Tuesday, May 08, 2012

His economic concerns for one






Starting with Bradley Manning who has a court-martial scheduled to start September 21st.  Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December.  At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial.  Bradley has yet to enter a plea and has neither affirmed that he is the leaker nor denied it.
Today on WBAI, Law and Disorder Rado was live (this is an additional broadcast -- the regular, recorded hour long show -- with Nick Surgery discussing Common Cause's complaint against the American Legislative Exchange Council and updates on Lynne Stewart, May Day and more) due to WBAI being in plege drive mode and the live broadcast spoke with journalist Kevin Gosztola about Bradley Manning.
Michael Ratner: I want to step back and ask you, because we've been getting a number of calls, I want to stop and ask you: Who was Bradley Manning? You touched on it but even start with he joined the military, etc., etc. and some of his background and then we'll bring us up to the current proceedings.
Kevin Gosztola: Right. So he was born in Oklahoma.  And he had a, you know, pretty small town growing up.  You know you wouldn't have thought him to be -- He wasn't from a big city.  But his family was -- he didn't have the best family situation growing up.  His father and mother did divorce and ended up separating.  He spends some time Oklahoma and then ends up going over to the UK to live with his mother for a couple of years and go to school in high school.  Then he comes back to the United States and he's sort of wondering aimlessly around the United States looking for a job, something to do with his life.  His father is angry at him.  I think by that time, his father knows that he is gay and that becomes a source of tension.  I also gather from different sources that he didn't get along with his step-mother.  And so his father eventually suggests, 'You should join the military, you need some stability.'
Michael Smith:  Make him a man.
Kevin Gosztola: What?
Michael Ratner:  Yeah and he joins the military.
Heidi Boghosian:  And joking --
Kevin Gosztola: And in the military he becomes this person who becomes an intelligence analyst and as we've learned in the hearings that I've been at, he didn't have a good ride in the military.  It was something that was very hard for him to handle because essentially the whole time he was in the military he had to hide his sexual orientation.
Michael Ratner: Now, now, Kevin, you will bring us up to eventually he's alleged to have uploaded a bunch of documents to WikiLeaks.  Can you talk about that a little bit and then bring us up to the charges?
Kevin Gosztola: Right. So through November 2009 to May 2010, we have all of these alleged releases so basically anything that you know of that had WikiLeaks in the headlines, this is the source, the alleged source right now.  So through December to January, we have the Collateral Murder Video being released, you have War Logs files being moved over, you have cables going, you even have a special document a WikiLeaks Threat Report that I believe the CIA put together that was suggesting what kind of threat the WikiLeaks organization would pose.  And you've got the Gitmo files being moved.  Remember the Gitmo files were released in April of last year.  And so all of these releases that were headlines.  And in May, he starts to chat with a hacker Adrian Llamo allegedly -- I mean, it's believed that he was chatting with him. And then Adrian turns Bradley in the second day of the chats, into the feds.  Adrian continues to chat, basically looks like something that amounts to entrapment as he continues to get Bradley to incriminate himself on paper. Then Bradley's picked up and arrested.  He's in Baghdad.  He's moved to Kuwait.  And then he's moved to [Marine Corps Base] Quantico Brig [in Virginia] after a month.  And there in Quantico was where people really started to get to know Bradley Manning because of the outrage of how he was being treated by the military.
You can read Kevin Gosztola's writing at Firedoglake's The Dissenter.   Law and Disorder Radio  is  a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights),
Michael Ratner:  And now Kevin, go to some of the charges against Bradley Manning and tell us what he's accused of.
Kevin Gosztola: The charges basically break up to about three sets here.   The most severe charge against him is that he aided the enemy.  And that is basically an espionage charge and suggests that he had some -- that he was actually helping al Qaeda.  They've named the enemy.  So for listeners, the government has come out and said that the enemy is al Qaeda. And he's accused of aiding indirectly.  So using the WikiLeaks website to aid al Qaeda.  And there's much more to say about that charge but to other charges, the soldier's accused of unauthorized downloading to his computer.  So downloading software that he didn't have the right to have on his computer as an intelligence analyst.  And then he's also alleged to have brought discredit to the army and he's got several charges, I think about 15 or 16 of the charges are actually bringing dishonor to the military and making the military look bad by taking certain actions that were part of the leaks, the alleged leaks.
Heidi Boghosian:  Could you talk a little bit more about that charge of aiding al Qaeda even indirectly? I don't understand how they came up with that.
Kevin Gosztola: Yeah.  So, I mean what's really -- what's really startling to me as somebody who comes in and hopes to see that if you're going ot charge a soldier with aiding the enemy, you'd be able to show that this person had evil intent.  I mean, I think it should be clear that if you're going to make someone pay and go to jail for life without parole essentially, that's what we're talking about, people listening should know that this is a federal offense that comes with even the possibility of a death penalty but the government claims they won't give that.  So let's just assume he would get life without parole.  What's really startling is that the government wrote this charge so that they didn't have to prove that he had intent.  So that's what they're trying to do throughout the hearing, that's what they've been trying to do throughout all the legal proceedings so far, to get away without having to show Bradley had any intent to aid al Qaeda.  So while there's nothing that I've seen presented in court, it basically amounts to making a huge example out of Bradley Manning so that other military soldiers would never consider doing what Bradley is alleged to have done.  You know, taking material at his fingertips and not releasing every single piece of information that he had but releasing key sets of documents that gave us insight into some of the worst aspects of the Bush administration, some of the crimes and some of the misconduct of the Bush administration and to a little extent to the Obama administration, what had been going on by the government.
