Chelsea Manning Speaks Out On Al-Maliki and Embedded Journalism

Nuri al-Maliki, still Iraq’s current Prime Minister, one of these U.S. American puppets in the Middle East, is to a large part responsible for the sectarian violence in his country in recent years en before rise of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). The corrupt Shi’ite politician has long returned to Saddam’s police state tactics including torture and extrajudicial killings.

From Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where she serves a 35-yr sentence for the largest leak of classified information before Edward Snowden, among other documents the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, the Diplomatic Cables, the Collateral Murder Video, Chelsea Manning has spoken out, in the wake of just another military adventure of the U.S administration, on Maliki, who had been re-elected when she was stationed near Baghdad in 2010. In a rare op-ed in the New York Times yesterday, Manning notes (and it worthwhile quoting her at length),

“If you were following the news during the March 2010 elections in Iraq [when Maliki was e-elected], you might remember that the American press was flooded with stories declaring the elections a success, complete with upbeat anecdotes and photographs of Iraqi women proudly displaying their ink-stained fingers. The subtext was that United States military operations had succeeded in creating a stable and democratic Iraq.

Those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality.

Military and diplomatic reports coming across my desk detailed a brutal crackdown against political dissidents by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and federal police, on behalf of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.  Detainees were often tortured, or even killed.

Early that year, I received orders to investigate 15 individuals whom the federal police had arrested on suspicion of printing “anti-Iraqi literature.” I learned that these individuals had absolutely no ties to terrorism; they were publishing a scholarly critique of Mr. Maliki’s administration. I forwarded this finding to the officer in command in eastern Baghdad. He responded that he didn’t need this information; instead, I should assist the federal police in locating more “anti-Iraqi” print shops.

I was shocked by our military’s complicity in the corruption of that election. Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media’s radar.

It was not the first (or the last) time I felt compelled to question the way we conducted our mission in Iraq. We intelligence analysts, and the officers to whom we reported, had access to a comprehensive overview of the war that few others had. How could top-level decision makers say that the American public, or even Congress, supported the conflict when they didn’t have half the story?”

Manning continues analyzing the reason for what she calls the Fog Machine of War.

“One clue to this disjunction lay in the public affairs reports. Near the top of each briefing was the number of embedded journalists attached to American military units in a combat zone. Throughout my deployment, I never saw that tally go above 12. In other words, in all of Iraq, which contained 31 million people and 117,000 United States troops, no more than a dozen American journalists were covering military operations.”

In other words, a few “embedded” journalists who had been carefully vetted, even handpicked, to conform with the “ground rules agreement” had to report to the public what they were told by the officers on the ground. Those who did not conform, were dismissed (like late Michael Hastings who had written for the Rolling Stone and had reported on former General Stanley McCrystal’s criticism of the Obama Administration). If dismissed formerly embedded reporters are, according to Manning, blacklisted.

While the two wars in Afghanistan and, in particular, Iraq had only been possible by largely manipulating the public, President Obama’s foreign policy/war record so far is rather confusing. As usual,  he is “looking at all options” to assist the corrupt regime in Baghdad, strangely enough now even seeking help from arch enemy Iran. What makes his presidency so special, though, is his relentless war on whistle-blowers and journalists who publish classified material.

At the outset of his op-ed, Manning writes, “I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance.”

16 June 2014 @ 5:01 pm.
Last modified June 16, 2014.
This entry was posted in Iraq, Journalism, USA and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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