Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Manning Verdict

 Bradley Manning dodged the "aiding the enemy bullet" and life imprisonment. What a relief it must be to him as he relishes spending only the next 136 years of his existence in the slammer for the offenses of embarrassing the power players of the United States of America and lighting the democratic spark for the Arab Spring.

Let's see.... President Bush immediately commuted the sentence of convicted felon Scooter Libby, who actually did endanger lives through his lies and leaks. And only a week or so ago, President Obama quietly arranged for the safe passage of a CIA agent who'd been convicted in absentia by an Italian court for "renditioning" a Muslim cleric to a black site prison. The spy was flown back to American safety after being detained in Panama. So it's not like there hasn't been a long history legal precedents of politicians cutting people some slack.

In a just world, the officiating judge in Manning's court martial would sentence him to time served, apologize profusely for the state-sponsored torture he has endured, and set him free.  Or, barring that gesture of humanitarianism,  President Obama could always commute his 136-year sentence. He could even give one of his folksy speeches, pledging that if Bradley Manning promises to work hard and play by the same rules, then he too can aspire to become a member of the great American middle class.  

By so doing, Barack Obama could regain some of the goodwill he has lost through five years of serial betrayals and half-measures. At this point, I don't think he cares. I don't think he ever cared.

The Manning verdict, in which an idealistic young man is declared guilty for revealing a panoply of state secrets, ranging from obscene war crimes to the boring petty intrigues of the satellites of American Empire, will only serve to widen the gap between the political power structure and the citizens who remain at its mercy. 

Our consolation is that Bradley Manning is getting wider attention than would normally have been the case, given the renewed glare of negative publicity shone by Edward Snowden on our deadly surveillance state. The evidence of public-private abuse against the citizenry is so rampant and egregious that even complicit members of Congress have nowhere to hide any more. There will be hearings tomorrow. Leaders will squirm, and truth-tellers will finally be given a voice.

The victory is moral, and it is ours.

23 comments:

ste-vo said...

Oh Karen. You so eloquently wrote:
"President Obama could always commute his 136-year sentence. He could even give one of his folksy speeches, pledging that if Bradley Manning promises to work hard and play by the same rules, then he too can aspire to become a member of the great American middle class.

By so doing, Barack Obama could regain some of the goodwill he has lost through five years of serial betrayals and half-measures. At this point, I don't think he cares. I don't think he ever cared."

His folksy speeches make me gag, and you are so spot-on by saying he never cared. He never did. Mr. President Peace Prize is the poster child for the elite in AmeriKa. One of those fortunate people possessing the right credentials, certainly not pedigree, who is now in a position that he will do anything to keep. Yes, he may have been Trayvon Martin 35 years ago, but that was then and now, well....it is now. When I read that he was aquitted of the charge of "aiding and abetting the enemy" I so wanted to walk up to my wife and pull an Elaine Benis - you know, when she heard something that could not comprehend she slapped Jerry in the chest with both hands and screamed "NO." Really I did. I for one am so glad I live in Vermont - kind of like an au natural Disneyworld - the farms and the lakes and the summer people from outside with all their urban sophistication make for total confusion on my part. I really don't give a shit about Amerika - I am so ready for the collapse.

annenigma said...

Another great post Karen. Thanks.

Glenn Greenwald tweeted yesterday that Obama suddenly scheduled a meeting with Democrats for tomorrow and that the hearing was being re-scheduled.

@ste-vo
I'm so ready too.


Pearl said...

Thank you for your column on Manning, Karen. Most of the comments to the
NYTimes article about the judge's decision were very supportive asking to have him freed and grateful for his courage. There were a few who were not so kind but they got the lower recommendations. Of course, NYTimes readers are light years ahead of the general population but it is still encouraging.
Also a great deal of anger about the real criminals of our society in
government were eloquently voiced. Even if he is given a prison sentence of some kind, I think he has made a real dent in the barbaric thinking of the U.S.and I hope he knows this.

Hopefully he will be able to communicate with the media while in prison (perhaps via supporters reporting any comments he might want to make) and keep people on their toes. At least the acquittalregarding aiding the enemy charge is important for future whistleblowers one hopes.

Zee said...

Frankly, I'm amazed--and relieved--that a military court did not find Bradley Manning guilty of "aiding and abetting the enemy," which would have carried the death penalty with it. It just seemed so...well...inevitable.

As Pearl has said, that alone is something of a triumph.

Still, when one commits an act of civil disobedience as Manning did, one must be prepared to accept the consequences.

We will have to wait and see what future Presidents might do to reduce or commute his sentence, because The One will do absolutely nothing for Manning.

Gotta be tough on national security, after all.

Even if what Manning did didn't seem to affect national security at all.

James F Traynor said...

I wish I could agree that this was some kind of victory, but it isn't. A revelation, the truth will out, but it sure as hell isn't setting us free. Maybe it's the beginning of the beginning, as the man once said, I don't know. But I wish they'd set that stupid, poor kid free.

James F Traynor said...

My God, have you read the article by Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian. Chapter and verse - he's got them by the short hairs! I still can't believe it. I read the article completely before checking the byline. Greenwald. Damn - and it's illustrated.

