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View Diary: WikiLeaks and The El Salvadorization of Iraq (11 comments)

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  •  "La la la, can't hear abt pattern of US torture (5+ / 0-)

    ...I've got carrots in my ears"?

    Without Manning, we'd still be pretending that Abu Ghraib was an isolated case of "rogue elements" rather than a widespread pattern established on the template of our work in El Salvador, by the same people -- namely, James Steele.  

    "We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike.” -Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933

    by bekosiluvu on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 07:46:04 AM PDT

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    •  Heard an interesting story on Bradley Manning (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, bekosiluvu

      on On the Media, on NPR yesterday. First, let me say that there's no nuance in James Steele's case. The man is a war criminal, and he belongs in the Hague. Manning did us a service by releasing that specific information. Just to get that out right at the start.

      However, I think Manning's case is somewhat nuanced... I still cannot accept the indiscriminate release of huge archives of diplomatic cables, because there really is a risk to individuals who may be associated with the US. I work for an NGO that was involved in child protection, gender-based violence and other legal related work in Iraq. We had to inform staff in Iraq that it is possible that their names were compromised, because, yes, we did communicate information on abuses to the State Department. That was not a fun conversation. It made me really angry. I also had to leave a country once, years ago, because of a (false) allegation that I was connected to a intelligence agency. That was frightening and destructive, and makes me viscerally opposed to massive, thoughtless release of information.

      That said, I think that what Manning did does not rise to the level of "aiding the enemy" or anywhere close. Whistleblowers sometimes have to pay a price, and I think Manning did what he did out of conscience. The price in this case should be proportional to the actual damage, taking into consideration what were honorable motives, and probably means a couple years in jail - not more. He did what Daniel Ellsberg did, only in a less targeted and much clumsier manner. I am glad he released the information on Steele. But the indiscriminate nature of the release of all that information bothers me. Even Wikileaks went from a dogmatic and cult-like "all information should be free and we're just a conduit" to later starting to behave more like a news source - acknowledging that information that can harm individuals should not be released. I wish Manning had released more selectively, and to the Guardian or the NYT rather than to Assange.  But is he a hero? Maybe. Time will tell. Sometimes heroes do idiotic things, and the way in which he released the information was naive at best, maybe just a little idiotic at worst. I've got a certain amount of sympathy for him and am deeply opposed to the abuses he endured in custody.  

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:33:35 AM PDT

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      •  Even the Pentagon had a statement shortly after (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bekosiluvu, david78209, ivorybill

        Manning's leaks that there was no critical information involved.  That nothing damaged units in the field, etc.

        The thing that I see is this:

        Here's a young guy and he comes across some horrible things - the helicopter gunship video. Along with that there are thousands to millions of messages, videos, cables, whatnot.

        Could he sit down and sort through it all?  How long would it take one person and would he continue to have access to all of it for a long enough time?

        And then, I ask myself, why would "the system" be allowing access to all this classified information to such a low ranking soldier?  Could it be that the system simply over-classifies everything possible?

        I cannot blame Manning for releasing all that at once. I see how people might be worried about it, but the citizens of a democracy have a right to know what horrors are being committed in their name.  Once the Pentagon made the post-Vietnam decision to lock the press out of realistic, independent war reporting, the USA has been in the dark about the horrors our war-making causes.

        A million dead in Iraq for no reason whatsoever, other than Bush's hubris and Cheney's ambitions. And what has America been told about that?   We hear more about an America sniper (whose targets were whom, exactly?) than about the million dead, the vast majority of whom were civilians -- men, women and children not engaged in warfare.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:05:45 AM PDT

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        •  Manning tried to hand it to media that could sort (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bekosiluvu, YucatanMan, BradyB

          through it all and avoid releasing information that could compromise intelligence sources or soldiers in the field.  He got what he took as a brush-off from the Washington Post, and no call back from the NY Times public editor (who apparently didn't see it as part of his job to refer possible tips to the appropriate reporter).  

          And later, when the Times was getting the information via WikiLeaks, I think WikiLeaks or the Times or both tried to give the Federal Government (maybe via the State Department) a chance to review what was about to go to the public, though without the promise to redact anything the Feds wanted kept secret.  The Feds turned them down.  That makes me think the government was more interested in making an example of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange than in protecting alleged "secrets".  

          We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

          by david78209 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:25:37 AM PDT

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    •  US torture? (0+ / 0-)
      There is no evidence that Steele or Coffman tortured prisoners themselves, only that they were sometimes present in the detention centres where torture took place and were involved in the processing of thousands of detainees.
      No one's actually accusing the US of torture in this article.  They're accusing the allied Iraqi forces of torture (which is consistent with the WikiLeaks documents)
      •  Oh, right, it's just a coincidence (0+ / 0-)

        That Jim Steele shows up and suddenly there are Death Squads running the joint.  In country after country.  

        Pull the other one, it's got bells on it.  

        "We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike.” -Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933

        by bekosiluvu on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:58:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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