Obama: No Whistleblowing on My Watch -Ann Wright -1/6/11 -Common Dreams


Published on Thursday, January 6, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
Obama: No Whistleblowing on My Watch
The US Military Should Be Ashamed of Its Treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning

by Ann Wright

Candidate Obama said "Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal."

As a U.S. presidential candidate in 2008, in referring to the Bush Administration's use of phone companies to illegally spy on Americans, Barack Obama said, "We only know these crimes took place because insiders blew the whistle at great personal risk ... Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal." Candidate Obama was referring to the Bush Administration's use of phone companies to illegally spy on Americans.

President Obama says No whistleblowing on my watch!

Yet, Obama, as he has on so many issues as President, is taking a 180 degree turn from his comments as a candidate, comments on which the American people relied and elected him.

Now, the Obama administration's warning to Bradley Manning and to other whistle blowers is this: blow the whistle on government criminal actions and we will put you in solitary confinement before you are charged, much less go to trial. You will be treated as an "enemy combatant," in America's ongoing wars on about everything, including the truth.

Evidence of Murder of Civilians in Iraq by US military helicopter pilots

Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army Private First Class (PFC) intelligence analyst who turned 23 years old in late December, allegedly leaked a video of a US helicopter attack that killed at least eleven Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters reporters, to the website Wikileaks. Two Iraqi children were also severely wounded in the attack.

PFC Manning's alleged actions are just as important as those of the whistleblowers who informed us of the Bush administration's use of phone companies to illegally spy on Americans. The video taken from the U.S. military helicopter that fired the killing rounds of ammunition, graphically showed US military pilots firing on and killing innocent civilians in Iraq. In addition to this "Collateral Murder" video, PFC Manning is suspected by the government of leaking the "Afghan War Diaries" - tens of thousands of battlefield reports that explicitly describe civilian deaths and cover-ups, corrupt officials, collusion with warlords, and a failing US/NATO war effort.

Manning had the legal responsibility to disclose evidence, even classified evidence, of criminal actions conducted by government officials

If indeed, Manning did give the video to Wikileaks, his actions show clearly that he reasonably believed that war crimes were being covered up, and that he took action based on that belief. Exposing criminal actions done under the cover of government orders is a responsibility and duty of military personnel as codified in the Uniform Code of Military Justice as well as the Geneva conventions and the Nuremberg Principles.

Nuremberg Principle I

Principle I states, "Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment."

Principle II

Principle II states, "The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law."

Principle III

Principle III states, "The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law."

Principle IV

Principle IV states: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him".

This principle could be paraphrased as follows: "It is not an acceptable excuse to say 'I was just following my superior's orders'".

Classifying the evidence of criminal actions does not make the actions untouchable

Reporting criminal actions done by others and providing evidence of those criminal actions, especially when the evidence of criminal actions have been covered up by "classifying" the evidence, is not illegal, but in fact, is a very brave response.

Punishment before the Trial-Solitary Confinement

Manning has now been in prison in solitary confinement for 7 months and still neither the U.S. military nor the U.S. government has indicted him for any offense. Manning essentially is being treated by the U.S. government as an American citizen "enemy combatant."

Manning's treatment in detention, pre-trial confinement in prison is cruel and unusual. He is being kept in solitary confinement, alone in a cell for 23 hours a day. He is forbidden to exercise in his cell. He is deprived of sleep. He is not given a pillow or sheets for his steel bed, although recently after publicity about he conditions in the prison, he was given a mattress for the bed. Prison medical personnel now "administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation."

US Soldier Treated as Those Detained in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo

The U.S. military's treatment of Manning is tragically consistent with its treatment of persons detained in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. America's military uses harsh conditions and torture, physical or mental, for those who have not been convicted of any crimes used to break the person to provide whatever information the military wants to receive. This type of treatment is inhumane, immoral and wrong for those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo and is wrong for Bradley Manning.