Will said...

Stev-o & Anne,

I, too, am "so ready for the collapse." I think most thinking people would agree that it has to get A LOT worse in this country before there's even a remote chance it'll get better. Here's a recent article detailing why the author believes more Americans aren't out in the streets protesting. (I'm guessing the 3 of us fall under the Mindset of Resignation--minus the whole wacky survivalist stuff.)

http://knowingtest.blogspot.com/2013/07/5-reasons-why-more-americans-dont.html

P.S. James, thanks for the heads-up on the new Greenwald piece. I'm on my way over to The Guardian now.

Jay - Ottawa said...

American justice is on the march. Against the truth tellers. Today, for his breaking of secrecy laws shielding mendacity we’ll jail Manning until he comes out in middle age, or until he emerges in a pine box. Snowden’s next whenever the CIA, the FBI, a Seal team or a compliant country gets around to delivering him up, bound and gagged, to the DOJ’s prosecutors so zealous in enforcing the law.

The world breathes easier tonight with Manning behind bars (for a new interpretation of 'war crimes'), with Assange cornered in a minor embassy and Snowden pinned down in a vast country –– but with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle and the rest of the lying, drenched-in-blood neocon pack still walking around free.

Pearl said...

Regarding a Mixed Verdict on Manning in the NYTimes: is followed by some
terrific comments which reminds one that the seething anger about being lied into the Iraq war has remained in many Americans' consiousnesses. This is another contribution we can thank Manning for which may soften our anger at his imprisonment which is hard to bear. Snowden and Manning have forced a dialogue that might have never come to light without their courage. What will come of it all will be left to chance and the future but at least the media are becoming more aware of the danger of secrecy and are speaking more
openly about such concerns. It affects all investigative reporting and is fortunately frightening those whose lives and work are threatened,
especially the more 'liberal' thinking ones.
Again I will say I only hope that Manning and Snowden fully realize the
worth of their contributions as their personal futures are so damn grim. In
many of the comments to the NYTimes piece, negative feelings about Obama's role in creating the current nightmare are openly stated. A step up from the past.
Great comments from our Sardonicky gang. Karen you are a great catalyst for the truth. It all helps to face the daily news horrors.

annenigma said...

Everyone should be reading the Guardian every day. The NYT is a real snooze compared to it.

Zee said...

@steve-o, annenigma and Will--

As I have said before, be careful what you wish for when you say that you are looking forward to "the collapse."

I agree with Will that things will have to get much worse before such a collapse might occur. And, indeed, such a collapse might happen.

But in order to overcome the "inertia" against protest/rebellion expressed in the article to which Will provided a link--and other articles that I have read--things may have to be SO bad that such a collapse may have to be truly, monumentally, catastrophic.

Think a national,economic version of " Hurricane Katrina."

Should that happen, I suspect there are more than a few people out there who are much better prepared for such a collapse than you, i.e., those survivalist wackos, if I read your past postings correctly.

Be prepared to be shorn like a sheep if/when the time comes.

Back when I worked in the defense industry, both I and most of my colleagues felt that if the nuclear "balloon went up," we would prefer to be exactly on ground-zero and be done with it, rather than numbered amongst the desperate survivors.

The next collapse could rival such devastation in economic terms.

Be careful what you wish for.

Will said...

Zee,

LMAO @ "shorn like a sheep"! I suppose I deserved that after my disdainful survivalist comment. One small point of clarification, though: I'm not so much looking forward to a collapse as I am resigned to its inevitable occurrence.

Zee said...

@Will--

Fair enough. I, too, often have feelings of resignation to the inevitable. I'm just hoping Mrs. Zee and I--and such few family and friends as we have--are dead and gone before it happens.

For myself, I'm not a "survivalist," but I know people who take the matter seriously and you might be surprised at the extreme measures that they have taken against "doomsday."

The one benefit is that no matter what they are buying and stockpiling, they help the economy.

Somebody out there is providing jobs, and, yes, profiting, by manufacturing all that vacuum-sealed, end-of-the-world food and water, not to mention the pseudo-medical supplies, emergency shelters, ammunition, etc. and, of course, all that polyvinylchloride (PVC) pipe in which to bury guns & ammo for use at a later date.

Me, I'd rather hope for the best and keep mine above ground and safely enjoy them at the range!

Zee said...

This just in--an important blow for liberty!

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/30/19775899-court-upholds-ruling-striking-down-nycs-ban-on-large-sugary-drinks?lite

Mayor Bloomturd, go to hell!

(Sorry to go "off-topic.")

Pearl said...


Zee:
When you stated that:
"The next collapse could rival such devastation in economic terms",
referring to the horrors of a nuclear war, the latter is more likely to
happen as things are going and then there will be no more choices.
The Great Depression is where we are heading now and in the past it
organized people to support the kind of leadership required to get out
of the hole and create what was hoped to be lasting changes for the future.
And if this doesn't happen, the next step will probably be nuclear
annihilation.

