The lynching of Private Manning
MAHER OSSEİRANOn July 18, 2013, Judge Denise Lind, who presides in Pfc. Bradley Manning’s case declined to drop the most serious charge against him, “aiding the enemy,” despite the prosecution’s failure to prove such claim.
Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union stated that the judge continues to apply the wrong legal standard to considering the charge, while Widney Brown, of Amnesty International, reacted, “The charge of “aiding the enemy’ is ludicrous.”
Unbeknown to me what the judge was deliberating, the day before the judge made her decision, I sent a letter to Manning’s prosecutor on that same issue of “aiding the enemy” with a copy to Attorney General Eric Holder and to three federal judges with whom I had previously communicated on a similar topic.
Due to the subject matter, the letter is quite long but an abbreviated version of its content needs to be shared with the public at large.
The basis for sending the letter is the fact that there is a two-tier legal system in the United States, one that hounds without mercy whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden, and one that overlooks U.S. officials who commit sanctioned leaks no matter how criminal, malicious and detrimental such leaks are to U.S. security and humanity; this is in clear violation of Manning’s rights under the U.S. Constitution.
The most serious leak by an American official was by Donald Rumsfeld on December 13, 2001, that resulted in the death of thousands of Americans, and even many more non-Americans; this leak was committed by Rumsfeld while clearly knowing the implications and consequences; it was premeditated.
The highest levels of law enforcement within the U.S. government were informed, so were the Judiciary Committees in House and Senate; there was neither an investigation nor a prosecution.
What Rumsfeld leaked was a videotape that was released by the Pentagon on December 13, 2001, that shows Osama bin Laden sitting at a dinner gathering and confessing his foreknowledge of, and indicating possible involvement, in the 9/11 attacks to a paraplegic guest from Saudi Arabia named Khalid al-Harbi.
The Pentagon released the tape as the smoking gun and proof of bin Laden’s guilt.
On December 15, 2001, two days after the bin Laden confession tape aired, Ed Vulliamy and Jason Burke reported in The Observer of London that “intelligence sources have suggested… that the tape, although absolutely genuine, is the result of a sophisticated sting operation run by the CIA through a second intelligence service, possibly Saudi or Pakistani.”
As a byproduct of an intelligence operation and since bin Laden had not been captured yet, the videotape is highly sensitive material and most likely classified “Top Secret.” According to U.S. law, declassifying such material “may be delegated only by the president or by an agency head or official designated.”
It is unlikely that Rumsfeld acted alone and his co-conspirators might even include George W. Bush.
The release of the tape was in reaction to a worldwide call for evidence that bin Laden was involved in the 9/11 attacks – a call that was strongest in Muslim and Arab countries.
The tape was released to shore up the decision to invade Afghanistan to the detriment of America’s long-term security.
When the tape was released on December 13, 2001, bin Laden was still at large with no indication that he would be apprehended. If not apprehended, bin Laden would eventually view the tape and would realize how close intelligence services were to him despite his tight security protocol.
Bin Laden would realize that if enemy intelligence operatives got close enough to interact with him and tape him, they could have chosen instead to kill him. In reaction, his security protocol would only get tighter and no one would ever get that close to him till almost 10 years later when he was a sitting duck in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
From what has been presented above, if there were a textbook example of “aiding the enemy,” the release of the videotape of bin Laden on December 13, 2001, would be that example.
The criminality of the U.S. government and Rumsfeld does not stop there. There is strong indication that the tape, which was taped on September 26, 2001, was used in early October 2001, to convince NATO, of which Turkey is a member, to declare Article 5, and to convince Pakistan to join the war effort, while keeping it away from the Taliban, who were asking for proof in exchange for bin Laden and to avoid war.
Since the war in Afghanistan was avoidable, going to war was contrary to the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Convention, of which the U.S. is a signatory. The war in Afghanistan is criminal and all those who died as a result were murdered.
Maher Osseiran is a peace advocate and a member of Al-Awda.org, an organization advocating the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland.