Punishing the messenger while murderers go free

February 2, 2012. By Nathan Fuller.

Last month, a video showing four uniformed U.S. Marines urinating on the bloodied corpses of dead Afghans went viral, returning – if briefly – to our national discussion the depravity of war and the inhumanity of those sent off to fight it.

The video also reignited debates about whether soldiers of these repugnant spectacles are merely “a few bad apples” running rogue or instead a disturbing manifestation of a more insidious, fundamental, and pervasive immorality at the heart of war. In doing so it recalled more obscene instances in the past, such as the Abu Ghraib torture scandal or some of Guantánamo’s darker secrets.

It also might have reminded you of the so-called “Kill Team,” the U.S. Army platoon in Afghanistan whose commander directed his soldiers to murder unarmed Afghani civilians, killed another himself, then removed and collected body parts as souvenirs.

Cpl. Jeremy Morlock with Staff Sgt. David Bram

The ‘Kill Team’ story got major media attention, spurred war-mentality discussions, and put the soldiers involved and their Staff Sergeant in charge on trial. But what came of their indictment?

Several soldiers were prosecuted in the incident, with varying severity. These include Pfc. Andrew Colmes, who pled guilty to the murder of innocent Afghan civilians and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Staff Sergeant David Bram was convicted of solicitation to commit murder, conspiracy to commit assault, and attempting to obstruct the investigation into the Kill Team’s rampage. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but he’ll be eligible for parole after the first three.

Then there’s Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, dubbed the ringleader of the Kill Team. Gibbs was convicted of murdering a civilian, Marach Agha, and planting a weapon next to him to make it seem like he’d killed a militant. He was also convicted of murder for inciting one soldier to throw a grenade at a 15-year-old Afghan civilian, Gul Mudin, and another to shoot the boy afterward. Gibbs was said to play with Mudin’s corpse “as if it was a puppet,” collect teeth and finger bones, and keep part of the victim’s skull. Gibbs’ punishment was most severe, sentenced to life in prison, yet he will be eligible for parole in less than ten years. According to the Guardian, Gibbs’ “jurors acceded to the convicted soldier’s plea to have the hope of being reunited with his son.”

Compare this treatment with the prospective and intended treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning. Whereas Gibbs, who murdered, conspired to murder, and treated war like deer-hunting bloodsport, was quietly tried and awarded the chance of extremely early parole, Manning could face life in prison without parole or even the death penalty, if his jurors so choose. What about Manning’s hope to reunite with his family after prison, or come to terms with his gender-identity crisis? Manning didn’t kill a soul – will his jurors accede to his plea for freedom?

Gibbs was not kept in solitary confinement for ten months against his will. He wasn’t forced to strip naked in prison at night as Manning was in Quantico. Gibbs’ Article 32 hearing was not delayed 18 months and then held so as to minimize media access. His Commander-in-Chief did not declare Gibbs guilty before he even stepped inside a courtroom, as President Obama declared of Manning eight full months before his hearing. Well-known former governors did not demand that Gibbs be executed.

Or consider another ongoing military investigation. Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich is being tried for his alleged involvement in the 2005 Haditha killings, in which Marines murdered 24 Iraqi civilians. In what witnesses describe as a massacre, Wuterich ordered his squad to “shoot first, ask questions later.” His Marines then shot two dozen unarmed Iraqis, including women and children. If convicted of all charges, Wuterich would face life in prison. Yet at his Article 32 pre-trial hearing, the Investigating Officer, a fellow Marine officer, recommended the major charges be dropped in favor of a lesser one, negligent homicide, that’d only carry a maximum 3-year sentence. But that wasn’t enough: Sgt. Wuterich was just awarded a plea deal in which he pled guilty to “dereliction of duty,” which carries minimal punishment, and then the military judge in his case recommended that he spend no time in jail at all.

Furthermore, it was recently revealed that Sergeant Sanick Dela Cruz testified that Wuterich, his commander, killed five Iraqis and then ordered Dela Cruz to lie about it. Dela Cruz only testified against Wuterich in exchange for immunity – the government dismissed murder charges against him when he agreed to testify in Wuterich’s trial. So Dela Cruz, who also admitted to urinating on one of Wuterich’s corpses, will get off with no jail time, for bringing to light these war crimes and military abuses. The irony is not lost on anyone familiar with Manning’s case: Manning was never accused of murder, desecrating dead bodies, or covering up crimes, but he’s looking at a caged life with no hope for parole or freedom, while actual murderers and those who lied for them get lessened charges or full immunity.