And Annenigma, reading the Guardian is important but it does not play a role for change in our country and so we must voice our opinions in the media,that are published at home. Hopefully, more quoted articles will be reported in the American press but it is not too likely. All we can do is point out things to others to read beyond our home grown ones and hope with modern communication
methods, there will be more exchanges among nations. Canadian papers publish
a great deal of information about the U.S.,often quite critical, but it
doesn't happen the other way round except when comments about health care
brings up unsubstantiated claims about all the Canadians flocking to the U.S. to get surgeries and other procedures they have to wait years for.
Actually, many Americans send in comments from various European countries where they are now living in order to have decent health coverage among other better living arrangements including jobs.





annenigma said...

Before dismissing The Guardian as being just another foreign newspaper, I would like to point out a few things in defense and support of The Guardian. It is is one of world's leading international online newspapers and maybe the ONLY one that is truly independent. Do you realize it is funded by a trust?

"The Guardian is owned by the Scott Trust, a charitable foundation which aims to ensure the newspaper's editorial independence in perpetuity, maintaining its financial health to ensure it does not become vulnerable to takeover by for-profit media groups, and the serious compromise of editorial independence that this often brings." Wikipedia

Their comment and political opinion page, called Comment Is Free, is outstanding. Their American office is based in New York and provides far better coverage of our national events than than any other American newspaper, especially the old Gray Lady. The Editor-in-Chief of the American division of the newspaper is a courageous woman named Janine Gibson who is supporting the Snowden revelations 100% despite the risks of retaliation by the U.S. Government. Too bad we can't say the same about the cowardly NYT.

By the way, The Guardian is frequently accused of biased criticism of the Israeli government, unjustifiably in my opinion.

If we don't wish to see independent newspapers go into the dustbin of history, we'd be wise to support them while we still have them and boycott all those who feed us propaganda on behalf of the Powers-That-Be.

annenigma said...

Speaking of propaganda, the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act, an amendment to the NDAA of 2013, is officially in effect as of July 2013.

This Act overturns a 64-year old prohibition against the US Government directly deploying propaganda material towards American citizens inside the United States. It allows government propaganda to now be (officially) broadcast on local radio and television networks.

Al Jazeera had a good article on this legislation in a piece titled 'The High Price of Dark Fusion' which was written last year before this law was actually passed. Caution: read it only if you can handle feeling even worse than you already do.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/06/20126294459762126.html

James F Traynor said...

Thanks for the information on The Guardian annenigma - interesting. I occasionally read The Independent, another British newspaper, mainly because Robert Fisk, whom I admire, works there.

I haven't given up on the NYT because of its science section and reporters like Morgenstern, in finance. She's very good and also outspoken. For many years, as I struggled along in my professional life, I relied on the Times. But for the past 30 years it has been drifting steadily rightward from its original and moderate position. I never did think, except in my teens perhaps, that it had a liberal slant.

Zee said...

@James--

Is the the Greenwald article to which you referred earlier on this thread?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret-program-online-data

Incredibly scary/

James F Traynor said...

@Zee

Yep.

Pearl said...

James and Annenigma:

I never downplayed the Guardian, merely said that it does not represent the thinking of many Americans who rarely read it. As a matter of fact I have the U.S. edition on my bookmarks now and have previously seen articles from
it from progressive media.
The reason I feel it is important to read the NYTlmes and comment to its
articles and columnists is that it represents what is left of any possible liberal thinking in the U.S. from the mainstream and a way of gauging what changes are occurring among the population. Recent articles and columnist leanings along with reader comments have changed with more open critiques of
the administration moving away from denouncing the Republicans for
everything gone wrong. I don't remember seeing so many outstanding comments from NYTimes readers along progressive lines that have never been voiced before. As well, Karen's contributions which have
become even more outspoken consistently stay at top levels for
recommendations.
It is a reflection of what is happening among more highly educated and politically knowledgeably citizens which often become the spearhead for change.
I think we should read everything we can get our hands on to determine the
facts and truth of current events and respond accordingly. Many interesting
articles come from Karen's website in her columns and the listings she has
on the right side and I often get suggested accesses to other writings in articles from progressive sources that I am signed up for. It is worth the effort to respond to the current offerings in the NYTimes and encourage the more open trend of reporting that is taking place. I feel that Krugman, for all his weaknesses, is affected by reader responses which are becoming more
critical of his work these days and there have been several editorials that indicate more openness than previously. Probably the threat to investigative reporting by the exposure of the immense existence of privacy invasion has
had an effect.

ea veltri said...

I certainly agree with Karen's comments up to the last paragraph. I my opinion Obummer never cared. He is a neo con and as we speak here today he has sent two of his warmongering stooges McCain and I believe the other bimbo is Lightweight Graham to make more war in Syria and is contemplating reinstating Larry Summers, that famous neocon to be in charge of making sure that jobs are never created in the United States of Multinational Corporations.

ea veltri said...

Sorry, forgot to add what I did not agree with in the second to last paragraph of Karen's post.
There will never be hearings because the media is so totally controlled at this point and there are only a small minority of individuals who believe they live in corporate security state. Technolegy and fear have made it way too easy for the 1% to maintain their control. The only hope is that the corporate hegemon collapses under its own weight by running out of profits to expand themselves.