WORTH REPEATING: In Defense Of Bradley Manning

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CBS NEWS: When Bradley Manning deployed to Iraq in October 2009, he thought that he’d be helping the Iraqi people build a free society after the long nightmare of Saddam Hussein. What he witnessed firsthand was quite another matter. He soon found himself helping the Iraqi authorities detain civilians for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature” — which turned out to be an investigative report into financial corruption in their own government entitled “Where does the money go?” The penalty for this “crime” in Iraq was not a slap on the wrist. Imprisonment and torture, as well as systematic abuse of prisoners, are widespread in the new Iraq. From the military’s own Sigacts (Significant Actions) reports, we have a multitude of credible accounts of Iraqi police and soldiers shooting prisoners, beating them to death, pulling out fingernails or teeth, cutting off fingers, burning with acid, torturing with electric shocks or the use of suffocation, and various kinds of sexual abuse including sodomization with gun barrels and forcing prisoners to perform sexual acts on guards and each other. Manning had more than adequate reason to be concerned about handing over Iraqi citizens for likely torture simply for producing pamphlets about corruption in a government notorious for its corruptness.

Like any good soldier, Manning immediately took these concerns up the chain of command. And how did his superiors respond? His commanding officer told him to “shut up” and get back to rounding up more prisoners for the Iraqi Federal Police to treat however they cared to. Now, you have already heard what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had to say about an American soldier’s duties when confronted with the torture and abuse of prisoners. Ever since our country signed and ratified the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture, it has been the law of our land that handing over prisoners to a body that will torture them is a war crime. Nevertheless, between early 2009 and August of last year, our military handed over thousands of prisoners to the Iraqi authorities, knowing full well what would happen to many of them. The next time Pfc. Manning encountered evidence of war crimes, he took a different course of action. MORE

GLENN GREENWALD: Critically, if one believes the authenticity of the purported Manning/Lamo chat log snippets selectively released by Wired, then Manning was very clear about why he decided to leak these materials: he sought to trigger worldwide reforms of government wrongdoing exposed by these documents:

Lamo: what’s your endgame plan, then?. . .

Manning: well, it was forwarded to [WikiLeaks] – and god knows what happens now – hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms – if not, than [sic] we’re doomed – as a species – i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens – the reaction to the [Baghdad Apache attack] video gave me immense hope; CNN’s iReport was overwhelmed; Twitter exploded – people who saw, knew there was something wrong . . . Washington Post sat on the video… David Finkel acquired a copy while embedded out here. . . . – i want people to see the truth . . . regardless of who they are . . . because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.

This leaves little doubt about Manning’s motives. And there is also little doubt that Manning has achieved those ambitious and noble goals on multiple levels. Although the extent is reasonably in dispute, even WikiLeaks’ most embittered antagonists — such as New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller — acknowledge that the release of the diplomatic cables played some role in the uprising in Tunisia, which in turn sparked similar uprisings of historic significance throughout the Middle East. MORE

anonymous.jpgANONYMOUS: The decision to charge Bradley Manning with a capital offense in addition to other charges is a provocation and Anonymous is set to respond accordingly. Thus it is that we have begun #opbradley at irc.anonops.in in order to supplement our work at #oppalantir and #anonleaks. We have gone through additional e-mails via our server at anonleaks.ru and discovered the full extent of Palantir’s involvement in the degenerate campaigns fielded by HBGary on behalf of their mercantile client Bank of America, which itself will be facing certain other troubles soon. But today is about Palantir, which “cut off ties” with HBGary at the beginning of the scandal and has since tried to explain away the fact that not one, but two employees told HBGary CEO Aaron Barr that the top execs, including Karp, had  signed off on this possibly criminal campaign to destroy Wikileaks and the venerable journalist Glenn Greenwald. Today is the day we begin to attack Palantir in earnest – not by their methods, but by ours. MORE

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