Army Specialist Bradley Manning, the intelligence analyst who leaked the “Collateral Murder” video of US pilots shooting down Iraqi civilians (including two Reuters photographers) in cold blood, is finally being charged. For revealing to the American people the truth about what’s going on in Iraq, Manning faces horrendous legal consequences – nearly sixty years in prison if convicted on all counts. One of the charges, incredibly, is espionage. He was a “spy,” according to the US government – for letting Americans in on the “secret” that we are committing war crimes in Iraq, and around the world.
This case has already generated considerable publicity, much of it seemingly put out there by the feds and their media operatives – yes, editors of Wired magazine, I’m talking about your pathetic rag – and designed to obfuscate the issue with personal attacks on Manning. How Manning was busted, and by whom, is a sickening tale of a government informant working in tandem with the hi-tech “media” to “out,” prosecute, and smear a brave whistleblower – go here for the full story. Suffice to say, in this space, that Manning’s detractors have stepped up their propaganda campaign: now that charges have been filed and the “mainstream” media is covering the case, the smears have migrated from Wired to the Associated Press. Check out this story, which begins rather oddly:
“With his custom-made “humanist” dog tags and distrust of authority, Bradley Manning was no conventional soldier.
“Ostracized by peers in Baghdad, busted for assaulting a fellow soldier and disdainful of the military’s inattention to computer security, the 22-year-old intelligence analyst styled himself a “hactivist.”
It goes on like that for some thirty-seven paragraphs, focusing on Manning the “slight, boyish-looking son of divorced parents from Crescent, Okla., population 1,400,” who recently got in a fight with a fellow soldier, and was suffering from some “adjustment” problem that had him slated for discharge. In addition, we are told, he had “stylish, upswept hair and a stated affinity for gay-rights groups including Repeal the Ban, which seeks to end the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on homosexuals serving in the U.S. military.”
The article goes on to cite a friend who says Manning has “anger issues.” You can see where this is going: the idea is to characterize the leaker as a “disturbed” individual who sought to act out his personal issues with some kind of attention-getting stunt. This accomplishes the key task of diverting our attention away from the government’s crimes – which Manning bravely exposed to the light of day – and shifting the focus to Manning’s alleged shortcomings. It’s a crude, even primitive, method – and it may very well work.
The “Collateral Murder” video, released by Wikileaks, has done enormous damage to US propaganda efforts, which seek to portray the US presence in Iraq as benevolent and Operation “Iraqi Freedom” a success. With Wikileaks about to release yet another video, this time reportedly chronicling a similar atrocity in Afghanistan, the feds have their agenda all set as far as Manning is concerned: shut him up, lock him up, and throw away the key.
Particularly disgusting, even in this depraved era, is the journalistic contingent that echoes the government’s case like a Greek chorus. Aside from Wired‘s contemptible collaboration with the snitch Adrian Lamo, we have one Gabriel Schoenfeld, described by AP as “an author who supports cracking down on leakers,” whose support for prosecuting Manning is reported as follows:
“Schoenfeld, author of ‘Necessary Secrets’ and a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, said leaks of military information during wartime run counter to America’s interests. ‘We’re serious about trying to win, and it’s extremely damaging to the morale of our troops,’ he said. ‘It inflames the local opinion, where we have a real battle for hearts and minds.’”
The inflammation of American opinion is what our the War Party is concerned about: the real battle for hearts and minds is taking place right here in the good ol’ US of A, where it counts. Because if the Obama administration fails to mobilize public opinion around support for the war – or, at least, fails to keep popular antiwar sentiment from penetrating the Beltway bubble – then the President might as well have replaced Gen. Stanley McChrystal with nobody, for all the difference it will make.
Schoenfeld, you’ll recall, was one of the loudest defenders of accused spies Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, two top employees of AIPAC, Israel’s powerful Washington lobby, who recruited Larry Franklin, the Pentagon’s top Iran analyst, to pass sensitive secrets to Israeli government officials. A friendly judge, and a public outcry – led in part by Schoenfeld – got them off once the Obama administration took the reins at the Justice Department. Rosen and Weissman, despite having stolen reams of important intelligence [.pdf] from us, were basically pardoned by the Obama-ites – thanks to Schoenfeld & Co. – while Manning is having the book thrown at him (to the applause of the Schoenfelds of this world).
In defending Rosen and Weissman, Schoenfeld averred that these two innocents were just “journalists,” doing what “everyone” in Washington does – trading on inside information. The AIPAC duo, who had been sneaking around Washington meeting with their quarry in darkened restaurants and on crowded street corners, were just exercising their “First Amendment rights,” Schoenfeld protested. The affair was “misbegotten,” he says in his book. – but it’s okay to prosecute and jail Manning. Because, after all, instead of stealing on behalf of a foreign power – Israel, our “friend” and “ally” – he did it to get the truth out to the American people, and we can’t have that!
The Manning revelations – not only the two videos, but those 260,000 diplomatic cables the accused soldier reportedly downloaded and sent off to Wikileaks – have already delivered a body blow to the War Party’s efforts, with the promise of much more to come. That’s why the powers-that-be and their media sock puppets are going into overdrive, pushing back as hard as they can: they apparently think a preemptive strike will somehow ameliorate the growing crisis. With public support for the war plummeting, and a rebellion brewing in the Democratic party’s base, the administration can ill afford to sustain any more damage to their position before it becomes completely untenable. Their fondest hope is that they can railroad him quickly, and douse public interest in the case.
We can’t let that happen. Go here to find out how you can help free Bradley Manning – a patriot and a true soldier, who wouldn’t stand by silently while atrocities were committed in his name and under his flag.