OT: Bradley

User Forum Topic
Submitted by teaboy on November 30, 2012 - 9:19pm

Cannot agree more with this op-ed:
http://m.guardiannews.com/commentisfree/...

Over the past two and a half years, all of which he has spent in a military prison, much has been said about Bradley Manning, but nothing has been heard from him. That changed on Thursday, when the 23-year-old US army private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks testified at his court martial proceeding about the conditions of his detention.

The oppressive, borderline-torturous measures to which he was subjected, including prolonged solitary confinement and forced nudity, have been known for some time. A formal UN investigation denounced those conditions as "cruel and inhuman". President Obama's state department spokesman, retired air force colonel PJ Crowley, resigned after publicly condemning Manning's treatment. A prison psychologist testified this week that Manning's conditions were more damaging than those found on death row, or at Guantánamo Bay.

Still, hearing the accused whistleblower's description of this abuse in his own words viscerally conveyed its horror. Reporting from the hearing, the Guardian's Ed Pilkington quoted Manning: "If I needed toilet paper I would stand to attention and shout: 'Detainee Manning requests toilet paper!'" And: "I was authorised to have 20 minutes sunshine, in chains, every 24 hours." Early in his detention, Manning recalled, "I had pretty much given up. I thought I was going to die in this eight by eight animal cage."

The repressive treatment of Bradley Manning is one of the disgraces of Obama's first term, and highlights many of the dynamics shaping his presidency. The president not only defended Manning's treatment but also, as commander-in-chief of the court martial judges, improperly decreed Manning's guilt when he asserted in an interview that he "broke the law".

Worse, Manning is charged not only with disclosing classified information, but also the capital offence of "aiding the enemy", for which the death penalty can be imposed (military prosecutors are requesting "only" life in prison). The government's radical theory is that, although Manning had no intent to do so, the leaked information could have helped al-Qaida, a theory that essentially equates any disclosure of classified information – by any whistleblower, or a newspaper – with treason.

Whatever one thinks of Manning's alleged acts, he appears the classic whistleblower. This information could have been sold for substantial sums to a foreign government or a terror group. Instead he apparently knowingly risked his liberty to show them to the world because – he said when he believed he was speaking in private – he wanted to trigger "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms".

Compare this aggressive prosecution of Manning to the Obama administration's vigorous efforts to shield Bush-era war crimes and massive Wall Street fraud from all forms of legal accountability. Not a single perpetrator of those genuine crimes has faced court under Obama, a comparison that reflects the priorities and values of US justice.

Then there's the behaviour of Obama's loyalists. Ever since I first reported the conditions of Manning's detention in December 2010, many of them not only cheered that abuse but grotesquely ridiculed concerns about it. Joy-Ann Reid, a former Obama press aide and now a contributor on the progressive network MSNBC, spouted sadistic mockery in response to the report: "Bradley Manning has no pillow?????" With that, she echoed one of the most extreme rightwing websites, RedState, which identically mocked the report: "Give Bradley Manning his pillow and blankie back."

As usual, the US establishment journalists have enabled the government every step of the way. Despite holding themselves out as adversarial watchdogs, nothing provokes their animosity more than someone who effectively challenges government actions.

Typifying this mentality was a CNN interview on Thursday night with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange conducted by Erin Burnett. It was to focus on newly released documents revealing secret efforts by US officials to pressure financial institutions to block WikiLeaks' funding after the group published classified documents allegedly leaked by Manning, a form of extra-legal punishment that should concern everyone, particularly journalists.

But the CNN host was completely uninterested in the dangerous acts of her own government. Instead she repeatedly tried to get Assange to condemn the press policies of Ecuador, a tiny country that – quite unlike the US – exerts no influence beyond its borders. To the mavens of the US watchdog press, Assange and Manning are enemies to be scorned because they did the job that the US press corps refuses to do: namely, bringing transparency to the bad acts of the US government and its allies around the world.

Bradley Manning has bestowed the world with multiple vital benefits. But as his court martial finally reaches its conclusion, one likely to result in the imposition of a long prison term, it appears his greatest gift is this window into America's political soul.

Submitted by teaboy on December 1, 2012 - 2:32pm.

on a somewhat related note, did anyone here vote for Gary Johnson?

tb

Submitted by CA renter on December 1, 2012 - 6:15pm.

This paragraph really brings it all home, IMHO. If you want to know who rules this country (and controls national discourse and thought via its control of the media), just read this:

"Compare this aggressive prosecution of Manning to the Obama administration's vigorous efforts to shield Bush-era war crimes and massive Wall Street fraud from all forms of legal accountability. Not a single perpetrator of those genuine crimes has faced court under Obama, a comparison that reflects the priorities and values of US justice."

