Thursday, March 3, 2011

the corporate security state and PFC bradley manning

the pentagon has sent its pitchman out to lie to the subservient scriveners of corporate journalism about the barbaric conditions under which alleged wikileaks source PFC bradley manning is being imprisoned.

we have a report from AFP quoting the military's "press secretary" geoff morrell as saying of manning's detention, "He's not being treated differently than any other maximum security detainee and not differently really that much from the medium security detainees."

manning is not being "held in a hole," the government insists. he's being held under maximum security because, according to the pentagon, his escape would pose a risk to national security.

morrell, after visiting the brig at quantico, va., was so impressed by the accommodations that one almost expected him to say he wouldn't mind staying there himself. instead, he "came away impressed about how professionally the brig is run."

that's hardly the point, of course. manning has been held in maximum security, confined to his cell for 23 hours a day, since last summer. his only respite is that other one hour a day, when he must walk in an "indoor gym," which is equipped with walls, a ceiling and the floor. he is required to pace the floor during his recreational period, otherwise he is returned to his cell. this may conform to the letter of the military's regulations, but it mocks any humane standard of treatment for prisoners -- especially for someone whose "crimes" are having caused embarrassment to high government officials.

make no mistake about it: bradley manning is not a criminal. george w. bush and dick cheney are criminals; the heads of the too-big-to-fail banks on wall street who were responsible for the great crash of 2008 are criminals. bradley manning is a guy who wanted to serve his country, only to find that his country was involved in monumental wrongdoing.

and worse, no one in his chain of command cared.

from what we know from the guy who ratted him out --  himself a convicted felon who wants to join the lucrative racket of being a government informant -- manning tried to take his concerns to his superior officers before being unceremoniously blown off, and told to shut up.

if the allegations are to be believed -- and let's assume that at least the outlines are accurate -- manning passed along classified documents not to subvert the government, but to bring its questionable practices out of the shadows and into the light of day. manning is alleged to have done what any government whistleblower does -- not for personal profit, or to embolden enemies, but to allow the public to hold its leaders to account.

this bit about manning's potential escape endangering national security is yet another outrageous abuse of that tired canard by a government that is so out of control that it seriously believes that it actions are above the law, not subject to scrutiny, beyond questioning. had any of the documents in question been highly classified, and liable to endanger national security, then it stands to reason that they would not be accessible to over a million people within the national security state apparatus; presumably a private in the army would not be privy to highly sensitive documents -- which these are definitely NOT.

again, this is embarrassing stuff for our leaders, and not harmful to national security. the secretary of defense testified to congress that no significant or lasting harm was done. bradley manning never had access to any truly damning documents -- he only could see things that are not meant for public consumption. you and i, who pay for our leaders' exploits on behalf of mega banks and corporations, are the only ones who must not be allowed to glimpse the truth. what our masters want us to know, they feed us through the new york times and FOX news, and that's the extent of our knowledge. this has been part and parcel of government propaganda operations since world war I.

bradley manning has nothing else to give, but the government will try to use manning to give something to the rest of us: a lesson.

the lesson is, shut up and don't ask questions about what the government is doing. don't ask questions especially if you're working for the government. finally, if you cross the line and take your doubts about what the government is doing in our names to the public, be prepared to suffer a fate similar to medieval heretics.

the government is so desperate to punish bradley manning, and through him to get at and inflict similar punishment upon julian assange, that it is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths in order to do so. assange's persecution by the swedish government is nothing but a CIA smear operation, designed to get him within the US' reach -- something which they will doubtless achieve.

it looks grim, my friends. this is supposed to be a cautionary tale, a warning to those of us who might be inspired to stand up to the oligarchy that tells one story for public consumption, and an entirely different one to its inside operatives. i fully expect this to be a hard-fought battle, but the truth will eventually come out and people like manning will get the thanks he deserves. he has served his country well, barack obama and the other minions of corporate power be damned.

with this in mind, a vigil is planned at quantico on march 19 to show public support for bradley manning. i hope many, many people will show up to give the man support as the government tries to break his spirit. please plan to be there with us!

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