So why is Manning treated this way? In 2010, Admiral Mike Mullen said that WikiLeaks’ source for the Afghan War Logs “might already have on [his] hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family,” a year and half before Manning’s pre-trial hearing. Google searches for Mullen’s comments on Staff Sgt. Gibbs’ murder, photos playing with dead bodies, and body-part trophies yield no results.

Video of the Apache helicopter incident in New Baghdad

As Charles Davis writes for Al Jazeera, “While killing unarmed civilians for sport may not be officially sanctioned policy, it doesn’t threaten the functioning of the war machine as much as a soldier standing up and refusing to be complicit in mass murder.” In other words, Wuterich’s and Gibb’s murders don’t interfere with America’s wars in the Middle East in any meaningful way. They’re embarrassing when made public and incur scorn from the international community, but they don’t have any real effect on U.S. foreign policy. By contrast, Bradley Manning’s alleged actions, in highlighting grave abuses, airing diplomatic secrets, and calling attention to otherwise unnoticed crimes, are considered an impediment to American policy. According to CNN, negotiations between the Iraqi government and the Obama Administration broke down over a dispute about immunity for U.S. soldiers there, specifically due to a cable released by WikiLeaks. Due to this breakdown, the U.S. had to fulfill its promise to withdraw troops from Iraq, leading many to credit Bradley Manning with helping end the nearly 8-year occupation.

Comparing Wuterich or Gibbs with Pfc. Manning sheds much-needed light on some ugly truths of the U.S. justice system. Referencing the Kill Team specifically, Davis suggests that if Manning “had murdered civilians and desecrated their corpses – if he had the moral capacity to commit war crimes, not the audacity to expose them – he’d be better off today.”

But the government would argue that Pfc. Manning’s case is of special interest, and therefore deserves magnified punishment, because he indirectly “aided the enemy.” This is the charge that carries the potential death penalty, that Manning’s lawyer requested be dropped in the Article 32 hearing, and that leads prominent pundits to declare Manning a “traitor.” This will be the charge that sets a precedent in the war on whistle-blowing.

It will also surely be distorted by Manning’s prosecutors, because if the military disciplined soldiers based on honest assessments of what truly “aids the enemy” – and what does not – it would require harsher punishment for soldiers following orders and leniency for an intelligence private releasing improperly classified documents he believes the public should see.

It would also require investigating prominent U.S. politicians. In late 2010, American officials including former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former secretary of homeland security Tom Ridge, former White House homeland security adviser Frances Townsend and former attorney general Michael Mukasey attended a forum held by supporters of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK), a group the United States has designated a terrorist organization since 1997. As Glenn Greenwald writes,

“Even though the actions of these Bush officials violate every alleged piety about bashing one’s own country on foreign soil and may very well constitute a felony under U.S. law, they will be shielded from criticisms because they want to use the Terrorist group to overthrow a government that refuses to bow to American dictates.”

If the U.S. was genuine in disciplining those who “aid the enemy,” they’d be investigating and indicting U.S. officials openly supporting a group the U.S. deems a terrorist organization.

They’d also be paying closer attention to what those they’ve captured have to say. On the rare occasions when suspected militants are caught and tried, they say what radicalized them toward terror is the American killing of Middle Eastern civilians. As Chase Madar writes,

“terrorists themselves have freely confessed that what motivated their acts of wanton violence has been the damage done by foreign military occupation back home or simply in the Muslim world. Asked by a federal judge why he tried to blow up Times Square with a car bomb in May 2010, Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad answered that he was motivated by the civilian carnage the U.S. had caused in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.”

Examine again what Sgt. Gibbs and his soldiers did in Afghanistan: killing innocent Afghani civilians (including a 15-year-old boy), removing their fingers, playing with their corpses. This is what provides rhetorical ammunition for Al Qaeda and its offshoots, who can point to events like this as catalysts for their rage. This is indirectly “aiding the enemy” as a blatant and obscene symbol of American invasion.

