In Court: Bradley Manning Caused No Harm To The U.S.

July 11, 2013

In this nine minute video, an ex-Guantanamo Bay prosecutor describes his testimony in the Bradley Manning Court Marshal trial saying Manning’s leaked documents to WikiLeaks were already available to the public, and therefore caused no damage to U.S. national security.



The Strongest of the Strange (For Bradley Manning) ::

June 5, 2013


by Richard Pithouse

(reposted with permission, from The South African Civil Society Information Service)

Just before midnight on the 5th of September 1877 an American soldier ran his bayonet into Thasunke Witko’s back in Fort Robinson, Nebraska. In June the previous year Thasunke Witko, known as Crazy Horse in English, had led his people to victory in the Battle of Little Bighorn against the US Seventh Cavalry under George Custer. The battle was won when Thasunke Witko charged directly into Custer’s lines, split his forces and brought the battle into the close combat better suited to the Sioux soldiers.

The Sioux had been at war for a century. But the seeds of this particular battle were sown in 1874 when Custer was first sent into the Black Hills, the last redoubt of the Sioux. When word spread that his expedition had discovered gold settlers, many of them, like many of Custer’s soldiers, half-starved refugees from the enclosure of the commons in Europe, rushed on to the Sioux lands.  An invasion followed. And, as with Isandlwana three years later, an early battle was won and a war was lost.

The logic of the modern world wasn’t only inscribed in blood and fire. There was a philosophy to go with the practice of expropriation. In the same year that Custer first rode into the Black Kills John Stuart Mill, the English liberal philosopher, wrote that, “Barbarians have no rights as a nation, except a right to such treatment as may, at the earliest possible period, fit them for becoming one.” Mill’s casual evisceration of the humanity of most of the people in the world was not some idiosyncratic deviation from the liberal tradition. Back in 1690 John Locke, the first great liberal philosopher had written that while in England no one could enclose land “without the consent of all his fellow-commoners” it was right and proper to seize the “wild woods and uncultivated waste of America”.

Liberalism has never been for everyone. Its underside – invasion, enslavement, murder and appropriation, a long accumulation of global terror – has always been premised on the division of the world into different types of people: Christian and heathen, civilized and barbarian, white and black, developed and undeveloped and, these days, Western and Muslim.

On the 12 July 2007 the crew of an Apache helicopter, with the call sign Crazy Horse 18, killed eleven unarmed people and seriously wounded two children in a Baghdad suburb. A military spokesperson informed the New York Times that: “There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force.” He was lying. And in a world where a single humanity remains divided into different types accorded different value his lie carried weight. His lie was no aberration. A war for oil was presented as an act of solidarity in selfless search of democracy, human rights and, implicitly, armed conscription into the virtues of Western civilization.

We know what really happened in Baghdad on the 12th of July 2007 because a young American soldier decided to leak the video filmed through the gun sight of the Apache helicopter, Crazy Horse 18. In February 2010 Bradley Manning, a twenty two year old intelligence analyst working in base outside Baghdad, leaked the video. It was put online in April that year and a month later Manning was arrested. Over time a huge cache of documents and other information that Manning had downloaded was steadily made available.


Manning was first held in Kuwait and then moved to a military prison in Virginia. At times he’s been held in solitary confinement in an 8ft by 6ft cell, shackled in the presence of visitors, made to parade his nakedness publicly and deprived of sleep. It’s difficult not to conclude that there has, consciously or not, been an attempt to drive him mad in order that he can be made to appear perverse rather than principled. But, now, after more than a thousand days and nights in military prison, he’s in the dock. Amongst other charges he stands accused of aiding the enemy.

There is, at the moment, no evidence that any of the information that Manning put into the public domain has aided any armed threat to any society. But what we do know is that the information that he put into the public domain has illuminated the sadistic underside of the American military, the active support of the US state for the dictators, venal and ruthless in equal measure, deposed in the Arab Spring and much more. Once again the liberal ideology stands exposed for what it has always been – a ruthless drive for profit legitimated by racism.

Sometimes courage does, like Thasunke Witko, charge in on a horse with lightning bolts painted on its sides. But mostly it’s confused, sick with fear and far from certain of itself. Mostly it’s just someone that can’t carry on without what Manning calls in his statement to his court martial the relief of attaining a clearer conscience.

