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Monday, March 12, 2012

"Cruel and unusual": Did Bradley Manning force Obama to end the Iraq war?

The Guardian is reporting it, and so is RT and NPR. But you'll probably have to wait awhile before the major American newsflacks deign to mention it...
The UN special rapporteur on torture has formally accused the US government of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment towards Bradley Manning, the US soldier who was held in solitary confinement for almost a year on suspicion of being the WikiLeaks source.

Juan Mendez has completed a 14-month investigation into the treatment of Manning since the soldier's arrest at a US military base in May 2010. He concludes that the US military was at least culpable of cruel and inhumane treatment in keeping Manning locked up alone for 23 hours a day over an 11-month period in conditions that he also found might have constituted torture.
It seems obvious that this treatment was designed to force Manning into giving false testimony.

In related news, court records in Manning's case have been shielded from reporters. Journalists have an easier time getting access to the documentation surrounding the detainees at Guantanamo.

Who ended the Iraq war? The President is receiving credit for pulling American troops out of that quagmire, but writer Chris Floyd argues that Manning forced Obama's hand. The argument draws from a point made by William Blum:
It was after seeing American war crimes such as those depicted in the video "Collateral Murder" and documented in the "Iraq War Logs," made public by Manning and Wikileaks, that the Iraqis refused to exempt US forces from prosecution for future crimes. The video depicts an American helicopter indiscriminately murdering several non-combatants in addition to two Reuters journalists, and the wounding of two little children, while the helicopter pilots cheer the attacks in a Baghdad suburb like it was the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.

The insistence of the Iraqi government on legal jurisdiction over American soldiers for violations of Iraqi law — something the United States rarely, if ever, accepts in any of the many countries where its military is stationed — forced the Obama administration to pull the remaining American troops from the country.
As you ponder the case of Bradley Manning, always keep one thing in mind: Obama ran on a pledge to end the war -- and to end torture.

Did Bradley Manning ignite the Arab uprising? Most people think that Manning released the "Collateral Murder" video, which never should have been kept from the public. (The ones who should be facing trial are those who tried to censor it.) Whether Manning leaked those now-infamous Wikileaks cables remains an open question.

If he did, he may have helped to spark the Arab Spring revolts. Here's Blum again:
When people in Tunisia read or heard of US Embassy cables revealing the extensive corruption and decadence of the extended ruling family there — one long and detailed cable being titled: "CORRUPTION IN TUNISIA: WHAT'S YOURS IS MINE" — how Washington's support of Tunisian President Ben Ali was not really strong, and that the US would not support the regime in the event of a popular uprising, they took to the streets.
That cable was written in 2008; here it is, if you care to read the original.

Tunisia beget Egypt which beget Libya which beget Syria. It seems impossible to believe that one small man could be responsible for that much history...
Excellent question and a very good post.

One shouldnt forget that whatever this administration wanted from Mr. Manning, they didnt get it. Bradley Manning is a very brave man.

Excellent points...thanks for this overview. Don't forget, especially with this latest "rogue lone gunman" who could hardly have killed and burned all those Afghanis scattered over that distance alone, that it's in the war industy's best interests to continue to fuel anti-American sentiment and keep those terrorist gangs in outraged new recruits.
I have to agree with prowlerzee! The lone gunman dog won't hunt. I would bet money it was a cadre of nuts who did that massacre. And the Staff Sergant is taking the blame. The US Govt does not want to have to deal with a group of soldiers who brutaly killed these civilians of which most were children. Sickening. But I doubt that he did this alone. Apparently the rogue psychos that killed a number in 2010 came from same base in the state of Washington. Coincidence....I doubt it. We need to get out quick.
Careful what you wish for. When you bring these soldiers home you should brace yourself for a wave of mass killings and postal events which will follow their return over the next 10 years. War is a factory which mass produces mentally ill kids who have been trained to kill.

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