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Bradley Manning and the Fog of War

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Posted on Dec 20, 2011
thierry ehrmann (CC-BY)

By Amy Goodman

Accused whistle-blower Pvt. Bradley Manning turned 24 Saturday. He spent his birthday in a pretrial military hearing that could ultimately lead to a sentence of life … or death. Manning stands accused of causing the largest leak of government secrets in United States history.

More on Manning shortly. First, a reminder of what he is accused of leaking. In April 2010, the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released a video called “Collateral Murder.” It was a classified U.S. military video from July 2007, from an Apache attack helicopter over Baghdad. The video shows a group of men walking, then the systematic killing of them in a barrage of high-powered automatic fire from the helicopter. Soldiers’ radio transmissions narrate the carnage, varying from cold and methodical to cruel and enthusiastic. Two of those killed were employees of the international news agency Reuters: Namir Noor-Eldeen, a photojournalist, and Saeed Chmagh, his driver.

Renowned whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers that helped end the war in Vietnam and who himself is a Marine veteran who trained soldiers on the laws of war, told me: “Helicopter gunners hunting down and shooting an unarmed man in civilian clothes, clearly wounded … that shooting was murder. It was a war crime. Not all killing in war is murder, but a lot of it is. And this was.”

The WikiLeaks release of the Afghan War Logs followed months later, with tens of thousands of military field reports. Then came the Iraq War Diaries, with close to 400,000 military records of the U.S. war in Iraq. Next was Cablegate, WikiLeaks’ rolling release (with prominent print-media partners, including The New York Times and The Guardian in Britain) of classified U.S. State Department cables, more than a quarter-million of them, dating from as far back as 1966 up to early 2010. The contents of these cables proved highly embarrassing to the U.S. government and sent shock waves around the world.

Among the diplomatic cables released were those detailing U.S. support for the corrupt Tunisian regime, which helped fuel the uprising there. Noting that Time magazine named “The Protester,” generically, as Person of the Year, Ellsberg said Manning should be the face of that protester, since the leaks for which he is accused, following their impact in Tunisia, “in turn sparked the uprising in Egypt … which stimulated Occupy Wall Street and the other occupations in the Middle East and elsewhere. So, one of those ‘persons of the year’ is now sitting in a courthouse.”

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Another recently revealed Cablegate release exposed details of an alleged 2006 massacre by U.S. troops in the Iraqi town of Ishaqi, north of Baghdad. Eleven people were killed, and the cable described eyewitness accounts in which the group, including five children and four women, was handcuffed, then executed with bullets to the head. The U.S. military then bombed the house, allegedly to cover up the incident. Citing attacks like these, the Iraqi government said it would no longer grant immunity to U.S. soldiers in Iraq. President Barack Obama responded by announcing he would pull the troops out of Iraq. Like a modern-day Ellsberg, if Manning is guilty of what the Pentagon claims, he helped end the war in Iraq.

Back in the Fort Meade, Md., hearing room, defense attorneys painted a picture of a chaotic forward operating base with little to no supervision, no controls whatsoever on soldiers’ access to classified data, and a young man in uniform struggling with his sexual identity in the era of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Manning repeatedly flew into rages, throwing furniture and once even punching a superior in the face, without punishment. His peers at the base said he should not be in a war zone. Yet he stayed, until his arrest 18 months ago.

Since his arrest, Manning has been in solitary confinement, for much of the time in Quantico, Va., under conditions so harsh that the U.N. special rapporteur on torture is investigating. Many believe the U.S. government is trying to break Manning in order to use him in its expected case of espionage against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. It also sends a dramatic message to any potential whistle-blower: “We will destroy you.”

For now, Manning sits attentively, reports say, facing possible death for “aiding the enemy.” The prosecution offered words Manning allegedly wrote to Assange as evidence of his guilt. In the email, Manning described the leak as “one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetrical warfare.” History will no doubt use the same words as irrefutable proof of Manning’s courage.


Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 900 stations in North America. She is the author of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.

© 2011 Amy Goodman

Distributed by King Features Syndicate


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IMax's avatar

By IMax, December 21, 2011 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

iviewit,

Please stop SHOUTING.