This is also the type of behavior that Pfc. Manning is accused of revealing. One State Department cable that WikiLeaks published documents a harrowing atrocity in Iraq, “wherein one man, four women, two children, and three infants were summarily executed.” The killings were illegal, a US airstrike attempted to destroy the evidence, and yet no soldiers have been held accountable. Releasing this cable did not “aid the enemy”; it’s the killing itself that spawns outrage and radical militancy.

Sgt. Gibbs, Sgt Wuterich, and the soldiers who followed their orders have confessed to the blood on their hands, and they will be granted plea deals and near-immunity. Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared that claims of damage done as a result of WikiLeaks’ releases were “significantly overwrought,” and yet Pfc. Manning could be sent to prison for life.

But Manning’s case is not truly about disciplining a soldier for “aiding the enemy” at all. If it were, Sergeants Gibbs and Wuterich would be those on high-profile trial, worrying they may never be free again. Instead, Manning’s trial is about punishing the messenger to dissuade those who find his courage inspiring. It sends a clear message that no matter the abuse, shedding desperately needed light on unpunished crimes will not be tolerated.

Bradley Manning being escorted to the courthouse for the Pretrial Hearing

35 thoughts on “Punishing the messenger while murderers go free

  1. I am a British citizen outraged at the treatment of Bradley Manning. I will continue to try to make his cause heard on FB. SHAME on Mr Obama for forsaking him, I still can’t get my head round that, it appears he has sacrificed an innocent young man for a few votes that he isn’t sure of winning?
    As far as I can see, Mr Manning is not a murderer or a traitor, he is a conscientious , sensitive , loyal ,honest and trustworthy young man who was shit scared when he saw what he was seeing?
    Are we going to wait till a film is made about it to realise the significance? and to get him out of jail?

    • I must agree.

      I am a former u.s. soldier and believe me when i say that every recruit takes an oath before entering the service and they explained us in great detail before hand before we raised our hands over what the oath actually means.

      The most important part of the oath is “to protect the constitution against ALL enemy’s foreign and domestic”. This means that protecting the constitution is actually higher than orders of the president.

      To make things short, manning did the right thing and thats what soldiers are supposed to do, a real soldier risks his/her own ass to do what is right and it needed to be done regardless of the consequences.

      • I am a british citizen and I just want to say “god bless america” I am definitely against that comment.

        Whilst it is horrible how they are treating bradley manning, whatever happens to bradley manning himself no one on this website is going to be punished for what they have said here. Even in England there is a chance for libel and defamation but in america people can write articles attacking important people with serious crimes and do it with complete security that their government will protect their right to do so…

        Yes, if they actually tried assange for treason this would go against that but if that happened that would be shocking and removed from what is normal american policy.

        There are few other countries in the world that enjoy this freedom and that is something that makes the US great and worth fighting for. (When I say fightingfor, I’m including the efforts of this website and bradley manning himself.)

      • Military leaders who blindly take orders from a fraudulent commander in chief, without verifying that he’s not the enemy, or even knowing his real name is the ultimate violation of the oath. To punish those who challenged obama’s eligibility is an outrage and treasonous.

  2. there aren’t many who would be able to do what he did. thats real courage… and now he is being punished for being a human being and doing the right thing. this may be the first but im damn sure this isn’t the last. something needs to be done about this or else the US will keep doing this for generations to come

  3. These soldiers sound like psychopathical serial killers, and they’re getting away with murder. So, for any serial killer out there joining the army might be a great way to get your rocks off!

  4. USA (pronounced “USER”) is pretty much a nazi empire with disneyesque showmanship. There are nice people there as well but overall the system is not a good one. But it’s a case of which is worse? USA with it’s warcrimes and failure to punish it’s own war criminals or Iran that murders women and children (USA does too of course under the banner of war). All of these systems are corrupt.

  5. I served two tours of Vietnam. Sadly, this isn’t just a case of bad apples. What it is is simply a few incidents of whats actually wide-spread leaking though the cracks in the wall of silence.

