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Yesterday, I was on Al Jazeera's "Inside Story" discussing the Bradley Manning plea:

A number of commentators have written about the naked plea. However, despite Manning's powerful statement last Thursday, I fear that most people will primarily remember the government's continued inflammatory, prejudicial, conclusory and erroneous statements, like that made on the show (above) by former Defense Department spokesman Jeffrey Gordon:

I think there was some pressure brought on the government about why aren't you doing enough about Bradley Manning? If you look at the context at what he has done, and the enormous damage he did to national security and our prestige around the world, throughout most of history somebody like that would be executed.
It's hard to know where to start deconstructing those two sentences. But it's important not only to get Manning's moving explanation out there, but also to call bullshyte on the government's continued lies.


First, who is this disembodied force bringing this "pressure on the government" to be tougher on Manning, and since when do courts-martial base their decision-making on non-governmental opinion? Moreover, from the moment Adrian Lamo first fingered Manning in 2010, the government reaction was swift and furious, with even President Obama pronouncing Manning guilty before ever being tried.

If Mr. Gordon had truly "examined the context of what Manning has done"--if he had bothered to attend a single Manning hearing, or if he had at least read the entire 35-page statement--he would know that Manning, in his own words,

believe[d] that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information...this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Gordon recites the government meme about "the enormous damage [Manning] did to our national security," apparently not realizing that the prosecutor has argued that none of the charges against Manning require "actual damage to be proven." Tellingly, the government has fought strenuously not to provide the damage assessments, suggesting that the reports would show there was no, or very little, harm. Reality is Exhibit #1 here. WikiLeaks published the documents at issue more than two years ago and there has been no harm of which the public is aware; in fact, quite the opposite: the documents are widely credited with helping spark the Arab Spring.

Mr. Gordon's most incredulous line was about how the WikiLeaks documents at issue damaged "our prestige around the world," a statement that speaks for itself. Our military invasions and occupations, our use of torture, the blackhold known as Guantanamo, and our droning of innocent civilians has depreciated whatever standing we had in the world, not Manning's release of documents that, at most, were embarrassing to the U.S.

Finally, Mr. Gordon's repeated comments about execution, even after the government has said it is not going to seek the death penalty, belie the way the government is using this case to send the most chilling of messages: if you embarrass the government, and especially if you expose its crimes, you will go to jail.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

    by Jesselyn Radack on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 06:49:43 AM PST

  •  Kind of a stretch... (4+ / 0-)

    to portray Gordon as having any connection tp the current views of the administration. Or even having an option that  anyone would listen too.

    As of September 1, 2011, Gordon became Vice President of Communications and Foreign Policy and Security Adviser for the 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain
    •  In the diarist's defense, it's getting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ballerina X, FG, sebastianguy99

      harder and harder to promote Manning without taking some liberties with facts.

      •  I think you need to read Bradley Manning's (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias, gerrilea, Nada Lemming

        statement.  Do you think our country should do war crimes and then stamp them as top secret to hide them?  Do you think that a person of integrity should be tortured and sent to prison for exposing war crimes and misdeeds of the country he loves and had the valor to serve with the intention of bringing his country back to decency and democracy?  

        I think you desperately need to watch this video.  If you think that evil monsters should desecrate and besmirch our country by behaving like this in secrecy and by committing torture, then you need to write the US Constitution 100 times on the blackboard.

        Ignorance is not bliss.  Our country's good name is being destroyed by the people who are torturing and committing war crimes, not by the heroic people who are bringing these crimes against humanity to light.

        Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

        by CIndyCasella on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:40:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I should have written Private Bradley Manning. (4+ / 0-)

          The weasel propagandists have stripped him of his title, Private, in their petty attempt to make people forget that Private Bradley Manning volunteered to serve his country with his life, something that the weasel propagandists likely never would do.

          Private Bradley Manning bravely stepped up to the plate, and when he saw war crimes, he didn't turn a blind eye, he selflessly exposed the misdeeds to bring our country back to decency.

          Private Bradley Manning answers to a higher principle.

          The propagandists are the ones who are taking liberty with the truth by maligning Private Manning and his good intentions.  

          Private Bradley Manning heroically exposed war crimes and evil.

          If Private Bradley Manning lived in occupied France, he would have joined the Resistance.  The propagandists who smear him wouldn't have the integrity or grit to join the resistance to a government that has been taken over by criminals who commit crimes against humanity.  In fact, they would go with the wind, no matter how foul.  They are cowards without conscience.  

          Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

          by CIndyCasella on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:01:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He didn't even read what he released. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And  he didn't go to the DoJ, or pick a Congressman or media outlet. He sent 400,000+ documents to wikileaks. He's no hero, he is a criminal and a misguided young man. Those who consider his irresponsible actions heroic are either misinformed or are just haters of America.

            •  You are flat out misrepresenting what happened. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nada Lemming

              He DID send material to the Wash Po and NYT. They declined it.  Then when Wiki Leaks and the European press, Germany, England, etc  got it,  they jumped in and used it selectively.
              Did you see where the  whistleblower from the Pentagon Papers case said Private Bradley Manning's work was as vital and important as his own from 40 years ago?

              Google Daniel Ellsberg, an expert in how critical government secrecy is to hide failures  and keep in play disastrous policies..

              •  I have argued countless times with (0+ / 0-)

                Manning supporters, and like you none will ever address the sheer magnitude of his disclosure. No one has ever even tried to justify Manning's sending out of so many hundreds of thousands of documents. So you try to focus attention on one or two interesting items. But what of it - why is it not criminally irresponsible to send out hundreds of thousands of secret documents you have not even read? How is that conceivably a heroic act?

