Flash! Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty to Reporting War Crimes
Bradley Manning wasn't committing a crime, he was reporting crimes. First the torture of Iraqi dissidents by the puppet government then firing on wounded being evacuated.
Chase Mader at Huffington Post wrote in 2011:
When Bradley Manning deployed to Iraq in October 2009, he thought that he’d be helping the Iraqi people build a free society after the long nightmare of Saddam Hussein. What he witnessed firsthand was quite another matter.
He soon found himself helping the Iraqi authorities detain civilians for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature” -- which turned out to be an investigative report into financial corruption in their own government entitled “Where does the money go?” The penalty for this “crime” in Iraq was not a slap on the wrist. Imprisonment and torture, as well as systematic abuse of prisoners, are widespread in the new Iraq. From the military’s own Sigacts (Significant Actions) reports, we have a multitude of credible accounts of Iraqi police and soldiers shooting prisoners, beating them to death, pulling out fingernails or teeth, cutting off fingers, burning with acid, torturing with electric shocks or the use of suffocation, and various kinds of sexual abuse including sodomization with gun barrels and forcing prisoners to perform sexual acts on guards and each other.
Manning had more than adequate reason to be concerned about handing over Iraqi citizens for likely torture simply for producing pamphlets about corruption in a government notorious for its corruptness.
Like any good soldier, Manning immediately took these concerns up the chain of command. And how did his superiors respond? His commanding officer told him to “shut up” and get back to rounding up more prisoners for the Iraqi Federal Police to treat however they cared to...
Baghdad 2010. Manning sees video hidden in miitary prosecutors disk drive showing a "bunch of [Iraqis] getting shot up," writing to his then-friend Adrian Lemo:
"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."
What Manning meant by "the van thing" was an American helicopter attack on men attempting to evacuate wounded from the "battlefield," strictly against the Geneva Convention and explicitely a war crime.
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...Any attempts upon their lives, or violence to their persons, shall be strictly prohibited; in particular, they shall not be murdered or exterminated...".
Like the Pentagon Papers in Nixon's era, the information in the Manning document leaks was vetted by Wikileaks, and Wikileaks offered the Pentagon a chance to review and add redactions, which the Pentagon flatly refused. Like the Pentagon Papers, the real objection to the leak is that it is a treasure trove of information documenting the mishandling of the war, incompetence, and lies.
As one example, the Guardian reported in "Afghanistan war logs: US covered up fatal Taliban missile strike on Chinook" that:
The US military covered up a reported surface-to-air missile strike by the Taliban that shot down a Chinook helicopter over Helmand in 2007 and killed seven soldiers, including a British military photographer, the war logs show. The strike on the twin-rotor helicopter shows the Taliban enjoyed sophisticated anti-aircraft capabilities earlier than previously thought, casting new light on the battle for the skies over Afghanistan.
Now everybody has seen Charlie Wilson's War, a horribly inaccurate portrayal of the US involvement in the Afghan war against the Soviet occupation. In the movie, the insurgents getting surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) is the beginning of the end of the Russians.
Can't have Americans thinking about that, now, can we?