Monday, September 20, 2010

Bradley Manning, military suicides

Rallies were held over the weekend for Bradley Manning. For anyone not up to speed, 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. This month, the military charged Manning. 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. Manning is now at Quantico in Virginia, under military lock and key and still not allowed to speak to the press. As Daniel Ellsberg reminded from the stage in Oakland Thursday night, "We don't know all the facts." But we know, as Ellsberg pointed out, that the US military is attempting to prosecute Bradley.

Julia Ledoux (Inside Nova) reports demonstrators at Quantico yesterday protested for Bradley to be freed and quotes Pete Perry stating, "We're concerned because specifically we believe there are war crimes being committed in Iraq and Afghanistan. When crimes are committed, it helps when there is a whistleblower to report them." The Guardian's Greenslade blog notes the rallies. The Uptake has video of the rally in Minneapolis. Coleen Rowley participated in that rally and she explains in the video:

We're here today to support Bradley Manning, the Private who is being charged with exposing the video known as Collateral Murder showing the Apache helicopter shooting 11 Iraqi civilians, also including two children and two Reuters employees. He is a whistle blower who is blowing the whistle on War Crimes so, therefore, he cannot have done anything wrong.

In addition, Will David (Lower Hudson Journal News) reports that a protest took place in Cortlandt, New York outside a fundraiser for US House Rep John Hall who is running for re-election and that the demonstrators utilized "a mock coffin draped with an American flag and held up signs protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan" and quotes 61-year-old Bennett Weiss stating, "I was an ardent supporter of John Hall. I worked tirelessly to get him elected. He has not lived up to expectations as a true progressive."

Meanwhile Sig Christenson (San Antonio Express-News) reports that Fort Hood has now had 15 confirmed suicides so far this year including 26-year-old Iraq War veteran Spc Armando G. Aguilar:

As in many soldier suicides, he was grappling with mental problems and was seeking help.
"He was a ticking time bomb already," said the soldier's father, Armando G. Aguilar Sr.
The Bay City priest who officiated at the soldier's funeral and talked of his musical gifts said one family member told him the medicine wasn't working as it was intended.
"He took it and it affected him in a different way. That's what I was told," said Father Garry Cernoch, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Bay City, who didn't know Aguilar.

On WBAI this morning Law and Disorder Radio (10:00 a.m. EST over the airwaves and also streams live online at WBAI and streams at anytime at its own website and airs on other radio stations throughout the week), hosts Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith address a number of issues including, with Iraq Veterans Against the War's Jose Vasquez, the issue of Iraq. Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Stand Up Barack" went up yesterday.

The e-mail address for this site is