Bradley Manning has been treat in a deplorable fashion. You can argue about his 'crimes' until you are blue in the face but, he as been treat in a manner most decent people would not use on a dog.People in the USA are divided over Mr Manning and what should be his fate. TEK published an op-ed in March 2012 comparing the treatment of Bradley with that of the so-called rogue US soldier who had recently killed 17 civilians in Afghanistan.
It tried to address the lack of justice Mr Manning was afforded. It was an eye-opener to just how bigoted many people remain in the 21st Century. It showed that a fair trial in the West is a concept rather than a right. It is ironic that we, the west, want to push our rights and beliefs onto the ME but shy away from following them through at home.So what was Bradley's crime? In March we wrote,
Bradley Manning was a 22-year-old US Army analyst when he allegedly passed sensitive information which was ultimately revealed to the World. Facing 22 charges of obtaining and distributing government secrets Manning is thought by some to be a Hero and by others to be a Traitor,
Manning was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 and was placed in military custody. This is where he has remained.
Bradley Manning stands accused in the US of breaking the law. Even President Obama in March stated that Manning broke the law when asked about Bradley. If the Commander-in-Chief states that a young man currently being tried for leaking information has broken the law, what chance is there of a fair trial? Most people would say none. This case leaves so much to be desired at it is easy to see both sides. However the USA is, supposedly, a civilised country and Manning's captivity for the last 19 months has been far from civilised.
Bradley is in the news again as a pre-trial hearing makes a startling announcement. A US military judge has said that if Pfc Manning is convicted, his sentence could be reduced by 112 days. The reason for the possible reduction is that he 'suffered illegal punishment during his nine-month detention, following his arrest in 2010, reports the BBC.
At that time he was held for 23 hours a day, in a windowless cell. Pfc Manning was shackled for the hour he was out of his cell, and his jailers have tried to say that the strict measures where as he had suicidal thoughts. I bet he had!. Manning faces
22 charges, including aiding the enemy. In the four-day pre-trial hearing a judge argued that Manning's treatment was "more rigorous than necessary" but she excused this saying it. "became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests".
So how does the 112 days stack up? 20 days credit in exchange for guards continuing to remove Pfc Manning's underwear at night and 10 days for denying him exercise, the Pentagon said. The defense request to reduce any sentence by 10 days for every day of his nearly nine months, of being held with excessive treatment, was refused. It would have reduced said sentence by seven years. Instead Judge Lind agreed to 112 days of the nine-month period. Manning's offer to accept responsibility for over 250,000 l
cables leaked to wikileaks has been denied. He will face the 22 charges, which will include aiding the enemy. Dismissal of all charges is listed as a possible remedy for an Article 13 violation, that is excessive abusive treatment. It will not be availble for ManningThe Court Marshall is scheduled for March 2012. The kangaroo court as that is what iot is proving to be will decide the fate of this young man. He may have been misguided or simply foolish but he will be the scapegoat. A way to set an example. Jail will be a way to silence him. After all as Bradley has already proved he knows tooo many wrongdoings by the US military and the authorities.Good luck Bradley.Source: BBCMore at the Guardian
There has been a media frenzy taking place in Knightsbridge, London, Sunday August, 19. It is happening outside of the Ecuadorian Embassy where Julian Assange
is holed up. For two months he has remained inside the property knowing that he will be arrested should he step foot outside. Assange has become something of a thorn in the side of the UK government and officials in the US. Primarily wanted to answer sex allegations in Sweden it is widely believed that once out of the UK America
will attempt to extradite him to the USA. His involvement with the Wikileaks cables could lead to him being imprisoned or even facing the death penalty.The US does not have a good track record in such matters. Young Bradley Manning who was embroiled in Wikileaks was jailed without "due process" where he faced atrocities.
Manning opened many people's eyes as to what was going on in countries where the US miltary were active. For that we should be grateful.Assange announced that at 2pm today he would make an official statement. It is thought that would mean him stepping outside although he may choose to speak from a balcony of the building.
