t is official. During a Thursday morning Senate hearing, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Obama administration is deliberating whether or not it should utilize the US military in Syria. This means that President Barack Obama is considering using military force in Syria, and the Pentagon has prepared various scenarios for possible United States intervention.
Gen. Dempsey said the administration was considering using “kinetic strikes ” in Syria and said “the issue is under deliberation inside of our agencies of government ,” the Associated Press reported from Washington.
According to RT TV, a Russian news service:
Dempsey, 61, is the highest ranking officer in the US military and has been nominated by President Obama to serve a second term in that role. The Senate Armed Services Committee questioned him Thursday morning as part of the nominating process when Dempsey briefly discussed the situation in Syria.
Last month, the Obama administration concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons during the ongoing battles. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said, “The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete.”
President Obama said previously that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and likely trigger American intervention. When the White House concluded Assad had relied on chemical warfare, Rhodes said, “both the political and the military opposition … is and will be receiving US assistance.”
This brings us to the question “Is this a setup where the reason given to start yet another war aimed at overthrowing yet another government of a foreign country that has been long planned in advance by the US?” Given our history, this is likely.
First of all, the evidence of chemical weapons use is itself sketchy. So far we only have a CIA report , which was described by an American official who declined to be identified, which states that the United States has acquired blood, urine and hair samples from two Syrian rebels–one dead and one wounded–who were in a firefight with Syrian government forces in mid-March northeast of Damascus. The samples showed that the rebels were exposed to sarin.
Secondly, although US intelligence reports are tentative, our media has been portraying them as definitive. The press is raring to go on this, just like they were on Feb. 5, 2003 when Colin Powell spoke before the United Nations, claiming there was absolute proof that Saddam Hussein’s regime was armed to the teeth with Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Syria’s WMDs came from Iraq
How did the Assad regime come by these chemical weapons? It was reported in the New York Sun on January 26, 2006 that Israel’s top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam “transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria. The Iraqi Revolutionary Guard moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria in advance of the U.S.-led action to eliminate Hussein’s WMD threat.”
Two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, and special Republican Guard units loaded the planes with chemical weapons materials. There were, all told, 56 flights disguised as a relief effort after a June 4, 2002 collapse of the Zeyzoun Dam wiped out a village just below the impoundment, killing 20 people and washing away houses, cattle, hospitals, schools, water pumps and vehicles in five villages, stopping only when the water hit and joined the Orontes River more than 8 miles away.
There were also truck convoys into Syria. Both Israeli and U.S. intelligence observed large truck convoys leaving Iraq and entering Syria in the weeks and months before Operation Iraqi Freedom, John Shaw, former deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, told a private conference of former weapons inspectors and intelligence experts held in Arlington, Va., in 2006.
It was reported in the Fall 2005 Middle East Quarte rly that Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, stated: “Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria.”
The U.S.A. provided Iraq with chem and bio capability
And here we come full circle. This report is from Common Dreams (Sept. 8, 2002):
The US and Britain sold Saddam Hussein the technology and materials Iraq needed to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. Reports by the US Senate’s committee on banking, housing and urban affairs — which oversees American exports policy — reveal that the US, under the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr, sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other bacteria sold included brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene.
UN inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the United States to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and established that these items were used to further Iraq’s chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programs.
It is clear that the US government knows about everything that goes on everywhere, all of the time. It has mastered this technique since before President Truman established the CIA following World War 2. Furthermore, it is undeniable that we have planned a complete takeover of the Middle East and its petroleum reserves since then.
Going to war with Syria will complete our encirclement of Iran, the last bastion of Middle Eastern oil reserves that America covets.
That pesky “al Qaeda”
Once again, our excuse for an exercise in American use of real weapons of mass destruction will be laid at the feet of the terrorist boogeymen that we ourselves create. This is from USA Today of June 14:
A Syrian rebel group’s April pledge of allegiance to al-Qaeda’s replacement for Osama bin Laden suggests that the terrorist group’s influence is not waning and that it may take a greater role in the Western-backed fight to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The pledge of allegiance by Syrian Jabhat al Nusra Front chief Abou Mohamad al-Joulani to al-Qaeda leader Sheik Ayman al-Zawahri was coupled with an announcement by the al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq, that it would work with al Nusra as well.
The shadowy al Qaeda terrorist group that we attribute all of our woes to is a creature we devised to fight the Russians in Afghanistan back in the nether regions of public memory, when Osama bin Laden was our friend and hero. Why would we use them for our own ends to overthrow the Syrian government? For the same reason that we turned a blind eye when Israel attacked Lebanon a week ago, bombing southern Beiruit in the hopes of destroying the offices of Hezbollah.
It’s one more brick in the wall we’re building around Iran and its 150 billion barrels of oil, which make it second only to Saudi Arabia.
— 30 —
James R. Bailey is a 30 year veteran reporter, political activist, environmentalist, and homesteader in northern Wisconsin’s Chequamegon National Forest in the Town of Grand View. He was recently on the campaign staff of Wisconsin Secretary of State (more…)
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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!
Using lethal force to strike high-value targets inside Syria would require hundreds of U.S. aircraft, ships and submarines, while establishing a no-fly zone would cost as much as a billion dollars per month over the course of a year, according to a new analysis of military options there by the nation’s top military officer. Another option, in which the U.S. attempts to control Syria’s chemical weapons stock, would first require thousands of special operations forces and other ground forces, wrote Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Marty Dempsey. Oh, and well over a billion dollars per month.
Under pressure to publicly provide his views on military intervention in Syria, Dempsey told Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin what most people already knew: there are few good options. But for the first time, Dempsey provided an analysis of each option and its cost, providing new fodder for thinking about a conflict that has waged for more than two years, killed nearly 100,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more.
Dempsey outlined five options, including training, advising and assisting the opposition; conducting limited stand-off strikes; establishing a no-fly zone; creating a buffer zone to protect certain areas inside Syria; and finally, controlling Syria’s chemical weapons. Any of those options would likely “further the narrow military objective of helping the opposition and placing more pressure on the regime,” Dempsey wrote. But any or all of them could slip the U.S. into another new war. “We have learned from the past 10 years, however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state,” Dempsey wrote Levin in the memo, a copy of which was released publicly late Monday. “We must anticipate and be prepared for the unintended consequences of our action.”
