Much has been written about the unfair charges and actions taken by the government of the US against political prisoner, Bradley Manning. However what often goes unnoticed is the leaking of information by the US government when it is convenient for them and the failure to prosecute the one percent.
Bradley Manning was charged and convicted of violations of the 1917 Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, in relationship to the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents.
The problem is the Justice Department and Military have been selectively prosecuting unauthorized disclosures of classified information only when they are politically unfavorable. This includes embarrassing leaks to the media by the likes of Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou.
Meanwhile, unauthorized disclosures by the likes of David Petreuas and Seal Team Six member Mark Bisonette have gone unpunished and have even been celebrated in the media. Additionally the Obama Administration has itself leaked classified information for political gain, as with the disclosure of Kill Lists. The hypocrisy is crucifying.
The prosecution of Manning, when put in context with the other said leaks of classified information, reveals Manning’s prosecution was selective and politically motivated.
Little regard for the rule of law
While the Manning prosecution was presented as a violation of the rule of law, the Obama administration has repeatedly show little regard for the rule in a number of serious cases.
Former CIA agent Robert Seldon Lady was convicted in Absentia in Italy for the kidnapping of an Egyptian national and his subsequent rendition. Lady was recently detained by Panama, to be extradited to Italy, until the US intervened and secured his release. Then there is Luis Posada Carriles who was convicted in Venezuela of the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner and then escaped from a Venzuelan prison and fled to the US where he continues to live freely , protected from extradition (http://www.workers.org/2013/07/10/refusal-to-extradite-terrorist-to-venezuela-exposes-washingtons-hypocrisy/).
Brothers William and Isaias Dassum were convicted by a court in Ecuador and sentenced to 8 years in prison. The Brothers were the president and vice president of Ecuador’s largest bank, Filabanco, which collapsed in 1998. They were convicted of hiding the bank’s problems and embezzling $158 million, most of which they were alleged to have been stashed in Miami banks. The US refuses to extradite the brothers to Ecuador or confiscate their ill gotten money (http://www.dailycensored.com/robert-and-william-isaias-dassum-the-case-of-the-ecuadorian-banking-fugitives-that-live-and-invest-in-the-u-s/).
These are but a few examples of the disregard for the rule of law related to international criminals who are being provided refuge by the Obama administration. These cases ring hollow the claim of enforcing the rule of law in the Manning case.
Manning: but one of Obama’s political prisoners
In a prior article, I detailed the political prosecutions of Aaron Swartz, John Kiriakou, Thomas Drake, Andrew “Weev” Auerenheimer, and Jeremy Hammond. Add to this the convictions of environmental activist Tim DeChristopher http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/03/tim-dechristopher-convict_n_831144.html, UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, and Washington Post Co. whistle blower Ben Wilcox, and the pending prosecution of journalist /activist Barrett Brown http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/21/barrett-brown-persecution-anonymous,and a clear pattern of political repression emerges.
Manning’s prosecution is part of a pattern of political prosecutions, meant to repress dissent. Many of these appear to be at the behest of corporations and Wall Street.
Corporations get out of jail free
Corporations wield undue influence in the federal government through campaign contributions and the revolving door. Nowhere is this more evident than in the refusal of the government to prosecute criminal wrong doing by corporate offenders.
Beginning with the Bush administration and continuing under Wall Street attorney Eric Holder, it has been official government policy to enter into deferred prosecution and non prosecution agreements with corporate criminal wrong doers.
This includes HSBC bank which was found to be laundering Mexican drug cartel money (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18880269), Ralph Lauren Company which was found to be bribing officials in Argentina over a five year period (http://www.dailycensored.com/ralph-lauren-lauryn-hill-the-miseducation-of-the-department-of-justice/), MF global which used customer money to cover its losses (http://my.firedoglake.com/masaccio/2013/07/08/who-decided-there-are-no-crimes-in-mf-global-collapse/), and JP Morgan which was recently found to be rigging energy prices in the Midwest (http://www.dailycensored.com/jp-morgan-and-electric-power-100-years-of-misconduct/).