When Ecuador agreed to give Assange asylum
he agreed not to make political speeches so just what he will say is not clear.Around 1pm his lawyer spoke to the media outside of the Embassy
. Assange has it was revealed asked his lawyer to carry out a legal action to protect his and the wikileak's rights. He has said that he is thankful to the President and people of Ecuador.More to follow around 2pm.......2:05pm people were seen getting a balcony ready for Mr Assange. Microphones and cables were set up as the Police held the media back. 2:15pm Whether it be for dramattic effect or just simply one those days, Mr Assange has yet to appear2:20 Julian came out onto the Balcony. His speech included thanks to the crowd, The Ecuadorian Embassy staff,
the people and their President. Mr Assange talked of the night during the week when British police prepared to storm the embassy. He thanked those who have kept a vigil outside for preventing action.Julian went on to thank the staff of Wikileaks, his family and his children, who he promised he would be with soon. The freedoms that Wikileaks aim to protect
and the threat of the US government were voiced. Julian asked President Obama to stop its witchhunt against wikileaks and abandon the FBI investigation. He went on to state that the US administration's war on whistleblowers must end.Finally he spoke of Bradley Manning. The Private who has been jailed for two years without trial. He said he must be released but this is bound to fall on deaf ears. He reminded the crowd that Bradley has spent more than the legal amount of days in jail without a trial. Yet of course the US is the first to preach to other countries. He thanked the crowd, gave a thumbs up and paused for photographs before going back inside.
Wikieaks founder Julian Assange
is wanted in Sweden for alleged sexual crimes which occurred almost two years ago. He stands charged of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, involving two women. Mr Assange has denied any wrong doing and has continued to fight his extradition.If the allegations are true the two women have been badly let down by the justice system. If they are not Mr Assange could find himself caught in an ever increasing web.It is no secret that the USA would like to get their hands on Assange. His published wikileaks revealed far more than US officials wanted as public knowledge. One casualty of this affair has been Bradley Manning. His fate remains uncertain.Assange has continued to maintain that the allegations from Sweden are all a ploy. Once in Sweden he thinks the US will easily be able to move him to that country. Either that or he will face a long sentece in Sweden for something he claims he did not do.The latest twist in Mr Assanges complicated and controversial llfe happened last night, June 19, 2012, when he entered the Equadorean Embassy in London. His reason for doing so was to request asylum.In doing so he breached his bail conditions and now faces arrest by UK police should he leave the building. Officials at the embassy have said that they must give Assange's request the necssary attention. This is common practice in embassies.
Assange could have waitied until a time of day when he had some freedom but he choose to enter the embassy at night.Recently Julian had interviewed the leader of Equador as part of his new role on RT, Russia Today.
Is this when he conceived the plan? How safe he would be in Equador is uncertain.
The Guardian has reported "Brita Sundberg-Weitman, a former head judge at a district court in Solna, a Stockholm suburb, who gave evidence in Assange's appeal against extradition in the UK courts, said she feared Assange's decision to seek refuge in Ecuador was misguided. "I can understand that Assange is afraid of being sent from Sweden to the US, but I am not sure it will turn out well for him," she said."I don't know what his situation would be if he really landed in Ecuador and whether he would be safe. If you think of the policy of the Obama administration to kill whoever the president considers a terrorist wherever they are in the world."
Last week Assange's appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected. This meant that extradition was imminent. Perhaps seeking asylum was simply a last ditch effort of a desperate man? Then again it could have been more contrived.
Shakeel Afridi, a Pakistani doctor has been jailed for the part he played in the capture and ultimate killing of Osama Bin Laden. Whilst some in the West may praise the help this man gave to the US Intelligence services, Pakistan holds a different view.
May 23, 2012, Dr Afridi was jailed for 33 years for treason and also fined $3,500 for spying for the United States. US officials will no doubt consider his sacrifice worth it, for finally enabling them to apprehend Bin Laden. It is doubtful that Afridi and his family will see things in quite the same way.
Usually witness protection schemes look after the interests of people who help the authorities in such a way. As Afridi was a foreign national it could have been a different matter altogether.
Dr Afridi was tried under tribal law which did not allow him to offer his own defence. The trial has been ongoing for two months. This would seem to indicate that in many ways Afridi was given a fair trial but the outcome may have been a forgone conclusion.
According to CNN, "Afridi helped the CIA use a vaccination campaign in an attempt to collect DNA samples from residents of bin Laden's compound in the city of Abbottabad to verify the al Qaeda leader's presence there."Opinion:
This case raises mixed feelings. Bin Laden captured was the aim and achieved. He however died an innocent man, having never been tried for his crimes. You can say what you will but without a trial guilt has not been proven. It harps back to "hang 'em high days" before the rule of law.
