The moral outrage evoked to provide a rational cover for the compulsion-to-intervene—“We cannot allow the use of poisonous gases on civil population!”—is a such a sham, it doesn’t even take itself seriously. As we now know, the United States more than tolerated the use of poisonous gases against the Iranian army by Saddam Hussein. During the Iraq-Iran war of 1980-1988, the United States sided with the Iraqis to quell Iranian influence in the Gulf, despite being well aware of Iraq’s liberal use of mustard and tear gas, according to declassified government reports. The United States even secretly supplied Iraq with satellite images of Iranian battlefield weaknesses to aid in the targeting of Iranian troops. Where were moral concerns then?
CIA files prove America helped Saddam as he gassed IranAugust 26, 2013
The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.
In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.
The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq’s favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration’s long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn’t disclose.
U.S. officials have long denied acquiescing to Iraqi chemical attacks, insisting that Hussein’s government never announced he was going to use the weapons. But retired Air Force Col. Rick Francona, who was a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 strikes, paints a different picture.
"The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn’t have to. We already knew," he told Foreign Policy.
According to recently declassified CIA documents and interviews with former intelligence officials like Francona, the U.S. had firm evidence of Iraqi chemical attacks beginning in 1983. At the time, Iran was publicly alleging that illegal chemical attacks were carried out on its forces, and was building a case to present to the United Nations. But it lacked the evidence implicating Iraq, much of which was contained in top secret reports and memoranda sent to the most senior intelligence officials in the U.S. government. The CIA declined to comment for this story.
In contrast to today’s wrenching debate over whether the United States should intervene to stop alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, the United States applied a cold calculus three decades ago to Hussein’s widespread use of chemical weapons against his enemies and his own people. The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted.
In the documents, the CIA said that Iran might not discover persuasive evidence of the weapons’ use — even though the agency possessed it. Also, the agency noted that the Soviet Union had previously used chemical agents in Afghanistan and suffered few repercussions.
It has been previously reported that the United States provided tactical intelligence to Iraq at the same time that officials suspected Hussein would use chemical weapons. But the CIA documents, which sat almost entirely unnoticed in a trove of declassified material at the National Archives in College Park, Md., combined with exclusive interviews with former intelligence officials, reveal new details about the depth of the United States’ knowledge of how and when Iraq employed the deadly agents. They show that senior U.S. officials were being regularly informed about the scale of the nerve gas attacks. They are tantamount to an official American admission of complicity in some of the most gruesome chemical weapons attacks ever launched.
Full article

CIA files prove America helped Saddam as he gassed Iran
August 26, 2013

The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.

In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.

The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq’s favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration’s long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn’t disclose.

U.S. officials have long denied acquiescing to Iraqi chemical attacks, insisting that Hussein’s government never announced he was going to use the weapons. But retired Air Force Col. Rick Francona, who was a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 strikes, paints a different picture.

"The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn’t have to. We already knew," he told Foreign Policy.

According to recently declassified CIA documents and interviews with former intelligence officials like Francona, the U.S. had firm evidence of Iraqi chemical attacks beginning in 1983. At the time, Iran was publicly alleging that illegal chemical attacks were carried out on its forces, and was building a case to present to the United Nations. But it lacked the evidence implicating Iraq, much of which was contained in top secret reports and memoranda sent to the most senior intelligence officials in the U.S. government. The CIA declined to comment for this story.

In contrast to today’s wrenching debate over whether the United States should intervene to stop alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, the United States applied a cold calculus three decades ago to Hussein’s widespread use of chemical weapons against his enemies and his own people. The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted.

In the documents, the CIA said that Iran might not discover persuasive evidence of the weapons’ use — even though the agency possessed it. Also, the agency noted that the Soviet Union had previously used chemical agents in Afghanistan and suffered few repercussions.

It has been previously reported that the United States provided tactical intelligence to Iraq at the same time that officials suspected Hussein would use chemical weapons. But the CIA documents, which sat almost entirely unnoticed in a trove of declassified material at the National Archives in College Park, Md., combined with exclusive interviews with former intelligence officials, reveal new details about the depth of the United States’ knowledge of how and when Iraq employed the deadly agents. They show that senior U.S. officials were being regularly informed about the scale of the nerve gas attacks. They are tantamount to an official American admission of complicity in some of the most gruesome chemical weapons attacks ever launched.

Full article

"The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.
Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.
As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.
If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”
- Statement by Pfc. B. Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Coombs also said this was Manning’s reaction after the sentence was read: “Hey, it’s OK. It’s all right. I know you did everything you could for me. Don’t cry. Be happy. It’s fine. This is just a stage in my life. I am moving forward. I will recover from this.”

"The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”

- Statement by Pfc. B. Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Coombs also said this was Manning’s reaction after the sentence was read: “Hey, it’s OK. It’s all right. I know you did everything you could for me. Don’t cry. Be happy. It’s fine. This is just a stage in my life. I am moving forward. I will recover from this.”

Top Ten ways Pfc. B. Manning changed the worldAugust 1, 2013
Pfc. B. Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that their leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what they revealed and that the revelations changed the world are undeniable.
1. Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.
2. Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

3. Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.
5. His leaks show that then Senator John Kerry pressed Israel to be open to returning the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a peace negotiation. This item suggests that Kerry might be more of an honest broker in the current negotiations than some observers give him credit for.
4. Manning revealed that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US diplomats to spy on their United Nations counterparts. The UN spy requests included cables that “demanded detailed intelligence on the UN leadership including forensic detail about their communications systems, including passwords and personal encryption keys,” foreshadowing later revelations of extensive US spying on even allies like Germany via the NSA.

6. Revealed that Afghanistan government corruption is “overwhelming”. This degree of corruption, which has shaken the whole banking system and caused US funds to be massively misused, is still a factor in our decision of whether to stay in Afghanistan in some capacity after December 2014. The US public is in a better position to judge the issue with these documents available.
7. Manning revealed the degree of authoritarianism and corruption of the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak, which was subsequently swept away.
8. Manning revealed that hard-nosed realist, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, was against striking Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities because it would only slow their program down slightly, but would inevitably cause Iranians to be angry and mobilized in the aftermath.
9. Manning revealed that the Israeli authorities had a secret plan to keep the Palestinian population of Gaza on the brink of food insecurity and poor health, in among the creepiest military operations in history: “Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”
10. Manning’s act of courage encouraged hackers to leak the emails of Bashar al-Assad and his wife, showing their jewelry buys in Europe and gilded style of life while al-Assad’s artillery was pounding Homs and other cities with no regard for the lives of noncombatants. In fact, Manning inspired numerous leakers, including some who blew the whistle on PLO corruption and willingness to give away most of Jerusalem to Israel, and, likely, Edward Snowden, who revealed to us that our government has us all under surveillance.
Source
Along with this list, I would add: 
11. Iraq War Logs, which revealed widespread prisoner abuse, torture & sexual assault against the Iraqi Security Forces. These logs also revealed Frago 242, an order implemented not to investigate these human rights abuses & torture accusations.
12. The Guantanamo Files, which revealed that the United States holds prisoners without charge or trial for years at a time. The cables also showed that most prisoners have been cleared for release under the Bush & Obama administration but are still being held in the prison.
13. Both the Iraq & Afghanistan War logs contain an official count of civilian deaths, which the US military denied having. Between 2004 and 2009, the U.S. government counted a total of 109,000 deaths in Iraq, with 66,081 classified as non-combatants.

