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Bradley Manning Court Martial to Proceed
by judd Wednesday, Apr 25 2012, 10:16am
international / injustice/law / commentary

History will Vindicate Prisoner of Conscience Bradley Manning

A motion filed by Bradley Manning's lawyers to dismiss all charges against prisoner of conscience Pfc Manning has been denied by military judge Col. Denise Lind. However, she did order existing national 'damage' assessments made by various security agencies and government departments to be presented to the Court.

Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka

The entire situation is absurd, as the world is aware that the US must convict Manning and make an example of him in order to prevent or deter other whistleblowers from revealing sensitive or compromising information about the criminal activities of the US government, CIA and Pentagon.

The US administration, military and CIA have been CONSCIOUSLY murdering INNOCENT civilians for over a decade; President Obama himself, during the first two weeks of his tenure, signed an order to conduct an illegal Drone strike on ally Pakistan, which resulted in a number of civilian deaths! This illegal action in addition to the (MIT) estimated 6 million civilians the US has slaughtered since the Vietnam war -- AND MANNING IS ON TRIAL FOR HIS LIFE! Give the world break you American criminal Wonderlanders?

The other glaring issue is the treatment Manning received while in custody, which amounted to severe abuse and psychological torture, depending on one's definition of torture, but do not forget we are dealing with a nation that views water torture as 'enhanced interrogation!'

Any case against a torture victim is automatically void for obvious reasons yet this kangaroo military court is proceeding with the case against Manning, which clearly indicates BIAS or PARTIALITY on the part of the military Court!

If you require further evidence of the absurdity of these unjust proceedings then we suggest that you migrate to the USA, your intelligence level would make you an ideal American citizen! For fuck's sake!

Report from AFP follows:

Charges stand against WikiLeaks suspect Manning
by Dan De Luce

FORT MEADE, Maryland — A US military judge Wednesday rejected a request to dismiss all charges against soldier Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking a stash of secret documents to the WikiLeaks website.

Defense lawyers for Manning had demanded that all 22 counts against him be thrown out because they say the government has consistently "stashed away" crucial information that could help their client mount his defense.

But the judge, Colonel Denise Lind, told a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade military base in the eastern US state of Maryland that the court had found "no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct."

"The government properly understood its obligation" to share relevant information with the defense, she said, setting September 21 as a tentative date for the start of the 24-year-old soldier's trial.

Legal analysts had expected such a decision.

Lind was also due to rule on a motion by Manning's lawyers asking for access to testimony from a federal grand jury that is delving into the WikiLeaks episode.

The defense team won a skirmish against government lawyers on Tuesday with the judge ordering prosecutors to provide her by May 18 with an array of reports by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies looking at the damage caused by the publishing of reams of classified data by WikiLeaks.

The defense lawyers hope the assessments might undermine prosecutors' claims that the exposure of classified documents via WikiLeaks caused serious damage to national security.

The judge also ordered prosecutors to scan hard drives from the unit where Manning worked in Iraq to search for specific software.

The defense lawyers believe a search of the computers will show that other soldiers were downloading unauthorized software, including chat services and games, on purportedly secure computers.

In the worst breach of US intelligence in history, Manning is accused of passing hundreds of thousands of military field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan and US diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks between November 2009 and May 2010, when he served as a low-ranking intelligence analyst in Iraq.

Prosecutors allege Manning betrayed the trust of the US government and helped Al-Qaeda by divulging classified intelligence online.

Manning's lawyers are also seeking to have the most serious charge of "aiding the enemy" dismissed as they say the government has no evidence to show their client intended to help Al-Qaeda.

If convicted of the charge, known as article 104 under the military code, Manning, who has yet to enter a plea in the case, faces a possible life sentence.

US authorities have already come under criticism by civil rights and press freedom groups over the withholding of court documents.

The judge on Tuesday declined a request from the Center for Constitutional Rights to grant open access to prosecution filings and judicial opinions in the Manning case.

Lind said that those interested in court documents could file requests under the Freedom of Information Act but she raised no objection to the defense lawyers' posting their motions online.

The defense motions are published after being vetted for any sensitive details that could pose security risks.