Then you have to consider the way that the US entered Pakistan and if the boot was on the other foot. Whilst this blogger may seem preoccupied with talk of setting bad precedents it must be acknowledged. Breaking all the rules when it suits sooner or later tends to backfire on you.
What of Doctor confidentiality which we treasure so much in the West?
Pakistan has a justice system and many now believe that should a legal challenge be raised against the tribal court's ruling it will be overturned. The case appears to be far from over yet as a separate Federal case is ongoing.
If the sentence stands it is hard to believe that other foreign nationals will ever help the US again. After all it sends a stark message to those tempted.
Instigating treason, as you feel the ends justify the means, smacks of downright hypocrisy. US soldier Bradley Manning is still facing an uncertain future after charges of US treason were levied against him. His crime? He dared to let the World see what was really going on in US conflicts. For that we should be eternally grateful.
In the case of Afridi the US encouraged him to enable a foreign mission on his own territory. Does it compare at all? We think not.Bradley Manning here
March 12, 2012. A new week begins but will it be more of the same in Afghanistan? The aftermath of Koran burnings by US military
personnel has hardly settled and now reportedly a lone rogue US soldier has massacred at least 15 civilians. The dead include women and children. All were murdered as they slept in their homes.Perhaps surprisingly for Westerners it is not known if the Afghan people will react as strongly to yesterday's tragedy
as they did to the Koran burnings. The Koran has such a special significance to the Afghan people that it was an attack on the population. That said this weekend's murders could still result in an increase in terrorism. The Taliban have however vowed recriminations. Many of the media reports that have been coming out of Afghanistan in recent years tell a terrible tale.
The US and its propaganda team may try an ongoing damage limitations exercise but it is safe to say that this weekend's murders were not an isolated incident. US soldiers urinating on dead Afghans, Kill teams and more appear to be just the tip of the iceberg.The US is due to leave Afghanistan in the coming years but it had hoped to leave behind
a contingency force. What could prove to be a deal breaker on this though is immunity from prosecution for US troops. Yes the US likes to protect its military, or least it does sometimes. Apparently immunity from prosecution was a deal breaker in Iraq. In the end having fought hard for so long the US simply pulled out every single member of US forces.
It may be that rogue US soldiers will face American justice but what will that entail?For this blogger the case of Bradley Manning comes to mind. This young soldier was obviously a troubled soul. Accused of leaking secrets to Wikileaks he has endured years in jail without trial. He was kept in isolation and there have been accusations levied against his jailers, of torture.
Manning showed the world a little oh what was really going on with some of the US military abroad. For some he will always be a traitor and for others a hero. Did his actions jeopardise the lives of others? Maybe. Did he reveal a little of what was really happening in Iraq? Definitely.The US is often viewed from other countries as a "bunch of hypocrites"
I say the US as it is successive US administrations not simply the Obama one.Whether it turns out that this weekend's killings were by a lone soldier or not justice must be served.
Until a full investigation is complete do not rule out any conclusion. It could still be a cover up for one of the US night raids that went wrong. Time will tell if the truth is eventually released.
If it was on lone soldier who had flipped will he still face prosecution? You could say Bradley Manning fitted that category but officials do not care about him. He however did not directly kill anyone.A lone gunman in for example a school in America would feel the full brunt of the law, no matter what his mental status was.
So what is the difference with these Afghan murders? If you have not seen it before watch the attached video.
It shows murder plain and simple called "engaging" the enemy or should that be a group of Afghan men..This blogger thanks Bradley Manning for his bravery in ensuring that such murder did not go unseen. Out of sight and out of mind. Bradley Manning faced a possible life sentence in jail or even the death penalty
. His fate is still not clear.An interesting related blog can be read hereFinal thoughts: The perpetrator of this crime may indeed be suffering from PTSD. He could however have carried out a revenge attack
for the Koran burning US deaths. He could have been part of a night attack that went wrong. He could have wanted a way out of Afghanistan. He may have wanted to go out with a bang. He may have looked at previous lenient sentences which have been handed out to US troops, other than people like Bradley Manning, and thought I can do as I like and get away with it. That is what comes of a record of failed justice. Time to come clean, hold your hands up and mete out appropriate justice.