Monday, August 05, 2013

Bradley Manning

Welsh radicalism is evoked in scenes of school history lessons, notably in the acting out of a riot. But Mr. Price steers clear of simple answers to Private Manning’s later actions.
“What we found when we were workshopping the play is that there is no simple causality,” said Mr. McGrath. “There is a meditation by Tim on Welshness and radicalization and then Bradley’s passage to becoming a soldier and to WikiLeaks. We try to dig into his spirit, but we have no answers.”
Mr. McGrath and Mr. Price decided that they would cast the play with actors around Private Manning’s age, who could have been at school with him. Each of the six performers, including the cast’s two women, plays the role at different points — a nod to the “I am Bradley Manning” campaign.
“It’s important that we can’t be precious about doing a ‘part’ or a ‘character,’ ” said Matthew Aubrey, who plays Private Manning in the play’s opening scenes. “In the beginning, we didn’t even know what he sounded like. We had to work together to create an authentic voice.”

That's from Rosyln Sulcas's "Whistle-Blower Has Inspired a Welsh Troupe" (New York Times) about "The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning" which is being performed in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Brad is a whistle-blower.


Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released  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."  February 28th, Bradley admitted he leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

Bradley Manning:   In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

For truth telling, Brad was punished by the man who fears truth: Barack Obama.  A fraud, a fake, a 'brand,' anything but genuine, Barack is all marketing, all facade and, for that reason, must attack each and every whistle-blower.  David Delmar (Digital Journal) points out, "President Obama, while ostensibly a liberal advocate of transparency and openness in government, and of the 'courage' and 'patriotism' of whistleblowers who engage in conscientious leaks of classified information, is in reality something very different: a vindictive opponent of the free press willing to target journalists for doing their job and exposing government secrets to the public."

 Tuesday, July 30th, Bradley was convicted of all but two counts by Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge in his court-martial.  Susan Manning is Brad's mother.  Nic North (Daily Mail) quotes her stating, "Never give up hope, son.  I know I may never see you again, but I know you will be free one day.  I pray it is soon.  I love you, Bradley, and I always will." His aunt Sharon Staples states, "If anyone was going to get themselves arrested for leaking hundreds of thousands of secret documents and end up jail for it, it was going to be our Bradley.  He just seemed to have a burning sense of wanting to right any injustice from such a young age."  John Naughton (Guardian) offers this perspective:

Just to put that in perspective, cast your mind back to 16 March 1968, when a platoon of US soldiers led by Second Lieutenant William Calley entered the hamlet of My Lai in what was then South Vietnam. They rounded up between 70 and 80 villagers and then shot them dead. In all, between 347 and 504 My Lai civilians were murdered that day by US troops.
Eventually, there was a court martial, just like the one organised for Manning. Despite claiming that he was following orders from his commanding officer, Calley was convicted on 29 March 1971 of premeditated murder for ordering the shootings and was given a life sentence. Two days later, President Nixon ordered that he should be released, pending an appeal against his sentence, which was later reduced. Calley eventually served three and a half years under house arrest at an army base.
So: three and a half years house-arrest for ordering and participating in the premeditated murder of scores of unarmed civilians. And potentially 136 years for downloading stuff – including compelling video evidence of a war crime by US forces – and giving it to WikiLeaks. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Bradley's case is now in the sentencing phase.  RT notes:

Supporters of Bradley Manning are willing to put their life on the line and serve part of his potential 136-year prison sentence and are urging the military judge in charge of the case to consider this option.
The online petition titled "I Will Proudly Serve Part of Bradley Manning's Sentence," has gathered more than 2,500 signatures out of 3000 needed to submit it to Major General Jeffrey S. Buchanan, who will review the sentence of Bradley Manning once the military judge Colonel Denise Lind makes the ruling.

Alexa O'Brien has been covering the court-martial throughout and she has a column for the New York Daily News today:

After nearly four years in pre trial confinement, some of it under quite literally cruel and unusual circumstances, Manning was acquitted last week of the gravest charge, aiding the enemy. A conviction would have created a new precedent of treating whistleblowers as traitors.
The press has already been wounded by the Obama administration’s unprecedented and aggressive use of a 1917 statute intended for spies to prosecute unauthorized leakers . That’s part of why Manning now faces 136 years of military confinement for the 20 crimes he was convicted of for his role in the largest leak of government documents in history even though most of what he shared was classified at the lowest levels. Much of it was unclassified.
But despite the trial’s high stakes for the press, a thicket of restrictions and complications imposed by the military have had the effect (and, perhaps, the intent) of encouraging journalists to find an easier story to report.

On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include Michael Ratner weighing in on the court-martial verdict on Bradley Manning, Jules Lobel joins the hosts to discuss the ongoing hunger strike at Pelican Bay Prison and a broadcast of economics professor Michael Zweig addressing the topic of the working class at the Left Forum.  Co-host Michael Smith posted "The Roots of Academic Freedom" over the weekend and co-host Heidi Boghosian's new book Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance is in bookstores Tuesday.

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