As whistle-blower Bradley Manning's military trial draws to a close the young man took to the stand Wednesday taking a final opportunity to speak and issuing an apology to the USA for leaking information. The leaked information proved very damaging to the USA as it painted a clear picture of abuse, murder and war crimes by some in the military on tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. No doubt all countries have such episodes stashed away from public gaze but outing them should be applauded and not result in torture and prison.As the likely outcome of the trial became a painful reality for Manning, apologising was understandable. In an emotional day in court he appeared close to tears on more than one occassion, having previously shown a brave face to the world. At the pre-trial hearing in February Bradley continued with his stance that he stood by his actions leaking information to wikileaks and ultimately the world. He maintained he acted out of a good conscience. Was Wednesday's back pedalling all it seemed though?This young man has been abused and tortured, deprived of humanity and so much more during his brutal incarceration. Threatened with the rest of his life in jail can you blame him for offering an apology. In doing so Bradley hopes that he can undertake college education and become a productive member of society rather than rot away in jail until he dies.He has learned a valuable lesson. When we are young many of us are idealisitic and believe we can change the world. In time we realise that the elite have the world sewn up to their advantage. Does that mean we should stop trying? Without people prepared to put their life and freedom on the line we are placing ourselves in the hands of others whose motives may be suspect.We should never forget that just beacuse something cannot be changed does not make it right. What cannot be cured has to be endured, but change is possible
when there is the will. Wednesday others took to the witness stand
including family members who spoke about his troubled childhood and a psychologist who said "Manning felt extreme mental pressure in the "hyper-masculine" military because of his gender-identity disorder — his feeling that he was a woman trapped in a man's body" reported CBS News
Manning told the court rthat he understood what he was doing when he leaked sensitive information but had not realised the negative impact it would have on the USA. Of course it should not be about hurting the USA's feelings but ending war crimes.
25-year-old Bradley could be sentenced to 90 years in prison for the 2010 leaks. The military court is posturing and procrastinating. When will Bradley be sentenced? Only the court knows the answer to that one. After Wednesday's defense testimony the prosecution will have their say Friday.Bradley's unsworn words from the stand Wednesday were apparently read from papers and aimed directly at the judge. CBS News
reported Manning said: "He realizes now that he should have worked more aggressively "inside the system" to draw attention to his concerns about the way the war was being waged. He said he wants to get a college degree, and he asked for a chance to become a more productive member of society.
"Was Bradley forced to make the statement? Were his words from the heart?
If not can you blame him?We have all seen news reports from other countries were hostages have spoken words forced upon them. Whatever the motive, if Bradley's words have the desired effect and free him all well and good.Julian Assange, the wikileaks founder holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy London since last year, had this to say on Wednesday's events. "Mr. Manning's apology is a statement extorted from him under the overbearing weight of the United States military justice system. It took three years and millions of dollars to extract two minutes of tactical remorse from this brave soldier." The character assassination of Bradley continued Wednesday: "Navy Capt. David Moulton, a psychiatrist who spent 21 hours interviewing Manning at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after his arrest, testified as a defense witness that Manning's gender identity disorder, combined with narcissistic personality traits, idealism and his lack of friends in Iraq, caused him to conclude he could change the world by leaking classified information."Nothing said however detracts from the war crimes Manning exposed. When will the perpetrators stand trail and if they ever do what will be their sentence?Related reading:Bradley Manning, America's conscience
Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemyOp-ed: Court debates Bradley Manning sentence before the trial
A great deal is said and written about President Obama and whistle-blowers, notably Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. Friday Obama
went on record promising to increase transparency and restore trust following Snowden's surveillance leaks but collecting our data will continue. In the UK we have become accustomed to our politicians making empty promises, which is probably why many will view the President's words as meaningless. Remember though "actions speak louder than words".
Here in the UK Saturday Al Jazeera broadcast an interesting report which included interviews with the loved ones of those killed in Iraq by US forces. The dead were not those killed by Americans in the "line of duty" but those killed in the action highlighted by Bradley Manning.
No matter how many times you watch "collateral murder"
it never fails to shock. The blas`e attitude of members of the US military mowing people down without a second thought sends a chill down your spine. If you have never watched the full video it is worth doing so.