      •  Exactly this. Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
    •  When former Defense & Justice Dept spokesmen, (13+ / 0-)

      like Gordon and Matthew Miller, continue to carry the government's water, they are imbued with legitimacy by most of the public.

      My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

      by Jesselyn Radack on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:16:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Precisely. "Who is this disembodied force (10+ / 0-)

    bringing this "pressure on the government" to be tougher on Manning, and since when do courts-martial base their decision-making on non-governmental opinion?"

    Reminds me of Frontline's Jan '13 expose, "Untouchables", on the Department of Failed Justice decisions not to bring certain prosecutions forth, as Lanny Breuer (ex-Asst AG) himself explained, due to concerns of the impact of prosecutions on other banks and the economy. As Frontline correctly noted, that's simply not the role of the DOJ, which is one more perfect example of why it has become the DOFJ.

    When 1% take 121% of the gains from "recovery", people actually recovering from lost employment are trading down on wages and benefits. Current strategies by moderates don't even consider winning the Class War.

    by Words In Action on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:12:17 AM PST

  •  Bradley Manning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize , could  Dennis Rodman be next in line for the prize

    •  Rodman going to NK is a distant second to Manning. (8+ / 0-)

      The government, its contractors, senior leaders lay their conscience aside to "do the public's business".  Basically ethics are fungible, and useful only in statecraft as far as they are used as a ploy to get assent in the efforts to govern, not that they have any value as principles to be upheld such as basic human rights.

      Manning made a choice and trusted that somehow his act,  and its risk/gain  would be of value even if his own fate was to lose his liberty, possibly even his life.

      Considering Obama got the Nobel prize even before he did one single thing to further peace, a kind of joke actually, an effort to nudge him prematurely on the better path, giving it to Manning now sets up the delicious irony: One Nobel prize winner for Peace is intent on frustrating and punishing another winner for trying to do what the other avoided or attempted to blur the truth in the world's eyes consistent with Machiavellian statecraft as is usual among nation states.

  •  plea smart, apt. govt looks like/bully. is. (0+ / 0-)

    Monsanto is poison, they gotta be stopped.

    by renzo capetti on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:40:04 AM PST

  •  we are Bradley Manning (10+ / 0-)

    speak the truth to power

    publicize lies of government

    stand up for the constitution as the empire falls apart

    Chris Hedges with article same title as title of this diary

    also check out glenn greenwald on his heroism

    Bradley Manning: the face of heroism

    The 25-year-old Army Private, this generation's Daniel Ellsberg, pleads guilty today to some charges and explains his actions

  •  Manning plead guilty. Yet you keep claiming that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99, doc2

    he is innocent.

    •  He told us the truth and he pled guilty to it. (0+ / 0-)

      OH how shameful of him!


      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:02:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not about shame. Dump of half a million (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        documents is not 'telling the truth'. If he leaked just that video, he would have a lot more defenders. The point is that ppl have been telling for a while that Manning didn't do anything he's been accused of. And now he admitted that he did.

        •  ???? (0+ / 0-)

          We have a government by and for the people.  We have every right to those documents.

          It ain't about a video.
          It ain't about a half million documents.

          It's about the truth.

          We jail people for telling the truth while letting the criminal bankers off? You know the ones that laundered drug money that surely was used to fund Al Qaeda and various terrorist organizations.  The same ones that illegally foreclosed on properties they didn't even own... We let the TelCom's off retroactively when they broke the law...We Didn't prosecute anyone that ordered the torture to be done, YET some f***ing how Manning hurt us???

          Telling the truth to the American people isn't a crime, no matter how you wrap it up.

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:34:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Jeffrey Gordon lamenting how most countries (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, gerrilea, Nada Lemming

    would execute Manning for blowing the whistle on a war crime is just plain outrageous!  Which country would he like us to emulate?  Stalinist Russia?  

    Oh, boo, hoo, hoo!  If only we were the Roman Empire, we would throw Manning to the Lions!  Bwah, wah, wah, Hitler's Gestapo would send him to the gas chamber!  Why can't we be like all the other malevolent totalitarian dictatorships throughout history?

    Not only should he read Manning's testimony on his heroic intention of letting the American people see our country's misdeeds to deliver us from evil,  but Gordon should read the US Constitution, while he is at it.

    Our country is supposed to be for the people, by the people, not a dictatorship that tortures and kills anyone who dares to speak truth to power.

    Sadly, the way Manning was treated in prison was straight up Zersetzung.

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by CIndyCasella on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:27:33 AM PST

  •  oh no it "damages our prestige around the world"!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea, Nada Lemming

    Damn wikileaks ! if it wasn't for them they wouldn't know we were doing stuff like invading them, renditioning them to torturous captors,Drone bombing weddings, funerals, social gatherings, doing 'double tap strikes, 'signature strikes' and also selling record amounts of military equipment  to their wonderful Rulers like those in Bahrain or the Saudi family and various other dictators.
     Surely they thought the markings on aircraft and spent shells lying all around their countrysides with USA stamped on them  meant something other than USA as in America. I mean everyone in the world loves America and if anyone doubts that just watch American TV.

    All sarcasm aside, it is ALL about the American audience because without the blind support of it's bread munching circus watchers and authoritarian loving fans it couldn't be happening.

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:45:34 AM PST

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