“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. “ - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
In an earlier blog I harped on the pathetic Milliennial Abby Huntsman who appeared on Bill Maher's REAL TIME show woefully unprepared and basically giving a good emulation of a moron. I also added that I didn't believe all Millennials fit this mold. Some undoubtedly had courage - lots of it- and were invested in the truth because they grasped this was what democracy was all about. This is also why Pfc. Bradley Manning, a Millennial (but not to be confused with Abby Huntsman) merits commendations for seeking to help his fellow citizens out as opposed to being kept in the dark - regarding the "wars" raging in their name.
Manning, as readers may know, is being tried on trumped up charges of "treason" and "aiding the enemy" which is about the biggest laugh there is given the fact Manning has released no more critical files than Beltway Über hack Bob Woodward. As blogger-columnist Glenn Greenwald has pointed out : "Let’s apply the government's theory in the Manning case to one of the most revered journalists in Washington: Bob Woodward, who has become one of America’s richest reporters, if not the richest, by obtaining and publishing classified information far more sensitive than anything WikiLeaks has ever published "
Greenwald also noted, parallel to the Army prosecutor's claim in the Manning case, that Osama Bin Laden was "one of Woodward's most enthusiastic readers." But then Woodward is the darling of the Beltway's Neoliberal hacks and corporate -bankster warmongers so can't be touched. Not like a little 26-year old Millennial whose only shroud of protection is democracy or democratic principles. You remember those?
For clarity one may also invoke the proposition put forward earlier by blogger Amy Davidson to the effect that: "If it is aiding the enemy 'to expose war crimes committed by American forces or lies told by the American government,' then in reality 'who is aiding the enemy' -- the whistleblower or the perpetrators themselves?” The answer seems fairly obvious if one isn't brain dead.
When the deceptive operation of the warfare state can’t stand the light of day, truth-tellers are a constant threat and the powers-that-be will have a yen to squelch them. Thus, culpability must stay turned on its head. So now I can get this straight: Bushie vermin who launched a pre-emptive war (against Iraq) violating the war crimes article (VI) of the Nuremberg Laws walk away scot free while Manning gets prosecuted to the hilt? WTF is going on here? Has this nation totally lost its mind, moorings, moral ballast?
Truth be told Manning’s release of so-called classified files to do with clear criminal war crimes committed in Iraq, Afghanistan by U.S. troops was no worse than Daniel Ellsberg’'s release of the Pentagon Papers and the hidden rot and abominations underscoring the Vietnam War. Those Ellsberg revelations set a moral tone about what a morally responsible nation does, as opposed to kowtowing to a crazed military culture that is all about waging perma-war. JFK himself warned in his June 4, 1963 speech at American University about the dangers of “Pax Americana” – that is, imposing an American version of peace on the world using American weapons of war. Long before JFK's words, President John Quincy Adams warned that America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy". Somehow that message has been lost as we're a nation burdened by military overstretch - the same syndrome that brought down Rome.
JFK further understood that the war state also had to be controlled to secure any kind of future for ourselves and our offspring or it would control us and suck up everything of value. This is why he did several notable things, including: signing the August, 1963 Nuclear Test Ban treaty, and initiating rapprochement with Castro’s Cuba in early 1963 as well as softening positions toward the then Soviet Union (mostly done with Nikita Khruschchev behind the scenes.)
Of course, the crazed warmongers – led by Gen. Curtis LeMay- weren’t able to handle this, so they saw to it Kennedy met an untimely demise. The violent head shot in the center of a major American city (Dallas) sending Kennedy’s bloody brains spattering all over Elm Street in Dealey Plaza sent a message to all future presidents to heave to, obey the war state – or suffer similar consequences. This is why all American presidents since Kennedy have demonstrated cowardly, compromised behavior that has enabled war mongering and virulent Pax Americana – whether Reagan in his war on the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, or Clinton in his cruise missile attack on a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory producing anti-malaria drugs (believed at the time to be an al Qaeda hangout) to Bush Jr. invading Iraq on false pretenses causing the deaths of 600,000 Iraqis, to Obama and his drone killings as well as continuing a U.S. presence in Afghanistan that is only causing more alienation and blowback.
While Obama promised transparency on being elected, he has gone after whistle blowers with ferocity, as well as clamping down on files with directed over-classification. One major example has to do with the JFK assassination files which the National Archives now has refused to release in this 50th anniversary year. Key among those files are the CIA activities of agent George Joannides – suspected in manipulating Lee Oswald to be the patsy. If we can’t see the files, how are we to ever assess the final truth? (See also: http://www.brane-space.blogspot.com/2012/06/national-archives-to-jfk-file-seekers.html )
But maybe we can't have the final truth because for one thing it would mean the U.S. gov’t finally admitting after 50 years that its relentless defense of the Warren Commission was all wrong. Given the same government likely had major roles in altering files (as documented by John Newman in his 'Oswald and the CIA') as well as suppressing other evidence or altering it, why would they be invested in the truth now?
In terms of kowtowing to the military-industrial spy state many of us are still prepared to give Obama the benefit of the doubt- that he accedes to the secrecy wishes of the mammoth military state (including prosecuting Bradley Manning to the hilt) because of the fear of experiencing Kennedy’s end. Kennedy crossed the MIC with his National Security Action memorandum 263 to pull all personnel out of Vietnam by 1965, and look what happened to him. Perhaps Obama fears a similar end if he courageously ceases all drone strikes and pulls immediately out of Afghanistan – which would be no more detrimental than if we leave in another year and a half. At least if this is the case one can assuage doubts that a former constitutional law professor would deliberately prosecute a leaker and ignore the real war criminals – most of whom ought to have been hung by now.
Manning is charged with crimes for sending hundreds of thousands of classified files, documents and videos, including the "Collateral Murder" video, the "Iraq War Logs," the "Afghan War Logs" and State Department cables to Wikileaks. Many of the things he transmitted contain evidence of war crimes. The "Collateral Murder" video depicts a US Apache attack helicopter killing 12 civilians and wounding two children on the ground in Baghdad in 2007. The helicopter then fired on and killed the people trying to rescue the wounded. Finally, a US tank drove over one of the bodies, cutting the man in half. These acts constitute three separate war crimes.
Manning fulfilled his legal duty to report war crimes. He complied with his legal duty to obey lawful orders but also his legal duty to disobey unlawful orders. He also complied with Nuremburg Article VI to report war crimes, something the Nazis were tried for in Nuremburg (see photo).
Section 499 of the Army Field Manual states, "Every violation of the law of war is a war crime." The law of war is contained in the Geneva Conventions.
But perhaps, as in the case of the Senate post-hoc altering the wiretap surveillance laws to conform with lawlessness, after the Bushies broke them, we are no longer a nation of laws or morality. In that case Bradley Manning has not much to look forward to, other than a life sentence.