While Bradley Manning sits in jail, corporate wrong doers which have injured scores of citizens and destroyed institutions pay a pittance of a fine. This is evidence that there is little concern for the rule of law and there is no doubt that Bradley Manning is a political prisoner.
Bradley Manning’s trial at Fort Meade, an army base and home to the NSA, just about assured Manning would not get a fair trial because his leaks too deeply embarrassed the military. The proceeding was little more than a Kangaroo court, replete with secret witnesses and no published transcripts. The judge granted manning 112 days off a sentence which could exceed 100 years for his unlawful pretrial detention treatment, prima facie evidence of a kangaroo court.
The same government which prosecuted Manning would not permit him to mount a viable defense. This is consistent with the treatment of a political prisoner.
Obama not in control of the executive branch
As the executive branch continues to engage in activities which are contradictory to Obama’s 2008 campaign platform, such as the prosecution of Obama supporters, it is becoming clear that Obama is not in control of the executive branch, but appears to be taking orders from the national security and military-drug trafficking establishments. Obama is functioning as what Malcolm X described as, a “house negro” for the one percent. In his 1963 speech, “Message to the Grass Roots”. According to Wikipedia:
Malcolm X spoke about two types of enslaved Africans: the “house Negro” and the “field Negro”. The house Negro lived in his owner’s house, dressed well, and ate well. He loved his owner as much as the owner loved himself, and he identified with his owner. If the owner got sick, the house Negro would ask, “Are we sick?” If somebody suggested to the house Negro that he escape slavery, he would refuse to go, asking where he could possibly have a better life than the one he had.
Malcolm X described the field Negro, who he said were the majority of slaves on a plantation. The field Negro lived in a shack, wore raggedy clothes, and ate chittlins. He hated his owner. If the owner’s house caught fire, the field Negro prayed for wind. If the owner got sick, the field Negro prayed for him to die. If somebody suggested to the field Negro that he escape, he would leave in an instant.
Malcolm X said that there are still house Negroes and field Negroes. The modern house Negro, he said, was always interested in living or working among white people and bragging about being the only African American in his neighborhood or on his job. Malcolm X said the Black masses were modern field Negroes and described himself as a field Negro. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Message_to_the_Grass_Roots)
Obama clearly fits the bill.
The US is not becoming a police state….
It already is one. The first inkling of this was the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the government was the passage of HR347 which criminalized protests on federal property and which I exposed back in March 2012 (http://www.projectcensored.org/10-hr-347-would-make-many-forms-of-nonviolent-protest-illegal/). The confirmation was the defeat of the Amash amendment to defund the NSA’s phone surveillance program and the continued re-authorization of said program.
The courts have played a central role in the undermining of constitutional rights and civil liberties characteristic of a democracy. This includes the recent Appeals Court decision which permits warrantless search of cell phone location data, the Supreme Court ruling permitting the collection of DNA from individuals charged but not convicted of a crime, as well as absolute immunity for prosecutors, police immunity from civil suits when they are found to be lying to grand jury, and the right to strip search individuals.
Couple all of this with license plate readers, the USPS photographing all mail, the FBI’s biometric facial recognition database and the NSA phone and internet surveillance and you have by definition, a police state focused on control and intimidation; a police state which has declared war on the first, fourth, and fifth amendments to the constitution. Bradley Manning’s disclosures were an assault on this police state, and it is for this he is being punished.
Snowden’s disclosures were a threat to the national security state, not to national security. His disclosures threaten the lucrative contracts of national security contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton (http://www.dailycensored.com/booz-allen-hamilton-helping-the-government-insure-domestic-tranquility/). It is for this reason he was and is being unlawfully hunted down in violation to the right to asylum. The state of repute of the US has gotten so bad, attorney general Eric Holder had to promise the Russians that Snowden would not be tortured or killed. They obviously did not believe him for they granted Snowden asylum.
Someone needs to ask Holder whether the treatment of Bradley Manning, which included extended solitary confinement and stripping him of his clothes, constituted torture. Whatever his answer is, it will put him in pickle. Manning’s pretrial detention treatment and Kangaroo court trial are all the evidence Snowden needed for his asylum request and Russia’s granting of said.