Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Bradley Manning: “I Have a Clear Conscience”

Bradley Manning, the Army private who has been held in custody since May 26, 2010 on suspicion of leaking classified material to WikiLeaks, offered a plea bargain during a pretrial conference on February 28. Manning’s guilty plea to 10 lesser charges included possessing and willfully communicating to an unauthorized person all the main elements of the WikiLeaks disclosure. The UK Guardian reports, “That covered the so-called ‘collateral murder’ video of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq; some US diplomatic cables including one of the early WikiLeaks publications the Reykjavik cable; portions of the Iraq and Afghanistan warlogs, some of the files on detainees in Guantanamo; and two intelligence memos.
These lesser charges each carry a two-year maximum sentence, committing Manning to a possible upper limit of 20 years in prison.”

An attorney who serves on the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network wrote in an email, “Whether this plea helps him or not is not the critical issue. In fact, the government has already announced that they will be prosecuting him on the aiding the enemy and espionage charges, so it did not stop them from going forward with offenses that could result in life in prison for Manning.”

Reading from a prepared statement, Manning said he was not pressured by WikiLeaks to release the information and that he wanted to give the documents to The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Reuters, but they did not want what he had to offer. He also said the leaked information had “upset” or “disturbed” him, but did not contain anything he thought would harm the United States if it became public.

Regarding the Collateral Murder video, Manning said the “most alarming part to me was the seemingly delightful bloodlust,” and that those in the video “seemed to not value human life by referring to them as ‘dead bastards.’”

Manning added, “I was disturbed by the response to injured children… I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan was a target that needed to be engaged and neutralized.” He also said, “I believe that if the general public … had access to the information … this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general,” and “I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience.”

The attorney also wrote, “Manning obviously put his liberty in jeopardy in an act of conscience for the patriotic reason of trying to improve US foreign policy which has gotten horribly off-track.” The debate regarding “the role of the military and foreign policy” that Bradley Manning hoped to spark, has yet to take place. Hopefully his trial will be the catalyst for that debate.

note: You can see his full statement read in court here. The court has not allowed this to be released to the public, but an unofficial court reporter was able to make a transcript and publish it.

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Drone war cover-up: Now in Yemen, too!

The US government isn’t the only government trying to conceal the use of drone warfare which has expanded during the Obama Administration. The Washington Post reports of a drone strike in Radda, Yemen that killed 11 of the 14 people in the truck that was hit. The Post reported, “The Yemeni government initially said that those killed were al-Qaeda militants and that its Soviet-era jets had carried out the Sept. 2 [2012] attack.”

Jason Ditz of Antiwar.com reported, this “wasn’t the first time Yemen sought to cover for the US in a massacre, and it likely won’t be the last. But while the US has avoided blame in the international media, at least sometimes, there is little doubt in the minds of drone victims that the attacks are US policy.”

The federal government has even tried to cover-up these attacks. The New York Times sued for disclosure and on January 2, a federal judge rejected their bid to force the US government to disclose more information about its drone war.

The Obama Administration made Yemen a front in the “war on terror” and ramped up attacks after the announcement of Osama Bin Laden’s death. In fact, Yemen is only one of at least six countries in which drone warfare has been used as part of the endless war which began under the Bush Administration.

Estimates report approximately 2,000 people killed by drone strikes in Pakistan, approximately 1,000 in Yemen and untold numbers of people have been killed by drone strikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia.

Most of the people killed in these attacks are civilians who posed no threat to the American government. However, the continued presence of American military around the world is actually creating enemies! Nasser Mabkhoot Mohammed al-Sabooly, the truck’s driver said, “If we are ignored and neglected, I would try to take my revenge. I would even hijack an army pickup, drive it back to my village and hold the soldiers in it hostages. I would fight along al-Qaeda’s side against whoever was behind this attack.” And Abdul Rahman Berman of Yemen’s National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms warns that the drone policy is a losing proposition, noting that “if the Americans kill 10, al-Qaeda will recruit 100.”

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U.S. troops in Afghanistan won’t be able to vote

Due to a plane carrying mail crashing and burning up:

Federal officials say that absentee ballots being sent to U.S. military serving in Afghanistan may have been burned in a plane crash.

A top official in the Federal Voting Assistance Program this week notified election officials across the nation that a transport plane crashed at Shindad Air Base on Oct. 19.

The crash resulted in the destruction of 4,700 pounds of mail inbound to troops serving in the area.

Federal officials in their email to state election offices said they did not know if any ballots were destroyed. They also said the lost mail was limited to one zip code.

But they recommended that election officials resend a new ballot to anyone who requested one since the first ballot may have been destroyed in the crash and fire.

The extent of this “limited to one zip code” nonsense could be a red herring as according to an alert the zip code in question is an air base in Afghanistan:

According to an alert received by the Bexar County Elections Department from military voting assistance officials, the crash of the transport plane at Shindand Air Base in Afghanistan destroyed the aircraft and the 4,700 pounds of mail it was delivering to the combat zone.

Military officials weren’t immediately sure if it was carrying ballots, so they issued the nationwide call to local election officials to see if they may have sent ballots to a ZIP code serving three installations in Afghanistan — Camps Shindand, Farah and Stone, also called Herat.

“If you have sent any ballots to the ZIP code 09382, we recommend you attempt to contact the voter and resend a new ballot, as the first ballot may have been destroyed in the crash and fire,” the alert said.

I suspect it will be nigh impossible to get replacement ballots printed/mailed in time (or local boards of elections to even be notified of the situation), so it’s safe to say a large contingent of troops serving in Afghanistan will not have their votes counted in this very contentious election.

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The hard truth about the Afghanistan war

You will be reading the hard truth about the Afghanistan war. This is the news you will not get from the Mainstream Media or Fox News. Brace yourself.