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By iviewit, December 21, 2011 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

imax, please move from the US.  The US hero Manning exposed War Crimes, of course they do not want soldiers disobeying ILLEGAL WAR CRIME ORDERS and then EXPOSING THOSE CRIMES.  Why did the Abu Gra Hell exposers get punishment.  What Manning did was what every good soldier does, expose War Criminals.  Since these “Wars” have never been officially declared wars they are all ILLEGAL ACTIONS and WAR CRIMES and TORTURE CRIMES and will be tried as such in time.  As for Manning not getting support from US, I would estimate that he is not supported by 1% of the FASCIST, SELLOUT, UNAMERICAN, UNPATRIOTIC, NAZI FRY LOVIN, ELITIST PIGS AMERICANS who have ruined our nation with their ILLEGAL WAR AND ECONOMIC CRIMES. 
TRY THEM and FRY THEM, then RICO and RECOVER the STOLEN 14-46 TRILLION of LOOT from their crimes.  At the end of trials for TReASON and WAR CRIMES is a rope,, AS ALWAYS, NOOSES FREE @ http://www.iviewit.tv
Eliot I. Bernstein
Inventor
Iviewit Holdings, Inc. – DL
Eliot for President in 2012 Campaign Speech 1 with No Top Teeth, Don’t Laugh, Very Important
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuIHQDcwQfM
Eliot for President in 2012 Campaign Speech 2 with No Top OR Bottom Teeth, Don’t Laugh, Very Important
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbOP3U1q6mM

Thought that was crazy, try http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mfWAwzpNlE&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL2ADE052D9122F5AD

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, December 21, 2011 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Bradley Manning email to Julian Assange:

“...removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetrical warfare.”
_______________________________________

The American military is engaged in serial wars of aggression; wars of choice waged primarily for private profit at public expense, and for corporate control over the rich resources of “others” that corporations and corporate (R) & (D) party voters consider collaterally expendable; with the massive death and destruction delivered to any “others” living over or in the path of rich resources being treated as a cost of doing business that those untermenschen “others’ should pay.

The corporate party’s Republican and Democrat voters have provided popular vote mandates for these wars of aggression, because America’s un-conscripted mercenary military deploys incredibly sophisticated hi-tech weaponry against civilian populations that are either defenseless or dependent upon improvised defenses.

America casually wages wars for profit against civilian populations reduced to distant dehumanized dots upon fuzzy screens.

The American people should be on trial, not Bradley Manning.

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, December 21, 2011 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

Edward Ellis,

I honestly don’t know enough about Manning to determine if he is need of a mental hospital. Being misguided is not an indicator of one’s ‘sanity’. Neither is sexual frustration. - He was found fit to face court martial in April of this year.

I do know that only the most ardent critics of all things U.S. believe this young man to be a hero.  Manning will receive very little sympathy from the American public. - It’s worth nothing that had Manning resided in most of the world’s nations he would have been put to death by now. A punishment I do not advocate.

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Edward Ellis's avatar

By Edward Ellis, December 21, 2011 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

@ IMax & heterochromatic: You speak the
truth. Although, I’d like to see PFC
Manning get some psychiatric help rather
than Leavenworth. Also there’s something
about Assange I find creepy, as in
“Internet Helter Skelter”.

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thecrow's avatar

By thecrow, December 21, 2011 at 5:29 am Link to this comment

“The 22 new charges allege that he downloaded unauthorized software onto government computers, used it to get classified information, improperly stored it, and sent it on for use by the enemy. “The new charges more accurately reflect the broad scope of the crimes that PFC Manning is accused of committing,” said Capt. John Haberland, a legal spokesman for U.S. Army Military District of Washington.

In a second posting, Coombs noted the breadth of the military’s definition of “enemy”: “`Enemy’ includes (not only) organized opposing forces in time of war, (but also any other hostile body that our forces may be opposing) (such as a rebellious mob or a band of renegades) (and includes civilians as well as members of military organizations). (‘Enemy’ is not restricted to the enemy government or its armed forces. All the citizens of one belligerent are enemies of the government and the citizens of the other.)’”

