Sunday, August 18, 2013

The 'Crimes' of Bradley Manning

The information that Bradley gave to the public has been a catalyst for pro-democracy movements in the Arab world, exposed the unjust detainment of innocent people at Guantanamo Bay, shown us the true human cost of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and changed journalism forever.

Top Ten Ways Bradley Manning Changed the World

IN FOCUS, 5 August 2013

by Juan Cole, Informed Comment – TRANSCEND Media Service

Bradley Manning will be sentenced today [31 Jul 2013], having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday [30 Jul 2013], including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that his leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what he revealed and that his revelations changed the world are undeniable.

1. Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

2. Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

3. Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.

4. He revealed that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US diplomats to spy on their United Nations counterparts. The UN spy requests included cables that “demanded detailed intelligence on the UN leadership including forensic detail about their communications systems, including passwords and personal encryption keys,” foreshadowing later revelations of extensive US spying on even allies like Germany via the NSA.

5. His leaks show that then Senator John Kerry pressed Israel to be open to returning the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a peace negotiation. This item suggests that Kerry might be more of an honest broker in the current negotiations than some observers give him credit for.

6. Revealed that Afghanistan government corruption is “overwhelming”. This degree of corruption, which has shaken the whole banking system and caused US funds to be massively misused, is still a factor in our decision of whether to stay in Afghanistan in some capacity after December 2014. The US public is in a better position to judge the issue with these documents available.

7. Manning revealed the degree of authoritarianism and corruption of the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak, which was subsequently swept away.

8. Manning revealed that hard-nosed realist, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, was against striking Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities because it would only slow their program down slightly, but would inevitably cause Iranians to be angry and mobilized in the aftermath.

9. Manning revealed that the Israeli authorities had a secret plan to keep the Palestinian population of Gaza on the brink of food insecurity and poor health, in among the creepiest military operations in history: “Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”

10. Manning’s act of courage encouraged hackers to leak the emails of Bashar al-Assad and his wife, showing their jewelry buys in Europe and gilded style of life while al-Assad’s artillery was pounding Homs and other cities with no regard for the lives of noncombatants. In fact, Manning inspired numerous leakers, including some who blew the whistle on PLO corruption and willingness to give away most of Jerusalem to Israel, and, likely, Edward Snowden, who revealed to us that our government has us all under surveillance.


Juan Ricardo Cole is a public intellectual, prominent blogger and essayist, and the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

Bradley and Wikileaks Exposed the Rape of Children and Detainees

While politicians and media decry rape at home (even when they do little about it) cables released by Bradley Manning through Wikileaks show that there was an extensive, officially sanctioned cover-up of rape and other sexual violence in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The rapes often were of children.

These cables and logs also revealed the existence of “Frago 242,” an order from the US military issued in 2004 not to investigate allegations of abuse, including rape, by Iraqi government officials. Cables reveal that the US Government was aware that some of the abuse included the rape and sexual torture of prisoners of both sexes in US custody. Many of those subjected to rape in custody were in fact children.

Wikileaks also provided further insight into the rape and murder of a 14 year old girl and her family in Haditha by members of the US 101st Airborne. The worst of the offenders was later released with an honorable discharge into the US civilian population. Only after protests first in Iraq and then in the US, were he and four others finally arrested, tried, and found guilty of murder.

Bradley and Wikileaks exposed the use by private military contractors of “dancing boys” in Afghanistan, a practice which even the State Department describes as a ‘culturally sanctioned form of male rape’. One of the contractors, DynCorp, had also been used by the US Government in Bosnia where they were involved in the systematic rape of girls, some as young as 12. The released cables show that the US Government was specifically notified and asked to cover up what was going on for fear of the reaction by the local population would be to the use of the contractors.

“The anti-rape movement internationally is indebted to Bradley Manning and Wikileaks for helping to expose the extent of rape and torture, including of children, and its systematic cover up under occupation.”
Women Against Rape

Bradley Manning has been acquitted of the most serious charge, Aiding the Enemy, but has been found guilty of 19 other charges. We must protect this whistleblower - Sign the petition to demand that Bradley Manning walk free! 


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