Top Ten ways Pfc. B. Manning changed the world
August 1, 2013

Pfc. B. Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that their leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what they revealed and that the revelations changed the world are undeniable.

1. Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

2. Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

3. Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.

5. His leaks show that then Senator John Kerry pressed Israel to be open to returning the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a peace negotiation. This item suggests that Kerry might be more of an honest broker in the current negotiations than some observers give him credit for.

4. Manning revealed that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US diplomats to spy on their United Nations counterparts. The UN spy requests included cables that “demanded detailed intelligence on the UN leadership including forensic detail about their communications systems, including passwords and personal encryption keys,” foreshadowing later revelations of extensive US spying on even allies like Germany via the NSA.

6. Revealed that Afghanistan government corruption is “overwhelming”. This degree of corruption, which has shaken the whole banking system and caused US funds to be massively misused, is still a factor in our decision of whether to stay in Afghanistan in some capacity after December 2014. The US public is in a better position to judge the issue with these documents available.

7. Manning revealed the degree of authoritarianism and corruption of the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak, which was subsequently swept away.

8. Manning revealed that hard-nosed realist, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, was against striking Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities because it would only slow their program down slightly, but would inevitably cause Iranians to be angry and mobilized in the aftermath.

9. Manning revealed that the Israeli authorities had a secret plan to keep the Palestinian population of Gaza on the brink of food insecurity and poor health, in among the creepiest military operations in history: “Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”

10. Manning’s act of courage encouraged hackers to leak the emails of Bashar al-Assad and his wife, showing their jewelry buys in Europe and gilded style of life while al-Assad’s artillery was pounding Homs and other cities with no regard for the lives of noncombatants. In fact, Manning inspired numerous leakers, including some who blew the whistle on PLO corruption and willingness to give away most of Jerusalem to Israel, and, likely, Edward Snowden, who revealed to us that our government has us all under surveillance.

Source

Along with this list, I would add: 

11. Iraq War Logs, which revealed widespread prisoner abuse, torture & sexual assault against the Iraqi Security Forces. These logs also revealed Frago 242, an order implemented not to investigate these human rights abuses & torture accusations.

12. The Guantanamo Files, which revealed that the United States holds prisoners without charge or trial for years at a time. The cables also showed that most prisoners have been cleared for release under the Bush & Obama administration but are still being held in the prison.

13. Both the Iraq & Afghanistan War logs contain an official count of civilian deaths, which the US military denied having. Between 2004 and 2009, the U.S. government counted a total of 109,000 deaths in Iraq, with 66,081 classified as non-combatants.

Day One of Manning trial focuses on intent of WikiLeaks sourceJune 3, 2013
The military trial of admitted WikiLeaks source Pfc. B. Manning began Monday morning in Fort Meade, Maryland, more than three years after they were arrested in Iraq.
Manning, a 25-year-old soldier who reached the rank of private first class in the United States Army, has been in pretrial custody since May 2010. Manning could spend the rest of their life in prison if a military judge convicts them at the end of the trial for providing support to al-Qaeda.
In a small courtroom outside of Baltimore early Monday, Army prosecutors painted a picture of Pfc. Manning that portrayed them as a traitor who released files to WikiLeaks with intent to cause harm to the US. Manning’s defense counsel David Coombs insisted otherwise, however, and rejected the government’s argument that the soldier made contact with the anti-secrecy website in order to bring harm to the country they had taken an oath to protect.
Manning previously pleaded guilty to a number of lesser charges lobbed by the US government, but their counsel’s biggest challenge will occur during the court-martial, when they are faced with defending the private against counts of aiding the enemy and espionage.
Day one of the court-martial got underway around 10 a.m. Monday with Army prosecutors presenting a slideshow that paved the way for how they intend to prove that Pfc. Manning went to WikiLeaks will ill intentions. By presenting an outline of the evidence they plan to present as the trial continues trough the summer, prosecutors said they will show that Manning knowingly aided the enemy.
“This is not a case about an accidental spill of classified information” or “a case about a few documents left in a barracks,” prosecutors said.
“This, your honor, this is a case about a soldier who systemically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases, and literally dumped that information onto the Internet in the hands of the enemy,” putting the lives of their fellow soldiers at risk.
“This is a case about what happens when arrogance meets access to sensitive information.”
Prosecutors also argued that Manning conspired with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, citing chat logs alleged to have occurred between the two in which Manning discussed classified intelligence that was publically requested and discussed by the WikiLeaks Twitter feed.
“We would like a list of as many .mil email addresses as possible. Please contact editor@wikileaks.org,” one tweet read in part. Manning is accused of supplying WikiLeaks with a list containing the personal information of 74,000 troops shortly thereafter, and the Army may be able to prove that the soldier took a cue from Assange, likely setting the stage for an eventual case against Assange that could finally pressure his extradition to the US.
But earlier this year, Manning testified during pretrial hearings that they were never sure who they communicated with during the few chats with a WikiLeaks staffer the government alleges to be Assange. Manning admitted to sending hundreds of thousands of files to WikiLeaks during a February 2013 statement, and on Monday their attorney said they had a very good reason for that.
Speaking of one file Manning admitted to leaking — a video of a US Apache chopper opening fire and killing civilians (Collateral Murder)  — Coombs said Manning sent it to WikiLeaks in hopes of bringing change to a war in Iraq being fought in a way very much unlike it was being reported.
“When he decided to release this information, he believed that this information showed how we value human life,” Coombs said. “He was troubled. And he believed that the American public saw it they too would be troubled. And maybe things would be changed,” he said.
Manning also has been attributed with leaking an entire trove of sensitive files to the website, including State Department diplomatic cables, Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment files and other materials. Before he concluded his brief opening statement, Coombs offered insight as to why his client did as charged.
“He released these documents because he was hoping to make the world a better place,” Coombs said.“He was 22 years old. He was young. He was a little naïve in thinking the information he selected could actually make a difference, but it was good intentions.”
“He had absolutely no actual knowledge that the enemy would get access to it,” Coombs said.
The prosecution called a handful of witnesses on Monday, including the Army officials who began the investigation into Pfc. Manning in May 2010 and their roommate in Iraq. The trial will enter day two on Tuesday and is expected to run through the summer. 
(Pronouns changed, except in quotes)
Source

Day One of Manning trial focuses on intent of WikiLeaks source
June 3, 2013

The military trial of admitted WikiLeaks source Pfc. B. Manning began Monday morning in Fort Meade, Maryland, more than three years after they were arrested in Iraq.