As requested after a heated exchange in the Senate on Thursday over U.S. policy in Syria, Dempsey dutifully gave the pros and cons for each option. But in what amounts to the most candid analysis of the Pentagon‘s thinking on Syria to date, Dempsey couched each as highly risky. Establishing a no-fly zone, for example, comes with inherent risk: “Risks include the loss of U.S. aircraft, which would require us to insert personnel recovery forces,” Dempsey wrote. “It may also fail to reduce the violence or shift the momentum because the regime relies overwhelmingly on surface fires – mortars, artillery and missiles.” Conducting limited strikes on high-value targets inside Syria could have a “significant degradation of regime capabilities” and would increase the likelihood of individuals deserting the regime. On the other hand, he wrote, “there is a risk that the regime could withstand limited strikes by dispersing its assets.” Retaliatory attacks and collateral damage from the U.S. strikes could create large and sometimes unforeseen problems, despite the best planning.
All of this would come, Dempsey argued, at a time of enormous budget uncertainty for the Pentagon that has forced furloughs of civilian workers, cuts to programs and allowed readiness rates to drop to low levels, Pentagon officials say. “This is especially critical as we lose readiness due to budget cuts and fiscal uncertainty,” Dempsey wrote. “Some options may not be feasible in time or cost without compromising our security elsewhere.”
Dempsey still hedged the issue of his own view in an unclassified forum, never quite providing what he would recommend to his boss, President Barack Obama. But he also conceded that intervention in some form could make a difference. “As we weigh our options, we should be able to conclude with some confidence that the use of force will move us toward the intended outcome.”
It still amounts to the start of a new conflict after more than a decade getting out of two other ones. “I know that the decision to use force is not one that any of us takes lightly, it is no less an act of war,” Dempsey wrote.
It was unclear if Dempsey’s letter, intended to appease Sen. John McCain and Sen. Levin, would prompt them to move forward on his reappointment to another two years as Chairman. A few days before the hearing, a senior officer from the Pentagon had provided a classified briefing for senior Hill members and officials, according to a senior Hill staffer. But the takeaway may have been what got McCain so fired up: Pentagon officials told Hill staffers there is no clear military direction on Syria because there is no clear policy guidance from the White House.
Now Dempsey’s reappointment as Chairman hangs in the balance as Levin and McCain seek additional information from Dempsey on Syria — knowing full well that the nation’s senior military officer is getting directions from the White House on Syria that are ambiguous at best.
The issue stems in part from how Dempsey handled himself last week when McCain demanded he provide his personal views on military intervention in Syria. Dempsey essentially refused to answer to McCain’s satisfaction, raising the question squarely: what should military officers say when they’re asked their personal opinion in public?
When senior officers shuffle up to Capitol Hill for confirmation or oversight hearings, they all must affirm their answer to one of a handful of boilerplate questions, but this one is often central to the veracity of their testimony: “Do you agree, when asked, to give your personal views, even if those views differ from the administration in power?”
It’s all very pro forma. As all officers appearing for testimony do, Dempsey answered the question in the affirmative. But he seemed to trip up on it later during the hearing.
Dempsey could have known it was coming. McCain, increasingly agitated at White House policy over Syria, tested him over his views on military intervention. “Do you believe the continued costs and risks of our inaction in Syria are now worse for our national security interests than the costs and risks associated with limited military action?” McCain demanded. But Dempsey would not answer the question directly, saying he would instead share his views privately with the Commander-in-Chief, President Obama.
“Senator, I am in favor of building a moderate opposition and supporting it,” Dempsey said during the tense exchange. “The question whether to support it with direct kinetic strikes is a president for a — is a decision for our elected officials, not for the senior military leader of the nation.”
McCain has now locked his confirmation until he gets more answers. There are two ways to look at Dempsey’s decision Thursday before the Senate panel. Some believe the general, well regarded but not known for rocking the boat, stood his ground and took a stand against a Congressional overseer thought to be bullying the administration over its Syria policy. Others were astounded that Dempsey seemed so cocky, even arrogant, at one point shooting a question back to McCain about “recent experience” with intervention — in Iraq.
Senior officers, experts and other observers all believe that Dempsey’s number one job was to obey what any senior officer will tell you is Golden Rule of confirmations: don’t filibuster, don’t grandstand and get confirmed. If Dempsey was being asked an uncomfortable question he couldn’t avoid, he should have politely asked to answer it in private session, they say.
“Military leaders, when they answer that question, they get from the Senate in the affirmative, they are absolutely committing themselves to providing their personal views to members of Congress,” one senior officer said. But those personal views aren’t always appropriate for a public setting such as a confirmation hearing, the officer said, and Dempsey did the right thing – even if he didn’t do it in the right way. “In my view, it was not inappropriate for Dempsey to withhold his views in that particular setting.”
Others agree, too. Some officials who are familiar with the process of preparing for testimony say commanders should be able to retain their best military advice for their commander-in-chief – not the public or members of Congress.
“Senior general officers, be they in command of a war or serving as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, are there to serve the commander-in-chief, as advisors or commanders, giving him their best military advice.”Look at judges up for confirmation: do they divulge what their decisions will be? No. Similarly, a senior general gives advice to the president. He’s not appointed to give advice to Congress, nor does he feel compelled to tell, in advance, what his advice and views are to anyone besides the president.”
There have been a number of cases in which senior officers are asked their opinion in a public hearing — and some give it. Most recently, Gen. James Mattis, then commander of U.S. Central Command in April was asked how many troops he believed should be left in Afghanistan after security responsibility is completely transferred to Afghans at the end of next year. His answer: 13,600. The response, from an officer who was about to retire but had been widely thought to have been under a gag order during that command, angered some in the White House and other political types. But individuals close to his thinking believe that that was his personal opinion and he didn’t mind sharing it publicly since it didn’t expose any state secrets or classified information. Dempsey’s predecessor, Adm. Mike Mullen, famously expressed his opinion about suspending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, telling the Senate what he thought, himself. “Mr. Chairman, speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do,” Mullen said in February 2010. “No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens,” he said. “For me personally, it comes down to integrity – theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”
It took some prodding. But Dempsey finally spoke up, too. But by presenting the options in Syria as an array that goes from bad to worse, it’s not clear if he enhanced his confirmation prospects – or made them worse.
