The Wright Perspective℠
Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠
A Blog by Gary Wright II
WikiLeaks, the Manning evidence, and the lies on Fox News
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
For the past ten months, Army PFC Bradley Manning has been held in solitary confinement without being charged with any crime. That is NOT due process and it is a cruel and unusual punishment for someone who has not been found guilty of any crime! He has been accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks.org, but the video he allegedly leaked is evidence of war crimes which the military officers tried to cover up. The video documents the intentional slaughter of a dozen innocent Iraqis by two US helicopters. Reporting war crimes should not be a crime, and Manning should not be punished - he should be commended for his actions.
There is an oath that is administered to the military and public servants, and Manning had the courage to stick to his oath: "I pledge to support, honor, and be loyal to the United States, its Constitution, and its laws. Where and if lawfully required, I further commit myself to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, either by military, noncombatant, or civilian service. This I do solemnly swear, so help me God."
The oath is pretty clear when it says, "defend the Constitution and laws ... against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
The main evidence against Manning is a transcript of an online chat he allegedly had with a computer "hacker." This wannabe "hacker" has a criminal record, a history of mental illness, and in the past has fabricated documents in an effort to get attention. An egomaniacal criminal is not a very reliable source, and it will be difficult to prove that the transcript is accurate. It will be even harder to prove that it was actually Manning who was behind the keyboard.
For the purposes of this discussion, let's assume that Manning is guilty. According to the chat transcript, Manning says, "god knows what happens now - hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reform. If not... then we're doomed as a species. I will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens. I want people to see the truth.. regardless of who they are... because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public."
If the best evidence is against Manning is the chat transcript, then the military has no case. He wasn't leaking information as a spy or for espionage purposes. He even says, "I want people to see the truth... regardless of who they are..." Justice was clearly his only motivation, and he was bound by his oath to defend the laws of our country.
I'm afraid that Manning (along with Julian Assange - the founder of WikiLeaks.org) are not going to get a fair trial. Our media rarely reports on this story, and when they do talk about it - they mostly lie about it. Assange is being extradited from Britain to Sweden for allegations of sexual conduct. I honestly think he is innocent. The actions taken by the two ladies are not consistent with someone who has been raped. One lady bragged on Twitter that she had slept with one of the most interesting people in the world. The other lady slept with him on multiple occasions. If you were raped, would go back to have more sex? If you were raped, would you brag about it and even publicly praise the person who raped you? I think not!
Fox News recently aired a story that was total bullshit. They reported that the video on WikiLeaks had been fabricated and that the men being shot were carrying weapons. First, they are correct when they say the video had been edited by WikiLeaks. The video is pretty long, so they edited down to just the main parts of it. They also added a transcript of the conversations that had been captured in the video. What Fox News did NOT say was that the unaltered raw video was published next to the links to the edited ones. The video shows that the men were not armed with rifles or rocket propelled grenades. You can also clearly see the two children in the front seat of the van that was attacked by the helicopters during the same incident. Is Fox News even watching the same video???
I hope that those interested in this case (and in justice) will take the time to view the video for themselves and not just take the spinning words of the press as being true. The video is posted at CollateralMurder.com
In a leaked presentation between a security firm and Bank of America, the firm recommends attacking WikiLeaks by releasing false documents in an effort to discredit them. I guess Fox got the same memo.
Again, for the purposes of this discussion, let's assume the video is fake. Why didn't the military respond to multiple requests from Reuters who demanded to know why their reporter was among the dozen innocent people who were purposely killed?
As I wrote in a previous blog entry, our soldiers have a "shoot them first" attitude, and we probably shouldn't blame them for that. They have been put in a dangerous and difficult situation, and it isn't fair to criticize them for that. However, it is not acceptable behavior for the officers to cover up these incidents.
So how often does this happen? In just the past two weeks, the government of Afghanistan has reported three incidents of innocent civilians being killed by our troops. This morning in Afghanistan, two NATO helicopters shot nine boys (ages 9 to 15) who were out gathering firewood.
General Petraeus has pledged to investigate the incident and to take disciplinary action if appropriate. He said, "We are deeply sorry for this tragedy and apologize to the members of the Afghan government, the people of Afghanistan and, most importantly, the surviving family members of those killed by our actions. These deaths should have never happened."
There is one fact that tells the whole story: the civilian body count. With all of the blood that has been shed in Iraq and Afghanistan, what have we actually accomplished there? We should not be "shooting the messenger" by going after Manning or Assange. They have brought light to our true motivations and have pointed out our failures. Our nation needs to take responsibility for our actions. We need to study our mistakes, learn from them, and never let them happen again.
The US criminal investigation against Assange will show that nothing he did gives the US jurisdiction over his actions. The subpoenas that were issued fail two legal tests: There was no probable cause and it was too broad with no specificity of evidence. Attorney Alan Dershowitz points out the double standard in America of "Freedom and justice for me - but not for thee!"
Those who say Assange is not a journalist are only degrading journalists. Why is it that a "non-journalist" was able to break the biggest news stories in American history?
Recent remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demonstrate the double standard: "We believe that governments who have erected barriers to internet freedom, whether they're technical filters or censorship regimes or attacks on those who exercise their rights to expression and assembly online, will eventually find themselves boxed in. They will face a dictator's dilemma and will have to choose between letting the walls fall or paying the price to keep them standing. Governments that arrest bloggers, pry into the peaceful activities of their citizens, and limit their access to the internet, may claim to be seeking security. In fact, they may even mean it as they define it. But they are taking the wrong path."
I would respond to her comments with the old saying, "What is good for the goose is good for the gander!?!"
I hope that both Assange and Manning will receive a fair trial. There is a saying that is etched into the walls of most courthouses: Justice delayed is justice denied. I think that history will record these two men as heroes, and in the case of Manning, a true patriot that has sacrificed his life to support the justice and freedom that we claim to cherish.
-- Gary Wright II