Not having taken money from The Nation magazine, I have no need to ever whore for the Democratic Party,  (I also understand "alleged."  For example, the documents that were leaked -- they're not alleged.  The government has admitted they're real.  Without that admission, the government couldn't sue because any judge -- even a military judge -- would toss it out if the government wasn't admitting their documents had been released.  If the documents were fake, there might be fraud charges but the current charges wouldn't apply.)  The Obama administration's crimes are greater than the Bush administration.  Bully Boy Bush didn't oversee Iraq.  Robert Gates did.  Then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.  The Collateral Murder Video comes under Gates' watch.  The incoming administration should have known as much as what an analyst allegedly had access to on a remote computer.  And yet Barack Obama made the decision to keep Gates as his own Secretary of Defense.  (Gates just left last summer, replaced by Leon Panetta.)  When the Collateral Murder Vido took place, General David Petraeus was the top US commander in Iraq.  When Barack was sworn in, Petraeus was then the commander of CENTCOM. Barack then went on to put Petraeus (June 2010) in charge of Afghanistan.  He retired from the military in August and was given the Army Distinguished Service Medal -- apparently for overseeing the deaths of journalists in Baghdad? And Barack went on to make Petraeus the director of the CIA.
If you're on The Nation payroll, you can say, "Tsk, tsk, George Bush." If you're a functioning adult living in reality, you grasp that promoting and embracing these two and others makes Barack wore and more culpable than Bush who could claim that it was all a surprise in 2007 that the events portrayed in the Collateral Murder Video took place.
It's equally true that Bully Boy Bush hasn't commented on Bradley Manning publicly.  He could.  He's no longer commander in chief.  But Barack is commander in chief.  That's a Constitutional power -- Article 2, Section 2.  It's a serious role. One that Barack shirks when he pronounces Bradley guilty before Bradley's even been tried or entered a plea.  As Kat's BFF Kevin Zeese observed in April 2011 at War Is A Crime:
On Thursday April 21, 2011 in San Francisco a group of Bradley Manning supporters protested the prosecution of Manning at a Barack Obama fundraising event. One of Manning's supporters was able to question the president directly afterwards and during the conversation, Obama said on videotape that Manning was guilty.
Can you imagine if the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamene'i, pronounced an Iranian military whistle blower "guilty" before any trial was held? Khamene'i is the commander-in-chief of all armed forces in Iran, just as President Obama is the commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed services. Would anyone in the United States think that a trial before Iranian military officers that followed such a pronouncement could be fair? The U.S. government would use the situation to make propaganda points about the phony justice system in Iran.
President Obama's pronouncement about Manning, "He broke the law," amounts to unlawful command influence – something prohibited in military trials because it is devastating to the military justice system. Manning will be judged by a jury of military officers in a military court where everyone involved follows the orders of the commander-in-chief. How are these officers going to rule against their commander-in-chief, especially after Manning has been tortured in solitary confinement for almost a year? Any officer who finds Manning "not guilty" will have no chance of advancing his career after doing so.
Article 37 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice makes undo command influence unlawful. Unlawful Command Influence has been called "the carcinoma of the military justice system" and is often described as "the mortal enemy of military justice." The importance of the command structure in the military makes command influence a threat to fair trails, i.e. "because the inherent power and influence of command are necessary and omnipresent facets of military life, everyone involved in both unit command and in military justice must exercise constant vigilance to protect against command influence becoming unlawful."
After the interview was over, the Law and Disorder gang returned to the topic of one charge that's been brought against Bradley.
Michael Ratner:  The question is how he aided in the enemy and I was in court when this happened and they asked the prosecutor how was he aiding the enemy and they said, 'He's aiding the enemy and he did it indirectly by giving documents to WikiLeaks which then published the documents on WikiLeaks which are then read by al Qaeda and then they get information about --
Michael Smith:  Themselves.
Michael Ratner:  Well bascially. 'And it drums up their supporters to say how bad the US is and all this.'  And that's somehow aiding the enemy.  Now what's interesting about that charge -- and Kevin alluded to this question of intent -- the New York Times, let's say for example, let me give our listeners an example, they publish the documents or information about President Bush engaging in warrantless wiretapping of people in the United States and abroad.  And, of course, that's published in the New York Times and, of course, al Qaeda reads the New York Times, so why couldn't you charge the New York Times with indirectly aiding the enemy al Qaeda?  It's obvious why you don't, because their intention, the New York Times, was not to aid al Qaeda.  Their intention was to bring out the illegalities of the US system of wiretapping.  Like a Bradley Manning allegedly putting these documents to bring out the crimes of the United States. His intention was not to aid al Qaeda. 
