Friday, March 01, 2013

When does the conversation begin?


 Yesterday, on the 1005th day of his non-stop impisonment, Bradley Manning (above) entered a plea to ten charges and admitted to passing documents to WikiLeaks. Bradley  was one of the topics on The World Today With Eleanor Hall (Austrlia's ABC) as Emily Bourke and Jane Cowan discussed yesterday's events:

EMILY BOURKE: Well, Bradley Manning's already been behind bars for some time now. What are the prospects of him ever being a free man?

JANE COWAN: You're right, Em. He's been in custody since he was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 so that's almost three years now and Bradley Manning supporters just held vigils recently marking day 1000 of the 25-year-old's detention.
The aiding the enemy charge carries a life sentence and even the 10 charges he's admitting to do expose him to a sentence of 20 years combined so that's a long time behind bars no matter what happens.
Remember too, the military judge Colonel Denise Lind, last month decided to shave something like 112 days off any eventual sentence to compensate for the overly harsh treatment that she judged he had suffered while he was being held in detention at Quantico marine base but even that is a drop in the bucket you have to say when Private Manning is staring down life behind bars if he's convicted of that main charge.

Monday April 5, 2010, when 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, 2011, 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 took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions. adds, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor."

On The NewsHour (PBS -- link is text, audio and video) last night, Judy Woodruff spoke with PRI and PBS' Arun Rath and with the New York Times' Charlie Savage about what took place in the military courtroom:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Arun Rath, help us understand what he didn't plead guilty to today.

ARUN RATH, FRONTLINE: Well, not pleading guilty to the main -- the biggest charge, which is aiding the enemy, that is huge. At least, that's the one that carries potentially the life sentence for him.
And it seems like what they're trying to do is kind of peel away the leak from the criminality of it, from trying to say that he was trying to hurt the country. And that was a big part of the statement that he made today justifying what he did.
He made a big point of saying that he didn't want to release any information that would damage the United States. He said he found information that he thought would be embarrassing, but not damaging. And they're trying to sort of play that on those terms, I think.

Arun Rath spoke with Marco Werman (The World, PRI -- link is audio only) yesterday about the developments and Charlie Savage's article on the events for the Times is here (and Kat praised the article last night at her site).

JUDY WOODRUFF: Charlie Savage, what did you take away from watching from him today as he read his statements, as he gave his explanation? What did you see?

CHARLIE SAVAGE: Well, he was sitting at a -- I was watching from the media center, which is sort of a filing center close to the courtroom. It has a closed caption circuit feed. And most of the reporters were there today.
And he was sitting before the judge next to his lawyers. He's sort of a small person. And he was reading from the -- this prepared statement, this lengthy prepared statement that was basically his narrative, his statement at last about why he did what he did. For a few years now, ever since this book, we have about him and his mental troubles, his struggles with his sexuality, his suicidal periods and the abuse that he may have received in prison once he was locked up.
And there's been all these surrounding conversations. And this was the moment after all these years in which he was able to say, here's what I did and here's why. And his message was squarely that he was a whistle-blower, didn't use that term, but as he marched through the narrative of how he came to download these documents just for his own work as a military analyst in Iraq, and then as he became troubled by what he was seeing, and he thought that what the American people needed to know if these documents came out would spark -- would be enlightening, would spark a massive conversation about foreign policy and about what the government is doing.
And so he decided to find a way to bring them to light.

Most of the coverage is not worth noting.  That includes the crazy -- such as Press TV with George Galloway's remarks -- and the insane and disappointing -- Marjorie Cohn's garbage.

It's all garbage. 

Ben Nuckols, Ed Pilkington and Charlie Savage wrote articles that mattered.  You could even throw in Ernesto Londono and Julie Tate's piece that closed a lot of loopholes.

But the rest?

Crazy Marjorie's supposed to be a legal mind.  All she's doing is repeating what she got from the wires.  She could have written her garbage a week ago or months ago.  It serves no purpose.

In yesterday's snapshot, we utilized a variety of observations by a variety of reporters.  But we also did what Bradley Manning said was needed, what he hoped to spark, a discussion.  Where is that discussion?

Do we really need Crazy Ass Marjoie Cohn playing AP (badly) when she should be advancing the discussion Bradley wanted started.

Ava and I'll probably touch on this on Sunday in a piece about the media failures.  (We spoke on that topic last night and Kat said after that we should make that our media piece for Third.)   We've covered what Bradley wanted discussed here.  Yesterday's snapshot, yes, but I've also called out all the pathetic chickens on my side (the left) who can't make the time to condemn counter-insurgency, they won't even discuss it.  If the left won't discuss it, how's the nation supposed to?

Counter-insurgency's going on in Mali right nowAfghans are set to take over the counter-insurgency in their countryright now they just lead on joint-missions.  In fact, we could list all the countries right now where it's being used or about to be.

At what point do we find the ability to call it out?  As I've pointed out before, during Vietnam, we (on the left) could and did call it out.  Today, we're so pathetic we can't even mention the topic, apparently.  There's Tom Hayden and David Price and that's about it that have called it out in the last few years.  Credit to Susan Page for hosting a discussion on it -- on The Diane Rehm Show as a guest host. 

Why is Marjorie Cohn, a legal mind, unable to call out counter-insurgency? 

Exactly when we do have the discussion Bradley hoped to start?

The following community sites -- plus Adam Kokesh, The Diane Rehm Show, Susan's On the Edge, C-SPAN,  Jody Watley, and Chocolate City --  updated last night and this morning:

The Fabulous Jody Watley
19 hours ago 
I've been needing to note something by David Bacon all weekend -- there hasn't been time.  We'll include it in the snapshot today.
The e-mail address for this site is

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