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What Chelsea Manning Revealed

Lost in all the noise and attention surrounding the trial and sentencing of Chelsea Manning for turning over a huge stash of classified documents to Wikileaks is the substance that those documents contained. Greg Mitchell at The Nation offers up a list of the many important things being hidden from the public that Manning’s actions revealed.

First, just a very partial list from “Cablegate” (keep in mind, this does not include many other bombshells that caused a stir in smaller nations abroad):

• Yemeni president lied to his own people, claiming his military carried out air strikes on militants actually done by the US. All part of giving US full rein in country against terrorists.

• Details on Vatican hiding big sex abuse cases in Ireland.

• US tried to get Spain to curb its probes of Gitmo torture and rendition…

• State Dept. memo: US-backed 2009 coup in Honduras was “illegal and unconstitutional.”…

• Oil giant Shell claims to have “inserted staff” and fully infiltrated Nigeria’s government…

• The US secret services used Turkey as a base to transport terrorism suspects as part of its extraordinary rendition program.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There were also documents showing that our military allowed Iraqi authorities to torture and abuse more than a thousand people, with some of the beaten to death. When the Pentagon higher ups were asked what to do about it, the answer was: nothing. The truth is that Manning revealed a great many important things that our government was doing, things that were illegal, immoral and being hidden from us.

Comments

  1. gingerbaker says

    What did he reveal that could rightfully be construed as legitimately damaging the U.S. government or its agents or citizens? Anything?

  2. says

    And I keep hearing about how I need to keep voting. Why? Why should I? Who the hell supports me when both parties are complicit in this mess? The administrations and persons of the present and previous presidents both belong in jail and the average voter for both R’s and D’s keeps on pulling the levers. The top sets a moral and ethical standard for the lower levels of the hierarchy after all.

    Why should I prefer a D to an R or vice versa? What reason to I have to assume that anything will get better if someone wants to persuade me to vote for any R or D? It’s just different flavors of shit and I’m being asked to prefer pig shit over cow shit. I point out problems with R’s and R supporters don’t really do anything and point at bad D behavior. I point out problems with D’s and D supporters don’t really do anything and point at bad R behavior. Since we are effectively always in election mode it’s all projection and no reflection all the time.

    So I refuse to vote for any D or R who is not actively and vocally promising to push for revocation of prosecution immunity for corporations that give our data to the government, promising to investigate both the Bush and Obama administrations for violations of the UN convention against torture, promising to reveal all the legal standards for things like drone-assassination of Americans and explaining how such can possibly be consistent with how Americans are supposed to be constitutionally treated when guilty of crimes, and more.

    Realistic? No but I really don’t care anymore. I also don’t care how paranoid I make an R or a D about the other guy winning when they one the support is such utter crap.

  3. blutexan says

    “The truth is that Manning revealed a great many important things that our government was doing, things that were illegal, immoral and being hidden from us.”

    And hence she must be punished

  4. Chiroptera says

    The truth is that Manning revealed a great many important things that our government was doing, things that were illegal, immoral and being hidden from us.

    Well, that’s the problem. How can democracy possibly work correctly without the elites in charge being able to effectively manage public opinion to manipulate the outcomes they need?

  5. zmidponk says

    gingerbaker:

    What did he reveal that could rightfully be construed as legitimately damaging the U.S. government or its agents or citizens? Anything?

    Well, the revelation these things happened is damaging to the U.S. government. Of course, this damage is entirely justified for much the same reason that the damage done to a criminal by their crime being discovered is entirely justified, but, to some, that is irrelevant. To them, what’s important is that Manning did something damaging to the government, and therefore it’s entirely valid and appropriate to punish them for this, and, if you don’t agree, you’re being un-American and betraying the U.S.

  6. brandondavis says

    But sadly I often hear so much about that “Collateral Murder” video being framed as Apache crew committing war crimes, which I think is horribly inaccurate.