Michael Yon is most likely the most knowledgeable and experienced journalist who has reported on military combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. He remained imbedded with direct combat troops and special operations teams for years, since the beginning of our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is reporting the truth which is now causing him problems with our politicians who parade around in their high ranking military uniforms and kiss the rings of the establishment Washington rulers.

Michael Yon is one person away from me. He is a friend of a very good friend of mine who retired from the Army Special Forces. Michael Yon is well qualified to report what is reality in war because he has been there as a former Army Special Forces soldier and as an imbedded internet blogger, reporter and journalist with the toughest of the tough in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Hopefully you understand what he is trying to tell us. I do because I have been there in a different disgusting political war, Vietnam.

He has experienced more combat in the past 11 years than the majority of soldiers and has lived to write about it.

What he is writing is a long read so get yourself a cup of coffee, beer or glass of wine and be prepared for the hard hitting truth. Many of us old Vietnam combat veterans fully understand exactly what he is saying as the canary in the coal mine.

It is undeniable our political generals and their allies in the Washington cesspool have totally screwed up both Iraq and Afghanistan. Our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences for generations to come. This is just more of the incompetence and corruption that President Eisenhower warned us about, the military/industrial complex.

Click here for the truth about Afghanistan: ALL THE KINGS HORSES

Remember, it is not the rank and file military responsible for this, it is the political generals, appointed bureaucrats and the elected politicians who must take responsibility for what they have managed to do to the Afghanistan and Iraqi people and to us as American citizens.

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Benevolent boy *really* doesn’t want to go to Disney World

That’s because he’s too busy giving away the trips to families of fallen soldiers. Which is a weirdly macabre “prize” for having your parents die in a fucked up war, but let’s commercialize tragedy because that’s the American way or something.

Anyways, I admire the moxie on this kid:

Brendan Haas, the 9-year-old Kingston, Mass., boy who gave a fallen soldier’s family a trip to Disney World, has done it again.

During an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday, anchor Robin Roberts told Brendan that the Walt Disney Co., ABC’s parent company, would award him and his family an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World. Plus, she said, Disney would provide VIP treatment not only for Brendan’s family, but also for the family of 2-year-old Liberty Hope Steele, whose name Brendan pulled out of a hat to award the first trip. Her father was killed in Afghanistan.

Brendan responded to Roberts in a Skype interview: “We can’t accept a trip to Disney but we have many more people who would like to have an all-expenses paid [trip] through the raffle, so we can do another raffle.”

There’s video of Brendan being offered, and deferring a second trip package on live television during an interview with Good Morning America. It is downright creepy how the hostess chuckles after asking whether Brendan “really gets a lot of joy out of helping others.”

Who answers “no” to that question?

Brendan rebuffs the offer of a second VIP package from ABC, instead he thanks them and explains how they’ll hold another raffle. I’m positive his parents are coaching him to some degree, but that’s what good parenting is about: to hypothetically discuss these possible new offers in advance of the interview.

Will ABC/Disney be so bold as to call the kid’s bluff on a third and fourth trip package? I certainly hope they have deep pockets to find out the limits of Brendan’s and his parents benevolence.

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Race thinking vultures descend on Florida shooting

These opportunistic race thinkers always gotta get their camera time, don’t they? The lines are blurry when they ensconce themselves in journalist trappings, yet the agenda of rubbing salt in a fresh wound makes them memorable. The riddle of what really happened that day George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin has taken a perversely racist twist where we have to be reminded by opportunistic retailers hawking “Hoodies Don’t Kill, People with Guns Do”. I’m positive we’ll eventually hear about someone else getting shot while wearing one of those.

Bizarrely, the worst of it isn’t the crass retailers, but politicians and professional pundits who now have to be sure to stoke the embers to make this a proper media circus revolving around race:

Still, a coalition of race-baiters is attempting to exploit Martin’s death to further the collective victimization agenda and stoke more hatred. Citing — bizarrely enough — the non-existent “First Amendment” right to “free movement” and “free access,” Rep. Sheila Jackson (D-Texas) called the case a “civil rights” issue that needed to be dealt with by the federal government.

And federal investigators — encouraged by politicians, celebrities, and race profiteers — are reportedly probing the case in hopes of securing a “hate crime” prosecution. While the anti-constitutional statute would not have even been considered relevant in this case a few years ago, in 2009, Obama signed another unconstitutional law expanding the federal government’s purported jurisdiction over state crimes potentially motivated by “hate.” see more…

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Vice President Joe Biden gets schooled by AP on 500 years of audacity preceding Osama Bin Laden raid and assassination

I love it when a reporter takes the time to completely obliterate a stupid political remark:

BIDEN on the bin Laden raid: “You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan. Never knowing for certain. We never had more than a 48 percent probability that he was there.” – At a Morris Township, N.J., Democratic fundraiser Monday.

THE FACTS: Pick your audacity for the ages. A partial list of awfully bold and odds-defying plans of the last 500 years to stack beside the bin Laden raid for comparison:

-George Washington’s nighttime crossing of the Delaware in December 1776, capturing 1,000 prisoners with fewer than a dozen casualties in his own army, in a watershed for the American Revolution.

-Any number of daring feints and bloody raids of the Civil War.

-Dec. 7, 1941, the sneak assault on Pearl Harbor by more than 350 Japanese planes that killed more than 2,400 people, decimated the Pacific Fleet and drew the U.S. into war.

-June 6, 1944, D-Day, the surprise landing of 160,000 Allied troops on the massively fortified shores of Normandy, France, supported by 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft – a “nothing less than full victory” gambit that unleashed armies on a march across Europe to crush Nazi Germany. see more…

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