[Ppnews] The Prosecution and Persecution of Bradley Manning

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 5 16:43:39 EDT 2013


June 05, 2013 
<http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/06/05/the-prosecution-and-persecution-of-bradley-manning/#> 
<http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/06/05/the-prosecution-and-persecution-of-bradley-manning/#> 

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/06/05/the-prosecution-and-persecution-of-bradley-manning/


  The Prosecution and Persecution of Bradley Manning

by ALYSSA ROHRICHT

Bradley Manning's trial finally got its start on Monday, June 3rd (after 
a mere four years of pre-trial detention). Transcripts 
<http://www.bradleymanning.org/featured/transcripts-day-1-of-bradley-mannings-court-martial> from 
the first day of trial have been released and they are nothing if not a 
shameful and despicable look at our government's calculated plan to 
silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers in all areas of government and 
military.

It is almost difficult to read, even from the opening statement of the 
prosecution.

    "The evidence will show that those are the words of PFC Bradley
    Manning, Your Honor. This is not a case about an accidental spill of
    classified information. This is not a case about a few documents
    left in a barracks with you. This is not a case about a government
    official who made discrete targeted disclosures of classified
    information based on content (INAUDIBLE) careful. This, Your
    Honor, this is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested
    hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases and
    then literally dumped that information on to the Internet and into
    the hands of the enemy. Material he knew, based on his training and
    experience, could put the lives and welfare of his fellow soldiers
    at risk."

The prosecution continued, "The evidence will show that PFC Manning 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_Manning> used his military 
training to gain the notoriety he craved. In short, the evidence will 
show that PFC Manning knew the consequences of his actions and 
disregarded that knowledge in his own self interest."

The desire to strip Manning of careful intent has been a tactic of the 
government that is prosecuting him and the mainstream media who parrot 
their propaganda from the start. Manning did not make "discrete targeted 
disclosures of classified information", they claim, instead he 
"systematically harvested" thousands of documents and "literally dumped" 
the documents "into the hands of the enemy." They want us to see him not 
as a careful, logical man who desired to expose war crimes and 
criminals. Instead, they tell us, he lashed out because he was a mad 
homosexual 
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/04/wikileaks-bradley-manning-bullying> 
in the military. Instead of portraying Manning as a man with a strong 
morality, as someone who risked his own safety to expose wrongdoing, 
they portray him as a frustrated gay man who was bullied and thus 
illegally released a flood of information without consideration. As 
Julian Assange <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange> of 
Wikileaks said in an interview with Chris Hedges,

    "The old media attempted to remove his alleged heroic qualities...An
    act of heroism requires that you make a conscious act. It is not an
    unreasoned expression of madness or sexual frustration. It requires
    making a choice---a choice that others can follow. If you do
    something solely because you are a mad homosexual there is no
    choice. No one can choose to be a mad homosexual. So they stripped
    him, or attempted to strip him, of all his refinements."

Now the prosecution has taken that a step further: not only was he a 
frustrated homosexual with pent-up anger, but he was an arrogant young 
man looking for notoriety.

Most chilling is the argument made by the prosecution that Manning 
knowingly and willingly released classified information into the hands 
of the enemy. The absurdity is two-fold. First that Manning released 
information into the hands of terrorist groups, noting documents found 
in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Second that Manning released 
the information to Wikileaks, which the prosecution describes quite 
clearly as "the enemy."

    "Finally, Your Honor, the evidence will show that the accused
    knowingly gave intelligence to the enemy. As discussed earlier, Your
    Honor, the evidence will show that PFC Manning searched
    for WikiLeaks more than 100 times on the SIPRNET. The evidence will
    show that he understood the nature of the organization."

So since Manning released information to Wikileaks -- a news outlet -- 
which is read by the public, and included in that public may be 
terrorists or terrorist organizations, it must follow from this 
Orwellian line of inference that Wikileaks, and by extension, Manning 
have aided terrorist organizations. 'Aiding the enemy', the harshest of 
charges against Manning, could mean life in prison for the 25-year-old.

It is par for the course now for the government to claim that 
journalists involved in covering national security issues are enemies of 
the state. There was the AP scandal 
<http://thecrashculture.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/secrecy-drones-prisons-kill-lists-obamas-legacy/> of 
course, where the DOJ subpoenaed the phone records of editors and 
reporters following a story about a foiled terror plot. Perhaps even 
more disturbing is the subpoenaed records of Fox News reporter James 
Rosen <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Rosen>. I say more disturbing 
because the FBI described Rosen in an affidavit 
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/04/white-house-backs-eric-holder-leaks-investigation> as 
a co-conspirator in espionage. It can now be considered espionage for 
reporters to do their jobs in gathering information.

The clear desire to strip Manning of his humanity, his morality, is an 
attempt to strip his actions of meaning and heroism. As Manning's 
defense noted in their opening statement, Manning wanted to "lift the 
fog of war" and show the "true nature of 21st century asymmetric 
warfare." He released the classified documents to expose the public to 
the true costs of war -- the horrific, grisly aspects of war. Manning 
thought that if the public knew what war was -- if the public knew how 
little value was placed on the lives of the people living in "enemy" 
states, perhaps there could be change.

In Manning's own statement in February, he spoke specifically of the 
Collateral Murder video. He recalled his horror at watching as the men 
in the helicopter gunned down civilians without regard to human life.

    "They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to
    not value human life, and referred to them as quote-unquote "dead
    bastards," and congratulated each other on their ability to kill in
    large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on
    the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is
    seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the
    location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks
    for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a
    reason to engage. For me, this seemed similar to a child torturing
    ants with a magnifying glass."

And this is why Manning has been made an example of. It is not 
permitted to expose The Empire for what it is. It is not permitted to 
pull back the curtain on the rampant greed and disregard for human life 
that fuels U.S. hegemony. It is not permitted to question the oligarchy. 
We must buy the line that says that our wars are just, clean, and 
efficient. We must accept the decrees of the ruling class when they tell 
us that our involvements abroad in country after country are for our own 
safety. Fear mongering is essential to keeping the masses under control.

Thus The Empire will do everything in its power to put Bradley Manning 
away forever. If he can be made invisible, so too can the lies that his 
documents uncovered. If Manning can be silenced and thrown into a 
prison cell for life, if the mainstream media continues to parrot the 
propaganda of the ruling class (lest they be implicated as 
co-conspirators in espionage), then our hegemonic wars of power and 
greed can continue, so long as we pay no attention to the man behind the 
curtain.

*/Alyssa Rohricht/*/ maintains Crash Culture 
<http://thecrashculture.wordpress.com/> and can be reached at 
aprohricht at msn.com <mailto:aprohricht at msn.com>./

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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