Manning, a 25-year-old soldier who reached the rank of private first class in the United States Army, has been in pretrial custody since May 2010. Manning could spend the rest of their life in prison if a military judge convicts them at the end of the trial for providing support to al-Qaeda.

In a small courtroom outside of Baltimore early Monday, Army prosecutors painted a picture of Pfc. Manning that portrayed them as a traitor who released files to WikiLeaks with intent to cause harm to the US. Manning’s defense counsel David Coombs insisted otherwise, however, and rejected the government’s argument that the soldier made contact with the anti-secrecy website in order to bring harm to the country they had taken an oath to protect.

Manning previously pleaded guilty to a number of lesser charges lobbed by the US government, but their counsel’s biggest challenge will occur during the court-martial, when they are faced with defending the private against counts of aiding the enemy and espionage.

Day one of the court-martial got underway around 10 a.m. Monday with Army prosecutors presenting a slideshow that paved the way for how they intend to prove that Pfc. Manning went to WikiLeaks will ill intentions. By presenting an outline of the evidence they plan to present as the trial continues trough the summer, prosecutors said they will show that Manning knowingly aided the enemy.

“This is not a case about an accidental spill of classified information” or “a case about a few documents left in a barracks,” prosecutors said.

“This, your honor, this is a case about a soldier who systemically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases, and literally dumped that information onto the Internet in the hands of the enemy,” putting the lives of their fellow soldiers at risk.

“This is a case about what happens when arrogance meets access to sensitive information.”

Prosecutors also argued that Manning conspired with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, citing chat logs alleged to have occurred between the two in which Manning discussed classified intelligence that was publically requested and discussed by the WikiLeaks Twitter feed.

“We would like a list of as many .mil email addresses as possible. Please contact editor@wikileaks.org,” one tweet read in part. Manning is accused of supplying WikiLeaks with a list containing the personal information of 74,000 troops shortly thereafter, and the Army may be able to prove that the soldier took a cue from Assange, likely setting the stage for an eventual case against Assange that could finally pressure his extradition to the US.

But earlier this year, Manning testified during pretrial hearings that they were never sure who they communicated with during the few chats with a WikiLeaks staffer the government alleges to be Assange. Manning admitted to sending hundreds of thousands of files to WikiLeaks during a February 2013 statement, and on Monday their attorney said they had a very good reason for that.

Speaking of one file Manning admitted to leaking — a video of a US Apache chopper opening fire and killing civilians (Collateral Murder) — Coombs said Manning sent it to WikiLeaks in hopes of bringing change to a war in Iraq being fought in a way very much unlike it was being reported.

“When he decided to release this information, he believed that this information showed how we value human life,” Coombs said. “He was troubled. And he believed that the American public saw it they too would be troubled. And maybe things would be changed,” he said.

Manning also has been attributed with leaking an entire trove of sensitive files to the website, including State Department diplomatic cables, Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment files and other materials. Before he concluded his brief opening statement, Coombs offered insight as to why his client did as charged.

“He released these documents because he was hoping to make the world a better place,” Coombs said.“He was 22 years old. He was young. He was a little naïve in thinking the information he selected could actually make a difference, but it was good intentions.”

“He had absolutely no actual knowledge that the enemy would get access to it,” Coombs said.

The prosecution called a handful of witnesses on Monday, including the Army officials who began the investigation into Pfc. Manning in May 2010 and their roommate in Iraq. The trial will enter day two on Tuesday and is expected to run through the summer. 

(Pronouns changed, except in quotes)

Source

So, when you thank me for my service, it disturbs me … a lot. First off, it brings to mind my wasted youth and lost innocence, and the horrible and unnecessary deaths of good friends and comrades.

Second, it reminds me of my responsibility and culpability for the pain and suffering I caused innocent people, again something I would rather forget, but cannot.

Third, it reinforces my belief that you have absolutely no idea about the nature and reality of the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, because if you did, you would understand that thanks are inappropriate.

Fourth, it reminds me that many of those who feel the need to offer thanks were apathetic about - or even supportive of - the war, while they refuse to participate themselves or did little or nothing to end it.

And lastly, I have to admit that I doubt the sincerity of these expressions of supposed gratitude, as “Thank you for your service” is just something to say not because you care about what I did or sacrificed, but only to demonstrate your supposed good character, or patriotism and/or “support” for members of the military and veterans.

Camillo Mac Bica, PhD, "Don’t thank me for my service"

Camillo is a professor of philosophy at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He is a former Marine Corps officer, Vietnam veteran, longtime activist for peace and social justice, and the coordinator of the Long Island Chapter of Veterans for Peace.

Feature: Our veterans – the elephant in the room?
May 7, 2013

Apart from when the occasional veteran makes the headlines and is arrested (perhaps for carrying out a training run fully kitted up and armed; or by posting borderline material on facebook and being detained and sectioned under Section 922(g)(4) of the US Code) once our marines have stepped down from active duty, very little is heard of them and that seems to be the way the government likes it.

They must be feeling uneasy to say the least at the growing movement of veterans who are standing up and voicing their concerns about the way in which our country is governed and the Constitution being undermined by successive rafts of legislation, some of which is pushed through without adequate consultation or proper procedure. The government would have us believe that these few “voices in the wilderness” belong to misfits, miscreants and malcontents – that most veterans are happily adjusted to everyday society and living out their lives in the bosom of their family as productive citizens.

Myth versus reality

Truth is there is a huge gulf between the myth foisted upon us by the government and the reality. Many of these veterans start out their career in the US forces with high ideals and a vision of serving their country and protecting their family and others like it; young men and women with a clear conscience, a deep sense of moral duty and strong loyalty to their government. By the time they have done a tour or three they come back as different people with a totally changed perspective. We are fed images and news reports by the media of spouses and little children welcoming back the homecoming heroes and heroines, smiling faces, happy tears and a good helping of the American dream, complete with cream and sugar. We aren’t shown the rows of flag draped coffins; we aren’t told about the conditioning imposed on these service men and women to psychologically prepare them for the battlefront or about the drugs which are forced on them to make sure they remain emotionally stable during their tour of duty. In 2012 more active-duty soldiers killed themselves than died in the war zone. In fact, 6,500 veterans killed themselves that year alone – that equates to 1 every hour and 20 minutes.