This time courage has come to us in the form of Bradley Manning – a slight man reeling under the weight of a gender that doesn’t seem to fit, a man who grew up with distant, divorced parents, a man who went into the American military from living in his car and working at Starbucks hoping, like so many others, that it would open a path to college – a man who has felt himself on the edge of both disintegration and self-realization.

In The Strongest of the Strange, Charles Bukowski wrote,

you won’t see them often
for wherever the crowd is
are not.
but from them
the few
good paintings
the few
good symphonies
the few
good books

For Bukowski the creative courage of the artist,

against the
walls of
the world

is a luminous presence, hard won.

Political courage is not the same thing as macho posturing or recourse to dogmatic abstractions. It requires acts of real consequence, heretical acts that refuse, in practice, the denial of our common humanity. It often leaves the people who find themselves lit by its flame broken. But political courage, with or without artistry, is also a luminous presence in the world.


The Strongest of the Strange (For Bradley Manning) ::

Bradley Manning: His Own Voice, His Own Words

March 16, 2013

bradley-manningSilenced all these years by solitary confinement and secrecy surrounding his preliminary hearing that began in December, Bradley Manning – the Army private who has admitted to leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to Wikileaks, but has pleaded not guilty to “aiding the enemy” – can now be heard.

Someone gave the Freedom of the Press Foundation a covert recording of court proceedings made on February 28th, the day Manning read a 35-page statement to the court explaining why he made classified documents public.

He describes how he felt when he first saw the military video of Americans in a helicopter shooting at unarmed civilians and journalists in Iraq as if they were picking off moving pixels in a video game.

The clip below is Manning’s words in court heard over the army video – which changed him forever. The video revealed what really happened to those Reuters journalists killed by American military men, who then lied about it… until the video came out. They are the guilty ones.

Below the video, is the recording of Bradley Manning’s full statement to the court.

Freedom of the Press Foundation says: “We hope this recording will shed light on one of the most secret court trials in recent history, in which the government is putting on trial a concerned government employee whose only stated goal was to bring attention to what he viewed as serious governmental misconduct and criminal activity.”


If the audio arrow above won’t play, you can go here and listen right from the Freedom of the Press Foundation web site.  The same web site has the written transcripts.

Washington Post Reporter David Finkel Is A Lying Bastard

Manning: “In Mr. Finkel’s book, he writes about the aerial weapons team attack. As I read an online excerpt in Google Books, I followed Mr. Finkel’s account of the event belonging to the video. I quickly realize that Mr. Finkel was quoting, I feel in verbatim, the audio communications of the aerial weapons team crew.

“It is clear to me that Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his tenure as an embedded journalist. I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as “payback” for an earlier attack that lead to the death of a soldier.”

How can we “payback” David Finkel, who betrayed the public trust as a journalist, for publishing a cover-up as a true account of events? Finkel is an accessory to a crime. Ironically, in October he was recognized by the MacArthur Foundation as a “genius” for his book “The Good Soldiers,” the book that Manning is talking about.

Genius_Grants_04318David Finkel at work… hopefully on fiction, his true calling.

Bradley Manning’s Lawyer Puts the Military On Trial For Turture

December 3, 2012

As WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, says during an interview from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Bradley Manning’s trial is not about Bradley Manning (although it is) – it’s about what has happened to Bradley Manning since his arrest in Baghdad in 2010.

Manning’s lawyers are putting the military on trial for torture.

The seventeen minute segment above is a vivid description of Manning’s conditions during his 2 year imprisonment, mostly in solitary confinement in an 8 foot cell. Military psychiatry experts who evaluated Manning testified that they were frustrated that the military was not taking their advice in his treatment. Namely, that he was not a suicide risk, and that what they were doing to him was torture.

In a brilliant move, Manning’s lawyer drew in chalk the actual dimensions of his cell and had Manning get inside.

During Manning’s testimony, it was clear that the Army Private was not the mentally unstable loose cannon that the military was trying to portray him to be before the trial started.

Each authority in some way connected with Manning’s imprisonment is denying that he or she was in charge of orchestrating and enforcing the torture-like conditions. In other words, everyone was “just following orders,” but the orders were given by the tooth fairy.

Will they get away with it?

(Interestingly, the best sources for news about this trial are the Guardian Newspaper in Britain, and Democracy Now! an alternative news program that started in the US on public radio.)