A bearded man of avuncular appearance had started early in replying to e-mails on the 17th July 2003. He was in the office of his pretty cottage, with the scent of roses telling of an English summer. The little village of Southmoor was stirring. He was to send over 80 via one of five hard drives and mostly in reply. Some would be encrypted because he was writing to friends and colleagues who like him shared secrets in the field of “WMDs”. And some would be human and ordinary as from a father of three daughters. He had delighted in seeing a new born foal and arranged to take his daughter Rachel down the village that Thursday evening to see young life together.
Many of the e-mails in his inbox were from friends expressing sympathy for his having been put through the mangle of the state machine; his responses were hopeful. In one he spoke of arrangements having been made for his return to Iraq in 8 days; he was looking forward to that. This man from the Welsh Valleys graduated with his DSc in microbiology from Linacre College, Oxford in 1971. He joined the Civil Service in 1984 and was acting head of the Porton Down ‘Defence’ Microbiology Division for 10 years. These functions on Salisbury Plain widened (1)
In 1989, he was involved in investigations into the Soviet violations of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and was a key member of the inspection team visiting the former USSR between 1991 and 1994. He was much valued as an interrogator and sought after round the world for his deep knowledge and sharp intelligence.
He was a member of the UNSCOM team finding and disabling germ and chemical weapons in Iraq. He would have seen the irony that almost all of these had been supplied to Iraq by western nations, including an anthrax strain that was originally cultured from a cow in Oxfordshire before WW2 (2). He visited 37 times between 1991 and 1998, when the team was pulled out before the bombing campaign of Operation Desert Fox. (3) He must have known that UNSCOM was also a cover for spying; the coordinates of defence systems and much else were being recorded for the later destruction of Babylon.
‘The same mission folders that UNSCOM put together to inspect specific buildings and offices in its search for concealed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) became the basis for the targeting folders that missile launchers and pilots used in December (Desert Fox).‘ William Arkin (4)
Was he aware too during those years of the terrible suffering and the death toll of children arising from ‘sanctions’ due to foul drinking water, lack of food and medicines? This most keen observer and family man would surely have got to know.
He had the highest level of security clearance from the SIS of the US and the UK but he was not on the payroll of MI6, it is said. He was attached to the Proliferation and Arms Control Secretariat of the Ministry of Defence whilst the Foreign and Commonwealth Office paid him. His base remained the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. He translated ‘intelligence’ into the language of science and was required to explain scientific matters within his ambit for the media when asked.
He was an important part of the complex and clandestine mechanism which was lighting slow fuses for the demolition of Iraq and for the prime benefit of an entity just two borders away. The hunt for “WMDs” in the land of the two rivers had a hollow ring given the three nearest countries – ‘Israel’, Pakistan and India have not had their nuclear weapons inspected by the IAEA. As for germ weapons (5), of the 16 non-signatory states ‘Israel’ is one and ‘No action is expected in near future.’
US, UK and UN hypocrisies flourished in the sun. UNSCOM begat UNMOVIC and UNMOVIC begat IRG. How was it this sober scientist was involved with this sham? Saddam’s Iraq had been supported in its war with Iran and April Glaspie the US Ambassador to Iraq had later passed him the green light to invade Kuwait. The litany of black lies was long and blood soaked. The ‘turkey shoot’ as Iraqi soldiers and civilians streamed back from Kuwait under white flags ended with live burial for hundreds by US army bulldozers(6). In Baghdad, the charred remains of over 400 women and children in the Amiriya bomb shelter were testament to Allied and UN evil.(7&8) And were not the two laser guided bombs WMDs?
The context in which Dr Kelly did his duty for the UN and the UK has been outlined. The intelligence for targeting, bridgeheads etc was in place. The paramount war criminal and psychopath, Anthony Blair, conspired with Bush in April 2002 at Crawford over blood oozing steaks to tear into Iraq. The black propaganda machine changed gear. A succession of signatories of The Project for the New American Century began appearing nightly, courtesy of the State Broadcaster, the BBC. We could soon tell Wolfowitz from Bolton, and Perle from Bolton. Mangold tried to scare the pants off vulnerable members of the UK public in September 2002 with sarin in the Tokyo tube and with all the focus on the rogue regime. The Sun carried the headline “Brits 45mins from doom” to its 6 million readers. The prescription of Oded Yinon from the ‘Israeli’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs was being followed to the letter (9). “Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria.”
And so it was, that against majority opinion in the UK and the truth, a massive invasion and bombardment started 22nd March 2003. It had been planned since 1988. (10) A sceptical British public became more certain that the hell had been conjured up and brought to earth. On May 29 the author heard Andrew Gilligan at 6.20 am on the premier propaganda programme, the BBC’s Today, say that a source had told him the ‘September’ dossier had been enhanced. (There was probably no mention of the ‘Iraq Dossier’ of 3rd February which within 3 days was shown by Rangwala to be fake throughout. (11) ) The hunt started slowly, but soon the ‘government’ hounds were in full cry. Hoon and Campbell were out in front. Journalists were encouraged to call the MoD and to state the name of a suspect. Given that experts in the field were few, David Kelly’s identity as a possible source soon emerged. This act of treachery was wrong on two counts. Firstly the confidentiality of the names of public servants in charges of this sort is usually maintained. Secondly, anybody with his ‘security’ attachments should have had his identity concealed both for his sake and for the operational integrity of the establishments. The furore flowing from the ‘outing’ was fierce. The quarry felt the heat of slavering hounds about his neck.
He was called, improperly given his post, before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons on the 15th, two days before he ‘walked’. The BBC film of an anxious man wheeling quickly into the elaborate building with his minders was played numerous times and perhaps to reinforce a picture of a man at the end of his tether. Later, at the Hutton Inquiry, it was reported this committee had concluded he was not Gilligan’s source. He was interrogated by the Intelligence and Security Committee the next day. The transcript (12) conveys a picture of a composed and honest man. There is evidence of self-delusion however:-
Howarth How did you arrive at your figure of 30% probability? It is appears to have a kind of exactitude, or is it meant to be merely illustrative?
Kelly Its illustrative, as an estimate
Howarth Illustrating a lot,a little?
Kelly Its verging to a little rather than to a lot
Mates Two to one against!
Dr Kelly had defined earlier in the hearing that he believed there was a 30% chance of ANY weapon containing biological or chemical agents. He does not appear to have revised his assessment when no such weapons were used by the Iraqi forces even though they were faced with total defeat.
