Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What did Chelsea Manning do? (A reminder)

Washington (CNN)  President Barack Obama on Tuesday overruled his secretary of defense to commute the sentence of former Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks.
The decision – which a senior defense official told CNN was made over the objections of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter – immediately touched off a controversy in the closing days of the Obama administration.

What did Chelsea Manning do to deserve a 45-year sentence (currently being served at Ft. Leavenworth, KS?   Everyone remember?

Nearly seven years ago, on April 5, 2010, Wikileaks released video with transcripts and other documents showing that laughing American troops machine-gunned civilians (including two journalists) from helicopters. Three months later, on July 6, 2010, U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United States Army in Baghdad, was charged with providing the video to Wikileaks.

He informed the American people of what was being done, in their names, to the unfortunate, defenseless people of Iraq ... in their OWN country.

But such things happen in war, right?  Yes, that is right.  All the time, as a matter-of-fact. 

The significance of the Wikileaks release, though, is that the US military attempted to hide the incident, to keep it secret, and they lied about it.  The official statement initially listed all adult victims as insurgents and claimed the US
 military did not know how they were killed.  Lies.

All I need to know about WikiLeaks is that if it wasn't for Private Manning and WikiLeaks, we would never have known about the US military attempt to hide an incident in which civilians were murdered. Never. Just like we were never supposed to find out about Abu Ghraid, or the PRISM surveillance system.

The attack on civilians occurred three years before WikiLeaks released the "Collateral Murder" video.  Three years.  In three years, no one in the mainstream media showed any interest at all in collecting and disclosing information about those murders.  In three years, the US military focused solely on hiding the act. 

No one in the US military leadership or in the US mainstream media – no one – would ever have stood up and acted honorably.  No one.  You can take that to the bank.  They all failed to do their jobs.  It was necessary for someone else to do their jobs for them.  Pure and simple:  We owe Chelsea Manning.