  7. madgastronomer says

    brandondavis: Indiscriminately killing civilians IS a war crime, according to the UN. And the UN is the organization set up to determine what’s a war crime. And the US did an awful lot of the setting up. So how is that video not showing a war crime?

    General note: Chelsea Manning should be referred to as “she,” because that’s what she’s said. You don’t have to approve of her actions to treat her like a human being and use correct pronouns. If you don’t use correct pronouns, you’re being transphobic.

  8. lancifer says

    Oh for fuck’s sake,

    We don’t let Marine pfc’s, even sweet little transgender ones, decide when they should obey laws regarding the release of classified information.

    If little Chelsea felt so strongly that the release of this information was worth the cost of violating the agreements she signed, then she should be ready to pay the price.

    Civil disobedience comes with a price.

  9. lancifer says

    Madgastronomer,

    Do you have any idea what it is like to fly into a combat zone in an attack helicopter charged with the responsibility of protecting soldiers on the ground? Have you ever had an RPG or a 0.50 cal twin fired at you?

    These guys (and young women) are mostly 19 to 25 year old kids. I know that because three of my nephews are either there right now, preparing to go there or just getting back.

    I have watched the videos of those incidents. It is tragic to watch them knowing that the people being killed are not combatants. But…

    … the pilots of those Apaches thought they were firing on the enemy. They knew there were American troops in the area taking fire and were there to protect their fellow soldiers.

    Calling them “war criminals” is ignorant and disgusting. Those kids were risking their lives to protect their comrades (and ultimately your ass) and if, in the fog of war, they erred, who the fuck are you to pass judgement on these brave young men?

  10. dingojack says

    …and the next contestant is Lancifer, and his special subject is ‘stating the bleeding obvious’.
    @@
    Dingo

  11. dingojack says

    lanifer – so you think that civil disobedience comes with a price, but firing on civilians contrary to the rules of war doesn’t (or shouldn’t). Interesting.
    Dingo

  12. lancifer says

    Dingo,

    Were you there? Why are you so eager to declare these young men “war criminals”? I have watched the tapes, and read about the information that these young pilots had, and I see a tragic mistake.

    Tragic mistakes are the currency of war. Claims of war crimes must be proffered cautiously and proven dispassionately. The people that died in the mistaken attack had names and families, but so do the young pilots that flew that day.

    You would burn these young men to make a cynical political point.

  13. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    We don’t let Marine pfc’s, even sweet little transgender ones, decide when they should obey laws regarding the release of classified information.

    If little Chelsea felt so strongly that the release of this information was worth the cost of violating the agreements she signed, then she should be ready to pay the price.

    If you want to be a slave so badly, there are plenty of places to fuck off to.

  14. says

    lancifer #9, please check your racism and stop acting like American (read; white) people somehow deserve more consideration than the non-American (read: nonwhite) people that the Americans murdered.

    Yes. Murdered. It’s not a fucking ‘accident’ when you specifically target people and hit them with high explosive, knowing it will kill them.

  15. lancifer says

    So, if I think that Marine privates should be held to the laws regarding releases of classified information I’m eager to be a “slave”?

    And this from a self-professed “Progressive” eager to impose government laws, regulations and rules about everything on everybody. But suddenly when some lowly private leaks classified military info, breaking about twenty laws, you are eager for outright anarchy?

    Go figure.

  16. lancifer says

    Hey Setar,

    Why don’t you at least make a quick trip to Wikipedia before spouting asinine drivel. The facts of the incident don’t begin to justify claims of a war crime.

    Oh and fuck yourself with the claims of racism. I am married to an African woman and half of my extended family are Ethiopian you ignorant dumbfuck.

  17. edmundog says

    “Were you there?”

    Nice one, Ken Ham. But yes, as it happens, I was there. Or rather, I saw a video of the event.

    “Oh and fuck yourself with the claims of racism. I am married to an African woman and half of my extended family are Ethiopian you ignorant dumbfuck.”