The Welsh-born US army intelligence officer was transferred a year ago from a military prison at Quantico, Virginia -- where he had been imprisoned since July 2010 -- to another in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Manning's detention conditions at Quantico, which included solitary confinement and being forced to sleep naked, drew the attention of Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union and the British government.

Copyright © 2012 AFP


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Trials Without Crimes or Evidence
by Paul Craig Roberts via stan - Global Research Wednesday, Apr 25 2012, 11:12am

Andy Worthington is a superb reporter who has specialized in providing the facts of the US government’s illegal abuse of “detainees,” against whom no evidence exists. ( ) In an effort to create evidence, the US government has illegally resorted to torture. Torture produces false confessions, plea bargains, and false testimony against others in order to escape further torture.

For these reasons, in Anglo-American law self-incrimination secured through torture has been impermissible evidence for centuries. So also has been secret evidence withheld from the accused and his attorney. Secret evidence cannot be confronted. Secret evidence is distrusted as made-up in order to convict the innocent. The evidence is secret because it cannot stand the light of day.

The US government relies on secret evidence in its cases against alleged terrorists, claiming that national security would be threatened if the evidence were revealed. This is abject nonsense. It is an absurd claim that presenting evidence against a terrorist jeopardizes the national security of the United States.

To the contrary, not presenting evidence jeopardizes the security of each and every one of us. Once the government can convict defendants on the basis of secret evidence, even the concept of a fair trial will disappear. Fair trials are already history, but the concept lingers.

Secret evidence murders the concept of a fair trial. It murders justice and the rule of law. Secret evidence means anyone can be convicted of anything. As in Kafka’s The Trial, people will cease to know the crimes for which they are being tried and convicted.

This extraordinary development in Anglo-American law, a development demanded by the unaccountable Bush/Obama Regime, has not resulted in impeachment proceedings; nor has it caused an uproar from Congress, the federal courts, the presstitute media, law schools, constitutional scholars, and bar associations.

Having bought the government’s 9/11 conspiracy theory, Americans just want someone to pay. They don’t care who as long as someone pays. To accommodate this desire, the government has produced some “high value detainees” with Arab or Muslim names. But instead of bringing these alleged malefactors to trial and presenting evidence against them, the government has kept them in torture dungeons for years trying to create through the application of pain and psychological breakdown guilt by self-incrimination in order to create a case against them.

The government has been unsuccessful and has nothing that it can bring to a real court. So the Bush/Obama Regime created and recreated “military tribunals” to lend “national security” credence to the absolute need that non-existent evidence be kept secret.

Andy Worthington in his numerous reports does a good job in providing the history of the detainees and their treatment. He deserves our commendation and support. But what I want to do is to ask some questions, not of Worthington, but about the idea that the US is under terrorist threat.

By this September, 9/11 will be eleven years ago. Yet despite the War on Terror, the loss of Americans’ privacy and civil liberties, an expenditure of trillions of dollars on numerous wars, violations of US and international laws against torture, and so forth, no one has been held accountable. Neither the perpetrators nor those whom the perpetrators outwitted, assuming that they are different people, have been held accountable. Going on 11 years and no trials of villains or chastisement of negligent public officials. This is remarkable.

The government’s account of 9/11 implies massive failure of all US security and intelligence agencies along with those of our NATO puppets and Israel’s Mossad. The government’s official line also implies the failure of the National Security Council, NORAD and the US Air Force, Air Traffic Control, Airport Security four times in one hour on the same morning. It implies the failure of the President, the Vice President, the National Security Adviser, the Secretary of Defense.

Many on the left and also libertarians find this apparent failure of the centralized and oppressive government so hopeful that they cling to the official “government failure” explanation of 9/11. However, such massive failure is simply unbelievable. How in the world could the US have survived the cold war with the Soviets if the US government were so totally incompetent?

If we attribute superhero powers to the 19 alleged hijackers, powers in excess of V’s in V for Vendetta or James Bond’s or Captain Marvel’s, and assume that these young terrorists, primarily Saudi Arabians, outwitted Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Tony Blair, along with the CIA, FBI, MI5 and MI6, Mossad, etc., one would have expected for the President, Congress, and the media to call for heads to roll. No more humiliating affront has ever been suffered by a major power than the US suffered on 9/11. Yet, absolutely no one, not even some lowly traffic controller, was scapegoated and held accountable for what is considered to be the most extraordinarily successful terrorist attack in human history, an attack so successful that it implies total negligence across the totality of the US government and that of all its allies.

