him was during a short visit last summer. On my arrival he proudly presented me with a huge aubergine that he managed to grow on the meagre soil of Devon.

  • craig Post author


    I have wondered about the timing. My guess is they calculated the ideal length of time before the Presidential election.

  • CE

    Can’t agree there I’m afraid Craig, ideal timing for Obama would have been 6 months before the election. Any boost in the polls that BO had garnered by UBL’s death was gone by 2012.

    I doubt we are being fed the whole truth, but who knows, the timing may even have been operational.


  • BrianFujisan

    It always Amazes me, that there are so many people who did not know that 3 towers/ buildings came down at world trade centre on 9/11. building 7 was absolutely a controlled demolition.

    Anyway few americans have any idea, that OBL repeatedly denied any involvement in 9/11, he tried to point out that there was a government, within the government in Washington. Being so close the the Bush Mob, he might have Known

    ” The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which make us surprise but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people.” –
    extract from OBL interveiw at Global research

  • karel


    I cannot avoid the impression that you are also under the spell of books on chivalry. The humbug around OBL reminds me of the construed ambiguity game the Soviet leaders played with the gullible West concerning the death of Hitler. Although they knew perfectly well that he was dead, by skillful leaks they tried to create and recreate the impression that he might be still alive hidden somewhere in a cave, I presume, to cause sleepless nights for the postwar fools. After burrying his remains in 1946 near Magdeburg, KGB agents dug all the bones up in 1970, had them cremated and threw the ashes into the river (probably the Elbe) as the sea was far away.

  • BrianFujisan

    well said Villager, all true Regards Mary,

    If it weren’t for Mary’s warning i might have happened upon newsnight on tuesday night and in some effin perverse way kept watching – to be suject to the lies, propaganda ( i keep reminding myself that Propaganda is a war crime ) But most of all i can’t stand to even look at bliar. and to think they are trying to feed this lunatic back into our lives, F%*ck that

  • Jemand - Keep Speech Free

    Villager, pipe down on your own abusive tone or you will be exchanging comments with me. This thread has been pretty much problem free until you came along and agitated. I think both CE and Habbabkuk might even be able to teach you a few lessons in common courtesy. And yes, I’m well aware of my own temper which you will certainly see more of if you continue. So, from me to you, up close and personal – STFU.

  • BrianFujisan

    EM Jemand i thought thigings were going Kinda ok Here,,Even Habby semede to be ok about things

  • BrianFujisan

    Whwere do you people come from…..You Jemand,,,Dont pick on Non Martaial artists..I’ll meet you anytime i hate bully

  • Jemand - Keep Speech Free

    Re the late Bin Laden

    All this talk of Bin Laden, when and how he died, disposal of body, motives etc – much of it is plausible if you ignore the circumstanial evidence but there are only a few likely scenarios. I don’t know which one is most likely because there is simply too much that we do not know – the infamous “unknown unknowns” as Herr Rumsfeld described to us.

    Political science tells us to look at everything in terms of long term net value. Bin Laden had potential value while alive and has potential ongoing value as an executed enemy of the US. They had to reconcile the pros and cons of killing him sooner or later. As it transpired, it was later.

    For the US govt to justify its ongoing operations in Afghanistan to the American voting public, Bin Laden was to serve as a personification of terrorism at large. Ideally, he would be constrained from engaging in operations that could embarrass the US military effort, but sufficiently free to send the occasional postcard to say, “Loving the ‘War on Terror’, wish you were here!”. This keeps him on the front page of the NYT and reminds tax-paying voters that billions of dollars are being well spent. So Bin Laden was effectively under house arrest, keeping both the US and Pakistanis happy for the timebeing.

    But all good things must come to an end and I believe he outlived his usefulness as a living asset. So his long planned capture and murder was convenient as a PR exercise for Obama and a rude demonstration to our Pakistani friends of US military capabilities and political resolve. After a serious falling out with the US, it curtly reminded the Pakistanis of who was running the show and calling the shots. They were humiliated.

    Now, we all know that the official line is that the mission was to capture Bin Laden alive. It’s even possible that he was, and subsequently tortured for intel, with fatal results. The disposal of his body at sea was necessary to prevent the world from knowing with certainty how he died and deny supporters a reason to protest and a gravesite to venerate. If he was tortured, his head was to be spared except for a posthumous bullet, providing a relatively clean portrait for both clear identification and an acceptable cause of death. His heart, removed for insurance purposes, to be preserved indefinitely in US custody for the usual commission of enquiry 20 years later. It’s currently in a jar, sitting on a shelf .. next to Hitlers head.

  • willyrobinson

    Good morning. The Guardian has a bit about Bradley Manning being refused a defence that too many documents are classified (although that is self evident to anyone who tried to read them…). They make no reference to the ‘illegal acts’ defence that Craig mentions above, so if anyone has any updates I’d very much appreciate them. Thanks a lot – w

  • guano


    ‘They created him, the Saudi elite and the American elite created him to do a job.’

    Correct, and recruiters of UK Muslims for UK intelligence services are still using him as a pin-up hero to convince their potential victims of their jihadist credentials.

    For me Libya was a turning point when we saw Mujahideen working openly with UK and French military special services to overrun the country. Saudi Arabia’s game as a cash-cow to neo-colonialism and Zionist banking fraud has kept Mecca plc from being literally closed down. Saudi is the main sponsor of terrorism in the Muslim world. This means that most Muslims have now personally witnessed violence , which in turn assists the US in promoting its own Zionist-run Islam brand, the Muslim Brotherhood or similar organisations.

