Friday, January 13, 2012

Bradley Manning: on the way to jail

GuamDiary cannot think of anyone who thought the military tribunal that heard evidence against Bradley Manning wouldn't recommend a general court martial. And that's exactly what the military commission did recommend. The verdict is a foregone conclusion: long years, or maybe life, in prison under the strictest of conditions. If anyone thinks that military justice mirrors civilian justice, well, we recommend the reading of Robert Sherrill's 'Military justice is to justice as military music is to music', if he can still find a loanable copy in a public library or take his chances on ordering it on the web for a reasonable price. ['MJJMMM's origin is found in the Vietnam War, but Sherrill's argument obtain even today.]
Bradley Manning is 'alleged' to have supplied a quarter million diplomatic cables to 'Wikileaks' Julian Assange. The full publication of these documents, many declassified and others of a low order of classification, greatly embarrassed the US government. Yet, in spite of getting egg on its face and bruising an inflated ego, little harm was done. In fact, the public got a good whiff of commonsense of behind the scenes assessment by US diplomats of the countries to which they were accredited, even when, for reasons of state, the US looked the other way on violations of human rights, corruption, and the like, so long as these less than 'kosher' governments marched to the tune of US foreign and military policy.
Since the Obama administration cannot get its hands on Assange who is fighting extradition to Sweden from England, Bradley Manning is a convenient surrogate. And the White House intends to take full advantage in prosecuting him and then locking him up and throwing the key away.
To many, the 24 year old intelligence analyst is a 'hero', and in his name a lot of small donations have flowed in to defray his court costs. He doesn't stand a tinker's chance: consider that the military tribunal who recommended a general court martial denied Manning's defence team to call 48 witnesses, allowing only two. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the cards are stacked against Manning.
There is a slightly bright note in this affair: Obama had signed the NDAA before Manning's arrest. Otherwise, he wouldn't even get a court martial, only sequestration for an undetermined period without recourse to the rights of an American citizen. The NDAA is yet another step in America's quick march to an American form of 'gleichschaltung' which the Nazis used to silence dissent and trample on the rights accorded under the Constitution. Money and military power, not honour or honestry, rule the American Republic, it seems.

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