In 2005, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member [in Iraq], if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to try to stop it.”
Chase Mader writes in HuffPo that soon after deployment to Iraq, Manning:
"soon found himself helping the Iraqi authorities detain civilians for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature” -- which turned out to be an investigative report into financial corruption in their own government entitled “Where does the money go?” The penalty for this “crime” in Iraq was not a slap on the wrist. Imprisonment and torture, as well as systematic abuse of prisoners, are widespread in the new Iraq. From the military’s own Sigacts (Significant Actions) reports, we have a multitude of credible accounts of Iraqi police and soldiers shooting prisoners, beating them to death, pulling out fingernails or teeth, cutting off fingers, burning with acid, torturing with electric shocks or the use of suffocation, and various kinds of sexual abuse including sodomization with gun barrels and forcing prisoners to perform sexual acts on guards and each other...
Like any good soldier, Manning immediately took these concerns up the chain of command. And how did his superiors respond? His commanding officer told him to “shut up” and get back to rounding up more prisoners for the Iraqi Federal Police to treat however they cared to..."
Manning also found a video and an official report on American air strikes on the village of Granai in Afghanistan’s Farah Province (also known as “the Granai massacre”). According to the Afghan government, 140 civilians, including women and a large number of children, died in those strikes.
War crimes? What war crimes? This is the point of view of the Pentagon as it destroys Bradley Manning.
On the Haditha killings (found to be "collateral damage" by the Army despite an American officer's unearthing and handing up the chain of command a video showing close up bullet wounds) a recent Counterpunch article by Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis recounts:
“ Consider what happened to the U.S. soldiers who, over a period of hours – not minutes – went house to house in the Iraqi town of Haditha and executed 24 men, women and children in retaliation for a roadside bombing. I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head,” said one of the two surviving eyewitnesses to the massacre, nine-year-old Eman Waleed. “Then they killed my granny." Almost five years later, not one of the men involved in the incident is behind bars. And despite an Army investigation revealing that statements made by the chain of command “suggest that Iraqi civilian lives are not as important as U.S. lives,” with the murder of brown-skinned innocents considered “just the cost of doing business,” none of their superiors are behind bars either."
Massacres of civilians in retaliation for IEDs seems to have been standard fare in Iraq. Ethan McCord says his unit was ordered to engage in "360 rotational" fireand "kill every mother&* in the street" in the event of an IED. The officer who gave the order was Col. Ralph Kauzlarich, "the lost Kauz" who is featured in David Finkel's book "The Good Soldiers." Col. K is also the executive officer who led the first investigation into the death of Pat Tillman.
Josh Stieber, a McCord unit-mate who also witnessed the order, said the logic was to get residents to be "pro-active" in preventing the planting of roadside bombs. Brass knew that the people in the houses nearest probably saw it planted and didn't say anything.
Stieber on Antiwarradio.com:
"Yeah, it was an order that came from Kauzlarich himself, and it had the philosophy that, you know, as Finkel does describe in the book, that we were under pretty constant threat, and what he leaves out is the response to that threat. But the philosophy was that if each time one of these roadside bombs went off where you don't know who set it ... the way we were told to respond was to open fire on anyone in the area, with the philosophy that that would intimidate them, to be proactive in stopping people from making these bombs ..."
Now nine Afghan children have been killed after what the Army says was mistaken identity after a nearby rocket attack on American forces. These boys could have been the boys some on this site got to know well in the New Year's Global Call for Peace (they weren't, but they were just as precious.)
Defense Secretary Robert Gates once said people like Bradley Manning have "blood on their hands" for releasing documents which might identify Afghan informants. But look down Robert, and don't flinch. They are dripping.
Commander-in-Chief Obama, order Bradley Manning released!
The White House
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January 3: Psychologists for Social Responsibility write an open letter highlighting the severely deleterious effects on the psychological well-being
January 24: Amnesty International called on US authorities "to alleviate the harsh pre-trial detention conditions of Bradley Manning"