    Astonishingly, this doesn’t even mean you’re not racist against Africans, and it certainly is irrelevant to the topic of whether or not you’re racist toward Middle Easterners.

  18. lancifer says

    edmundog,

    So seeing a video tape on wiki leaks makes you an expert huh? The Apaches were firing on a group of insurgents that were firing on a group of US soldiers advancing on their position. The only non-combatants were a couple of reporters imbedded with these insurgents and two guys in a van, with two kids, that stopped to help them when they were shot by the helicopters.

    The van was not marked as an ambulance, because it wasn’t an ambulance, and the pilots called in for permission to fire on it, since they viewed it as assisting the insurgents in picking up bodies and weapons.

    The two journalists were imbedded with Iraqi insurgents. They shouldn’t have been surprised when they were caught in the crossfire since the insurgents were actively attacking US forces. If you imbed with Iraqi insurgents you should expect to take fire from US helicopters.

    Your comments on my alleged racism are so absurd they do not justify a response.

  19. says

    Lancifer,

    Chelsea manning knew there was a price for civil disobedience and was willing to pay it as witnessed be her post trial statement.

    As for the Iraq war since i was a unprovoked aggression by he U.S. against a sovereign nation the whole thing was a war crime. Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld and Powell should all be doing time for waging aggressive war.

  20. dingojack says

    Was I there? No. But then again neither were you.
    So, rather than reflexively wrapping myself in a flag, I sought out the evidence. What did that evidence show? Young men deliberately targeting and shooting to kill civilians (with clear relish) then shooting people coming to the assistance of those who were gunned down (even to the point of shooting at children)*..
    Nope, no war crime there (’cause thems our boys). And the victims? Fuck ‘em, they’re mere a-rabs. Amiright?
    Dingo
    ——–
    * I might add that when the American foot patrol did come into the square they sought to shield the civilians while calling off the attack helicopter. They also rendered first aid and sought to save the lives of those who had been shot by rushing them to the nearest doctors. The difference in behaviour between the two groups is instructive.

  21. says

    Oh no. Did I just kick lancifer’s pedestal of white privilege straight out from under them? Is that the “I have a nonwhite friend/relative/spouse” argument, surrounded by a bunch of ableist insinuations that disagreeing with them makes me simply less intelligent and not worth their time?

    Do go on. I would absolutely love to hear you crow about how correct you are without ever actually defending yourself.

  22. lancifer says

    Natasha,

    As for the Iraq war since i(sic) was a(sic) unprovoked aggression by he U.S. against a sovereign nation the whole thing was a war crime.

    Your little synopsis of the second Gulf War is not only grammatically flawed it is wholly in accurate.

    Good old Sadam lost a war the he started (Gulf War I). He surrendered to save his ass and agreed, in the terms of that surrender, to play nice. The terms were clear, play nice or we’ll be back to take you out.

    He didn’t play nice. The US took him out.

  23. lancifer says

    Setar,

    I’ll assume from your garbled statement that English is not your first language. You might want to brush up on verb agreement before posting again.

    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/sv_agr.htm

    Also, in your fevered mind, not seeing the actions of two attack helicopter pilots, acting to support troops on the ground, as a “war crime” makes me a racist.

    Perhaps a little brush up on logic may be required on you part as well.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-classical/

  24. colnago80 says

    Re Sir Lancelot @ #24

    Hey, how’s that search for Saddam’s WMDs coming along? That was the rational for the 2nd Iraq war and it was a big lie, just like Sir Lancelot’s global warming denialism is a big lie.

  25. lancifer says

    Dingo,

    Below is the account as described in the Wikipedia article on the subject.

