Friday, August 9, 2013

John Pilger on Bradley Manning

John Pilger and Glenn Greenwald both write for the Guardian, a UK paper that, thank god, doesn't kiss the asses of those in power quite as much as the American press does. That's why we get columns from them on quaint things like . . . oh . . . you know . . .  justice, virtue, human rights, civil liberties. And revelations about war crimes, torture, empire, and the sadism and hypocrisy that make those possible.

Fittingly, neither Pilger nor Greenwald is easily pegged by adherence to This or That political party. Neither one of them is a shill. Which is why they're loathed by so many people. Because the adherents of duopoly see things in only one way: My Side Good, Your Side Bad. For Democrats, it's Dems Good, Repubs Bad. For Republicans, it's obviously the other way around. Both are so blinkered and blindingly stupid it's hard to take them seriously. Yet they run the country. I don't mean just the politicians; I mean their supporters.

I've said till I'm blue in the face that if the crimes happening under Obama were happening under a Republican president, so-called liberals would be screaming bloody murder. But because they're happening under a Democrat, suddenly they're okay. Bombing, killing, torturing, persecuting, lying, eviscerating civil liberties, sucking up to corporate masters, and shitting on the poor and middle-class -- all that is okay. Because Mr. Hope and Change is in the White House.

Really, how do you people look yourselves in the mirror?

Here's John Pilger on Bradley Manning, and the disgusting complacency and cowardice of the U.S. press, and of cocktail-party liberals who should be standing up for Manning and would be if only their Beloved Leader weren't in the White House. Some excerpts:
"It is a funeral here at Fort Meade,” Alexa O’Brien told me. "The US government wants to bury Manning alive."
. . . The criminal nature of the American military is beyond dispute. The decades of lawless bombing, the use of poisonous weapons on civilian populations, the renditions and the torture at Abu Graib, Guantanamo, and elsewhere, are all documented. As a young war reporter in Indochina, it dawned on me that America exported its homicidal neuroses and called it war, even a noble cause. Like the Apache attack, the infamous 1968 massacre at My Lai was not untypical. In the same province, Quang Ngai, I gathered evidence of widespread slaughter: thousands of men, women, and children, murdered arbitrarily and anonymously in “free fire zones”.
In Iraq, I filmed a shepherd whose brother and his entire family had been cut down by an American plane, in the open. This was  sport. In Afghanistan, I filmed a woman whose dirt-walled home, and family, had been obliterated by a 500lb bomb. There was no “enemy”. My film cans burst with such evidence.
In 2010, Private Manning did his duty to the rest of humanity and supplied proof from within the murder machine. This is his triumph; and his show trial merely expresses corrupt power’s abiding fear of people learning the truth . . .
The hyped film, We Steal Secrets: the Story of WikiLeaks, mutates a heroic young soldier into an “alienated …lonely …very needy” psychiatric case with an “identity crisis” because “he was in the wrong body and wanted to become a woman”. So spoke Alex Gibney, the director, whose prurient psycho-babble found willing ears across a media too compliant or lazy or stupid to challenge the hype and comprehend that the shadows falling across whistleblowers may reach even them. From its dishonest title, Gibney’s film performed a dutiful hatchet job on Manning, Julian Assange, and WikiLeaks. The message was familiar — serious dissenters are freaks. Alexa O’Brien’s meticulous record of Manning’s moral and political courage demolishes this smear.
In the Gibney film, US politicians and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff are lined up to repeat, unchallenged, that, in publishing Manning’s leaks, WikiLeaks and Assange placed the lives informants at risk and had “blood on his hands”. On 1 August, the Guardian reported: “No record of deaths caused by WikiLeaks revelations, court told.” The Pentagon general who led a 10-month investigation into the worldwide impact of the leaks reported that not a single death could be attributed to the disclosures.
Yet, in the film, the journalist Nick Davies describes a heartless Assange who had no “harm minimisation plan”. I asked the film-maker Mark Davis about this. A respected broadcaster for SBS Australia, Davis was an eyewitness, accompanying Assange during much of the preparation of the leaked files for publication in the Guardian and the New York Times. His footage appears in the Gibney film. He told me, “Assange was the only one who worked day and night extracting 10,000 names of people who could be targeted by the revelations in the logs.” 
Yet people continue to repeat the bogus assertion that Bradley Manning and Julian Assange "harmed" people. 

Maybe you ought to consider how dropping bombs on villages and calling in drone strikes is harming people. Maybe you ought to reflect on how the kidnapping euphemistically called "rendition" is harming people. Maybe you ought to acknowledge that U.S. support for and participation in torture is harming people. Maybe you ought to think about how the erosion of civil liberties is harming people. Maybe you ought to admit that your fearless leader is going to cut Social Security; this, after he's already been rewarding corporate cronies and shredding the social safety net. Maybe you ought to recognize that your man in the White House -- along with most of the worthless wankers in Congress -- is harming people. 

Maybe you ought to wake up and quit trying to defend the indefensible. And maybe, just maybe, you might even consider that -- gasp -- there's more to political awareness than a false dichotomy between Democrats and Republicans.