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A Bright Ray of Hope for Bradley Manning


Many people have worried about the fate of Bradley Manning, a lone soldier who informed the world of war crimes being committed by the War Machine that has devoured the American republic and turned its ravaging, profit-reaping fury on the world. As we all know, Manning is now in the iron grip of that Machine, facing the prospect of life in prison for his truth-telling, having already endured a long incarceration marked by episodes of relentless psychological torture. Many people quite reasonably dread what awaits Manning when the Military Court hands down its inevitable verdict against him.

But wait — perhaps all is not lost after all. In the long dark night of our military imperium, a shaft of light, of hope, has suddenly appeared. And it comes from — of all places — the very pinnacle of the military justice system that is bearing down on Manning: the Court of Appeal of the Armed Forces of the United States.

For it turns out that if a military prisoner has faced the least mistreatment during incarceration, even a temporary abuse of due process, then all charges against him will be dropped and he can walk free. And since Manning has manifestly faced any number of abuses of due process and egregious mistreatment, then we can be supremely confident that the military Court of Appeal — which enshrined this Solomonic principle in a recent case — will act with perfect consistency and release Bradley Manning in good time, whatever the eventual outcome of his current trial.

After all, that’s what the Court has done for poor Lawrence Hutchins III, the good Marine who has been persecuted for years merely for carrying out his duty during America’s “extraordinary achievement” — as Barack Obama so aptly termed it — in ousting the dictator Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. (It seems there were some other reasons adduced for the invasion back in the day — something sort of dubious? even spurious? — but thankfully, these have long been forgotten as America has put aside the petty squabbles of the past and returned once more to implacable sense of righteousness that wraps the nation’s every action in a golden, godly glow.)

All Sgt. Hutchins did was lead his team on a night raid against a private home in the Iraqi town of Hamdania. All he and his team did was break into the house, grab an innocent retired policeman named Hashim Ibrahim Awad, drag him down the road to the site of a IED attack, tie him up, shoot him dead in cold blood, then dump his body in the IED hole, remove the plastic restraints, and leave a stolen AK-47 rifle next to the corpse to pretend Awad was a terrorist who had been killed in a firefight. That’s all Hutchins did. Oh yes, that, and have his men shoot Awad repeatedly in the face, in the hope of obliterating his identity. But family members recognized the body and demanded justice from their American military occupiers.

Then came the real crime, the misdeed that would later lead the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces of the United States to carry out its humanitarian intervention and set Hutchins free. As AP reports, Hutchins was arrested by the military brass and held “in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer for seven days during his 2006 interrogation in Iraq.” Thus Hutchins — who was facing a term of 11 whole years for kidnapping an innocent man, shooting him in the face then covering up the crime — was released from custody last month by the Court of Appeals, which cited the six-day spell in solitary as the basis for overturning his conviction.

Who knew that the American military justice system was so fiercely adherent to due process that it would even let a killer go free on a “technicality,” like a bunch of wimpy ACLU lawyers? Who knew they would act with such exemplary exactitude in applying letter of the law down to the last jot and tittle? Yet this is the principle they have firmly established with their ruling on Hutchins: the failure to safeguard a military prisoner’s full panoply of legal rights in every respect must result in the overturning of any subsequent verdict against that prisoner, and his release from captivity.

I think we can all rest easier knowing that this principle will now be guiding the decisions of the U.S. military justice system from now on. For surely it will be applied universally, not only to Bradley Manning but also to, say, the captives in Guantanamo Bay, who are subject to the same military justice system. Surely, it cannot be that this strict adherence to the legal niceties will only be applied in cases where an American soldier has brutally murdered some worthless towelhead in some piece-of-sh*t foreign hellhole we had to invade for some reason or another a long time ago, so who cares anyway.

No, surely, that cannot be. For as our recent history clearly shows, the operators of our War Machine always adhere strictly and consistently to the highest and most noble principles, applying them to all equally, the great and the low, without fear or favor, or the slightest hypocrisy.

So Bradley Manning has nothing to worry about!

Right?

via OpEdNews – Article: Soft Machine: A Bright Ray of Hope for Bradley Manning.