  6. As a former U.S. Marine, I can honestly say that PFC Manning’s actions are one of the finer examples of courage, decency & honor that I have ever seen in a non combat soldier. What he did, as a man, is unquestionably brave. What he did as a soldier was reprehensible.

    As a man of war, there is an ugly side that we all must come to grips with. War is not a pretty game where if you have the luxury of a reset button, there is no “save” option & the consequences are far exceeding what anyone can foresee. In war, especially in a war such as this, where the lines blur & the enemy is potentially anyone & everyone, you have to make decisions as to whom you fire upon. Sometimes, that 10 year old girl has a bomb strapped to her. Sometimes, that mother with her children is willing to sacrifice their lives just to end your squad.

    In war, when you’re placed in an environment where you truly don’t know who your enemy is, your enemy can potentially be anybody you believe poses a threat. At the end of the day, you tell yourself “I’m going home. I’m going to see my family again.”. Because at the end of the day, your life is more important to you than their’s.

    Bradley Manning has saved more lives than he will ever come to realize, but he has also placed more lives at risk than anyone will ever truly know. His leaks placed thousands of people at risk & has potentially fueled the desire for more to join our enemies ranks. What’s done is done, but this man does not deserve to be ostracized for what he has done, nor does he deserve to be lauded.

    • i can get what you are saying a little bit about not knowing who is your enemy in this war. couple of thoughts though: 1) in the video that was leaked by manning the soldiers are firing on the civilians from a helicopter are they not? so your arguement has no merrit with that as they were in no immediate danger and could have just flown away instead of firing on unarmed civilians. 2) does not pissing and cutting off fingers or other body parts not constitute major war crimes??? i mean after the soldiers have already killed these people then they are no longer a threat right?? so again your arguement is not valid in that situation either. manning should in no way shape or form be tried for war crimes, the ones who are perpetrating these reprehensible acts are the ones who should be on trial and possibly never see freedom again not Bradley Manning!!

    • 1. While I agree that in a battle field (not under situation that intentionally find innocent people to kill), it is a live or death issue. However, if a child or women would like to sacrifice their lives to fight against you. You should know there is something wrong in this war. While keeping yourself alive, you should realize you may more likely doing national offense than national defense.

      2. “potentially fueled the desire for more to join our enemies ranks” is a really irresponsible statement.

      It is the US army storming other countries under lies like “weapon of mass destruction”. It is the US troop bombed and killed countless innocent people, and the worse was the military as well as the media covered those crimes up and lied to people that US is saving the country and the world, instead.

      Now, here came a guy who free the truth to public and of course people in those countries being invaded will get angry(shouldn’t they), and you are blaming the people who released the truth and those people saw the truth who then become hostile to US troop?

      The people who made the mass worried their victims become hostile to them after knowing the truth? It this what you learned in the army? Or you only sort people into two categories, enemy and not enemy without examining what you did to other people first? To be honest, this is even worse than gangs.

      Usually I respect the noble motivation joining the troop for “defending our country”. However, the actually things the US troops did in other country were totally another story, pretty often far away,even opposite to the initial motivation.

      2. Saying that some so called leaked information which will endanger more people’s lives is baseless. It’s just a pretext to paint Bradley Manning black.

      Information for those facilities are able to be found on internet. Terrorist does not need those information alleged leaked since they can just set up a set of condition for justifying the targets and search on the internet.

      By the way, the DOD said in public no actual damage was found relative to the leaked information.

  7. I am a citizen of the USA and it sickens me to no end the treatment Mr. Manning has received while the killers go free. The government is as corrupt as one can get. I expect a knock on my door someday because I do not hide how I feel and freely speak my mind on such matters. I do not believe in violence nor condone it. We went there for all the wrong reasons, we went there under the veils of lies all for profit. I hope Assange and Manning go down in the history books as the heros they truly are, for to me they are that and so much more.

  8. RESPECT FOR BRADLEY!!!!!!!!!!!! FREEDOM FOR BRADLEY!!!!!!!!!

    ASK YOURSELVES THESE QUESTIONS : WHY ARE THE AMERICANS REALLY IN AFGHANISTAN ????? DOES AFGHANISTAN HAVE OIL RESERVES THAT WE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT ????? WHAT IS THE ONLY VALUABLE CASH CROP THAT AFGHANISTAN HAS ????? WHAT COULD THIS PRODUCT POSSIBLY BE ?????