-----

I totally agree with this op-ed. IMHO, a government must be fully transparent and fully accountable to all of its citizens. There is no excuse for back-room deals or secretive acts.

Bradley Manning did what our press should be doing every day: bring to light everything that is happening in our government and who's involved with every decision and action.

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on December 2, 2012 - 12:51am.

CA renter wrote:
This paragraph really brings it all home, IMHO. If you want to know who rules this country (and controls national discourse and thought via its control of the media), just read this:

"Compare this aggressive prosecution of Manning to the Obama administration's vigorous efforts to shield Bush-era war crimes and massive Wall Street fraud from all forms of legal accountability. Not a single perpetrator of those genuine crimes has faced court under Obama, a comparison that reflects the priorities and values of US justice."

-----

I totally agree with this op-ed. IMHO, a government must be fully transparent and fully accountable to all of its citizens. There is no excuse for back-room deals or secretive acts.

Bradley Manning did what our press should be doing every day: bring to light everything that is happening in our government and who's involved with every decision and action.

CAR: What press? We haven't had serious investigative journalism in years.

Where's the press coverage on warrantless wiretapping? The Kill List? Rendition? How truly large the drone campaign is now and the far-reaching effects in terms of radicalizing populations from Yemen through Pakistan into Africa?

All of the hand-wringing on Dubya-era programs has now magically ceased during the Obama Administration and questioning Obama on continuing these deplorable programs has seen the questioners accused of racism, or being weak on the War on Terror or anti-American.

It seems now the best course of action is for one to simply be a Good German and go along with things because Big Brother knows what's best for you.

Submitted by CA renter on December 2, 2012 - 2:29am.

Allan,

It's frightening to see how much has been done in the past 10+ years WRT privacy rights and the rights of U.S. citizens (and non-citizens) who might be considered a "threat."

The technological advances in the spy community is beyond frightening, and just a small glimpse into what our drones are capable of should send shivers down everyone's spines. It's extremely odd that nobody seems to care, and if you bring it up, people think you're a nutty conspiracy theorist.

Why in the world does our government need to record and store **all** of our electronic communications for years? One has to wonder if drones are not also recording all of our spoken conversations as well, since they are now able to detect and record conversations between people on the ground and in buildings. Very frightening stuff going on these days.

This spy network would be my #1 target for cost-cutting. We should have a zero-tolerance policy for spying on American citizens. I'm not really a fan of drones or camera/microphone surveillance in any application because of the ability to quickly turn it against political enemies, even here in the U.S. Personally, I'd rather deal with the threat of terrorism than the threat of a government that knows every single detail about every single person in the U.S.
----------------

"Congress has already approved the deployment of approximately 30,000 drones in U.S. skies by the year 2020, prompting privacy advocates to question how the FAA will safeguard the American people from the aircraft.

...Concerns that the drones would add to privacy violations were vindicated when a newly discovered Air Force intelligence brief revealed that surveillance data of American citizens captured by drones "accidentally" can be stored and analyzed by the Pentagon.

“Collected imagery may incidentally include US persons or private property without consent,” the instruction states.

Meanwhile, the drone industry in the United States is doing its best to project a positive image to the public.

Michael Toscano, president of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, is optimistic that some astute public relations will help the industry.

“You have to keep repeating the good words,” he said, adding that the word “drones” should also be dispensed with because of its negative connotations and replaced with the term “remotely piloted vehicles.”

Salon observed:

Toscano made it sound like something straight out of a crisis-management textbook — or Orwell. The AUVSI wants to bombard the American public with positive images and messages about drones in an effort to reverse the growing perception of the aircraft as a threat to privacy and safety.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/con...

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on December 2, 2012 - 2:01pm.

CAR: 20,000 drones? Wow. Talk about Big Brother, huh?

Well, the good news is that the gubment will certainly return all of our rights and liberties once the War on Terror is over.

Submitted by CA renter on December 3, 2012 - 12:02am.

That's 30,000 drones...in U.S. skies. Put that together with this:

"Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy."

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03...

...and you can only begin to imagine what's going on that we don't know about.

Scary, isn't it?

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on December 5, 2012 - 10:09am.

On the topic of openness and transparency, some interesting articles from Glenn Greewald at The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/..., Dana Milbank: http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_22..., and Charles Ornstein at the WashPost: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/w...

Not a single one of these authors or papers are part of the vast "right wing noise machine", but are solidly center-left/Liberal and it's interesting that there is finally notice given this administration's truly deplorable stance on civil rights and liberties, along with it's punitive approach to whistle-blowers or anyone openly questioning their operations or motives.