Outrage over judge allowing Govt to reopen case for baseless slander Bradley Manning Support Network


Specialist Jihrleah Showman, drawn by Debra Van Poolen.

In an extremely rare, last-minute move weeks after the government rested its case, military judge Col. Denise Lind allowed prosecutors to expand their rebuttal case, making way for unsupported accusations against PFC Bradley Manning. The late addition far exceeded the usual limits of a simple rebuttal, once again raising supporters’ and journalists’ suspicions about the validity and fairness of the proceedings.

In a cynical move, the government prosecution recalled former Specialist Jihrleah Showman, a supervisor against whom Manning had filed an Equal Opportunity complaint. Following Manning’s complaint, Showman was admonished for her use of homophobic language in conversation and workplace signage. In the years since, she has vied for media appearances, augmented by her own vitriolic Tweets, attacking Manning as well as his supporters. Now, at the eleventh hour, she claims to recall a conversation with the 25-year-old army private in which he allegedly shared anti-American opinions.

According to the defense, Ms. Showman is lending an intentional and inaccurate spin to comments Manning made regarding his refusal to follow any authority blindly as an “automaton” (in Manning’s own words) so that they conform to the prosecution’s characterization of someone disloyal to the United States.

No other witness from the prosecution or defense ever testified that Manning harbored any anti-American sentiments, including Ms. Showman herself during previous trips to the stand in this case. In fact, several witnesses offered just the opposite. Lauren McNamara, with whom Manning chatted socially online, testified that Manning told her that he was “concerned about making sure that everyone, soldiers, marines, contractors, even the local nationals, get home to their families.”

Amnesty International responded to the judge’s failure to dismiss the Aiding the Enemy charge “a travesty of justice,” following up an earlier release calling for the court to dismiss this charge levied with “no basis.” Amnesty’s Senior Director for International Law and Policy called the government’s case around this charge “ludicrous”, noting “The prosecutors in this case, who have a duty to act in the interest of justice, have pushed a theory that making information available on the internet–whether through Wikileaks, in a personal blog posting, or on the website of The New York Times–can amount to ‘aiding the enemy.’”

PFC Manning’s alleged comments came during a routine one-on-one professional conference, the sort that superiors are instructed to document. Although Showman provided written documentation for other similar discussions in this same time frame—apprising Manning of the unit smoking policy, suggesting that he reduce caffeine consumption, and the possibility of her recommending him for “Soldier of the Month”—she failed to assign the same importance to these “newly remembered” comments until after Manning had been arrested on suspicion of sharing classified information with WikiLeaks.

Showman asserted that she had verbally informed her own superior, then Master Sergeant Paul Adkins, of these alleged comments. Adkins, however, did not corroborate her version of events when he testified later in the afternoon. After numerous sworn statements declaring that he could not recall Showman reporting such incidents, Adkins did eventually sign one written by his lawyer in June 2011. This later statement came as part of Adkins’ appeal to the Army having reduced his rank after Manning was arrested, claiming that he had reported such an incident up the chain of command. In all previous declarations, which Adkins himself wrote and signed, there is no mention of disloyal or anti-American statements.

Other superiors in Manning’s chain, such as Chief Warrant Officer Kyle Balonek, testified he had never heard about this allegation, and that he would expect any incident of this sort to have been documented in writing. In fact, this controversial testimony comes only after a defense motion articulated the prosecution’s lack of evidence to support its “Aiding the enemy” charge against Manning, and after several witnesses testified that Manning never displayed any anti-American sentiments.

Given that Showman’s latest testimony contradicts that of every other witness in this trial, including her own earlier statements, it remains to be seen how much weight military judge Colonel Denise Lind will place in this unconventional addition to the court record.

Supporters of PFC Manning, however, are taking action around the world on July 27 to state the actual facts presented in this case: PFC Bradley Manning is a whistle-blower who intended, and accomplished, serving the public good. In Washington DC, supporters will converge at Fort McNair on July 26 to appeal directly to the Convening Authority of this trial, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, to free Bradley Manning. A full page in The New York Times next week will declare, “We are Bradley Manning — We will not relent until this American hero is free.”

via » Outrage over judge allowing Govt to reopen case for baseless slander Bradley Manning Support Network.

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