    I WILL GIVE YOU A HINT : IT IS MADE FROM A PRETTY PLANT CALLED THE POPPY AND WHOEVER CONTROLS AFGHANISTAN CONTROLS THE GLOBAL TRADE IN THIS PARTICULAR PRODUCT. GOT IT NOW ?????

  9. Bradley Manning needs to be reminded daily that the world is with him and praying for him. Morally, the United States is no better than the regime of Pol Pot, as we have sunken so low and become so despised among the citizenry around the globe. Manning and Wikileaks have shed light on the hypocrisy, lies, propaganda and corporate sponsorship/pandering that is now Washington D.C. and most of the rest of the worldwide governing bodies, and for that they will remain historical heroes.

    • The DemocraZy never has been an honest way, thanks to the Internet which bypasses the propaganda machine.
      ie. this communication is case & point.
      I share your views,
      Best.

  10. The treatment of Bradley Manning is outrageous, If they didn’t look up to him for disclosing this barbarity then I would have been suprised. But I cringed when i saw what actually happened to him. I’m not american. I am a person.

  11. copy/pasted from another site. I DON’T believe this is lamo writing. I think he’s too ill/medicated to write this ‘cogently’…more garbage…

    Donate for the Cryptome archive of files from June 1996 to the present

    31 January 2012

    Adrian Lamo Comments on NSA

    ——————————————————————————–

    Adrian Lamo sends 31 January 2012:

    Hello,

    I realize I’m late to the party, but I’m putting this on the public record just the same.

    In the [January 7, 2011] story at http://cnet.co/ziTPdF, Declan McCullagh writes:

    One of the NSA’s missions is, of course, information assurance.
    But its normally lustrous star in the political firmament has dimmed a bit due to Wikileaks-related revelations.

    Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who is accused of liberating hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents from military networks and sending them to Wikileaks, apparently joked about the NSA’s incompetence in an online chat last spring.

    “I even asked the NSA guy if he could find any suspicious activity coming out of local networks,” Manning reportedly said in a chat transcript provided by ex-hacker Adrian Lamo. “He shrugged and said, ‘It’s not a priority.’ ”

    I reject and repudiate the implication that the snippet of conversation between myself and Bradley Manning is representative of any attitude on the part of the NSA beyond that of the particular individual assigned to FOB Hammer outside Baghdad.

    Specifically, it should not be taken as representative of the posture of the agency as a whole. It was clearly intended (by PFC. Manning) to disparage the skills or attentiveness of one particular agent or technician (who, by now, is probably seeking new employment) rather than define the capabilities of the NSA as a whole.

    To be clear, I am in no way privy to any special knowledge or insight as to the NSA’s capabilities, technology, tactics, or training. No aspect of my unavoidable past, present or immediate future involvement with the .gov or the .nsa.smil.mil/nsa.ic.gov influences this opinion. For purposes of this note, I am relying on open-source intelligence.

    My sole purpose in proffering this note is to clear the air in re. a part of a conversation to which I was a party being used to paint a picture that is not representative of its context.

    Neither is this reply intended to impugn Declan McCullagh’s skills or ethics as a journalist, both of which are beyond reproach and are routinely described positively by sources considering approaching him. It is my good-faith belief that he may have overestimated the understanding that PFC. Manning held in re. the capabilities of the National Security Agency, among other benign possibilities.

    Thank you for reading.

    Cheers,

    /s/

    Adrian Lamo

    — ?AL

    w: +18559990911 h: +12023707750
    w: adrian[at]realityplanning.net w: adrian[at]2600.COM

    “We shall write to you,
    As time, and our concernings shall importune”

    — “Duke” | W. Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure”: Act I, Scene I (play)

  12. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to post this on this page/site but a. Bradley Manning is mentioned in this and b. it’s just populated in my fb account. I LOVE these kids!