The harsh reality is that these men and women come home, having seen things they won’t talk of to anyone other than another veteran, tired, disillusioned, often traumatized and diagnosed with PTSD, unable to easily step back into their old lives. It is no wonder that so many isolate themselves from others in the community, very often becoming reliant on alcohol or drugs (prescription or illegal) to make it through each day. It is telling that the US government has stepped up their Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program, providing support for former service members at an ever growing number of drug and alcohol detox centers across the States. For drug and alcohol detox in Massachusetts, as an example, there are centers in almost every town and city across the state – something like 64 all in all. Those that make it through the transition back into civilian life and survive or avoid addiction have gone on to become some of the harshest critics of our government.

People like Adam Khokesh, who served in the US Marine Corps Reserves in Iraq, have become vocal opponents of the very government they swore to obey when they joined the forces. They have seen through the illusion that government and media have fed to communities everywhere and are joining together to voice their opposition to today’s politics specifically and to war across the board. These highly trained personnel of yesterday have become today’s conscience of the nation, highlighting injustice, false flag events and illegal or immoral activities, including wars against other sovereign states. Groups like Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans against the War now actively oppose government and governmental policy, standing against the very things they previously stood for before the veil was torn from their eyes. The treatment many of them receive only serves to underline the government’s self interest and it is telling that the government considers veterans to be a danger, with Homeland Security classifying returning US veterans as a potential terrorist threat.

With something like 20 states wanting to secede from the United States, it may be that those same veterans who no longer support the corrupt political structure will be the vanguard of our changing world. When a country as large as the United States, with the influences it has across the globe, undergoes radical change it will surely impact us all.

-Written & submitted for The People’s Record by Evelyn Roberts

Lovely submission from Evelyn Roberts. Thank you so much. Veterans are part of the story, and they are, complicated victims of the system in their own way. Of course, the communities they are trained & instructed to destroy are also a big part of the conversation – they are victims of the system and are subjected to a whole different kind of horror because it. We would be remiss to not feature stories about both.

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Protest clashes & random attacks leave 111 killed, 233 wounded across IraqApril 24, 2013
Security personnel fought demonstrators at sit-in camps in at least two predominantly Sunni cities. The highest number of casualties occurred in Hawija. The clashes led to several curfews and road closures across the country. They also encouraged two ministers to quit their posts. Overall, at least 111 people were killed and 233 more were wounded in those clashes and other violence.
Security forces triggered a deadly riot in Hawija, when they tried to arrest suspects allegedly taking refuge at a protest camp. At least 39 civilians were killed in the initial clash. They were possibly unarmed. Three soldiers were killed as well. About 153 people were wounded, both soldiers and demonstrators. Security forces claimed to have liberated 18 children who were being used as shields.
Nine policemen were killed and five more were wounded when gunmen attacked three checkpoints on highways leading to Tikrit.
In Baghdad, seven people were killed and at least 17 more were wounded in a pair of blasts near a Doura mosque.
Gunmen stormed a police base in Suleiman Pak when they killed six security personnel and wounded 11 others. At least one gunman was killed and six more were wounded.
Four dumped bodies were found in Falluja.
In Baaj, a roadside bomb killed a soldier and wounded two more.
A body was found in Iskandariya.
Gunmen wounded four soldiers in Garma, then set fire to two vehicles.
Gunmen reportedly took over checkpoints in Riyadh and brought down a helicopter. The government denied the downing, but 13 militants were killed when security forces were called out.
Armed clashes also took place at a sit-in in Ramadi, where six soldiers were killed. One soldier was kidnapped. The provincial council demanded the removal of military forces from protest camps.
In Mosul, a bomb killed a policeman and wounded two more.
Mortars in Muqdadiya killed nine and wounded 25 more.
Six were killed and eight more were wounded in a blast in eastern Iraq.
In Haswa, bombs targeting a Sahwa member’s family killed five of them including children.
Source

Protest clashes & random attacks leave 111 killed, 233 wounded across Iraq
April 24, 2013

Security personnel fought demonstrators at sit-in camps in at least two predominantly Sunni cities. The highest number of casualties occurred in Hawija. The clashes led to several curfews and road closures across the country. They also encouraged two ministers to quit their posts. Overall, at least 111 people were killed and 233 more were wounded in those clashes and other violence.

Security forces triggered a deadly riot in Hawija, when they tried to arrest suspects allegedly taking refuge at a protest camp. At least 39 civilians were killed in the initial clash. They were possibly unarmedThree soldiers were killed as well. About 153 people were wounded, both soldiers and demonstrators. Security forces claimed to have liberated 18 children who were being used as shields.

Nine policemen were killed and five more were wounded when gunmen attacked three checkpoints on highways leading to Tikrit.

In Baghdadseven people were killed and at least 17 more were wounded in a pair of blasts near a Doura mosque.

Gunmen stormed a police base in Suleiman Pak when they killed six security personnel and wounded 11 others. At least one gunman was killed and six more were wounded.

Four dumped bodies were found in Falluja.

In Baaj, a roadside bomb killed a soldier and wounded two more.

body was found in Iskandariya.

Gunmen wounded four soldiers in Garma, then set fire to two vehicles.

Gunmen reportedly took over checkpoints in Riyadh and brought down a helicopter. The government denied the downing, but 13 militants were killed when security forces were called out.

Armed clashes also took place at a sit-in in Ramadi, where six soldiers were killed. One soldier was kidnapped. The provincial council demanded the removal of military forces from protest camps.

In Mosul, a bomb killed a policeman and wounded two more.

Mortars in Muqdadiya killed nine and wounded 25 more.

Six were killed and eight more were wounded in a blast in eastern Iraq.

In Haswa, bombs targeting a Sahwa member’s family killed five of them including children.

Source

This is what Obama’s Drone War looks like.
The CIA uses tactics considered to be war crimes under international law, such as the double-tap method that targets rescuers & family members, even those attending funerals, with a second strike in the same area. A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims.
There have been between 282 and 535 civilians who have been credibly reported as killed, including more than 60 children. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. 
Samiullah Khan, a Waziristan-based journalist, eyewitness & field researcher in drone casualties on his experience: "There was of course a drone up in the air – in that area they seem to be up 24 hours a day. About five minutes into the interview I heard a massive noise from an attack and all the glass in the house broke. I ran out, though the Taliban were urging me not to approach the site. I saw people crying ‘Help us, help us’, there was a huge fire. Since everyone in the [damaged] house was dead or injured, the only people who could help were other villagers or the Taliban I’d been interviewing.
Many people were badly burned. We put three in my pick-up truck and took them to Miranshah town – doctors there told us they were unlikely to live, each having 90 per cent burns to his body. Back in Danda Darpakhel more people had come to the attack site to help with the rescue, thinking that the danger had now passed after 30 minutes. But the drones returned and fired again. If I had been there I would have been caught in that explosion. People there were killed, including two of my friends. They were good people. One was a student; the other ran a stall at the local bazaar. Neither was involved with the Taliban.” 
The latest drone strike killed one to three people in Pakistan on March 10. Several others were injured. The victims’ identities are still unknown.