This just doesn’t smell right. Total failure and no accountability. The most expensively funded security apparatus the world has ever known defeated by a handful of Saudi Arabians. How can anyone in the CIA, FBI, NSA, NORAD, and National Security Council hold up their heads? What a disgraced bunch of jerks and incompetents. What do we need them for?

Consider the alleged hijackers. Despite allegedly being caught off guard by the 9/11 attacks, the FBI was soon able to identify the 19 hijackers despite the fact that apparently none of the alleged hijackers’ names are on the passenger lists of the airliners that they allegedly hijacked.

How did 19 passengers get on airplanes in the US without being on the passenger lists?

I do not personally know if the alleged hijackers were on the four airliners. Moreover, defenders of the official 9/11 story claim that the passenger lists released to the public were “victims lists,” not passenger lists, because the names of the hijackers were withheld and only released some four years later after 9/11 researchers had had years in which to confuse victims lists with passenger lists. This seems an odd explanation. Why encourage public misinformation for years by withholding the passenger lists and issuing victims lists in their place? It cannot have been to keep the hijackers’ names a secret as the FBI released a list of the hijackers several days after 9/11. Even more puzzling, if the hijackers’ names were on the airline passenger lists, why did it take the FBI several days to confirm the names and numbers of hijackers?

Researchers have found contradictions in the FBI’s accounts of the passenger lists with the FBI adding and subtracting names from its various lists and some names being misspelled, indicating possibly that the FBI doesn’t really know who the person is. The authenticity of the passenger lists that were finally released in 2005 is contested, and the list apparently was not presented as evidence by the FBI in the Moussaoui trial in 2006. David Ray Griffin has extensively researched the 9/11 story. In one of his books, 9/11 Ten Years Later, Griffin writes: “Although the FBI claimed that it had received flight manifests from the airlines by the morning of 9/11, the ‘manifests’ that appeared in 2005 had names that were not known to the FBI until a day or more after 9/11. These 2005 ‘manifests,’ therefore, could not have been the original manifests for the four 9/11 flights.”

The airlines themselves have not been forthcoming. We are left with the mystery of why simple and straightforward evidence, such as a list of passengers, was withheld for years and mired in secrecy and controversy.

We have the additional problem that the BBC and subsequently other news organizations established that 6 or 7 of the alleged hijackers on the FBI’s list are alive and well and have never been part of any terrorist plot.

These points are not even a beginning of the voluminous reasons that the government’s 9/11 story looks very thin.

But the American public, being throughly plugged into the Matrix, are not suspicious of the government’s thin story. Instead, they are suspicious of the facts and of those experts who are suspicious of the government’s story. Architects, engineers, scientists, first responders, pilots, and former public officials who raise objections to the official story are written off as conspiracy theorists. Why does an ignorant American public think it knows more than experts? Why do Americans believe a government that told them the intentional lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction despite the fact that the weapons inspectors reported to President Bush that Hussein had no such weapons? And now we see the same thing all over again with the alleged, but non-existent, Iranian nukes.

As Frantz Fanon wrote, the power of cognitive dissonance is extreme. It keeps people comfortable and safe from threatening information. Most Americans find the government’s lies preferable to the truth. They don’t want to be unplugged from the Matrix. The truth is too uncomfortable for emotionally and mentally weak Americans.

Worthington focuses on the harm being done to detainees. They have been abused for much of their lives. Their innocence or guilt cannot be established because the evidence is compromised by torture, self-incrimination, and coerced testimony against others. They stand convicted by the government’s accusation alone. These are real wrongs, and Worthington is correct to emphasize them.

In contrast, my focus is on the harm to America, on the harm to truth and truth’s power, on the harm to the rule of law and accountability to the people of the government and its agencies, on the harm to the moral fabric of the US government and to liberty in the United States.

As the adage goes, a fish rots from the head. As the government rots, so does the United States of America.

Author retains copyright.

