Friday, March 22, 2013

The "bad guys" in the Wikileaks saga

UPDATE: There's a necessary edit below, which I'll re-state in slightly different form here: [EDIT: A better google search than the one I conducted before brings these results.  The March 2006 military incident in Iraq highlighted below was investigated by the Pentagon, which in June 2006 cleared U.S. soldiers of wrongdoing.  So, um, I fucked up.  Lesson to be learned here.  I figure I'll leave this posting up for now, as an example of how fuck-ups can happen.  I mean, how plausible is it that both (a) the incident happened as Iraqi police claimed and (b) the alleged perpetrators got away with it?  More epistemic discipline is called for.  Still, the rest is at least very nearly spot-on.]

Our federal government - the same entity that granted final immunity to CIA personnel who tortured two detainees (Gul Rahman and Manadel al-Jamadi) to death, the same entity that a human rights court determined had tortured and sodomized another detainee (Khaled el-Masri), the same entity that has conducted a well-known extrajudicial assassination of at least one American citizen - has charged Pfc. Bradley Manning with, among other things, "aiding the enemy," when he released classified documents to Wikileaks.  Many people in a complacent and complicit American lamestream media have echoed the government's claims in this instance.  How much credibility does this government have, though, really?

One of the documents leaked by Wikileaks concerns this incident:

WikiLeaks: Iraqi children in U.S. raid shot in head, U.N. says

[Original photo caption] This cell phone photo was shot by a resident of Ishaqi on March 15, 2006, of bodies Iraqi police said were of children executed by U.S. troops after a night raid there. Here, the bodies of the five children are wrapped in blankets and laid in a pickup bed to be taken for burial. A State Department cable obtained by WikiLeaks quotes the U.N. investigator of extrajudicial killings as saying an autopsy showed the residents of the house had been handcuffed and shot in the head, including children under the age of 5. McClatchy obtained the photo from a resident when the incident occurred. |

(h/t: Matt Taibbi)

What has the federal government's response to inquiries about this episode been?

Silence.  [EDIT: A better google search than the one I conducted before brings these results.  This March 2006 incident was investigated by the Pentagon, which in June 2006 cleared the soldiers of wrongdoing.  So, um, I fucked up above.  Lesson to be learned here.  I figure I'll leave this posting up for now, as an example of how fuck-ups can happen.  I mean, how plausible is it that both (a) the incident happened as Iraqi police claimed and (b) the alleged perpetrators got away with it?  More epistemic discipline is called for.  And, now, how about Matt Taibbi's dropping that link the way he did? ;-) ]

Now, who is the bad guy (or guys) here again?

Who's the one (or ones) being targeted by the federal government for punishment?  Who's the one (or ones) being held to the accountability of the rule of law?

And all those lapdog media outlets accusing Bradley Manning of treason -- what have they said, if anything, about the CIA's acts of torture and sodomy (sodomy - a moral crime in itself according to many of the very same pseudo-patriots who've cheered our government on), or about the un-responded-to claims concerning execution of Iraqi children and air-raid coverup?

Jack shit, that's what.

(Apparently, since the rights of American citizens are at issue in the case of extrajudicial assassinations, these people are "concerned" all of a sudden; this one hits too close to home, apparently.)

How can these people display such righteous outrage (or, in the case of the fedgov, vindictiveness) about Bradley Manning's supposedly horrific transgressions - which are, arguably, by a sensible analysis, roughly comparable to the "transgressions" involved in the leaking of the Pentagon Papers - but remain so tight-lipped or willfully ignorant of these activities carried out by the federal government, the very sorts of activities Bradley Manning believed needed to be brought out into the open?

What kind of credibility, moral or intellectual, can these individuals claim?

Along these lines, individuals in our political discourse who are ignorant of (or choose not to mentally integrate) Glenn Greenwald's column can claim no intellectual credibility, either.  And that goes for just about all our political "leaders."  That goes for the so-called constitutional lawyer whose main prima facie credential for the presidency was that Harvard-cultivated legal expertise.

What would Thomas Jefferson think about all this?  Patriots and tyrants and all that....

P.S. Reminder: 29 days left....

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