This is what Obama’s Drone War looks like.

The CIA uses tactics considered to be war crimes under international law, such as the double-tap method that targets rescuers & family members, even those attending funerals, with a second strike in the same area. A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims.

There have been between 282 and 535 civilians who have been credibly reported as killed, including more than 60 children. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. 

Samiullah Khan, a Waziristan-based journalist, eyewitness & field researcher in drone casualties on his experience: "There was of course a drone up in the air – in that area they seem to be up 24 hours a day. About five minutes into the interview I heard a massive noise from an attack and all the glass in the house broke. I ran out, though the Taliban were urging me not to approach the site. I saw people crying ‘Help us, help us’, there was a huge fire. Since everyone in the [damaged] house was dead or injured, the only people who could help were other villagers or the Taliban I’d been interviewing.

Many people were badly burned. We put three in my pick-up truck and took them to Miranshah town – doctors there told us they were unlikely to live, each having 90 per cent burns to his body. Back in Danda Darpakhel more people had come to the attack site to help with the rescue, thinking that the danger had now passed after 30 minutes. But the drones returned and fired again. If I had been there I would have been caught in that explosion. People there were killed, including two of my friends. They were good people. One was a student; the other ran a stall at the local bazaar. Neither was involved with the Taliban.” 

The latest drone strike killed one to three people in Pakistan on March 10. Several others were injured. The victims’ identities are still unknown.

"The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemingly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have.” - Pfc. B. Manning on the Collateral Murder video, which shows a US Apache helicopter indiscriminately firing on more than a dozen people, including a journalist & rescuers, in Iraq in 2010. Two children were also seriously injured in the attack.
Listen to Manning in their owns words in the leaked audio from the court martial proceeding despite a court ban on recordings. You can also download it here.

"The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemingly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have.” - Pfc. B. Manning on the Collateral Murder video, which shows a US Apache helicopter indiscriminately firing on more than a dozen people, including a journalist & rescuers, in Iraq in 2010. Two children were also seriously injured in the attack.

Listen to Manning in their owns words in the leaked audio from the court martial proceeding despite a court ban on recordings. You can also download it here.

Revealed by Pfc. B. Manning & WikiLeaks: The Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centersMarch 7, 2013
The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the “dirty wars” in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war.
Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows.
After the Pentagon lifted a ban on Shia militias joining the security forces, the special police commando (SPC) membership was increasingly drawn from violent Shia groups such as the Badr brigades.
A second special adviser, retired Colonel James H Coffman, worked alongside Steele in detention centres that were set up with millions of dollars of US funding.
Coffman reported directly to General David Petraeus, sent to Iraq in June 2004 to organise and train the new Iraqi security forces. Steele, who was in Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and returned to the country in 2006, reported directly to Rumsfeld.
The allegations, made by US and Iraqi witnesses in the Guardian/BBC documentary, implicate US advisers for the first time in the human rights abuses committed by the commandos. It is also the first time that Petraeus – who last November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal – has been linked through an adviser to this abuse.
Coffman reported to Petraeus and described himself in an interview with the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes as Petraeus’s “eyes and ears out on the ground” in Iraq.
"They worked hand in hand," said General Muntadher al-Samari, who worked with Steele and Coffman for a year while the commandos were being set up. "I never saw them apart in the 40 or 50 times I saw them inside the detention centres. They knew everything that was going on there … the torture, the most horrible kinds of torture.”
Additional Guardian reporting has confirmed more details of how the interrogation system worked. “Every single detention centre would have its own interrogation committee,” claimed Samari, talking for the first time in detail about the US role in the interrogation units.
"Each one was made up of an intelligence officer and eight interrogators. This committee will use all means of torture to make the detainee confess like using electricity or hanging him upside down, pulling out their nails, and beating them on sensitive parts."
There is no evidence that Steele or Coffman tortured prisoners themselves, only that they were sometimes present in the detention centres where torture took place and were involved in the processing of thousands of detainees.
The Guardian/BBC Arabic investigation was sparked by the release of classified US military logs on WikiLeaks that detailed hundreds of incidents where US soldiers came across tortured detainees in a network of detention centres run by the police commandos across Iraq. Private B. Manning, 25, is facing a prison sentence of up to 20 years after they pleaded guilty to leaking the documents.
Samari claimed that torture was routine in the SPC-controlled detention centres. "I remember a 14-year-old who was tied to one of the library’s columns. And he was tied up, with his legs above his head. Tied up. His whole body was blue because of the impact of the cables with which he had been beaten."
Gilles Peress, a photographer, came across Steele when he was on assignment for the New York Times, visiting one of the commando centres in the same library, in Samarra. "We were in a room in the library interviewing Steele and I’m looking around I see blood everywhere."
The reporter Peter Maass was also there, working on the story with Peress. "And while this interview was going on with a Saudi jihadi with Jim Steele also in the room, there were these terrible screams, somebody shouting: ‘Allah, Allah, Allah!’ But it wasn’t kind of religious ecstasy or something like that, these were screams of pain and terror."
The pattern in Iraq provides an eerie parallel to the well-documented human rights abuses committed by US-advised and funded paramilitary squads in Central America in the 1980s. Steele was head of a US team of special military advisers that trained units of El Salvador’s security forces in counterinsurgency. Petraeus visited El Salvador in 1986 while Steele was there and became a major advocate of counterinsurgency methods.
Steele has not responded to any questions from the Guardian and BBC Arabic about his role in El Salvador or Iraq. He has in the past denied any involvement in torture and said publicly he is “opposed to human rights abuses.” Coffman declined to comment.
An official speaking for Petraeus said: “During the course of his years in Iraq, General Petraeus did learn of allegations of Iraqi forces torturing detainees. In each incident, he shared information immediately with the US military chain of command, the US ambassador in Baghdad … and the relevant Iraqi leaders.”
The Guardian has learned that the SPC units’ involvement with torture entered the popular consciousness in Iraq when some of their victims were paraded in front of a TV audience on a programme called “Terrorism In The Hands of Justice.”
SPC detention centres bought video cameras, funded by the US military, which they used to film detainees for the show. When the show began to outrage the Iraqi public, Samari remembers being in the home of General Adnan Thabit – head of the special commandos – when a call came from Petraeus’s office demanding that they stop showing tortured men on TV.
"General Petraeus’s special translator, Sadi Othman, rang up to pass on a message from General Petraeus telling us not to show the prisoners on TV after they had been tortured," said Samari. "Then 20 minutes later we got a call from the Iraqi ministry of interior telling us the same thing, that General Petraeus didn’t want the torture victims shown on TV."
Othman, who now lives in New York, confirmed that he made the phone call on behalf of Petraeus to the head of the SPC to ask him to stop showing the tortured prisoners. “But General Petraeus does not agree with torture,” he added. “To suggest he does support torture is horseshit.”
Thabit is dismissive of the idea that the Americans he dealt with were unaware of what the commandos were doing. “Until I left, the Americans knew about everything I did; they knew what was going on in the interrogations and they knew the detainees. Even some of the intelligence about the detainees came to us from them – they are lying.”
Just before Petraeus and Steele left Iraq in September 2005, Jabr al-Solagh was appointed as the new minister of the interior. Under Solagh, who was closely associated with the violent Badr Brigades militia, allegations of torture and brutality by the commandos soared. It was also widely believed that the units had evolved into death squads.
The Guardian has learned that high-ranking Iraqis who worked with the US after the invasion warned Petraeus of the consequences of appointing Solagh but their pleas were ignored.
The long-term impact of funding and arming this paramilitary force was to unleash a deadly sectarian militia that terrorised the Sunni community and helped germinate a civil war that claimed tens of thousands of lives. At the height of that sectarian conflict, 3,000 bodies a month were strewn on the streets of Iraq.
Source
After their arrest, Manning was then tortured in a military prison for revealing information about torture. The torturers themselves have walked away scot-free & unharmed even to this day.
The stories about human rights violations at the hands of the US are virtually endless. The people of the US government are the terrorists. 