    Anonymous reveals Haditha massacre emails >> Go to main page USA News Anonymous reveals Haditha massacre emails Follow RT onfacebook twitter YouTube Google+ MORE ON THE STORY 25.01, 21:50
    53 comments
    “Cold-blooded baby-killer” will get no jail time for Iraqi massacre
    After agreeing to a plea bargain on Monday, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich expected a sentence of 90 days in jail for slaughtering civilians during a 2005 massacre in Iraq. On Tuesday that term was nixed, and now the confessed killer will only be demoted.
    24.01, 03:01
    57 comments
    Marine gets three months in jail for massacring two dozen civilians
    More than six years after Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich led a squad of Marines into two Haditha, Iraq homes and massacred two dozen civilians, the American serviceman in charge has reached a plea deal.
    04.01, 23:55
    11 comments
    Last US marine charged with Haditha massacre on trial
    The last US marine linked to the brutal 2005 slaying of civilians in Iraq is finally having his day in court, more than six years after the grim incident occurred.
    15.12.2011, 23:24
    7 comments
    Secret documents reveal truth about American massacre in Iraq
    President Barack Obama may have declared the war in Iraq over, but unearthed documents thought to have been destroyed are bringing to light gruesome details from a skirmish that the military wishes hadn’t happened.
    Anonymous reveals Haditha massacre emails
    Get short URL
    Link copied to clipboardemail story to a friend print version Published: 03 February, 2012, 21:57

    Anonymous reveals Haditha massacre emails
    TAGS: Internet, Information Technology, Iraq, USA

    Anonymous have unveiled their second major release for this week’s installment of FuckFBIFriday. Their target this time around is Frank Wuterich, the US Marine that admitted to killing Iraqi civilians — and received no jail time for his crime.
    Early Friday afternoon, members of the loose-knit online collective Anonymous began circulating news that the website for Puckett and Faraj, the high-profile attorneys that represented Sgt. Frank Wuterich in his recent trial, had been hacked. Wuterich admitted to leading Marines into two civilian homes in Waditha, Iraq in 2005, massacring 24 civilians including women, children and an elderly man confined to a wheelchair.
    In response, hacktivists with Anonymous have uncovered gigabytes worth of correspondence from Sgt. Wuterich’s attorneys and affiliated parties.
    Last month, a military tribunal finally finished their hearing on Sgt. Wuterich, more than six years after the notorious slaughter. Insiders reported before his sentencing that he was expected to receive only 90 days behind bars. When the case ended, he was sentenced to zero.
    Anonymous members have hacked into the website for Sgt. Wuterich’s attorneys and have since defaced it with a detailed message explaining how the self-proclaimed “cold-blooded killer” became their latest target.
    “As part of our ongoing efforts to expose the corruption of the court systems and the brutality of US imperialism, we want to bring attention to USMC SSgt Frank Wuterich who along with his squad murdered dozens of unarmed civilians during the Iraqi Occupation,” reads a message now on the homepage of his attorney’s website. “Can you believe this scumbag had his charges reduced to involuntary manslaughter and got away with only a pay cut?”
    “Meanwhile,” adds the Anonymous-penned message, “Bradley Manning who was brave enough to risk his life and freedom to expose the truth about government corruption is threatened with life imprisonment.”
    “When justice cannot be found within the confines of their crooked court systems, we must seek revenge on the streets and on the internet – and dealing out swift retaliation is something we are particularly good at. Worry not comrades, it’s time to deliver some epic ownage.”
    In addition to defacing the website of his attorneys, nearly 3 gigabytes of email correspondence belonging to his attorneys have been leaked online.
    “And to add a few layers of icing to this delicious caek, we got the usual boatloads of embarrassing personal information. How do you think the world will react when they find out Neal Puckett and his marine buddies have been making crude jokes about the incident where marines have been caught on video pissing on dead bodies in Afghanistan? Or that he regularly corresponds with and receives funding from former marine Don Greenlaw who runs the racist blog http://snooper.wordpress.com? We believe it is time to release all of their private information and court evidence to the world and conduct a People’s trial of our own,” writes Anonymous
    The announcement this afternoon comes only hours after Anonymous operatives posted a recorded phone message that they intercepted from the FBI and Scotland Yard. Hours later, The Associated Press reports that the FBI confirmed the interception and says it is going after the parties responsible.