    For Saudi to defend Islam would lead inevitably to it experiencing the scenes of wretchedness we see in other Muslim countries. That is the regime. The scholars of Islam are tightly controlled from expressing their own opinions. Saudi can convince some Muslims who are sheltering in the West that they are sponsoring Islamic jihad, to overthrow murderous dictators. They are in fact assisting in the US/Zionist agenda to change Islam to their own ‘safety match’ brand in order to stave off the day when they are targeted themselves.

    But those who have experienced the violence of Saudi-backed terrorism are well aware of Saudi’s game to save their own skins. Of course there are highly idealistic Muslims who genuinely believe that there is a deal with the West to remove the dictators in exchange for some form of Islamic government, at the cost of losing their country’s economic resources. They believe, as we do in the West, that the West is a kinder master than Russian former communism. Nobody can question their sincerity or their restraint. They know they are being used by the US to exchange one form of dictatorship for another form.

    What is increasingly obvious is that mass death, by Saudi terrorism, by bombs US and Russia provide to dictators like Gaddafi and Assad, is the enforcement tool to persuade the Muslims to submit to the US/Zionist brand of Islam. Saudi’s participation in the Western game will result very soon in its leadership being removed by popular revolution.

    Saudi is the Jimmy Savile of Islam, protected by the rich and powerful, active in supplying criminal violence for the same, but like Savile, when the lid is blown off the scandal, we will see that they were the ringleaders of the USUKIS war on terror, of which Usama bin Laden was the official figurehead as Fred describes.

  • Mary

    As we thought. Here we go, again.

    28 February 2013 Last updated at 08:24

    Syria conflict: John Kerry set to up US aid to rebels
    The escalating carnage in Syria has increased pressure for western intervention

    New US Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting Syrian opposition leaders in Rome, as the US prepares to increase its support for rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

    He is attending a gathering of the Friends of Syria group of nations that support the Syrian opposition.


    Note it is a ‘conflict’, the same word the BBC use to describe the situation in Occupied Palestine. There will of course soon be a major escalation in Syria. I caught a little of Bliar Part 2 last night. He is looking somewhat ragged but became quite animated when asked about Syria, comparing Assad to Saddam and calling for ‘military intervention’. Similarly Iran. Note later on in this monologue he states that 9/11 was the trigger for his actions. Very telling.

    Obomber yesterday unveiling Rosa Parks’ statue, quoting her as ‘mighty in courage’. The same will not be said of him, nor of Blair.

    Mr Boehner had to wipe away his tears as he was overcome by the emotion of it all.

  • Mary

    A chronic bunch on QT tonight with the exception of Ken Loach the film maker. It is coming from Eastleigh.

    On the panel there is Jeremy Browne with an ‘e’, LD Taunton, once Foreign Office and now Home Office Minister with quite a remit.

    Crime prevention and anti-social behaviour reduction. Crime reduction policy, drugs and alcohol policy, use of DNA and reform of DNA database, Licensing Act and powers of police and local authorities, public order, use of powers of surveillance by local authorities, violent crime, CCTV, acquisitive and business crime, oversight of the Forensic Science Service.

    He registers a donation from Neil Sherlock SW Surrey resident, amount not disclosed. The same Neil Sherlock who was behind Cleggover’s ascension.

    Mrs Sherlock became Lady Parminter of Godalming.

    Then there’s Claire Perry, a rather bossy Tory MP for Devizes, once Cameron’s ‘childhood guru’ and now Hammond’s PPS.

    Angela Eagle, Labour Wallasey and Shadow Treasury, and Neil Hamilton! late of the Al Fayed brown envelopes infamy, make up the fivesome.

  • nevermind

    Excellent article. So Bradley Manning is going to be muzzled whilst the Navy Seal can swear on his non existing dead Auntie that what happened did happen, sounds like a kangaroo court alright.

    With UBL having received black ops training by the CIA when he was still our bagman against the Russian invaders, he must have know about the connections between the ISI and the CIA for some time, since both set up the Madrasas and trained the Taliban. He could have seriously spilled the beans and knew who was two faced in the US. He also knew of the Talibans negotiation with Bush’s oil managers in Houston.

    After working for a Pakistani candidate who had her husbands relative, a member of the Pakistan national Assembly come over and help with the election, listening to their deliberations, I have come to the conclusion that nobody controls the ISI, especially not Musharraf who had many enemies within. It is spread throughout the military and has influence in India Afghanistan, Iran and many other countries in the far and middle east, more akin to a chimera.

  • Scouse Billy

    “Former assistant director of FBI’s counter-terrorism division Dale Watson; former Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf; current Pakistani President Asif Zardari; Afghan President Hamid Karzai; late Benazir Bhutto; Israeli intelligence sources; Pakistani and Afghan sources, including Taliban leaders – all have reported Osama bin Laden to be “probably dead” since December 2001.”

  • Herbie

    Here’s a recent episode of the Oz version of Question Time. Worth a watch for comparison’s sake, if nothing else. I think it’s certainly much better than QT. It’s always interesting anyway to see how issues are handled in other countries. The elites have to modify their propaganda by culture and location and often you’ll see cracks in the overall narrative.

    Assange and Israel are amongst the issues raised.

  • guano

    Bhutto have been fed incorrect information about OBL from her time in the company of Oxford spooks before returning to Pakistan. When OBL is supposed to have died one recruiter of gullible Muslims for UK intelligence started to ‘ somewhat loudly sweep the string ‘ ( Lycidas John Milton ) about both him and the loyalty of Pakistanis to him.

    I draw the conclusion therefore that he definitely did not die at the time they said he did. That was another part of the elaborate con-trick of the war on terror. Whether he died earlier or is still alive I do not know, but his death was positively not as described which was thought up by Hollywood, enacted by Bollywood and cried over by LOLywood, London recruiters for false-flag bombing.

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