Reference was made at this hearing to a letter from Hoon, the Minister of War . “…..in that normally it was Secretaries of State and heads of sections that came to give evidence and that it should not be taken as a precedent for calling in any junior official within that department.” Efforts were made to demean Dr Kelly but the evidence suggests he remained robust even though he was not used to such treatment in his very senior position.
David Kelly completed his correspondence on this the 17th of July, which included a report to the FCO, and changed from track suit into jeans and a shirt ready for a customary walk. He was described later by his wife Janice as being exhausted and shrunken within himself. She suffered from arthritis and had gone up stairs to rest on the bed. She heard him take a telephone call at about 3 pm (from Wing Commander Clarke at the MoD) and he then left for a walk. The W/Co ‘phoned again at 3.20 pm but he was away by then so Mrs Kelly answered. The W/Co ‘phoned every 15 minutes because Dr Kelly always had his cell phone with him and was always easy to contact. An ‘electronic’ voice said ‘the number you have rung is not reacting’, which is the normal one that one would expect if the telephone itself had been switched off. The number when dialled before 6 by James Harrison of the same office rang but there was no answer.
When he did not return the family were alerted. According to reports in the Guardian and Scotsman a lay search party was formed later that day, but no member was called to the inquiry (13&14). A Mrs Susan Melling was quoted. In these reports, a farmer Weaver (sic) – in fact Weaving, hailed Dr Kelly who was reported to be dressed in jeans and a shirt. Weaving might have been the last person to see Dr Kelly alive.(15) The importance of that in an inquiry into an unnatural death is obvious but he was not called either.
The family informed the police at 23.40 hours that he was missing, about 9 hours after he had left the house, and this in spite of the maelstrom swirling around the man and the very secret nature of his morbid work. The roses freshened in the night air and down the road the foal was nuzzling the mare.
David Halpin is a retired orthopaedic and trauma surgeon. He vehemently opposed the destruction of a sovereign Iraq and its people. The manner in which the investigation of this unnatural death was done and the principles of those who conducted it, will be examined in articles written by several authors which will appear twice per week in Global Research. Thus people will read what we perceive to be the truth and it will be a permanent record. We contend, on very good evidence, that due process has been subverted. We have been pleading for an inquest for 10 years and we will continue to do so as informed citizens who believe our law should rule supreme. ‘ Where ever the law ends, tyranny begins.’ John Locke 1675.
(13) http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/jul/19/uk.iraq4 Guardian 19 July 2003
(14) http://news.scotsman.com/huttoninquiry/Kelly-told-wife-this-wasnt.2445113.jp Scotsman 19 July 2003
Below is the Merriam Webster dictionary definition of two words. Please keep in mind their meaning when reading the article. There is a relationship between the two words:
Boogeyman: a monstrous imaginary figure used in threatening children
Terrorism: Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. This word also rhymes with absurdism.
The boogeyman is the fictitious monster that haunts kids particularly when they are going to bed. In my case, he hid underneath my bed ready to grab my ankles and pull me under. To avoid him, I leapt into bed to avoid his reach. To avoid seeing him in case he came out, I covered my eyes with the blanket. I think my feelings and childhood fears of this imaginary creature are common.
Use of a boogeyman in the case of children could be to persuade them to go to bed early or eat their vegetables. “If you don’t do this, the boogeyman might get you”! None of as children wanted that, so we did as we were told. A boogeyman is also useful in the case of adults. In the past 75 years adults in the United States have been under the influence of three or more scary boogeymen. The media outlets and the US government kindly supply us with ever-scarier boogeymen. Whether intended or not, the use of a boogeyman works well in persuading and obtaining compliance (getting adults to do something).
The boogeyman 75 years ago was scary. However, he lived less than ten years, and we eliminated him. The boogeyman I refer to was one for my parents and grandparents: he was called the Nazis and he lived in Germany. He was a threat to the freedom and constitutional rights of Americans. He invaded countries and killed our friends (read allies). For some years my parents actually feared being bombed or invaded by that boogeyman. Note they lived in the Midwest and not the East coast. Had they thought it through, they too would have realized that was not possible due to logistical limitations then present in military aircraft (today they can refuel midair). Today it seems rather absurd that people could believe such a thing back then, but it was real to them.
Nonetheless, the government fanned the flames of fear (maybe use of terrorism) ,and almost all people believed what they were told by media and government back then. The citizenry, young and old alike, complied with government requests and did what they could do to help eliminate the threat. That boogeyman disappeared through a war that ended in 1945.
Only a few years passed before a new, more global, boogeyman emerged. He was the communists and the threat of communism. If we did not stop this boogeyman, he too, might take our liberty and freedom like the one before. We stared to fear this boogeyman shortly after World War II and into the 1980s. The communists were good boogeyman for decades, and represented the opposite of what we stand for. We were told they have no liberty or freedom, and this boogeyman does not want people of the world to have such inalienable rights like that.
Who would doubt this and not want to comply with government support in the elimination of this boogeyman? We largely complied, trillions of dollars were spent, and thousands of people were killed. We fought wars to ward off this boogeyman (Korea Vietnam, and other armed conflicts of smaller duration). We even helped some friends (read allies) fend off this boogeyman-Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Guatemala, to name some examples.
The government softened its stand (ended the terrorism) on this boogeyman, and people don’t perceive it a threat any more. This might be due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the despair we are told of in Cuba, and widespread trading with China and Vietnam In fact, it does not seem to matter that China is a communist country, we can travel there, trade with them, but for some reason, Cuba is off limits.
The boogeyman of the modern era is terrorism. He came out in the late 1990’s and made his real debut on September 11, 2001. He is more nebulous than the former boogeymen, as he does not have a permanent address or place where we can easily find him like the Nazis or the communists. However, being so nimble and fast moving, he can be under your bed, like the boogeyman of childhood. He can be down the street and could be your neighbor. This new monster serves better than those of the past to incite fear and compliance. Lacking an address, we are inspired to chase him down in many places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and down the street from your house. He might even be in your home or office now. We even look for him at the airport every day.
The modern boogeyman has more places to hide, and a better strategy than his predecessors. This new boogeyman might even be friends of our friends (allies, or friends), as President George Bush warned us in his address on September 20, 2001 to a Joint Session of Congress
We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. – Bush, George W. (September 20, 2001). “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People”. The White House. Retrieved 2008-09-19.