  13. this is absolute BS!!! i’m disgusted at hearing how these psychopaths aren’t even getting jail sentences and the guy who actually did the right thing is being threatened with life imprisonment??? Obama get your head on straight buddy!!! more and more people all over the world are hating the US more and more because of these kinds of failures to do what is right!!

  14. Our Congress this morning again condemned “human rights abuses” in another country (today it was Bahrain), again without apparent irony or any sort of self-awareness of its wallow in hypocrisy.

    The days when this country held any moral high ground whatsoever on human rights abuses surely ended with the attacks on nine-eleven. We became suddenly willing to repudiate the Geneva Conventions where our “war on terror” was concerned; certainly “terrorists” could have no rights. We buried human rights in the gulag of Guantanamo; in the ugly circuses of Abu Ghraib and in black prisons and covert actions in countries across the globe. We drowned human rights in a wider, deeper ocean of secrecy than we could have ever imagined. We “legally” ruled against human rights so we could torture other humans and call it something else–call it protecting our own citizenry. And too many of the people cheered.

    We do need protection from those who would harms us, but this republic of, by, and for the people also needs protection from our administration, our Congress, our armed forces, our surveillance agencies. Each of us who truly believes in human rights should do what we can to hold a mirror up to our government and force it to see itself as others around the world see it. See us.

    Every politician promises to clean up corruption in the capitals of the city, state, and nation, but who among them ever fulfills that promise? Politicians don’t expose corruption; whistleblowers do. Barack Obama said he understood that and promised during his presidential campaign to protect whistleblowers. Instead he has gone after them even more fiercely than did the virulently secretive George W. Bush.

    Bizarrely enough, on 28 March 2011, President Obama accepted a Transparency Award from five “open government” organizations, while whistleblowing computer operator Bradley Manning was imprisoned at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, and classified as a “maximum custody detainee” held under a “Prevention of Injury” assignment. Our government held Manning in solitary confinement when we should have given him a public parade.

    Why did we shut him away from the light of day, the “disinfectant of sunlight”? Because Bradley Manning is a mirror held up to the dishonest eyes of our leaders. They don’t like seeing what is there, so they plan to shatter Manning and leave him in pieces for the rest of us to glimpse the caution and take heed.

    Bradley Manning hasn’t aided “the enemy”: he has aided each one of us who believes in honor and humility, who believes in real transparency and civil conduct, who believes in the rights of human beings and in the characteristics that define our common humanity.

    We must support Manning during this sham exercise in military justice and beyond, in this abuse of a whistleblower who has brought our own conduct out in the open, and we must assure him that he will not stand alone, that each of us will hold up a mirror to the light in whatever way we can. And, unlike most of our politicians, we must keep that promise.

  15. If they think this will dissuade other people from doing the same thing Bradley Manning did they are wrong.He did the right thing and if I was in his place I would do the same thing.I’m pretty sure we teach our kids to do the right thing.The government needs to think about what type of message their sending out to the elementary kids and the high school kids.Bradley Manning did not help the enemy,he did not send them anything.Bradley Manning was just trying to show the government and the people that we were on a slippery slope and if we were not careful we’ll lose our humanity and we would become just like the enemy.The government should prove to us they are not totally corrupt by pardoning Bradley Manning and letting him go free.
    Government this goes out to you,are you still human,do you still have a soul, what if he was your son.

  16. I nearly forgot about this brave young man and I feel ashamed about it. I feel so helpless to help him. But my thoughts will be around him and all those, who my help him to get back to a “normal” life. I wonder, if he regrets what he did because of the horror he has been going trough?

  17. So, who is the biggest trial going to be for, after all the aggressive wars based on lies from the Bush/Cheney cabal ?

    A private who told the world the truth !!!

  18. It’s all about perspective. Obama has been directly responsible for the shredding of countless children with his “authorized” drone strikes. What defines terrorism more clearly than that? In reality Obama was directly responsible for the video “collateral murder”, and the acts of his military. Although, following orders from a fraud in a military exercise would seem to me, be a far more serious violation of the oath, as in, “against all enemies foreign or domestic”. Especially if the courts decide to go forward with the use of fraudulent documents to run for office case on Monday April 22. Every order, and bill, act, law, regulation signed by the fraud in chief becomes null and void, and every military commander becomes a war criminal.

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