Remember when the U.S. was a civilized country? Or am I dreaming? Were we ever a civilized country? Are we really supposed to believe that this guy in the White House is a Democrat? This latest outrage is way beyond the pale, as far as I’m concerned:
The U.S. Army today charged Pfc. Bradley Manning with 22 additional offenses related to the release of classified documents to WikiLeaks, including “aiding the enemy,” traditionally a capital offense. But in a release announcing the new charges, the Army said it would not be recommending the death penalty.
The charges, announced after what the Army said was a seven-month investigation, also included wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet where it could be accessed by “the enemy,” theft of public records, transmitting defense information, and fraud in connection with computers. The new counts included five violations of Army regulations as well, the Army release said. During this time Manning has been held in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Base brig at Quantico, Va.
They won’t recommend the death penalty? I’m not sure why we should believe anything our government tells us anymore. And just who is this “enemy” that Manning supposedly “aided” by releasing a video of war crimes and supposedly leaking diplomatic cables? That is still a mystery, because the army won’t say.
In its Twitter feed, WikiLeaks said the charge of aiding the enemy was “a vindictive attack on Manning for exercising his right to silence. No evidence of any such thing.” It also said the charge suggested that “WikiLeaks would be defined as ‘the enemy.’ A serious abuse.”
Military officials did not respond to a question on Wednesday about who the “enemy” was. The charge sheet, however, accuses the private of giving intelligence to the enemy “through indirect means,” which could suggest that prosecutors are referring to Afghan and Iraqi insurgents rather than to WikiLeaks.
Does anyone think the Afghan and Iraqi insurgents were surprised to learn that U.S. Soldiers have killed innocent civilians in their countries? I’m not sure what they are supposed to get out of the diplomatic cables. I doubt if any of them would be surprised to learn that the Bush administration lied in order to start a war in Iraq.
The Guardian tries and fails to decipher the “aiding the enemy” charge:
The charge involves “giving intelligence to the enemy”, which is defined as “organised opposing forces in time of war but also other hostile body that our forces may be opposing such as a rebellious mob or a band of renegades”. Such an enemy could be civilian or military in nature.
The charge sheet, like the original set of accusations, contains no mention by name of the enemy to which the US military is referring.
It could be WikiLeaks itself, which the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has accused of launching an “attack on America”. Or it could be a reference to enemy forces in Afghanistan.
A report by NBC News said Pentagon officials emphasised that some WikiLeaks material contained names of informants and others working with US forces whose lives could have been put in danger.
That’s bullsh&t, IMHO. I hope they’re ready to present evidence of harm that actually took place as a result of the release of the diplomatic cables.
At FDL, Jane Hamsher has published a statement from Manning’s friend and supporter David House along with a petition to tell Robert Gates to drop the “aiding the enemy” charges. Here is House’s statement:
Through WikiLeaks we have been given direct evidence that the White House openly lies to congress and the American people in order to achieve political ends. Richard Nixon, in an attempt to stifle government transparency, once called Ellsberg “the most dangerous man in America” and accused him of “providing aid and comfort to the enemy.” Today we see the Obama administration continuing the legacy Nixon started by declaring whistleblowers as enemies of the state. It is a sad and dangerous day for transparency advocates everywhere.
President Obama should be ashamed, but I’m not sure he has the capacity for that–or to feel empathy for this young man who has already spent months in prison under conditions tantamount to torture.
I’m still waiting for the BOA Wikileaks data drop but the idea of a Swiss Banker from offshore banking haven, The Cayman Islands, dropping a dime on a few of those tax evading customers is almost as sweet. I can sense the thickness of air hanging in private clubs all over the world from my little corner of the ninth ward.
Rudolf M. Elmer, the former head of the Cayman Islands office of the prominent Swiss bank Julius Baer, refused to identify any of the individuals or companies, but told reporters at a press conference that about 40 politicians and “pillars of society” worldwide are among them.
He told The Observer newspaper over the weekend that those named in the documents come from “the U.S., Britain, Germany, Austria and Asia — from all over,” and include “business people, politicians, people who have made their living in the arts and multinational conglomerates — from both sides of the Atlantic.”
Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks would verify and release the information, including the names, in as little as two weeks. He suggested possible partnerships with financial news organizations and said he would consider turning the information over to Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, a government agency that investigates financial corruption.
That’s a wow story! But then, there’s been a series of them coming from Assange’s organization and the entire thing is just too great for words. Any one that really doesn’t see that Wikileaks is becoming THE way for little guys to undermine the power elites of the world is basically a tool of oppressors and autocrats. Just as Bradley Manning witnessed tapes that revealed the incredibly war crimes and inhumanity of a few American soldiers, Rudolf Elmer has witnessed pilfering that probably includes profiteering from crimes against humanity. However, like every one else, I want NAMES.
Check out the CIA’s list of the RICHEST countries in the world in per capita terms. I always love to quiz my students on which ones shake out at the top and they nearly always get it wrong. The top ten countries–with the exceptions of oil rich Kuwait and Norway–are all havens of offshore banking, tax evasion, and gambling. The USA has dropped to number 11 on the richest country list. Undoubtedly, it still holds that position because of its Investment Bankers. As I mentioned in the Friday Reads, it’s not because we reward our brain surgeons, 4 star generals, or great minds. I’m appalled that this might be the century that proves Karl Marx right on how ‘capitalism’ eventually falls. I’m only afraid that it will not be replaced with any kind of utopia; worker or otherwise.
What was Rudolf Elmer’s motivation?
Mr. Elmer said he had turned to WikiLeaks to educate society about what he considers an unfair system designed to serve the rich and aid money launderers after his offers to provide the data to universities and governments were spurned and, in his opinion, the Swiss media failed to cover the substance of his allegations. “The man in the street needs to know how this system works,” he said, referring to the offshore trusts that many “high net worth individuals” across the world use to evade taxes.
This, is the beauty of the Wikileaks. (I’m going to take some time here to wave to our junior G-guys and G-gals!) It gives a voice to those of us that work in the trenches holding up a system that rewards our work with pink slips, loss of insurance, and raises that don’t keep up with the cost of living don’t have much power. The information we sit on frequently has a lot of power. Once released to the public domain, it has even more power. These leaks expose corruption and thievery; pure and simple.