    In the first strike, the crew of the two Apaches directed 30mm cannon fire at a group of nine to eleven[7][8] men in a path of advancing U.S. Army ground troops. Some were armed with RPGs, AKMs, some carried extra RPG heads with no launcher, while other were unarmed.[9] Among the group were two Iraqi war correspondents working for Reuters, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen. Noor-Eldeen’s camera were misidentified as an RPG pointed at U.S. soldiers when he attempted to photograph the soldiers moving toward the armed group while crouching behind a building. Eight[7] men, including Noor-Eldeen were killed during this first strike.

    The second strike, using 30 mm fire, was directed at a wounded Chmagh and two other unarmed men as they were attempting to help Chmagh into their van just before American soldiers arrived on the ground. Two children inside the van were wounded, the three men were killed, including Chmagh.[8]

    In a third strike the helicopter team fired three AGM-114 Hellfire missiles to destroy a building they believe is the source of enemy gunfire.[10][11][12]

    The two reporters were among a group of insurgents actively attacking US troops. It is hardly the responsibility of Apache pilots to check the credentials of every person in that group to make sure that no reporters are injured.

    The two guys that pulled up in the van, with two kids inside, were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The pilots saw them pulling what they thought were two enemy combatants into a van and opened fire to stop them.

    Fog of war? Yep.

    Tragic mistake? Surely.

    War crime?

    Not even close.

  26. lancifer says

    colnago80,

    The WMDs were used as a propaganda tool to gain public support. But Sadam had violated many other terms of his surrender.

    Oh, and nice non-sequitur with the AGW idiocy.

    “Your argument about the Apache attack is wrong because…climate change!”

  27. dean says

    Lancifer your willingness to lie is impressive, in a very sad way. How does the statement ““Well it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle,” make you conclude they didn’t know there were children there? How does the lack of fire from the people in the video make you say “they were taking fire”?

    “Good old Sadam lost a war the he started (Gulf War I). He surrendered to save his ass and agreed, in the terms of that surrender, to play nice. The terms were clear, play nice or we’ll be back to take you out.”

    Since the basis (as related by President Bush and members of his administration) was that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, but none were found prior to the invasion, and none since, how wasn’t he “playing nice” when he was pushed. (Don’t rely on ‘look what he did to his people’, since that wasn’t the rationale prior to the war. Don’t rely on ‘look at what he did to the Kurds, or earlier, with chemical weapons’, since two prior Republican administrations, Reagan and Bush, were happy to look the other way on those.)

    “Also, in your fevered mind, not seeing the actions of two attack helicopter pilots, acting to support troops on the ground, as a “war crime” makes me a racist.”

    No, the general message of your posts, current and prior, label you as such. The current messages are just more supporting data.

  28. colnago80 says

    Re Sir Lancelot @ #28

    Oh, and nice non-sequitur with the AGW idiocy.

    The only idiocy is your continued denial of AGW.

    The WMDs were used as a propaganda tool to gain public support.

    In other words, Bush lied us into war.

  29. lancifer says

    dean,

    You quote me as saying.

    “Well it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle,” among other things I never said.

    Then you call me a liar?

    The words intellectually bankrupt and pathetic come to mind.

  30. dingojack says

    Lancy – uh, no Dean didn’t quote you. Re-read the post.
    Wikipedia is a reasonable first approximation of a source, but mot a creditable, reliable or authoritative one. Try again.
    Dingo

  31. says

    Lancifer,

    How did Saddam not ‘play nice?’ He had complied by destroying all Iraqi WMD’s and the plants to manufacture them. It was Iraq’s supposed possession of WMD’s that was used as a pretext to the war, that was a lie. The second Gulf We was unprovoked aggression and that is a war crime.

    To return to Chelsea Manning, she acted in the best traditions of civil disobedience. She was quite willing to stand trial and face the consequences of her actions. She is also very strong o have stood up to three years of psychological and physical abuse.

  32. dean says

    Lancifer @31
    no, you asshole, that comment is made by the helicopter pilot after he killed the kids.
    I can see you’ve really examined the videos and read the transcript.
    Asshole.

