Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Hate The War

This is just going to be about Bradley Manning. Basics on Bradley. Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning has been convicted in the public square despite the fact that he's been convicted in no state and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, he has made no public statements about the charges against him. Manning has been at Quantico in Virginia, under military lock and key, for months. Earlier this month, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. David E. Coombs is Bradley's attorney and he provided a walk through on Article 104. Like many, Sophie Elmhirst (New Statesman) emphasized the possibility of the death penalty.

An e-mail about this morning's entry asked, "How are we supposed to defend Bradley Manning if we can't talk about how he's the one who leaked all the stuff" to WikiLeaks?

You can talk about whatever you want. It is a free country.

But if you're trying to help Bradley Manning, you don't take the charges the government has made against them and declare them "true."

How do you defend him?

Do you not believe in or know the American legal system?

Innocent until proven guilty.

That's the premise.

It's not complicated, it doesn't require everyone coming up with a cover story or even lying.

Unless the government proves their case in court or a defendant decides to admit guilt, the person is innocent.

The military is not above the Constitution. Everyone in the military takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. That includes the right to a speedy trial. That's the Sixth Amendment.

Bradley's been held without trial. That's not following the Constitution. That's before you get into everything else.

Everything else?

Why is Bradley under lock and key?

Who has argued before any legal body -- military or civilian -- that Bradley's a threat if released? How would he be a threat? How does the government make that case?

And if he's going to be held until trial, the government is not allowed to punish him or treat any differently than anyone else they hold.

He's been stripped, he's been isolated. He's bullied and threatened.

No, the government's not allowed to do any of that.

Barack's claimed that everything being done to Bradley is legal and that's simply not true.

The way he's being treated generally results in a federal investigation and, if these behaviors are documented, heads roll.

Bradley may be innocent, he may be guilty. He may choose to fight the charges, he may make a plea. Unless you're a psychic, you don't know what's going to happen. But what's happening right now to Bradley is outrageous. When Bush decided the Constitution didn't apply with regards to American citizen Jose Padilla, it was outrageous. Many people -- myself included -- spoke out against the way Jose was treated. I had no idea if he was guilty or not. It didn't matter. There is a standard for justice in this country and those in charge are supposed to follow it. Barack and the Justice Dept and the military do not get to create new laws. Only Congress can create laws and, thus far, the Constitution has not been amended with regards to the rights of the accused.

Accused not convicted. What's being done to Bradley is outrageous and shameful. It's a stain on the entire country and the fact that Barack thinks he can get away with it is deeply troubling. When he continued Bush's Iraq War and made it his own, that was bad enough. But this is war on US citizens. And supposedly that dark chapter closed when George W. Bush stopped occupying the White House.

That's more than enough reasons to call for Bradley Manning to be treated fairly.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last week, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4441. Tonight it is [PDF format warning] 4441 still.

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