Nothing to be Proud of

Nothing in this to be proud of, President Obama. Nothing in this to be proud of, US Military.

If you, the reader, are offended by this, please -- Raise Hell for Bradley, the undeclared American "enemy combatant."

Contribute to Manning's defense fund at www.couragetoresist.org

Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is the co-author of the book "Dissent: Voices of Conscience." (www.voicesofconscience.com)

Ann Wright is a powerhouse

Ann Wright is a powerhouse and an inspiration!!!

I Agree

I keep hoping she, like Cindy Sheehan will join us.

What? She is on our side.

She's just coming at it from a different place. We need to be open and accepting with people like her. We need to see the wisdom of their efforts and get behind them. Protecting whistle-blowers is huge for us. If gov't continues to clamp down on whistle-blowing, NO ONE will talk if they know something about 9/11.

Thanks Colonel Wright!

I guess she won't be invited to the White House or back to Fox News anytime soon eh? I have always thought that the helicopter video was very powerful and gave credit to wikileaks for releasing it. Obama is a war monger and tortures people wake up America!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OzjMayGiu4

" CHANGE ! "

remember that ?

She is on our side alright

From Patriots Question 911....

Col. Ann Wright, U.S. Army (ret) – Retired Army officer and former U.S. Diplomat. Served 13 years on active duty with the U.S. Army and 16 years in the U.S. Army Reserves. She was a member of the International law team in Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and served in Panama and Somalia. She joined the Foreign Service in 1987 and served as Deputy Chief of Mission of U.S. Embassies in Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Afghanistan. She helped reopen the US Embassy in Kabul in December, 2001. One of three U.S. State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the invasion of Iraq in March, 2003.

* Signatory of a Letter to Congress regarding the 9/11 Commission Report 9/13/04, signed by 25 military, intelligence, and law enforcement veterans:

"[W]e the undersigned wish to bring to the attention of the Congress and the people of the United States what we believe are serious shortcomings in the report and its recommendations. …

Omission is one of the major flaws in the Commission’s report. We are aware of significant issues and cases that were duly reported to the commission by those of us with direct knowledge, but somehow escaped attention. …

The omission of such serious and applicable issues and information by itself renders the report flawed, and casts doubt on the validity of many of its recommendations. ...

The Commission, with its incomplete report of "facts and circumstances", intentional avoidance of assigning accountability, and disregard for the knowledge, expertise and experience of those who actually do the job, has now set about pressuring our Congress and our nation to hastily implement all its recommendations. ...

We the undersigned, who have worked within various government agencies (FBI, CIA, FAA, DIA, Customs) responsible for national security and public safety, call upon you in Congress to include the voices of those with first-hand knowledge and expertise in the important issues at hand. We stand ready to do our part." Link to signatories

* Interview with Laurie Van Auken, conducted by Richard Greene on Air America Radio 9/11/07: "It's incredible some of these things that still are unanswered. The 9/11 Report; that was totally inadequate. I mean the questions that anybody has after reading that. You know, like -- One of the questions, "Why would people even get in planes and come after us?" That question was not at all addressed, much less all of these very, very interesting events that were going on that day, like Laurie was talking about.

How could our national intelligence and defense operations be so inept that they could not communicate; that they could not scramble jets; that they could not take defensive action? And I totally agree. I always thought the Pentagon had all sorts of air defense sort of equipment around it; that they could take out anything that was coming at it. And for a plane to be able to just fly low right over Washington and slam into that thing is just -- I mean, you still just shake your head. How in the world could that happen? ...

There's a very specific glide path that comes in for planes to land at [Reagan] National Airport [one mile from the Pentagon]. And you know whether it's somebody using a different transponder but even a plane any plane, a military plane with a transponder going -- that was flying that low into Washington, a big plane like that should have set off alarm bells." Occurs at about the 60% point of the two-hour recording. Audio at http://www.911truth.org

* Bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Wright