Our government finds the current boogeyman scarier than his predecessors, as we have parked our constitution to pursue him. We have spent much money to catch him, and many are currently willing to be spied on to avoid him. As former President Bush said to congress, if you keep company with the boogeyman, we consider you an enemy. Obviously we are very serious about this newer boogeyman, and even willing to give up some things we fought boogeymen in the past for. That being our freedom and parts of the constitution (read Patriot Act).
Let us return to the definition of terrorism: It is systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. Where did the latest boogeyman come from? Who is creating the fear and the real terrorist? Who wants to bring about a political objective?
Our prior two boogeymen were created by non-United States entities: German and Russian political movements. Maybe the current boogeyman was created because of our past and current follies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc. Is it really a boogeyman, or are the good folks that promote him (read terrorists) making him larger than he need be.
Maybe stopping our forays into other parts of the world will eliminate the current boogeyman. However, those wanting to make terror will not have an excuse to bring about a political objective and need this boogeyman. You decide- who are the real terrorists, and who wants political change? Who is who in this game? Is this not all absurdism?
FORT MEADE, United States/Maryland: A military judge will rule on Thursday whether to drop some charges against Bradley Manning, the US soldier who has admitting giving a massive cache of secret documents to WikiLeaks.
As the espionage trial enters its final stage, Manning’s defence lawyer, David Coombs, renewed his request on Monday for the judge to toss out several counts – including the most serious charge that the soldier “aided the enemy” – on grounds the prosecution has failed to provide incriminating evidence.
Apart from the aiding the enemy count, the defence has asked Judge Denise Lind to toss out charges that Manning committed computer fraud by allegedly exceeding his authorized access and that he allegedly stole government property in his document dump.
The former intelligence analyst in Iraq already has pleaded guilty to ten lesser offenses, acknowledging that he passed hundreds of thousands of military intelligence reports and State Department diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks in the biggest leak of classified files in American history.
But the trial is focused on whether Manning broke rules governing the use of his computer, violated the Espionage Act by leaking sensitive information that could harm US national security and had the intention of assisting Al-Qaeda through his disclosures.
Coombs said the government has not offered “any evidence” to show that Manning knew the leaked files could fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda militants.
To say that “he should have known” was not sufficient, Coombs said.
“There should have been something more than simply that,” he said.
The judge has said the government must prove Manning had “actual knowledge” that his leak would aid the enemy, either directly or indirectly.
At Monday’s proceedings, Coombs sought to counter the government’s allegation that Manning committed computer fraud by downloading classified documents using a program known as Wget.
The defence says Manning already had access to the data he downloaded because of his job as an intelligence analyst and that he used the Wget program simply to speed up the download.
Manning, 25, faces a possible life sentence on the aiding the enemy charge and a total of more than 140 years if found guilty on all counts.
The prosecution rested its case after five weeks and the defence presented its case in three days of testimony last week.
The judge also is due to rule on the scope of the prosecution’s planned “rebuttal” to the evidence put forward by the defence.
Manning has become a folk hero to his supporters who see him as a crusading whistle-blower trying to expose the excesses of US foreign policy.
But his critics say Manning betrayed his soldier’s oath and portray him as a reckless traitor who undermined US diplomacy and endangered lives with his leak.
The prosecution rested its case Tuesday in the court martial of Bradley Manning, the Army private who has admitted to leaking 700,000 documents exposing US military atrocities and other crimes to the WikiLeaks web site in April of 2010.
The prosecutor, Major Ashden Fein, dropped one of the 22 charges against Manning. That charge alleged Manning had leaked intelligence to an “enemy” whose name is classified.
Over the course of five weeks, the prosecution has sought to establish by means of circumstantial evidence that Manning intended to send classified information to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations and conspired with WikiLeaks journalists to do so.
In charging Manning with “aiding the enemy” under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the US government is equating the publication of classified information about its secret and illegal activities with espionage, treason and aiding terrorists. It is doing so on the spurious grounds that such information can end up in the hands of forces considered by the government to be hostile.
In fact, as the Obama administration and the military well know, Manning released the information to inform the American people of war crimes being carried out by the US government in Iraq and Afghanistan and diplomatic intrigues targeting many other countries.
The clear implication of the government’s case is the position that any publication or organization that publishes leaked classified information or defends whistleblowers such as Manning is itself engaging in criminal and treasonous acts. The prosecution acknowledged as much in January when it argued that its case against Manning, which implicates WikiLeaks in treasonous and pro-terrorist activities, would apply equally if the Army private had passed his information to the New York Times .
This sweeping attack on First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and the press occurs in the context of threats to prosecute journalists such as the Guardian ’s Glenn Greenwald for publishing former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s exposures of US government spying, and revelations that the government seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters and tapped into the email of Fox News’ James Rosen, who was named a co-conspirator by the Justice Department in relation to State Department leaks.
Proceedings in the court martial will resume next Monday with defense motions to dismiss many of the remaining charges for lack of evidence.
Prosecutors claimed that Manning was in direct contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that the latter directed Manning in the selection, downloading and transmission of classified documents. As evidence of this supposed coordination, the government showed the court a WikiLeaks web posting of a “most wanted list” of government secrets, though there was no evidence that Manning took a cue from this list, or ever saw it. The same was true with a tweet encouraging the collection of military emails by WikiLeaks.
Prosecutors also allege that Manning knowingly violated protocol for handling classified information, but cross-examination of a prosecution witness revealed that the Army had lost the document Manning signed acknowledging that he understood the terms in question. The Army’s failure to produce this document may result in dismissal of some of the charges.
In its effort to establish that Manning leaked information out of “evil intent” to “aid the enemy,” the prosecution alleged that he first leaked a classified video of a US air strike in November of 2009, within days of his arrival in Iraq, and not, as Manning states, in April 2010. Manning admits that he leaked the video, but says he did so following a change of conscience in late December of 2009, when he saw a video of a roadside bomb killing civilians whose vehicles were forced off the road by a US military convoy.
A prosecution witness had to admit that the copy of the video allegedly transmitted by Manning in 2009 did not match the version found on Manning’s computer.