Watching the interviews with some of the relatives of those killed was brutal. Their pain was visible. Two members of the US military who regretted the action were also interviewed.
The consensus was that military episodes such as the one shown in "collateral murder" happened all the time in the Iraq war. They only became a problem when Manning leaked abuse details to the world.
The Iraq war was not Obama's but George W Bush's and UK PM Tony Blair's. In Britain Blair lost political support primarily because people viewed the Iraq war as illegal. To this day many people still believe that Bush and Blair are war criminals. In truth of course war criminals are invariably on the losing side. Some would say it is the winning war criminals trying the losing ones.
War is a dirty business and terrible acts play out all the time. A highly trained military force should only commit atrocities rarely, if ever. However US forces do not have a good track record.
Currently a military trial is underway at Fort Hood
. Maj. Nidal Hasan admits shooting dead 13 army personnel and injuring more than 30 others when he went on a killing rampage on November 5, 2009. He rightly faces life in jail or the death penalty for his actions if proved guilty.
However, what about US SSG Robert Bales who shot dead 17 Afghan civilians, including women and children, in 2012? Wikipedia
claims: On March 23, 2012 Bales was formally charged with seventeen counts of murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder. He is being held in detention at Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. On May 29, 2013 the media reported that Bales will plead guilty in return for a life sentence, avoiding the death penalty. Bales was found guilty in a plea deal on June 5, 2013. A hearing is set for August to determine whether Bales will be eligible for parole after 10 years.
Would such an outcome mean that the USA values an American life more than an Afghan?
Killer Bales could be a free man in 10 years but will whistle-blowers Manning and Snowden? The answer is probably no. Guantanamo Bay says it all. Prisoners held without trial for more than a decade, many now on hunger strike.
US citizens are rightly proud of their country but some forget that foreigners love their countries too. Criticism is healthy as it holds our leaders to account and is one way to prevent dictatorships. Viewing all US criticism as Un-American
is not healthy. It harks back to the McCarthy era and the witch hunts against any possible communist activity. A generation brainwashed to fear "reds under the bed" and perhaps little has changed.
The conclusion is that western hypocrisy knows no bounds in the 21st Century. Is it right that we do as we want, as long as we are not caught? If that is the way of the world now we should be thankful for brave whistle-blowers.As kids we are taught that stealing is wrong, whether you are caught or not. Somewhere along the line morals and standards have slipped and are manipulated for our own ends.
President Obama may not have created Gitmo but he has failed to close it. The time has passed for slick words aimed at appeasing we, "the little people". Is he nothing more than a good actor who has a way with words or is he truly working for change for the better? Source links embedded in report
Spying, whistleblowing and civil unrest continue to make the headlines this weekend leaving one wondering how much all three are linked. Egypt's 2011 Arab Spring revolution is now a nightmare spiraling downward into a possible full blown conflict. The military coup has left supporters of Morsi out in the cold and Egypt is in for a tumultuous time. Russia Today
reports Saturday armed guards have fired on crowd but the army denies involvement. With so many weapons on the street it could be any number of people making waves.
Will a foreign country step in overtly or covertly, as in the past?.Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed to unsuspecting civilians that western nations are gathering data and confidential information about the public. Governments continue to claim that it is all done within the bounds of laws but that is questionable. The extent of the spying mess is unknown for now which is why the hunt is on to catch former CIA operative Edward Snowden.Looking back to the Arab Spring and in particular Egypt, how far was the west involved in manipulating the so-called revolution? Egyptian leader Mubarek was at one time the favoured leader of that country but somewhere along the line that changed. Perhaps it was simply that the west acknowledged he was not a good leader and many of his people wanted democracy. Perhaps however says it all.The Syrian uprising is in a similar situation. Leader Bashar al Assad was once the preferred leader of Syria, at least by the west. He stayed over at Buckingham Palace and was wined, dined and treat as a welcome dignitary. Was that just western hypocrisy at that time? Were there no human rights infringements back then? You know, the old saying what cannot be cured must be endured, and also used to every opportunity it seems?Edward Snowden remains a man on the run Saturday. Hero or traitor the USA will not rest until he is apprehended. Snowden has many more secrets to reveal, a fact which has the west running scared. Do they include shocking revelations regarding western involvement in Egyot, Syria and the Arab Spring?Related reading:BBC news reporter Jeremy Bowen bloodied in Egyptian violence
Egyptian President Morsi ousted, under armed guard, military in charge
In spite of a Q & A session held online Monday with the Guardian
as go-between and whistleblower Edward Snowden in the hot-seat the man remains elusive. Just where in the world is Edward Snowden at this moment in time is any person's guess although Monday it was a hide-out in Hong Kong. The less people that know the whereabouts of Snowden the better. Keeping secrets often proves to be a test too far and information can be blurted out accidentally.