http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/enemies-list/

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By iviewit, December 21, 2011 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE IN NAZI AMERICA? TRY THEM AND KILL ALL GUILTY ONES FOR TREASON AND THEIR TREACHOROUS TRAITORISM AGAINST THE PEOPLE, COME ON FOLKS THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE LAW FOR, DO NOT THINK THEY WILL TURN THEMSELVES IN OR TRY THEMSELVES OR STOP DOING CRIMES AGAINST YOU, YOU MUST TAKE IT BACK and first REMOVE HOLDOFF and the REST of THREE BRANCHES, THEY SUCK ANYWAY, with 11% approval as of yesterday. The US Gov has been couped top down, do you see it yet and their world power grab, it will not stop until you THE PEOPLE stop it? Oh yeah, the 46 Trillion stolen through Economic Crimes will put US back in black, bring back all the US Jobs from foreign lands, fill our schools and build roads, etc. without PEOPLE ARE STARVING TO DEATH RIGHT HERE IN US.Eliot asks you to sign this and then pass it on and on.

http://www.change.org/?petitions/?secretary-of-defense-grant-?un-rapporteur-on-torture-j?uan-mendez-access-to-bradl?ey-manning?utm_medium=emai?l&alert_id=mbkiRxqaCV_WJIn?KFWWIG&utm_source=action_a?lertHE PRAVDA PRESS, THEY ALL SUCK ANYWAY, with 11% approval as of yesterday and bk’ing world markets, fortune 500’s, if so smart how have they failed and why are they all not fired . The US Gov has been couped top down, do you see it yet and their world power grab, it will not stop until you THE PEOPLE stop it? Oh yeah, the 46 Trillion stolen through Economic Crimes will put US back in black, bring back all the US Jobs from foreign lands, fill our schools and build roads, etc. without PEOPLE ARE STARVING TO DEATH RIGHT HERE IN US.Eliot asks you to sign this and then pass it on and on.

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By iviewit, December 21, 2011 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

PROTEST MANNING TORTURE - A HERO!!! OCCUPY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE SUPREME COURT, CONGRESS and DEMAND ARREST OF THE WAR CRIMES he EXPOSED. FIRST ARREST THOSE IN CHARGE of JUSTICE NOW, FOR AIDING AND ABETTING THIS TREASON. FORCE ARREST OF BUSH BLAIR RUMMY CONDI OBAMA HOLDER, ETC who have been accused of WAR CRIMINES, TORTURE CRIMES and ARREST ALL THOSE GUILTY OF ECONOMIC CRIMES (no cash SETTLEMENTS but CRIMINAL and COMPLETE RICO RECOVERY). ARREST those running the JUSTICE agencies who FAIL TO ARREST THOSE EVEN SUSPECTED of WAR/TORTURE CRIMES ( here we have MASS EVIDENCE ) , for they are aiding and abetting by failing prosecutions, in fact arrest them for how they are treating a SOLDIER and a HERO that EXPOSED THEIR WAR CRIMES. YOU CAN SEE THE FOX IS IN THE HENHOUS as there are NO PROSECUTIONS OR ANY RECOVERY OF STOLEN LOOT (est 46 TRILLION) FROM WORLD MARKET RIGGIN AND ECONOMIC TERRORISM (a form of War Crime and EUGENICS). TRIALS FOR TREASON AND TORTURE AND WAR CRIMES AND ECONOMIC CRIMES MUST BE HAD AND THE CITIZENS MUST DEMAND JUSTICE and UNTIL THAT JUSTICE IS HAD OCCUPY JUSTICE UNTIL YOU TAKE IT BACK. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE IN NAZI AMERICA? TRY THEM AND KILL ALL GUILTY ONES FOR TREASON (after FAIR TRIALS, unlike their INDEFINITE DETETIONS, TORTURED TESTIMONIES AND CONFRESSIONS, NO TRIALS, NO CHARGES, HELD INDIFINTLY, NO LAWYERS, DETAINED IN CONCENTRATION CAMPS GITMOSCHWITZ AND ABU GRA HELL, where there were even ACTIVE OVENS, BLACKSITES, ETC). ARREST THEM BY CTIZEN OCCUPATION/ARREST FOR THEIR TREACHOROUS TRAITORISM AGAINST THE PEOPLE. COME ON FOLKS THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE LAW FOR, DO NOT THINK THEY WILL TURN THEMSELVES IN OR TRY THEMSELVES OR STOP DOING CRIMES AGAINST YOU OR MANNING, YOU MUST TAKE JUSTICE BACK AS THE CONSTITUTION DEMANDS YOU and by all of the above you can see our GOV has shredded the CONSTITUTION and THUS ACTS ILLEGALLY IN VIOLATION. First REMOVE HOLDOFF HOLDER and the REST of THREE BRANCHES, THE COURTS, TPROTEST MANNING TORTURE - A HERO!!! OCCUPY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE SUPREME COURT, CONGRESS and DEMAND ARREST OF THE WAR CRIMES he EXPOSED. FIRST ARREST THOSE IN CHARGE of JUSTICE NOW, FOR AIDING AND ABETTING THIS TREASON. FORCE ARREST OF BUSH BLAIR RUMMY CONDI OBAMA HOLDER, ETC who have been accused of WAR CRIMINES, TORTURE CRIMES and ARREST ALL THOSE GUILTY OF ECONOMIC CRIMES (no cash SETTLEMENTS but CRIMINAL and COMPLETE RICO RECOVERY). ARREST those running the JUSTICE agencies who FAIL TO ARREST THOSE EVEN SUSPECTED of WAR/TORTURE CRIMES ( here we have MASS EVIDENCE ) , for they are aiding and abetting by failing prosecutions, in fact arrest them for how they are treating a SOLDIER and a HERO that EXPOSED THEIR WAR CRIMES. YOU CAN SEE THE FOX IS IN THE HENHOUS as there are NO PROSECUTIONS OR ANY RECOVERY OF STOLEN LOOT (est 46 TRILLION) FROM WORLD MARKET RIGGIN AND ECONOMIC TERRORISM (a form of War Crime and EUGENICS). TRIALS FOR TREASON AND TORTURE AND WAR CRIMES AND ECONOMIC CRIMES MUST BE HAD AND THE CITIZENS MUST DEMAND JUSTICE and UNTIL THAT JUSTICE IS HAD OCCUPY JUSTICE UNTIL YOU TAKE IT BACK.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, December 21, 2011 at 5:07 am Link to this comment