Even if Manning did not intend for Al Qaeda to have access to the leaked information, prosecutors contend, he still should have known that WikiLeaks was a threat to the US Army. The evidence offered to show this was a 32-page intelligence report by military counterintelligence on WikiLeaks, which concluded that sensitive or classified information WikiLeaks received “could be of value to foreign intelligence and security services (FISS), foreign military forces, foreign insurgents, and foreign terrorist groups for collecting information or for planning attacks against US forces, both within the United States and abroad.”
Manning allegedly leaked this very report, which WikiLeaks made public in March 2010. Since Manning leaked the document, prosecutors allege, he must have read it.
Manning has not denied his leaking of documents to WikiLeaks and has offered a guilty plea to charges relating to this. Prosecutors have rejected the plea offer.
Manning strictly denies the charge of “aiding the enemy,” which carries a possible death sentence.
The entire trial is a travesty of justice aimed at silencing and punishing those who expose criminality by the US government rather than those who are responsible for war crimes and crimes against the democratic rights of the American people.
With thousands of articles being written about Edward Snowden, many of them repetitious, we must remember another whistleblower who is presently on trial. Bradley Manning must not be forgotten.
Private Manning is being court-martialed for giving secret information to WikiLeaks in 2009 and 2012, while he was a junior intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq. Government prosecutors claim that Manning had obtained 700,000 files, combat videos, and diplomatic transmissions.
The prosecution’s case ended today, Tuesday. The defense will begin on Monday.
Julian Assange, an Australian, says the charges are reprisal for WikiLeaks’ publication of information embarrassing to the U.S. and other governments.
Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, an author and peace prize winner, believes that Manning should receive the ‘Nobel Peace Prize.’ She believes he should be credited for helping to end the war in Iraq, and keeping the United States from participating in other conflicts.
Ms. Corrigan-Maguire says this about peace: “Peace is more than simply the absence of war; it is the active creation of something better. Alfred Nobel recognized this when he created alongside those for chemistry, literature, medicine and physics, an annual prize for outstanding contributions in peace. Nobel’s foresight is a reminder to us all that peace must be created, maintained, and advanced, and it is indeed possible for one individual to have an extraordinary impact.”
I’ve never read a better definition.
Ms. Corrigan-Maguire recently returned from Syria. She spoke with refugees, rebels, and Syrian security forces. She says that hawks such as John McCain are wrong about assisting the rebels. The majority of the extreme violence is the product of outside military components on both sides. She said that the ‘true rebels’ and Syrian forces, all want to find a way to a peaceful end to the conflict.
She said that before Manning’s actions, and a growing condemnation of our continued presence in Iraq by the American people, Syria would already have been invaded by a number of U.S. forces.
Transparency of crimes against humanity is prevalent in the Middle East today. She said if Manning had not taken actions, the world would not have known the truth about the atrocities inside Iraq. US forces committed covert crimes in the name of spreading democracy in Iraq, killing innocent civilians in incidents such as the one depicted in the “Collateral Murder” video, and supported Iraqi prisoner torture.
She points out that Manning is the only one on trial. None of those who committed inhumane acts during the Iraqi conflict have been brought up on charges.
Ms. Corrigan-McGuire’s final words: “I hope American leaders will embrace the U.S. constitution, and base their national and foreign policies on ethical values, human rights and international law.”
Alfred James reporting OP-ED
As an anti-war veteran, my perspective on the Bradley Manning trial is that capitalism/imperialism has once again turned truth into a victim of war.
The Manning court martial trial presents challenges to vets. The government public relations campaign puts out allegations, disinformation and outright lies about what Manning is alleged to have done. Too often veterans are expected to support the official government and Pentagon positions no matter what, but anti-war vets typically don’t fit this traditional mold. We are outspoken, go against the grain and are demonstrative, for which we are criticized and attacked by conservative and pro-war forces.
The protests at Fort Meade, Md. where Pfc. Manning’s trial is taking place include many vets who are members of a number of anti-war veterans organizations as well as some who are unaffiliated.
Bradley Manning’s Trial, Day 8 (Live Updates)
12:08PM EST Government defends admissibility of evidence that it thinks shows that Manningconspired with WikiLeaks. For an in-depth look at this point during today’s proceedings, read here. 11:08AM EST Prosecution argues that if WikiLeaks has a plan …
See all stories on this topic »Russell Brand Says Bradley Manning Is A Hero
“I happen to believe that Bradley Manning has the right to a fair trial; it seems clear to me that some of the charges against him are mendacious and duplicitous from the outset … The things I’d say I’m highly qualified to talk about are drugs and …
See all stories on this topic »I am Bradley Manning (full HD)
Peter Sarsgaard Angela Davis Moby Molly Crabapple Tim DeChristopher. LT Dan Choi Bishop George Packard Russell Brand Allan Nairn Chris Hedges Wallace Shawn Adhaf Soueif Josh Stieber Michael Ratner Copyright: Bradley Manning Support Network …
See all stories on this topic »From Afghanistan, Thank You Bradley Manning!