Obama is no different than Dubya, who was no different than Clinton, and so on. This gradual erosion of our rights and liberties has been taking place over the last half century, without any sort of serious blowback from the American people. Which is the truly sad part of all this.

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on December 11, 2012 - 2:38pm.

A nice chilling piece of reportage from the National Security section of the WashPost: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nati...

It nicely details the dovetailing between increased/expanded powers in the War on Terror and the continued erosion of American civil rights and liberties.

Of course, we shouldn't be too alarmed, since it's for our "protection".

Submitted by UCGal on December 11, 2012 - 3:06pm.

Allan from Fallbrook wrote:
On the topic of openness and transparency, some interesting articles from Glenn Greewald at The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/..., Dana Milbank: http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_22..., and Charles Ornstein at the WashPost: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/w...

Not a single one of these authors or papers are part of the vast "right wing noise machine", but are solidly center-left/Liberal and it's interesting that there is finally notice given this administration's truly deplorable stance on civil rights and liberties, along with it's punitive approach to whistle-blowers or anyone openly questioning their operations or motives.

Obama is no different than Dubya, who was no different than Clinton, and so on. This gradual erosion of our rights and liberties has been taking place over the last half century, without any sort of serious blowback from the American people. Which is the truly sad part of all this.

I'm a fan of Glen Greenwald, he's got solid working knowledge of constitutional law and is critical of oversteps, whoever does the stepping. I've been following him from before he moved to Salon from his own blog, and now on the Guardian. But I'm not sure I agree with him that MSNBC has *no* criticism of Obama.

They have 3 hours of Joe Scarborough on every morning. He regularly shouts down folks who don't agree with his tea party views. They have regular guests like Jon Meecham and Mark Halperin who are not at all friendly to Obama. (And who are pendantic idiots to boot.)

I'd also point to one of the better shows on MSNBC. Up with Chris Hayes. Hayes is about as liberal/left leaning as you get. But he ALWAYS has guests that disagree/bring a different view. And they challenge him and the discussions are really thought provoking. It's made me look at issues differently after hearing some of the give and take. He has conservative folks like Avik Roy and Josh Barro - who can hold their own and discuss more than just sound bites - but back their views with intellectual thought. So, despite the lefty host - it's one of the more thought provoking and balanced shows on tv.

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on December 11, 2012 - 4:31pm.

UCGal: If you're looking for an unbiased and non-partisan source on national security, you should visit the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) website, specifically their blogs/writings on Government Secrecy and Strategic Security. The FAS was founded just after WWII by scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project and were concerned by government attitudes towards "official secrets". You can trace the rise of the National Security State to those times, especially after the Cold War "broke out" between the US and the USSR.

Nat Hentoff is another excellent writer on this topic. I think he's with Cato Institute now, but spent nearly three decades with the Village Voice (which is most assuredly not right wing).

Submitted by CA renter on December 12, 2012 - 4:19am.

Allan from Fallbrook wrote:
A nice chilling piece of reportage from the National Security section of the WashPost: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nati...

It nicely details the dovetailing between increased/expanded powers in the War on Terror and the continued erosion of American civil rights and liberties.

Of course, we shouldn't be too alarmed, since it's for our "protection".

That was a good article, Allan, as were the links in your previous post.

The drone projects have never felt right to me. If the power of these drones gets into the wrong hands (as it might be already), there is no end to what they can do. Not just the armed drones, but the intelligence-gathering drones as well. They can see into buildings and listen in on conversations, and then kill someone without that person ever having a chance to defend himself. There is something very wrong about that.

I also never liked the term "terrorist." What is a terrorist? Someone who opposes what the government does? Someone who defends his own country against armed invaders? Could it be an American citizen who advocates for revolution in this country? Why should we be allowed to kill them without any trials, and without giving them any opportunities to defend themselves?

Most importantly: why all the secrecy about drone activity (of all kinds) and our handling of terrorists?

In government, EVERYTHING should be transparent, and all parties should be held accountable for their actions. I'd rather deal with "terrorists" than have a secret government that can kill random people without any notice and without any kind of accountability.

And we are in full agreement about the "left vs. right" nonsense. They are two sides of the same coin, and I'd make the claim that they are merely puppets who are chosen and controlled by people we do not vote for and who are in not accountable to U.S. citizens. (Perhaps that makes me a "terrorist.")

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on December 13, 2012 - 11:28am.

More articles on your continued loss of civil liberties from WSJ and USA Today: http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/u-terro... and: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/natio...

One of those people quoted was the "chief privacy officer" from Department of Homeland Security. No, that's not Orwellian at all, is it?

Submitted by CA renter on December 15, 2012 - 6:29pm.

So, what can we do about it?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.