Obama Approves Expanded Drone War in Yemen
by staff report via stele - CommonDreams Thursday, Apr 26 2012, 7:19am

The CIA and US military may target suspected al-Qaida militants in Yemen with drones even when suspects' identities are not known, report the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post citing "unnamed" US government officials. The policy shift gives permission to the CIA and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) to fire on targets based solely on the targets' intelligence "signatures" -- patterns of behavior detected through intercepts, human sources and aerial surveillance that indicate the presence of "key operative" or a "threatening" act.

Obama approved the use of “signature” strikes this month and that the killing of an al-Qaida operative near the border of Yemen’s Marib province this week was among the first attacks carried out under the new authority, officials told the Post. The new lethal authority is given even when identity of those in harm's way is not known, the reports indicate.

The Wall Street Journal quotes a US official as saying "Every Yemeni is armed, so how can they differentiate between suspected militants and armed Yemenis?"

After reports of the new strategy in Yemen -- which came in the form of a request from CIA Director David Petraeus -- law professor Bruce Ackerman, in a Washington Post op-ed, urged the president to reject it, arguing that even George W. Bush never received authorization to carry out such expansive war powers. "The president should not try to sleep-walk the United States into a permanent state of war by pretending that Congress has given him authority that Bush clearly failed to obtain at the height of the panic after Sept. 11."

* * *

The Washington Post: White House approves broader Yemen drone campaign

The decision to give the CIA and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) greater leeway is almost certain to escalate a drone campaign that has accelerated significantly this year, with at least nine strikes in under four months. The number is about equal to the sum of airstrikes all last year.

The expanded authority will allow the CIA and JSOC to fire on targets based solely on their intelligence “signatures” — patterns of behavior that are detected through signals intercepts, human sources and aerial surveillance, and that indicate the presence of an important operative or a plot against U.S. interests.

Until now, the administration had allowed strikes only against known terrorist leaders who appear on secret CIA and JSOC target lists and whose location can be confirmed.

Moving beyond those rules of engagement raises substantial risks for the Obama administration, which has sought to avoid being drawn into a fight between insurgents and Yemen’s central government.

Congressional officials have expressed concern that using signature strikes would raise the likelihood of killing militants who are not involved in plots against the United States, angering Yemeni tribes and potentially creating a new crop of al-Qaeda recruits.

Critics have also challenged the legal grounds for expanding the drone campaign in Yemen. In an opinion piece published in The Washington Post on Sunday, Bruce Ackerman, a law professor at Yale University, argued that war measures adopted in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were not aimed at al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate and don’t provide Obama “with authority to respond to these threats without seeking further congressional consent.”

* * *

Bruce Ackerman: Mr. President, Don't Go There

The risk of attacks from Yemen may be real. But the 2001 resolution doesn’t provide the president with authority to respond to these threats without seeking further congressional consent.

Congress hasn’t reversed itself in the years since it authorized the use of military force. While lawmakers recently elaborated on the president’s powers over captive terrorists in the military appropriations act of 2012, that legislation declared that “[n]othing in this section is intended to. . . expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force [of September 2001].” If the administration wishes to escalate the fight against terrorists in Yemen, it should return to Congress for express approval.

Obama has an option. He has avoided Bush-era claims that he has the unilateral power as commander in chief to open up new fronts in an endless war against terrorism, independently of Congress. As a constitutional lawyer, he recognizes the weakness of such claims. As a politician he recognizes that they would profoundly alienate his base just when he needs it.

* * *

Al-Jazeera: CIA and Pentagon given right to launch attacks even when identity of those in harm's way is not known

Some congressional officials have expressed concern over the use of such signature strikes, stating that they raise the likelihood of killing fighters who may not be involved in plots either to do with attacks against the US, or affiliated with al-Qaeda, potentially angering the local population and pushing them to join in the struggle against the US.

The Wall Street Journal quotes a US official as saying "Every Yemeni is armed, so how can they differentiate between suspected militants and armed Yemenis?"

The signature strikes have to be approved by Yemen before they are conducted, according to Yemeni and US officials.

In a related development, Yemeni officials rejected on Wednesday a request from the CIA and US military to expand the signature strikes to the target of groups who they deem to be fighters.

US officials say the CIA and US military had asked the White House for permission to target larger groups if intelligence points to al-Qaeda-related activity, as the CIA does in Pakistan's tribal regions.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive strategic matters.

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