Revealed by Pfc. B. Manning & WikiLeaks: The Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centers
March 7, 2013

The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the “dirty wars” in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war.

Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows.

After the Pentagon lifted a ban on Shia militias joining the security forces, the special police commando (SPC) membership was increasingly drawn from violent Shia groups such as the Badr brigades.

A second special adviser, retired Colonel James H Coffman, worked alongside Steele in detention centres that were set up with millions of dollars of US funding.

Coffman reported directly to General David Petraeus, sent to Iraq in June 2004 to organise and train the new Iraqi security forces. Steele, who was in Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and returned to the country in 2006, reported directly to Rumsfeld.

The allegations, made by US and Iraqi witnesses in the Guardian/BBC documentary, implicate US advisers for the first time in the human rights abuses committed by the commandos. It is also the first time that Petraeus – who last November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal – has been linked through an adviser to this abuse.

Coffman reported to Petraeus and described himself in an interview with the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes as Petraeus’s “eyes and ears out on the ground” in Iraq.

"They worked hand in hand," said General Muntadher al-Samari, who worked with Steele and Coffman for a year while the commandos were being set up. "I never saw them apart in the 40 or 50 times I saw them inside the detention centres. They knew everything that was going on there … the torture, the most horrible kinds of torture.”

Additional Guardian reporting has confirmed more details of how the interrogation system worked. “Every single detention centre would have its own interrogation committee,” claimed Samari, talking for the first time in detail about the US role in the interrogation units.

"Each one was made up of an intelligence officer and eight interrogators. This committee will use all means of torture to make the detainee confess like using electricity or hanging him upside down, pulling out their nails, and beating them on sensitive parts."

There is no evidence that Steele or Coffman tortured prisoners themselves, only that they were sometimes present in the detention centres where torture took place and were involved in the processing of thousands of detainees.

The Guardian/BBC Arabic investigation was sparked by the release of classified US military logs on WikiLeaks that detailed hundreds of incidents where US soldiers came across tortured detainees in a network of detention centres run by the police commandos across Iraq. Private B. Manning, 25, is facing a prison sentence of up to 20 years after they pleaded guilty to leaking the documents.

Samari claimed that torture was routine in the SPC-controlled detention centres. "I remember a 14-year-old who was tied to one of the library’s columns. And he was tied up, with his legs above his head. Tied up. His whole body was blue because of the impact of the cables with which he had been beaten."

Gilles Peress, a photographer, came across Steele when he was on assignment for the New York Times, visiting one of the commando centres in the same library, in Samarra. "We were in a room in the library interviewing Steele and I’m looking around I see blood everywhere."

The reporter Peter Maass was also there, working on the story with Peress. "And while this interview was going on with a Saudi jihadi with Jim Steele also in the room, there were these terrible screams, somebody shouting: ‘Allah, Allah, Allah!’ But it wasn’t kind of religious ecstasy or something like that, these were screams of pain and terror."

The pattern in Iraq provides an eerie parallel to the well-documented human rights abuses committed by US-advised and funded paramilitary squads in Central America in the 1980s. Steele was head of a US team of special military advisers that trained units of El Salvador’s security forces in counterinsurgency. Petraeus visited El Salvador in 1986 while Steele was there and became a major advocate of counterinsurgency methods.

Steele has not responded to any questions from the Guardian and BBC Arabic about his role in El Salvador or Iraq. He has in the past denied any involvement in torture and said publicly he is “opposed to human rights abuses.” Coffman declined to comment.

An official speaking for Petraeus said: “During the course of his years in Iraq, General Petraeus did learn of allegations of Iraqi forces torturing detainees. In each incident, he shared information immediately with the US military chain of command, the US ambassador in Baghdad … and the relevant Iraqi leaders.”

The Guardian has learned that the SPC units’ involvement with torture entered the popular consciousness in Iraq when some of their victims were paraded in front of a TV audience on a programme called “Terrorism In The Hands of Justice.”

SPC detention centres bought video cameras, funded by the US military, which they used to film detainees for the show. When the show began to outrage the Iraqi public, Samari remembers being in the home of General Adnan Thabit – head of the special commandos – when a call came from Petraeus’s office demanding that they stop showing tortured men on TV.

"General Petraeus’s special translator, Sadi Othman, rang up to pass on a message from General Petraeus telling us not to show the prisoners on TV after they had been tortured," said Samari. "Then 20 minutes later we got a call from the Iraqi ministry of interior telling us the same thing, that General Petraeus didn’t want the torture victims shown on TV."

Othman, who now lives in New York, confirmed that he made the phone call on behalf of Petraeus to the head of the SPC to ask him to stop showing the tortured prisoners. “But General Petraeus does not agree with torture,” he added. “To suggest he does support torture is horseshit.”

Thabit is dismissive of the idea that the Americans he dealt with were unaware of what the commandos were doing. “Until I left, the Americans knew about everything I did; they knew what was going on in the interrogations and they knew the detainees. Even some of the intelligence about the detainees came to us from them – they are lying.”

Just before Petraeus and Steele left Iraq in September 2005, Jabr al-Solagh was appointed as the new minister of the interior. Under Solagh, who was closely associated with the violent Badr Brigades militia, allegations of torture and brutality by the commandos soared. It was also widely believed that the units had evolved into death squads.

