Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Hate The War

Bradley Manning. Josh Gerstein (POLITICO) reports, "Another military officer has formally recommended that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning face a full-scale court martial for allegedly leaking thousands of military reports and diplomatic cables to the online transparency site WikiLeaks."
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 7, 2010, 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 2010 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." In March, 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.

The Article 32 hearing was last month.

The biggest disappointment?

For some it was the trans-issues the defense raised. That didn't bother me.

What bothered me was that it appeared either Bradley doesn't know how he wants to plead or his attorneys don't know what they're doing. (David E. Coombs is Bradley's civilian attorney. He also has a military attorney.)

Why do I say there's confusion somewhere?

Bradley should have had a position presented in the Article 32 hearing.

For months here, I've had to be the bitch online pointing out that people need to stop saying, "Bradley did a brave thing . . ." or whatever else. I've had to point out that Bradley's innocent until proven guilty and that he'd entered no plea.

The Article 32 cleared up nothing in terms of Bradley's position.

The Article 32 is a rubber stamp. That's the way it goes.

Bradley was always going to face a court-martial (barring massive protests to Barack).

To win at a court-martial, he needs to be able to rally people.

That means pick a damn side already.

Either he's saying he was the WikiLeaker or he's saying he wasn't.

Whatever position he goes with, he'll find tons of support. That includes those who've been calling him the WikiLeaker all along. They'll support him still and tailor their new arguments if he goes for innocent.

But a decision needed to be made and none was.

The Article 32 is a rubber stamp. The most important element of the court martial is for the White House, the Pentagon, the entire federal government to realize Americans are watching. Especially during an election year.

If he's going to plead guilty (or "I did it but . . .") the forces in support of him need to know so they can rally support. If he's going to plead innocent, same thing.

Ehren Watada is the successful war resister in terms of the legal system. They put him on trial. And Judge Toilet (John Head) was so eager to help the prosecution that he gave them a 'do over' -- which legally translates as double jeporady -- which is against the law, forbidden in the Constitution. That could have been swept under the rug, pushed aside. But people were paying attention to that court-martial. And paying attention to how the higher courts were going to rule on the double jeporady issue. When the judge ruled, there was no more appeal, even the Justice Dept had to walk away and that's because veryone had been watching.

Bradley needs that kind of support. He's not going to get it until people know which side they need to be arguing.

Myself, I believe innocenct until proven guilty unless the defendant admits to the actions. But I'm done calling people out for it. This is beyond crazy. Well meaning people -- even Ray McGovern has good intentions -- shouldn't be expected to wait and wait and wait. The Article 32 should have resolved at least that issue. It didn't.

So if Ray McGovern wants to scream that Bradley did it 24-7 and that we need to support him because of his bravery, then so be it.

I'm not going to say another word on that issue in termsof calling people out or correcting them regarding the presumption of innocence. I will offer a bit of advice that I offered a friend who didn't listen and now his 'man' talk looks extremely silly (in light of the gender issues that came to light in the Article 32), think before you speak. If you're trying to raise attention and awareness, probably not a good thing to go on and on about how 'manly' Bradley is and what a man and blah, blah, blah. That message (wrong in my opinion to begin with -- equating strength with gender) went right down the drain when the gender confusion was raised by Bradley's attorneys.

I'm tired of screaming "Innocent until proven guilty!" but I've been tired of that since last spring. The reason I'm not even raising that issue anymore is because support needs to be building now. If Bradley's tied his attorneys' hands on this issue or if his attorneys are failing him on this issue, then the public can't go AWOL. There is no reason to go into a court-martial without having decided what you're going to do. There is no reason to keep your supporters guessing.

If I'm in the mood for the case and Ray McGovern writes a piece this week or next calling Bradley a hero for leaking the cables, we'll excerpt it here. Someone needs to be rallying the public ahead of the court-martial. It was one thing to go into an Article 32 with supporters blind. (Because, again, it's a rubber stamp.) It's very different to go into a court-martial with your supporters unclear what position is going to be taken.

The court of public opinion is very important. This is the period where you want the groundswell to begin. You want it to build and build so that, on the first day of the court-martial, everyone's talking about it. (So, for example, now would be the time to release a song about Bradley. Not during the lead up to the Article 32.)

These are serious charges that Bradley's facing that carry serious consequences if he's convicted. I understand that. I understand that he needs to decide what position to take. But what someone's missing -- either his attorneys or him -- is that if he goes into that court-martial without letting supporters know whether he's going to say he is the WikiLeaker or he isn't the WikiLeaker, he's undercut himself.

The drumbeat needs to start and it can't be hedged with, "If he did it . . ." No. That's not fair to supporters who are giving their own time on this issue (that includes Ray McGovern). And it's not fair to would-be supporters.

There are people who are going to say, "Okay, if he did it, I can support that. So did he do it?"

But when the answer is, "We don't know," some people's response will be impatience, others will be anger. And if the anger builds, Bradley loses because then no one gives a damn, not enough people to make a difference. I have no idea why the legal team is not using the only force that would be on their side. If you've followed war resistance court-martials in the last years, you know the judge is rarely on the side of the accused. You know that if the jury appears to be, they usually get several dressings down from the judge.

The public is independent of the judiciary. It's independent of the military. It's a powerful force and a large number are willing to be part of this resource for Bradley. But they're standing there, fidgeting on their starter marks, waiting and waiting for the race to start.

So Ray and Daniel Ellsberg and all the others should go with the message wanted to run with which is: Bradley did a brave thing and is a hero.

It may not be correct. Or it may be correct but doesn't fit with the defense's presentation. But right now the defense is squandering their most important asset.

It's not doing Bradley any favors. The court's going to want to convict him.

And while I'mnot going to call out Ray McGovern or anyone else from this point forward for arguing that Bradley's actions are heroic (thereby implying that he did it), I will continue to call out the chickens. What's a chicken?

Let's see, remember when Barack declared that Bradley was guilty? That was offensive. It was offensive since he takes an oath to the Constitution and since we have a presumption of innocence built into our legal system. It was offensive since he's the commander in chief and his pronouncements are supposed to have impact on those serving.

So if you're a chicken, you might write a piece on Bradley in which you slam Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton and Harold Kol and others. But, if you're full of s**t like Chase Madar, you never call out Barack. Not for that statement, not for the fact that all the people you're trashing take their orders from Barack, serve at his pleasure. But you don't call out Barack because being adult's real hard and it might mean you couldn't have a crush on Barack and if you couldn't have a crush, who would you think of at night as you furiously rubbed your groin against the mattress 'till you made happy juice?

I can understand the need for supporters to get the ball rolling ahead of the court-martial and making a decision the defense refused to make. I can even respect that. But I have no respect for the cowards who go out of their way to call out everyone under Barack but are too chicken s**t to call out Barack.

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 4487. Tonight it's [PDF format warning] 4487. Here's the screen snap:


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