  33. lancifer says

    Dean, Dean, Dean,

    You make a quote, without attribution, and I assume you are quoting me, and I am an “asshole”.

    Are you in the 8th grade? If so my apologies for not adjusting my reading skills to your grade level. If not then go fuck yourself you ignoramus.

  34. lancifer says

    Natasha,

    Do you think the military court should have waived all of the laws that Ms. Manning knowingly violated?

  35. lancifer says

    Dean,

    Now let us proceed with the information that the pilot made that remark.

    He was told by troops on the ground, after he fired on the van, that there were kids inside.

    Now try to use your 8th grade mental skills to think what you might say after finding out that the van you fired on, when called in for air support by troops that were being fired upon in the area, had two kids hidden inside?

    I know this may be challenging your limited mental faculties but try to push through this conundrum to a logical conclusion. I think even an 8th grader, when applying themselves, could work this one out.

  36. dean says

    I can’t imagine anyone else being as disgusting a person as you L. What would someone else say after killing children? Something showing remorse perhaps?

    You have only managed to lower your standing as a human.

  37. lancifer says

    Yo Dean,

    The kids were NOT killed you dumbass.

    From the Wiki article,

    Two children inside the van were wounded, the three men were killed, including Chmagh.[8]

    Try doing a little research before spouting self-righteous nonsense next time.

    Also under “Context”, the Wiki article says,

    According to Tom Cohen, a reporter at CNN, “the soldiers of Bravo Company, 2-16 Infantry had been under fire all morning from rocket-propelled grenades and small arms on the first day of Operation Ilaaj in Baghdad”.[14] Al Jazeera stated that the Army had received “reports of small arms fire”, but were unable to positively identify the gunmen. Apache helicopters were called in by a soldier in the Humvee (Hotel 2-6) under attack from the same position used by Namir Noor-Eldeen to photograph the vehicle.[15] According to a military review, soldiers in that company “had been under sporadic small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire since” the operation—described as “clearing their sector and looking for weapons caches”—began.[16]

    The Air Weapons Team (AWT) of two Apache AH-64s from the 1st Cavalry Division had been requested by the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment (2-16), 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich, before July 12 to support Operation Ilaaj. Tasked to conduct escort, armed reconnaissance patrols, counter-IED and counter-mortar operations, the two helicopters left Camp Taji at 9:24am. They arrived on station in New Baghdad at 9:53am, where sporadic attacks on coalition forces continued.[17]

    These two Apache pilots were defending troops on the ground that were taking fire from the group that the Apaches were firing on.

    Is it tragic that some non-combatants were killed, and two kids injured? Surely.

    Does it make those pilots “war criminals”? Only in the warped minds of politically motivated morons like you.

  38. says

    @ lancifer 9

    We don’t let Marine pfc’s, even sweet little transgender ones, decide when they should obey laws regarding the release of classified information.

    Please show me the person that said that Chelsea Manning should not go through the process as a person that did in fact break the law. I think that if you asked around you would find people who want to see Chelsea Manning pardoned due to the value of the revelations.

    @ lancifer 10

    … the pilots of those Apaches thought they were firing on the enemy. They knew there were American troops in the area taking fire and were there to protect their fellow soldiers.

    Calling them “war criminals” is ignorant and disgusting. Those kids were risking their lives to protect their comrades (and ultimately your ass) and if, in the fog of war, they erred, who the fuck are you to pass judgement on these brave young men?

    Killing civilians is a war crime. Please demonstrate to me the relevant portions of law that indicate that the ignorance of the identity of those they were killing absolves them of this crime. Note that I am not saying that you are wrong about these not being war crimes. I’m just asking that you demonstrate it since you are portraying yourself as someone who knows something about war, instead of blathering on about your family while wrapped in patriotism. Your emotionalism and constant pointing at people risking their lives is getting tiring in someone that seems to want others to analyze what he is pointing out. People risk their lives doing the wrong thing every day and that matters not at all to the rightness or wrongness of the actions.