Michael Ratner's a legal expert and his opinions are always wroth seriously considering.  However, there's another issue with regards to his example.  The New York Times is a press outlet.  Whatever your opinion of it, it is recognized as such.  The First Amendment comes into play and, in Michael's example, the paper is reporting.  Would Bradley Manning, if he did leak the documents, be seen in the same role?  Would he be seen as leaking to the press or, WikiLeaks being a whistle blower organization (that's how it was seen before Bradley was charged and that's how it promoted itself), would it be something different.  That's "A."  "B," I've never read the chat logs and have no plans to.  They are edited and they may or may not be genuine.  But the prosecution has read them and they know what Adrian Llamo will say at the court martial -- trained canaries always sing the tunes they're taught.  Point being, aiding the enemy is a serious charge and it might exist currently in an attempt to frighten Bradley and to force his hand.  Or it might be charge they plan on keeping in the court-martial.  If they plan on keeping it, I would assume they had Llamo ready to spin or they wouldn't have lodged it to begin with.  This whole area that Michael Ratner's outlining so very well is confusing for one reason: The defense hasn't entered a plea.
We're including Michael Ratner's take because it's legally sound and may be correct.  But there's a great deal unknown at this point still and I'm trying to make it clear that it's his argument, not mine.  There have been a number of e-mails expressing disappointment that I didn't use this space to defend a service member who just got drummed out of the military.  We covered that by noting Justin Raimondo's writing on the topic.  I couldn't write on it because I'd long ago made an argument here* -- repeatedly -- that didn't allow me to take a stand defending that service member without being a hypocrite.  So should it turn out that Llamo testifies that in hours of chat, once Bradely expressed that he didn't care whether this helped al Qaeda or not or that he wanted it to, we're not painted into a corner or blindsided because I haven't made that an issue in the arguments we've made here.
[*We have repeatedly defended the rights of service members, active duty, to take part in protests and to speak their minds freely provided they were not in uniform.  When Adam Kokesh was being targeted by the military, we were able to cite the difference in his case.  In uniform or not, he was taking part in street theater and the court had recognized that as legal during Vietnam when American service members -- active duty -- took part in street theater actions while in fatigues or uniforms.  From the Supreme Court's decision in Schacht v. United States (1970):
The Government's argument in this case seems to imply that somehow what these amateur actors did in Houston should not be treated as a "theatrical production" within the meaning of 772 (f). We are unable to follow such a suggestion. Certainly theatrical productions need not always be performed in buildings or even on a defined area such as a conventional stage. Nor need they be performed by professional actors or be heavily financed or elaborately produced. Since time immemorial, outdoor theatrical performances, often performed by amateurs, have played an important part in the entertainment and the education of the people of the world. Here, the record shows without dispute the preparation and repeated presentation by amateur actors of a short play designed to create in the audience an understanding of and opposition to our participation in the Vietnam war. Supra, at 60 and this page. It may be that the performances were crude and [398 U.S. 58, 62] amateurish and perhaps unappealing, but the same thing can be said about many theatrical performances. We cannot believe that when Congress wrote out a special exception for theatrical productions it intended to protect only a narrow and limited category of professionally produced plays. 3 Of course, we need not decide here all the questions concerning what is and what is not within the scope of 772 (f). We need only find, as we emphatically do, that the street skit in which Schacht participated was a "theatrical production" within the meaning of that section.
This brings us to petitioner's complaint that giving force and effect to the last clause of 772 (f) would impose an unconstitutional restraint on his right of free speech. We agree. This clause on its face simply restricts 772 (f)'s authorization to those dramatic portrayals that do not "tend to discredit" the military, but, when this restriction is read together with 18 U.S.C. 702, it becomes clear that Congress has in effect made it a crime for an actor wearing a military uniform to say things during his performance critical of the conduct or [398 U.S. 58,63] policies of the Armed Forces. An actor, like everyone else in our country, enjoys a constitutional right to freedom of speech, including the right openly to criticize the Government during a dramatic performance. The last clause of 772 (f) denies this constitutional right to an actor who is wearing a military uniform by making it a crime for him to say things that tend to bring the military into discredit and disrepute. In the present case Schacht was free to participate in any skit at the demonstration that praised the Army, but under the final clause of 772 (f) he could be convicted of a federal offense if his portrayal attacked the Army instead of praising it. In light of our earlier finding that the skit in which Schacht participated was a "theatrical production" within the meaning of 772 (f), it follows that his conviction can be sustained only if he can be punished for speaking out against the role of our Army and our country in Vietnam. Clearly punishment for this reason would be an unconstitutional abridgment of freedom of speech. The final clause of 772 (f), which leaves Americans free to praise the war in Vietnam but can send persons like Schacht to prison for opposing it, cannot survive in a country which has the First Amendment. To preserve the constitutionality of 772 (f) that final clause must be stricken from the section.
It's a damn shame the press ignored that verdict while miscovering the charges against Adam.]


No comments: