The Real News Network has the video interview, Bradley Manning, the Nuremberg Charter and Refusing to Collaborate with War Crimes – Pt 3 of 4. This is part 3 of 4 of an interview with Vijay Prashad, but it is the only part that talks about Bradley Manning.
PRASHAD: Let’s talk about that helicopter attack, because that took place in New Baghdad, where Apache helicopters saw something on the ground, people walking around, and they saw somebody, thinking he had a gun. They shot the crowd, killed, it turned out to be, a photojournalist with a international, you know, agency. He was killed in cold blood there. Nobody engaged the helicopters. A car came to help them, to rescue them. They said, give me the signal, I want to shoot, I want to engage, fired in. There were children in the car, etc.
Now, a ground platoon arrived at the scene, and American troops got out and saw what had happened. Many people saw that this was a great–let’s just call it mistake that had taken place. When questions were asked at the time about that attack in New Baghdad, the United States government denied that anything was wrong, and the United States government also said there is no video. In other words, the government was lying and covering up what took people on the ground, even troops–there was one particular troop, a man named Ethan McCord, later would come out and speak about what he saw, but he was suppressed. Bradley Manning saw that video and felt obliged to release it because not only was this an illegal war, not only was this apparently a war crime, but also the government was covering up the war crime. So he released the video via WikiLeaks. When he released the video, Ethan McCord, who was on the ground and saw the little children inside that car, one of them blinded because glass went into her eyes, this shattered Ethan McCord’s approach to what he was doing. But because Manning, this young, young man, took a courageous decision to release this video, it freed up other people in the military to come out and say, yes, we were party to a war crime.
And the great tragedy is that Bradley Manning was then put on trial for espionage, as well as other quite ridiculous charges like computer fraud. He was put on trial. But that war crime was not investigated further.
To paraphrase Jack Nicholson, “We can’t handle the truth.” Makes me wonder when Senators and Representatives on Intelligence Committees are briefed about activity that they find reprehensible but feel constrained by laws that insist they cannot talk about what they know, do the Nuremberg Charter rules apply?
August 15, 2013
Now that we have heard about Bradley Manning’s apology for his actions and the attempt to use insanity as a defense, we can see his mistake and the government’s taking advantage of his mistake. Had Bradley Manning stopped at exposing the coverup of a war crime, the government would only have been able to prosecute him for that offense and he could have used the Nuremberg defense.
I suspect that the government carefully kept Manning’s act of the war crime exposure out of the indictment so that it would be impossible for Manning to use that as a defense.
Snowden has probably made the same type of error. He committed a defensible act along with a slew of indefensible acts.
You can’t use defensible acts to wipe out the crime of indefensible acts. Although you can use indefensible acts to wipe out the refuge of defensible acts. I bet they teach that in law school.
Or is it simpler to say that all the crimes you don’t commit don’t excuse you from the ones you do commit?