The 75,000 Afghan War Logs, which Bradley Manning gave Wikileaks to ‘help document the true cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan’, can help all of us evaluate whether the Afghan war is cost-effective. Bradley Manning had also handed Wikileaks a video …
See all stories on this topic »Speed of Bradley Manning Trial Masks Prosecutors’ Struggles
Bradley Manning’s court-martial was already in weekend recess as of midday Tuesday, marking the third consecutive week the court has finished far ahead of schedule. Since the court-martial began, the court’s week has never gone later than Wednesday …
See all stories on this topic »Whistleblowing 2.0 — from the Pentagon Papers to Bradley Manning to PRISM
With computer technician Edward Snowden’s bombshell revelations about the extent of state snooping — coupled with the ongoing court martial of Private Bradley Manning — 2013 is the year of the whistleblower. These ongoing cases also highlight the …
See all stories on this topic »“A Different Kind of Patriotism”: Russell Brand on Bradley Manning
Today marks the eighth day of Bradley Manning’s court-martial for leaking more than 700,000 United States government documents to Wikileaks. Although the 25-year-old former Army intelligence analyst has confessed to disclosing classified information, …
See all stories on this topic »Manning WikiLeaks case in recess until June 25
Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court-martial over giving massive amounts of classified material to WikiLeaks has gone into recess until next week. The prosecution and defense will spend the next week negotiating written statements from some 17 witnesses, in …
See all stories on this topic »Manning WikiLeaks case in recess
US soldier Bradley Manning’s trial for giving massive amounts of classified material to WikiLeaks has gone into recess until next week. The prosecution and defence will spend the next week negotiating written statements from 17 witnesses, in lieu of …
See all stories on this topic »Manning WikiLeaks case in recess until June 25 while attorneys negotiate …
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, left, is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Monday, June 17, 2013, after the start of the third week of his court martial. Manning is charged with indirectly aiding the enemy by sending troves of classified …
See all stories on this topic »Public access fight over Manning docs in Md. court
BALTIMORE (AP) — A government lawyer said Monday the U.S. Army has released the vast majority of court records in Pfc. Bradley Manning’s case and told a civilian judge the dispute over the records had become moot. A lawyer for a constitutional rights …
See all stories on this topic »Manning’s Team Questions Secrecy of Leaked Data
Courthouse News Service
MEADE, Md. (CN) – The “secret” profiles of Guantanamo detainees disclosed by Pfc. Bradley Manning contained information that may have been publicly available for years, government witnesses testified by stipulation. The nearly 800 documents published …
See all stories on this topic »Court hears public access fight over Manning records
The Star Democrat
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning steps out of a security vehicle as he is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Monday, June 17, 2013, for the start of the third week of his court martial. Manning is charged with indirectly aiding the enemy by …
See all stories on this topic »Government Defends Admissibility of Evidence That It Thinks Shows Manning …
Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is on trial at Fort Meade for releasing United States government information to WikiLeaks, does not face any conspiracy charges. However, this morning there were arguments on a motion that related to defense objections over …
See all stories on this topic »siliconANGLE » Manning, Snowden Cases Highlight the Importance of Basic …
Army Pfc Bradley Manning is facing a military judge in a court-martial procedure that will endure over many weeks. Be aware that rights and procedures in a court-martial are quite different than that of a civilian trial. The issue at hand is the public …
See all stories on this topic »Disputed Tweets May not Fly in Manning Trial
Courthouse News Service
MEADE, Md. (CN) – Prosecutors fought Tuesday to use Twitter postings they hope will depict Pfc.Bradley Manning as a WikiLeaks foot soldier, rather than its journalistic source. Months before his trial, the 25-year-old soldier acknowledged he uploaded …
See all stories on this topic »Manning trial focuses on whether tweets meet evidence standards
Lawyers for Private First Class Bradley Manning, 25, who is accused of providing more than 700,000 files to the anti-secrecy website in the biggest breach of classified U.S. data in the nation’s history, argued on Tuesday that Twitter postings offered …
See all stories on this topic »Guardian Weekly Letters, 21 June 2013
Fitting that Bradley Manning’s photo should be juxtaposed in World Roundup (7 June) with the famous shot of the Tiananmen Square tank stand-off, on the occasion of the release of the last “counter-revolutionary”, Jiang Yaqun. Our 19th-century idea “My …
See all stories on this topic »Medina Roshan, REUTERS
London Free Press
U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning (C) is escorted in handcuffs as he leaves the courthouse in Fort Meade, Maryland, in this June 6, 2012 file photo. (REUTERS/Jose Luis Magana/Files). Tweet · Bookmark and Share. Change text size for the story.
See all stories on this topic »Obama’s One-Way Mirror
There is something very wrong with this picture: Today I am in a federal court arguing that the press and public have a right to have access to daily transcripts and court documents in the trial of whistleblower Bradley Manning; meanwhile, Verizon is …
See all stories on this topic »China: Snowden Case Like Shawshank Redemption
China: Snowden Case Like Shawshank Redemption. Xinhua also compared the NSA leaker to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. by. Bridget Johnson. Bio. June 18, 2013 – 11:00 am. Page 1 of 2 Next -> View as Single …
See all stories on this topic »Sphere of Influence says Insider Threats are Detectable
The Herald | HeraldOnline.com
Sphere of Influence, a technology company specializing in advanced “Big Data” analytics and behavioral analysis, is informing organizations that losses from insider threats, such as those caused by Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, can be reduced or …
See all stories on this topic »Ai Weiwei on his incarceration: “They never looked away from me, 24 hours a day”
The three men she singled out from the stage – Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden – all pasty-looking, unlikely Robin Hoods of classified information, are acquiring the cachet of rock stars. So too is Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei …
See all stories on this topic »Issue 25: Fashion Issue
Baltimore City Paper
In Mobtown Beat, Van Smith looks into a lawsuit to make the evidence in whistleblower Bradley Manning’s court-martial case open to the public and Edward Ericson Jr. details the tax incentives the city gives to millionaire developers. In City Folk, Bret …
See all stories on this topic »Julian Assange Timeline Of Events Leading To Ecuadorian Embassy Refuge Bid
Huffington Post UK
In 2009, Bradley Manning, a United States Army Intelligence Private, allegedly contacted Mr Assange and is later accused of leaking classified information. In 2010 Manning is charged with leaking secret diplomatic cables and is held in prison in the US.
See all stories on this topic »Public enemy
The News International
A good example is the recurrence of phrases like ‘endangered our national security’ and ‘aided the enemy,’ in reference to leaks by people like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. These intend to evoke certain associations in the minds of listeners …
See all stories on this topic »Without Waiting for Proof, Edward Snowden Foes Begin Spreading Smears
Let me suggest an alternative explanation: Bradley Manning. The trial of the man who handed over classified information to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is a cautionary tale for all wannabe whistleblowers. While being held for nearly three years …
See all stories on this topic »9/11 Case Motions Hearing: June 18 Session
Dew glistens on the lawn just outside Fort Meade’s Burba Cottage—-our usual haunt, Smallwood Hall, being unavailable on account of the ongoing Bradley Manning trial. Lawfare is in the house for a second day of CCTV-broadcasted motions hearings in …
See all stories on this topic »SF Examiner President Talks Free Michelle Shocked Concert
While Vogt seems to be claiming that he is giving the squawky singer an opportunity to be held accountable for her actions earlier this year, any attempt to paint this as a noble effort to support journalism, or Gay Pride, or Bradley Manning or even ad …
See all stories on this topic »One room, 10188 tweets and £9000 on takeouts: Julian Assange’s year in the …
In one of the chatroom conversations of May 2010 that now form the basis of his court-martial, US Army private and WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning referred to Julian Assange as “a crazy, white-haired Aussie who can’t seem to stay in one country very …
See all stories on this topic »Julian Assange Has Been Inside for a Year
It’s a sort of absurdist parallel narrative to the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning. The two figures are inextricably linked, and together, their saga reads like Miltonic poetry. Or a blockbuster film. Indeed, in Alex Gibney’s recent documentary We Steal …
See all stories on this topic »Open and Shut Case
Baltimore City Paper
On May 22, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a suit asking for a court order to end pervasive secrecy surrounding the court-martial proceedings against another leaker, U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, who in 2010 …
See all stories on this topic »
Center for Research on Globalization
Gulf Daily News
South China Morning Post
|” AUDIO/TRANSCRIPT: Interview with ‘Pentagon Papers’ Whistleblower Daniel …
Brad Blog (blog)
And whether we were willing to continue that, continue our careers, which might be very comfortable in his case and mine (much more than Bradley Manning’s, for example) or do something to inform the public that would undoubtedly confront us with …
See all stories on this topic »
US Army Private Bradley Manning is being persecuted for exposing war crimes committed by the Bush and Obama administrations. Like any criminal, the US government wants its wrongful acts to remain secret; it wishes to make the truth illegal.