  39. lancifer says

    Brony,

    “Killing civilians is a war crime.”

    Uh, no it isn’t. Not in all cases. There are many qualifiers involved.

    The pilots of these two helicopters did not knowingly fire on non-combatants. Also, if combatants purposely intermingle with civilians it is the fault of those combatants if those civilians are caught in the cross fire.

    C’mon Brony, this is pretty basic stuff.

    As far as my “emotionalism” and “patriotism” are concerned, I am emotional about the young people that have volunteered to serve our country in the US military. This is especially true of the many members of my family that are either current or former members of the US military.

    They are risking their lives in service of our country. My patriotism isn’t of the blind “love it or leave it” xenophobic variety, but I am proud that members of my family have served to “support and defend the US constitution”, which is the oath they swear when they become members of the US military.

    If pfc Manning was concerned that she had information about wrong doing of military personnel she had ample opportunity to bring it to the attention of various law enforcement agencies in the military. She instead decided to breach the trust that had been placed in her and flushed thousands of classified documents and files on to the internet.

    If you think that we are going to have a policy of letting every private in the military decide that they can make up their own rules then you don’t understand the purpose of the military.

    I say this as someone that thinks the US military is currently too big and off mission.

  40. dean says

    Lancifer, no fire had originated from the van – the initial fire from the copter was at a different location. The injured camera men were being loaded into the van.
    Bloviate and distort all you want – it doesn’t make you any more honest. You remind me of the people who stated that Vietnamese casualties didn’t matter because “they don’t value life anyway”.
    It seems the only dumbass in these posts is the one who dismisses civilian casualties as unimportant yet tries to say “My patriotism isn’t of the blind “love it or leave it” xenophobic variety”.
    Your implication that other people here – I”m sure your ignorant comments extend to me – don’t care about their (and my) own family members, friends, and former students, who are currently serving in the military is equally disgusting.

  41. colnago80 says

    What I find interesting here in this discussion is that virtually all of it is about 1 incident. It complete ignores all the other revelations from Manning. Far worse then this incident is the fact that Dubya lied us into war over WMDs that did not exist. The administration also ignored the advice of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon who opined to Colin Powell and Lawrence Wilkerson that the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea that would only result in removing a counterpiece to Iran. The only winner in the Iraq debacle was Iran, that emerged as the strongest power East of the Jordan River. Sir Lancelot the schmuck, is on record as proclaiming that the lie was just hunky dory. I seem to recall another big lie back in 1933 by one Adolf Frankenberger about the bombing of the Reichstag, which he blamed on the Communists. As Goebbels said, if one is going to lie, make it a big lie, tell it loudly, tell it often and eventually people will come to believe it. He would have been proud of Dubya and co.

  42. says

    @ lancifer 41

    Citation needed. If it’s such basic stuff you should have no problem.

    Again, your family is irrelevant to the rightness or wrongness of any arguments. Your arguments stand or fail independently of your emotional fuel that only serve to act as distractions from the issues.

    Demonstrate that I,

    …think that we are going to have a policy of letting every private in the military decide that they can make up their own rules then you don’t understand the purpose of the military.

    Now appear to be making up crap about me too. Stick to what you know and have actually seen people say here. Oh right, you have not shown that your claims about what I asked you to demonstrate have any substance.

    I don’t care what you think about the military’s mission so far. More distractions.

    Not remotely convincing so far.

  43. says

    @ colnago80 43
    Probably because the video is a big visual aid. It’s riles up the more textually challenged folks so they pounce on that to suppress the criticism first.

  44. lancifer says

    The most recent posts have distorted and lied about my views and statements to the extent that further comment seems pointless.

    Manning is in prison for violating the laws of the US and deserves to be there. Period.

    If Manning wants to serve his time while being referred to with female pronouns…whatever.

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