According to the results of the Q & A Snowden waited to blow the whistle on US snooping until President Obama had showed that he would not control the issue. When it became abudantly clear he would not Snowden outed the NSA surveillance services dodgy dealings and himself. Edward made it plain in the interview that if the security services want to access your private data they will. They have the means and apparently no qualms about doing so. He went to say that he felt he had the support of many members of the public but that may not be true in America where he is being painted as a national traitor.
Mr Snowden expressed his disappointment with the mainstream media who are joining in his character assassination, simply confirming what most people already knew, that mainstream media
is in the pockets of government and other powers, and is far from independent. His advice to try and outwit the snoopers is using strong encryption when online but he accepts that surveillance bodies can find ways around that. He also said, what we believe, that talk of him being a Chinese spy is stuff and nonsene and offered as a distraction.
If he is in the pay of the Chinese why he is still on the run?As for being called a traitor by Dick Cheney, he said:
Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.................Guardian
You have to applaud Snowden for selecting the British publication the Guardian as his chosen media outlet. It is as far as we are aware an honorable publication unlike many others in the UK. Tuesday the Guardian carried a report about Lonnie Snowden
, Edward's father. Lonnie asks his son to 'measure what you're going to do' but says he disagrees with the US surveillance. He has sent a plea to his son to stop leaking information to the World and return home to face the music in the USA.Whether Lonnie acted independently or has been pressurised to make this appeal is not known. As a parent he is bound to be concerned. Right-minded people applaud whistleblowers but would not want that person to be a close loved one.Whatever happens next Snowden has blown it with the US authorities. Will they offer him a plea bargain to "shut the hell up" or will they look him up and throw the key away?Lonnie went public after reading and seeing so much damning information
about his son in the last few days. He wanted to set the record straight and said:
“We want you to be safe, we want you to be happy, but I know you’re your own man and you’re going to do what you feel that you have to do. I believe firmly that you are a man of principle. I believe in your character. I don’t know what you’ve seen, but I just ask that you measure what you’re going to do and not release any more information.
“I'm here because I'm really concerned about the misinformation in the media. He is a sensitive, caring young man. This is the Ed that I know. He just is a deep thinker.” The interview with Fox journalist Eric Bolling has not aired in full, but several clips have been released.
He went on - "I don't want them reading my email. I don't want them reading my text. In my opinion they have no right. Not even under the guise of ‘Oh we need to keep you safe’. If we say, ‘Oh my gosh we're going to have to sacrifice our freedom because of the threat of terrorism,’ well then the terrorists have already won because it's our freedoms that make us Americans.
Yes, and that is the point.
So what will happen next? Ed may continue to release information until he is caught or just disappears. He could be hounded, captured, sent to jail or killed. Sadly there are endless possibilities, and all are bad news.Politicians in the US have been caught with their pants down doing the proverbial on all of us. They may choose to view him as a traitor, whilst those of us who value our freedom and privacy may prefer to see them as treacherous.They have betrayed the trust of the electorate under a vieled umbrella of terrorism when in fact they have even used the surveillance systems to spy on each other.
If you support Edward Snowden keep his story in the news, contradict damning reports and lobby your politicians. None may have any positive effect but we can only try.Stay safe Ed.
Related reading:Can you outfox PRISM with a Firefox Pink Floyd plug-in?British government and GCHQ spying at G-20 summit: Who is snooping on whom?