A private in the armed forces does not, and should not, posses the right to decide which state secrets may be released to other states.

A solid argument can be made that the U.S. Government classifies far too much information, however, that is not the issue. Manning is charged with countermanding protocols designed to prevent corruption, sabotage and espionage. - One of the charges leveled against Manning is that he knowingly exceeded his authorized access to a secret network IP router. Such actions, for whatever reason, is obviously against the law.

-

Ms. Goodman writes: “Afghan War Logs followed months later, with tens of thousands of military field reports. Then came the Iraq War Diaries, with close to 400,000 military records of the U.S. war in Iraq.”

It seems Ms. Goodman desired to quickly get past this charge. Not wanting to ruminate too much on the crime committed. - Manning is accused of releasing pertinent and sensitive military field information while soldiers were fighting in the field. Typically this type of crime is considered “aid to the enemy”.

-

According to trial reports Manning’s defense attorneys are attempting to portray him as an emotionally troubled young man whose behavioral problems should have prompted his superiors to revoke his access to classified information.

This defense does not bode well for Manning.

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By ardee, December 21, 2011 at 4:01 am Link to this comment

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/12/bradley-manning-wikileaks-hearing-nears-end/

The charges against Manning call for the death penalty, but government prosecutors have repeatedly said that they will seek life in prison instead.

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By heterochromatic, December 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm Link to this comment

amy, you sweet person…..your sympathy for manning
reflects well on you.
but the bullshit about a death sentence does not.

the little guy certainly did do the thing they’ve
charged him with, and he is going to either a jail
cell or a locked psych unit….and quite rightfully
so.

but they’re not going to ask for any death penalty
and they’re not going to impose one.  I assume that
you’ve done the minimal background research to know
that the military executes murderers and not much
else.

manning is not evn going to draw much a sentence if
he accepts the offer to plead out and co-operate.

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By gerard, December 20, 2011 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

A balanced democratic government, neither defensive nor aggressive, instead of tryng to punish those who exposed mistakes and shoddy diplomatic deals, would use such “leakage” as an opportunity for self-examination, in order to correct the revealed errors in policy and procedures. Less “face”
would be lost by accepting the criticisms and taking steps to rectify them.
  Though governments and other organized powers traditionally have difficulty admitting their errors, and instead habitually punish those who bring errors to light, yet charging whistle-blowers with “sedition” and “betrayal” seems to many people as over-reaction which causes a wider spread of more negative publicity in an attempt to cover up or justify mistakes in policies and procedures. A government in better balance and more self-assured would probably not bring persecutory procedures into play and treat whistle-blowers as criminals.

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