No Badass

 Bradley

Private First Class Bradley Manning is currently detained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, waiting for a hearing to decide whether he will face  a court martial. He had been detained for ten months at the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico, Virginia in maximum-custody solitary confinement under highly questionable, i.e., inhumane, harsh and punitive, conditions, as Amnesty International wrote in a letter addressing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley was fired abruptly resigned after having called Manning’s detention conditions “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid.”

Manning has been charged first with twelve, then another 22 charges including “aiding the enemy”, a capital offense. President Obama has already prejudged Manning guilty. “He broke the law,” the law professor inconsiderately taught us at a fundraiser in California.

Bradley Manning is the man who had allegedly provided WikiLeaks with the 12 July 2007 Baghdad Apache helicopter airstrike video (“Collateral Murder”, released on 5 April 2010), video footage of the Granai massacre in Afghanistan 4 May 2009 (not released yet), and 250,000 secret or classified U.S. diplomatic cables which have led to diplomatic complications all over the world and which might even have sparked uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in the Arab world. It has also been suggested that Manning has provided WikiLeaks with the Afghan War Diaries (released by WikiLeaks on 25 July 2010), the Iraq War Logs (22 October 2010) and the Gitmo Files (25 April 2011).

Recent “documentaries” by PBS and The Guardian about Bradley Manning’s mindset and WikiLeaks are deeply disturbing. Their hidden motivation may be to create a desired broad public opinion on Manning the outcast. Of course, it is becoming clear that, when watching the videos, Manning was a misfit in the U.S. Army, but not necessarily elsewhere: openly gay, a munchkin, intelligent, idealistic. So what’s normal here?

Bringing forward proof (desperately concealed) for apparent war crimes (the Baghdad Airstrike, the Granai Massacre) and reporting it is an obligation to everybody. The question here is, to whom should he have reported it? Revealing what is really going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, U.S. Embassies; well, if it is possible to download such sensitive material by a 22-yr-old private in the middle of nowhere in the Iraqi desert one should find the true culprits elsewhere.

So maybe and hopefully these disingenuous attempts by PBS and The Guardian will eventually backfire. Bradass, his alleged username in chats with former hacker Adrian Lamo who betrayed him to the FBI one year ago, wasn’t a badass, a stereotype of GI feared in many parts of the world (including Lynndie England, Charles Graner, Ivan Frederick in Abu Ghuraib, etc.; convicted small fry, by the way, as usual).

Last modification June 4, 2011.

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