The Guardian has learned that high-ranking Iraqis who worked with the US after the invasion warned Petraeus of the consequences of appointing Solagh but their pleas were ignored.

The long-term impact of funding and arming this paramilitary force was to unleash a deadly sectarian militia that terrorised the Sunni community and helped germinate a civil war that claimed tens of thousands of lives. At the height of that sectarian conflict, 3,000 bodies a month were strewn on the streets of Iraq.

Source

After their arrest, Manning was then tortured in a military prison for revealing information about torture. The torturers themselves have walked away scot-free & unharmed even to this day.

The stories about human rights violations at the hands of the US are virtually endless. The people of the US government are the terrorists. 

In spending $60 billion to rebuild Iraq, the US has wasted more than $9 billion in taxpayer funds. March 7, 2013
One decade after the US invaded Iraq, the reconstruction effort has been largely deemed a failure. In his final report to Congress, a 171-page assessment titled “Learning from Iraq”, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen concluded that the costs of the war far surpassed the results.
“You think if you throw money at a problem, you can fix it. It was just not strategic thinking,” Kurdish government official Qubad Talabani, son of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, told auditors of the report.
“You can fly in a helicopter around Baghdad or other cities, but you cannot point a finger at a single project that was built and completed by the United States,” Iraq’s acting interior minister told Bowen, who said that dumping so much money into a warzone simply created a “triangle of political patronage” that instigated further corruption.
Bowen interviewed numerous American and Iraqi officials, many of whom criticized the US for taking on too many large projects without consulting Iraqis. When American troops withdrew, many of these projects were largely abandoned and Iraq continues to look as broken as before.
Additionally, Americans “wore out [their] welcome” by planning to “do it all and do it our way” – all while wasting taxpayer dollars, Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns told the inspector general.
The US has spent more than $60 billion in reconstruction grants, which comes out to about $15 million for each day of the conflict. A $2.4 billion fund set up by Congress to rebuild Iraq’s water and electricity systems and to provide food, healthcare and governance was largely wasted. President George W. Bush asked for $20 billion more just a few months after the March 2003 invasion to accomplish these goals.
Abandoned projects include a 3,6000-bed prison that cost $40 million but was never finished or used and a $108 million wastewater treatment center that still remains unfinished. The US also spent millions repairing infrastructure they blew up, including a $75 million pipeline and a $29 million bridge in north-central Iraq. Contractors were also found to have overcharged the US government for supplies, with one contractor charging the Pentagon $900 for a $7 control switch.
“Waste and fraud at the levels we saw are a symptom of a failure to have a structure in place to effectively plan for stabilization and reconstruction operations, execute such operations and be held accountable for them,” Bowen said in an interview with Business Week.
The failures in Iraq have raised concern over the future of Afghanistan after the 2014 withdrawal of US troops. The US government has spent $90 billion on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan over the course of 12 years, which US officials are afraid could go to waste if oversight isn’t coordinated better.
Ten years after the American invasion of Iraq, the country remains impoverished and plagued by near-daily deadly bombings. Few people have access to electricity and clean water, and some projects that the US spent millions on have been reduced to nothing but rubble.
“If we had better controls and better planning, better oversight, better quality assurance, better quality control all in place, we would have wasted less – for sure. There is no doubt about that,” Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told Bowen.
Source
The point of the construction contracts was never to build anything; the objective was to funnel expensive contracts into the pockets of friends & families & owners of the political entities that awarded the contracts. Mission accomplished.

In spending $60 billion to rebuild Iraq, the US has wasted more than $9 billion in taxpayer funds. 
March 7, 2013

One decade after the US invaded Iraq, the reconstruction effort has been largely deemed a failure. In his final report to Congress, a 171-page assessment titled “Learning from Iraq”, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen concluded that the costs of the war far surpassed the results.

“You think if you throw money at a problem, you can fix it. It was just not strategic thinking,” Kurdish government official Qubad Talabani, son of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, told auditors of the report.

“You can fly in a helicopter around Baghdad or other cities, but you cannot point a finger at a single project that was built and completed by the United States,” Iraq’s acting interior minister told Bowen, who said that dumping so much money into a warzone simply created a “triangle of political patronage” that instigated further corruption.

Bowen interviewed numerous American and Iraqi officials, many of whom criticized the US for taking on too many large projects without consulting Iraqis. When American troops withdrew, many of these projects were largely abandoned and Iraq continues to look as broken as before.

Additionally, Americans “wore out [their] welcome” by planning to “do it all and do it our way” – all while wasting taxpayer dollars, Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns told the inspector general.

The US has spent more than $60 billion in reconstruction grants, which comes out to about $15 million for each day of the conflict. A $2.4 billion fund set up by Congress to rebuild Iraq’s water and electricity systems and to provide food, healthcare and governance was largely wasted. President George W. Bush asked for $20 billion more just a few months after the March 2003 invasion to accomplish these goals.

Abandoned projects include a 3,6000-bed prison that cost $40 million but was never finished or used and a $108 million wastewater treatment center that still remains unfinished. The US also spent millions repairing infrastructure they blew up, including a $75 million pipeline and a $29 million bridge in north-central Iraq. Contractors were also found to have overcharged the US government for supplies, with one contractor charging the Pentagon $900 for a $7 control switch.

“Waste and fraud at the levels we saw are a symptom of a failure to have a structure in place to effectively plan for stabilization and reconstruction operations, execute such operations and be held accountable for them,” Bowen said in an interview with Business Week.

The failures in Iraq have raised concern over the future of Afghanistan after the 2014 withdrawal of US troops. The US government has spent $90 billion on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan over the course of 12 years, which US officials are afraid could go to waste if oversight isn’t coordinated better.

Ten years after the American invasion of Iraq, the country remains impoverished and plagued by near-daily deadly bombings. Few people have access to electricity and clean water, and some projects that the US spent millions on have been reduced to nothing but rubble.

“If we had better controls and better planning, better oversight, better quality assurance, better quality control all in place, we would have wasted less – for sure. There is no doubt about that,” Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told Bowen.

Source

The point of the construction contracts was never to build anything; the objective was to funnel expensive contracts into the pockets of friends & families & owners of the political entities that awarded the contracts. Mission accomplished.

