Sunday, July 21, 2013

#FreeBrad Hall Of Shame: Lamo, Obama, Choike, Lind, Showman, et al.

“We are a nation of laws.  We don’t let individuals make decisions about how the law operates.  He[Bradley Manning] broke the law!” – President Obama

The rogues' gallery of those eager to participate in the persecution of whistleblower Bradley Manning will go down in infamy.
Adrian Lamo, the Über lame snitch who seized his 15 minutes of fame by ratting out a young soldier in Iraq who was troubled by conscience, made an early appearance in Manning's court martial trial.  Alleged chats between the two men had been circulating for years by then, and Lamo had given interviews gloating over the power he wielded after the naive Manning misplaced trust in an online friend. His appearance in court did nothing to change the impression of Lamo as someone incapable of experiencing remorse.

Credit: Courtroom artist Deb VanPoolen,
Col. Denise Lind, the judge presiding over the court martial, has cooperated with the government so well that historians will search in vain for evidence of blind, impartial justice being applied in the case. Her ultimate boss, the commander-in-chief, stated publicly years ago of Manning, "He broke the law," so that whichever judge was chosen to preside would have gone into the case with the clear understanding that President Obama expected a guilty verdict.

Presumably someone further down the chain of command gave Lind orders to read out the charges against Manning so rapidly that reporters were unable transcribe them accurately during the pre-trial hearings. And, the same government that came into office bragging about how transparent they would be also declined to produce a written transcript of the legal proceedings. (Crowd funding hired a stenographer for the people after that shameful display of bias, and full transcripts are available to us here.)

Lind denied many of the witnesses Manning's defense team wished to call. As the trial progressed, it became evident that the prosecution had a rather weak case -- which probably accounted for the 3+ year delay in bringing the court martial to trial, in clear violation of the military's own code of law which stipulates 120 days. No one could find the acceptable use policy allegedly signed and violated by Manning, and at least in public no one could demonstrate that any of the low classified or unclassified information Manning admits providing to Wikileaks caused harm to anyone. The prosecution was allowed to make the argument that Manning aided the enemy because he knew the information he shared would be available on the Internet -- and "Al Qaeda" uses the internet. Wow. The U.S. government would deserve to lose a 6th grade debate contest using that kind of logic.
Jihrleah Showman testifies by Clark Stoeckley @Wikileaks truck
Then, last week, at the 11th hour in the court martial trial and after the defense had rested its case, Judge  Lind allowed the prosecution to bring a witness in rebuttal who had suddenly "remembered" Manning making anti-American statements. From via the website Popular Resistance:
In a cynical move, the government prosecution recalled former Specialist Jihrleah Showman, a supervisor against whom Manning had filed an Equal Opportunity complaint. Following Manning’s complaint, Showman was admonished for her use of homophobic language in conversation and workplace signage. In the years since, she has vied for media appearances, augmented by her own vitriolic Tweets, attacking Manning as well as his supporters. Now, at the eleventh hour, she claims to recall a conversation with the 25-year-old army private in which he allegedly shared anti-American opinions. 
According to the defense, Ms. Showman is lending an intentional and inaccurate spin to comments Manning made regarding his refusal to follow any authority blindly as an “automaton” (in Manning’s own words) so that they conform to the prosecution’s characterization of someone disloyal to the United States. 
No other witness from the prosecution or defense ever testified that Manning harbored any anti-American sentiments, including Ms. Showman herself during previous trips to the stand in this case. In fact, several witnesses offered just the opposite.
And while we're constructing this hall of shame, let's not forget the corporate "news" outlets that spurned Manning when he tried to share the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs files prior to contacting Wikileaks. For shame, New York Times. For shame, Washington Post. For shame, Politico. You all only jumped on the publishing bandwagon after Wikileaks had stuck its neck out (and Julian Assange has been hounded ever since, residing today under virtual house arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he continues to do good work).
Ret. Col. Daniel Choike, Quantico Brig commander when Manning was imprisoned there (Sketch by Clark Stoeckley)
Manning's pre-trial detention produced many a shameful episode as well: being caged outdoors in the desert in Kuwait for several days, a place Manning felt sure he would die. Then nine months of solitary confinement at the Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia where the ghosts of Jefferson and Madison might well have cringed to see a young soldier standing naked at attention outside his cell -- allegedly to prevent him from suicide. Many of those responsible remain nameless -- but they know who they are.

Ditto the man or woman who denied UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez an interview with Manning. (Mendez was also denied an opportunity to testify in Manning's trial as a witness for the defense.)

I leave you with Manning's immortal words:
We are all human and we are killing ourselves and no one seems to care.

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