On June 3rd, the trial of Manning began. He previously pled guilty to 10 offenses that could collectively bring 20 years in custody, but the military prosecutors were not satisfied. They pursued the capital offense of “aiding the enemy” which can be punished by execution or life imprisonment. This is Obama’s warning to anyone else who is tempted to speak truth to power.
WHAT YOU ARE TOLD IS ON TRIAL
Bradley Manning was arrested in May 2010 for passing restricted material to the WikiLeaks site, which is dedicated to the free flow of information. The material included videos of American airstrikes on Baghdad and Afghanistan, as well as hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables that became known as the Iraq and Afghan War logs.
The American government and military were acutely embarrassed. For example, one video consisted of cockpit gunsight footage from a US helicopter that was involved in the series of July 12, 2007 airstrikes on Baghdad in which an estimated 18 people were killed, including two Reuters war correspondents. The military claimed the dead were armed insurgents, and at least two of them had weapons which is common practice in Iraq. The Pentagon buried the footage by refusing a Freedom of Information request from Reuters. When the video was leaked, it showed an indiscriminate slaughter. Its audio captured the unalloyed joy of the Americans as they killed and an absolute lack of remorse when they realized young children were among the dead.
This video was a turning point for Manning who was shocked by the soldier’s remarks. At his pre-trial hearing, he stated of the leaked material, “I felt I had accomplished something that allowed me to have a clear conscience based upon what I had seen and read about and knew were happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan every day.”
The 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg was a turning point in the Vietnam War because it revealed the depth of lies being told by the American government to the American people. Manning’s act was a turning point in the Iraq and Afghan wars but it had far wider impact. For one thing, it was instrumental in sparking the Arab Spring; one diplomatic cable discredited the Tunisian government by verifying the raw corruption of the President and his family.
MANNING’S UNFORGIVABLE SIN
Indiscriminate slaughter and the torture of detainees do not disturb the Obama administration; talking about them does. Manning not only talked but he backed everything up with data. For exposing and embarrassing them, government wishes not merely to punish Manning but to crush him utterly so that his example does not inspire others. To do so, it must make transparency into treason.
The accusation of aiding and abetting the enemy is a drastic and dangerous expansion of the Espionage Act. The exact wording of the charge: “Knowingly giving intelligence to the enemy through indirect means.” Traditionally, direct means have been required; that is, a person directly and intentionally provided intelligence to “the enemy.” The prosecutors now contend that the transfer can be indirect and unintentional. They argue Manning should have known Al Qaeda could access the information; his intention of revealing a war crime to the world becomes irrelevant. The New York Times observed, “This would turn all government whistle-blowing into treason: a grave threat to both potential sources and American journalism.”
The civil libertarian Glenn Greenwald explained further, “[The new legal theory] 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….And that’s an amazingly broad and expansive definition…” The expanded theory becomes a de facto gag order, especially in the hands of Obama who has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous Presidents combined.
There is no question that Manning broke the law. The fault lies not in Manning but in the military. No person nor organization has the right to force a man to surrender his conscience and mutely watch the slaughter of children. He has an inalienable right to speak the truth. To claim otherwise is to argue that a soldier is literally property, a slave of the military and no longer a man.
In Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau declared, “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right….Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.” Speaking specifically of soldiers who surrender their conscience, Thoreau continued, “They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? [B]ehold a marine, such a man as an American government can make…a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity…”
Manning has already spent 1110 days in prison, much of it in solitary confinement and other conditions that human rights organizations call torture. Even for the most military of men, 1110 days and the prospect of 20 years more should be enough punishment for the ‘crime’ of retaining a conscience.
WHAT THE TRIAL MEANS ABOUT AMERICA
Roger Williams, the Puritan founder of Rhode Island, was America’s first revolutionary. He created the American soul by inextricably linking individual liberty with freedom of belief. In the 1640s, Williams argued passionately for “soul liberty” – that is, an individual’s conscience should be free from outside interference and control. “[T]o force the Consciences of the Unwilling is a Soul-rape,” he declared bluntly. Drawing upon Williams, the contemporary American philosopher Martha Nussbaum further defined “soul-rape” as forcing people “to affirm convictions that they may not hold, or to give assent to orthodoxies they don’t support.”
Williams won the argument, and the First Amendment was the ultimate result. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” The amendment was first in the Bill of Rights because freedom of conscience and speech is the most fundamental of human rights. Around the world, Americans became renowned as a people who bowed their heads and beliefs to no one; they spoke and believed freely. And, so, the world gravitated toward America because of the hunger within human beings to think and decide for themselves. It is a hunger for human dignity.
The persecution of Manning is an attempt to destroy the core of what it means to be American by destroying freedom of conscience and speech. The police and surveillance state of America wants to control information down to the level of reaching inside people’s minds to instill a fear of speaking or deciding for themselves.
Obama is raping the soul of America.
Wendy McElroy is a frequent Dollar Vigilante contributor and renowned individualist anarchist and individualist feminist. She was a co-founder along with Carl Watner and George H. Smith of The Voluntaryist in 1982, and is the author/editor of twelve books, the latest of which is “The Art of Being Free”. Follow her work at http://www.wendymcelroy.com.