Pfc. B. Manning pleads guilty to misusing classified data; pleads not guilty to aiding the enemy under the Espionage ActFebruary 28, 2013
The U.S. Army private accused of providing diplomatic cables and other secret documents to the WikiLeaks website pleaded guilty on Thursday to misusing classified material, but denied the most serious charge in the case, aiding the enemy.
Private First Class B. Manning, 25, entered the pleas prior to the court martial, which is set to begin on June 3, in a case that centers on the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history.
"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," Manning, dressed in full military uniform, testified calmly.
Reading from a 35-page statement as they remained seated next to their lawyers, the short, slight private described their feelings after they submitted the secret information to WikiLeaks.
"I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience," said Manning, who spoke under oath for more than an hour.
At the hearing, Manning pleaded not guilty to the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, through their attorney. Manning, who has been jailed at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia for more than 1,000 days (Note: the legal limit is 120 days), could face life imprisonment if convicted of that charge.
Manning pleaded guilty to a series of 10 lesser charges that they misused classified information at the hearing before military judge Colonel Denise Lind. They face a maximum of 20 years in prison for those charges. 
Under a ruling last month by Lind, Manning would have any sentence reduced by 112 days to compensate for the markedly harsh treatment they received during their confinement. While at Quantico, Manning was placed in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day with guards checking on them every few minutes. (Plus psychologically tortured, which is rarely mentioned)
Manning admitted to unauthorized possession and willful communication of information from military databases, including the Combined Information Data Network Exchange Iraq and Combined Information Data Network Exchange Afghanistan.
They also admitted to misuse of documents from the U.S. Southern Command pertaining to Guantanamo Bay, a memo from an unnamed intelligence agency, and records from a military operation in Farah province in Afghanistan.
Manning, an Army intelligence officer, was arrested in May 2010 while serving in Iraq and charged with downloading thousands of intelligence documents, diplomatic cables and combat videos and forwarding them to WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks began exposing the U.S. government secrets in the same year, stunning diplomats around the world and outraging U.S. officials who said damage to national security from the leaks endangered U.S. lives.
Source
Manning faces life in a military prison for exposing war crimes while those who actually commited the war crimes have not been arrested, let alone charged.
FREE MANNING!

Pfc. B. Manning pleads guilty to misusing classified data; pleads not guilty to aiding the enemy under the Espionage Act
February 28, 2013

The U.S. Army private accused of providing diplomatic cables and other secret documents to the WikiLeaks website pleaded guilty on Thursday to misusing classified material, but denied the most serious charge in the case, aiding the enemy.

Private First Class B. Manning, 25, entered the pleas prior to the court martial, which is set to begin on June 3, in a case that centers on the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history.

"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," Manning, dressed in full military uniform, testified calmly.

Reading from a 35-page statement as they remained seated next to their lawyers, the short, slight private described their feelings after they submitted the secret information to WikiLeaks.

"I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience," said Manning, who spoke under oath for more than an hour.

At the hearing, Manning pleaded not guilty to the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, through their attorney. Manning, who has been jailed at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia for more than 1,000 days (Note: the legal limit is 120 days), could face life imprisonment if convicted of that charge.

Manning pleaded guilty to a series of 10 lesser charges that they misused classified information at the hearing before military judge Colonel Denise Lind. They face a maximum of 20 years in prison for those charges.

Under a ruling last month by Lind, Manning would have any sentence reduced by 112 days to compensate for the markedly harsh treatment they received during their confinement. While at Quantico, Manning was placed in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day with guards checking on them every few minutes. (Plus psychologically tortured, which is rarely mentioned)

Manning admitted to unauthorized possession and willful communication of information from military databases, including the Combined Information Data Network Exchange Iraq and Combined Information Data Network Exchange Afghanistan.

They also admitted to misuse of documents from the U.S. Southern Command pertaining to Guantanamo Bay, a memo from an unnamed intelligence agency, and records from a military operation in Farah province in Afghanistan.

Manning, an Army intelligence officer, was arrested in May 2010 while serving in Iraq and charged with downloading thousands of intelligence documents, diplomatic cables and combat videos and forwarding them to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks began exposing the U.S. government secrets in the same year, stunning diplomats around the world and outraging U.S. officials who said damage to national security from the leaks endangered U.S. lives.

Source

Manning faces life in a military prison for exposing war crimes while those who actually commited the war crimes have not been arrested, let alone charged.

FREE MANNING!

‘West pitting Syrian rebels against Hezbollah’
February 23, 2013

RT: You have recently been to Syria - with the West pushing for democratic change there, do you think the Syrians will actually get that after the violence they’ve endured for so long?

Danny Makki: I think there is much consensus among the Syrian people and in Syria that there has to be democratic change but there is a very big difference between democratic change from the grassroots level and what is being supported and funded by Western countries in Syria now. What we see now is terrorism. And people have to differentiate between a freedom fighter and a terrorist. I don’t think this is pathway to democracy, I think in fact this is a  pathway to a failed state.

RT: The Free Syrian Army has apparently set an ultimatum for Hezbollah, threatening to shell its positions in Lebanon. Lebanon is itself divided over the civil war in neighboring Syria, what could the consequences be if large-scale violence spills over there?

DM: With the Syrian crisis there is a danger of it spilling across borders to Iraq, or Lebanon, or even Turkey. The biggest problem in Lebanon is that some of the Western countries are really trying to pit one of the Islamist movements against each other – the Sunni FSA against the Shia Hezbollah. It’s essentially a policy of divide and conquer, which is being instigated media-wise by the West, create divisions and fractures within Arab Syrian and Lebanese societies. And this is the issue they are working today.

By pitting the FSA Hezbollah they are create more division and tension between Syria and Lebanon. And we’ve seen with recent conflict in Tripoli in northern Lebanon that the Syrian crisis is not necessarily in Syria. Syria is the linchpin of the region and there is great tension both in Syria and Lebanon. And there is great fear and anxiety that the struggle in Syria could spill into Lebanon. Lebanon had its own civil war which was very bloody and killed hundreds of thousands. So Lebanon is very scared at the moment of the Syria crisis turning into a Lebanese crisis.

RT:  On Monday, Syria said it is prepared to talk to the armed opposition groups, which it has long-dismissed as terrorists – is it a positive change on the way?

DM: In any state terrorism inside the country is a red line that cannot be crossed. We cannot accept terrorism in any country in the world – whether in Syria, America or Britain, or Russia. However there has to be a level of negotiations and dialogue internally speaking to at least have a ceasefire.

There has to be a level of openness between the Syrian government and between rebel forces maybe to instigate exchanges of prisoners, ceasefires in certain areas, to let humanitarian aid reach areas which are under rebel control. These all are issues that have to be negotiated for. And it shows that the Syrian government is not taking the path of an in-transition government. They truly do want to see diplomacy and dialogue to solve this and the fact that they are willing to negotiate with theses armed groups signifies a change of policy in terms of [that] they comprehend there can be no military solution and that any solution which comes within the Syrian crisis at this current moment in time has to be a political solution to stop the suffering of the people and to find a real exit and negotiated settlement to his ongoing crisis.

Source

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