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End Illegal War: Support Bradley Manning


By Ann Wright, War Is A Crime .org

Bradley Manning is accused of telling the truth.

He now faces decades in prison for letting Americans see the truth about our wars on Iraq and Afghanistan by allegedly leaking the “Collateral Murder” videos of a Reuter’s cameraman being shot and killed by a US helicopter to Wikileaks. He is being investigated in the leaks of the “Afghan War Diary” documents that were also released by Wikileaks--in conjunction with the New York Times, The UK Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel-- exposing the war in Afghanistan as a costly quagmire that has cost countless civilian Afghan lives, as well as the lives of over 1,000 US soldiers.

Over the last seven year’s Iraq has become the deadliest theater of war for journalists since World War II. The Wikileaks website posted on April 5, 2010, a video showing a US helicopter crew killing 12 Iraqi civilians including Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver Said Chmagh, 40. Wikileaks wrote that it had come from unspecified “military sources.” Reuters had filed a formal request, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), in 2007 to access documents that might explain the death of its media workers. FOIA requires federal government agencies to release documents to all persons requesting them unless specifically exempted by the law. Reuters received no documents. Reporters Without Borders, the international journalists association writes of Bradley Manning, “If this young soldier had not leaked the video, we would have had no evidence of what was clearly a serious abuse on the part of the US military.”

Much of my military background concerns the law of warfare. Most Americans do not realize that our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have violated domestic and international law, violations that have been fully exposed in the Wikileaks documents that Manning is accused of releasing. When I joined the US military I, like Bradley Manning, took an oath to protect the constitution and the American people. This led me to resign my position when the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Protecting the constitution outweighs following orders and Manning should be lauded for choosing to do the right thing. Bradley Manning is a patriot of our democracy, who stayed loyal to what is right, risking his own security. His loyalty to the Constitution and the American people transcends partisan politics.

Just as Daniel Ellsberg blew the whistle on the lies of the US leaders of the Vietnam War, Manning is accused of blowing the whistle on the illegality of today’s wars. What will our response to the information Manning is charged with releasing be? Can we make today’s Pentagon Papers lead to an end to illegal and wasteful wars abroad and the return of our troops home?

Please join me, Daniel Ellsberg, senior CIA analyst (ret.) Ray McGovern, Army veteran Aimee Allison at an open public speaking event Thursday, September 16, 7pm. You can watch the livecast at MichaelMoore.com or if in the bay Area come to the Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street, Oakland, California. This kicks off a nation-wide series of support events for Bradley Manning in 18 US cities. And please join me for a March and Rally to Free Bradley Manning at 2pm in front of the SF War Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California on Saturday Sept. 18: 3pm march. 4pm end at Union Square.

For more information go to www.CourageToResist.org

Ann Wright is a Colonel, US Army Reserves (Retired) and US Diplomat who resigned in March 2003 in opposition to the War on Iraq.

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Humane treatment of the wounded is one of the oldest laws of war. It is not the first attack which caught Bradley's attention, but the second, on the van. Manning's emails to Lemo's said:

“At first glance it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter...No big deal … about two dozen more where that came from, right? But something struck me as odd with the van thing, and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer’s directory. So I looked into it.”"

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/conscience/#ixzz0wtVpCFbe

This must be his main line of defense. Reporting war crimes transcends all other duties. As for the chain of command, he had tried that before, and he saw how far that got (Wired article)

Article 12 of the Geneva Convention of 1864 states that,

"…Members of the armed forces and other persons (…) who are wounded or sick, shall be respected and protected in all circumstances. They shall be treated humanely and cared for by the Party to the conflict in whose power they may be, without any adverse distinction founded on sex, race, nationality, religion, political opinions or any other similar criteria. Any attempts upon their lives, or violence to their persons, shall be strictly prohibited; in particular, they shall not be murdered or exterminated, subjected to torture or to biological experiments…". The Parties to the Geneva Conventions also have to search for and collect the wounded and sick and to ensure them protection and care (article 15).

The definition of wounded and sick for the purpose of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol 1) is

"…persons, whether military or civilians, who, because of trauma, disease or other physical or mental disorder or disability, are in need of medical assistance or care and who refrain from any act of hostility."

http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/comp210.htm

Also from a Marine Corp study guide, Military Studies:

"Marines do not attack medical personnel, facilities, or equipment. Both friendly and enemy medical personnel are to be encouraged to come to the battlefield in safety to care for the wounded combatants."

Marine Corp University, Military Studies 8013A
http://www.scribd.com/doc/19882164/Military-Studies

Bradley Manning was not committing a crime, he was reporting a crime. As for the documents, the public's right to know outweighs government claims of secrecy for national security reasons. Valerie Plame shows that the government itself applies a flexible yardstick when it comes to the true level of secrecy of covert operatives, and if this was in error, then Valerie Plame must be revisited.

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