OK, so everyone is nicely spooked about revelations that the US has been snooping on its citizens, and a range of others, such as the people in the UK and Europe, or are they? People should certainly be up in arms but it seems that as long as the Obama administration and Cameron in the UK mention the old "T" word, terrorism, we will blithely settle for the status quo.If like this writer you are a law-abiding citizen who is incensed at the thought of a western government wielding power and infringing on your freedom and privacy what can you do? Well some are calling for more sites to operate in countries other than the USA. Certainly the "yanks" dominate the Internet, at least for now. Spellchecks automatically prompt you to write in US style with the associated misspellings. A British version of Facebook or Twitter is definitely long overdue but perhaps it is already too late? How do we know that the British government
will act in a more responsible way than its counter-part in Washington? The answer is of course, we don't. Russia Today published a report which could offer you peace of mind and privacy if you use Firefox as your browser.
Here is the bulk of the RT
A 28-year-old artist and developer from Brooklyn, New York has found a fun way of warning computer users about potential government surveillance, and he’s incorporated one of the best-selling rock albums ever in the process. Justin Blinder released a plugin for the Web browser Firefox this week, and he’s already seeing a positive response in the press if not just based off of the idea alone. His “The Dark Side of the Prism” browser extension alerts Web surfers of possible surveillance by starting up a different song from Pink Floyd’s 1973 classic “The Dark Side of the Moon” each time a questionable site is crossed.
Blinder told the Guardian that he built the program over the course of four hours with the hopes he could "create some sort of ambient notification that you are on a site that is being surveiled by the NSA." "I was really interested in the fact that, although the PRISM leaks were a shock to many of us, we pretty much already kind of know we're being surveiled a lot of the time and giving away so much data," he said.
Upon news of the phone tracking program, even members of Congress said they couldn’t get over how much information was being shared between the telecoms and the government. Walking out of a briefing this Wednesday, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-California) said, "What we learned in there is significantly more than what is out in the media today,” and described her reaction as “astounded.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said the program “represents an outrageous abuse of power and a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution,” and the American Civil Liberties Union has sued the government with a similar complaint filed in federal court.
Separate from leaking a document about the NSA’s access to phone records, former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden also gave The Guardian evidence of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL and others sharing private communications of customers with the government. When “The Dark Side of the Prism” is installed, users of those sites will be reminded with one of the most iconic albums of the twentieth century.
"I just Googled 'Prism' and the cover came up," Blinder said. It just so happened that the long-time best-seller also fits the mood for exactly what the programmer was looking for.
"I didn’t want it to be too jarring because a lot of us seem to be giving in to being surveiled on a daily basis. I feel like people already know that. I didn't want it to be alarming,” he said.
Dark Side of the Moon is a rock classic by legendary band Pink Floyd.
The cover sort of resembles the PRISM logo shown above. The band may be getting on in years but they remain rock gods to many and have shown they still have a "world conscience". Early in 2013 the band's lyricist Roger Waters lent his support to Bradley Manning, who is currently on trial for the largest intelligence leak in US history saying: “We need more whistleblowers
. Blowing the whistle on our behalf is not just brave, it is heroic and it is our duty
.” Edward Snowden who is also an American citizen but currently persona non grata in the States and the UK looks set to join the ranks of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange on America's most wanted list. American top-brass are trying to blacken his name and portray him as an enemy of the state. Perhaps it is obvious that they act this way. He has after all outed them as liars, snoopers, manipulators and more. Initial denials about PRISM soon shifted into admissions of participation, yet we do not know the half of it yet.
Snowden said he leaked the documents because, “I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building
.” The RT report continues:
“He’s not a whistleblower, by the way, because a whistleblower actually wants the rule of law to be enforced
,” Jeremy Bash, the former chief of staff for then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, told Politics Confidential this week. “He copied documents and he made a run for it. He may be actually aiding our enemies
Like he was going to stick around in a country with such a poor track record on its treatment of whistlebowers? Is he an enemy as he revealed to British citizens that America was spying on them? I thought our two countries had a special relationship but that assumption would seem flawed.
News that you can use a Firefox plug in to outfox the sneaks in Washington is only partly reassuring. With trust at a low ebb how do we really know it is not just more of the same? The answer again is, we don't. It could after all be a Firefox ploy to dominate the browser scene or worse still Blinder could be part of PRISM. Is the clue in his name
and is he playing a Blinder?
Related reading:Whistleblower Edward Snowden, Hero or Traitor
Petition to protect British citizens from American snooping onlineEdward Snowden, an unlikely American Pariot
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.