Welcome to Bennett's Study

From the Author of No Land an Island and Unconscionable

Pondering Alphabetic SOLUTIONS: Peace, Politics, Public Affairs, People Relations




UNCONSCIONABLE: http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/author/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/book/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/excerpt/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/contact/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/buy/ SearchTerm=Carolyn+LaDelle+Bennett http://www2.xlibris.com/books/webimages/wd/113472/buy.htm http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx? http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx


Friday, March 1, 2013

People struggling to live amid asymmetric warfare, not everyone's a target to be neutralized ─ Bradley Manning

Army Air Weapons Team
“I wanted the American public to know”

Excerpt from The Guardian UK’s published transcript of Bradley Manning’s statement at court martial ─ the most comprehensive and accurate account of a highly significant statement ─ compiled by independent journalist Alexa O'Brien’s contemporaneous notes, not from a recording or from an official document. O’Brien has been covering the pre-trial hearings.

“Bradley Manning’s personal statement to court martial: full text” ─ Absent a full official copy of Manning’s statement, journalists have had to rely on their own note taking from court, guardian.co.uk, guardian.co.uk, Friday 1 March 2013 12.58 EST, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/01/bradley-manning-wikileaks-statement-full-text

Iraqi woman
beloved's grave(s)
Excerpt, bracketed clarifying text, re-reporting, formatted for TIN by Carolyn Bennett
From the section of Manning’s statement subtitled Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of the July 12, 2007, aerial weapons team or AW team video

 U.S. Military Aerial Team’s cruelty prompts
Public exposure of cruel and inhumane treatment

Afghan civilians
“At first I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other war porn type videos depicting combat. However, the recording of audio comments by the aerial weapons team crew and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck troubled me.

“As Showman [former Army Specialist Jihrleah W. Showman who led the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division] and a few other analysts and officers in the T-SCIF [Temporary Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility] commented on the video and debated whether the crew violated the rules of engagement or ROE in the second engagement, I shied away from this debate [and] instead conduct[ed] some research on the event.

Afghan civilians
“I wanted to learn what happened and whether there was any background to the events of the day that the event occurred, July 12, 2007.

sing Google I searched for the event by its date [and] by its general location. I found several news accounts involving two Reuters [wire services’] employees who were killed during the aerial weapon team engagement.

“Another story explained that Reuters had requested a copy of the video under the Freedom of Information Act or FOIA. Reuters wanted to view the video in order to understand what had happened and to improve their safety practices in combat zones. A spokesperson for Reuters was quoted saying that the video might help avoid the reoccurrence of the tragedy and believed there was a compelling need for the immediate release of the video.”

Central Command Blocks Wires

“Despite the submission of the FOIA request, the news account explained that CENTCOM replied to Reuters stating that they could not give a time frame for considering a FOIA request and that the video might no longer exist.” 
[Wikipedia note: The United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) is a theater-level Unified Combatant Command of the U.S. Department of Defense, established in 1983. It was originally conceived of as the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force or RDJTF.]

Another story I found written a year later said that even though Reuters was still pursuing their request, they still did not receive a formal response or written determination in accordance with FOIA.

“The fact [that] neither CENTCOM or Multi National Forces Iraq or MNF-I would not voluntarily release the video troubled me further.

“It was clear to me that the event happened because the aerial weapons team mistakenly identified Reuters [wire services’] employees as a potential threat and that the people in the bongo truck [small van] were merely attempting to assist the wounded.”

Aerial Weapons Crew Kills as Sport, Scorns Human Life

“The people in the van were not a threat but merely ‘good Samaritans.’

“The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they [the aerial weapons team crew] appeared to have.

Afghan civilians
The[y] dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote ‘dead bastards’ unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers.

“At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded.

“Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage.”

Young soldier grieves
Callous aerial weapons team slaughter of children
Washington Post writer complicit in cruelty

“While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene.

“In the video, you can see that the bongo truck [is] driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response, the aerial weapons team crew – as soon as the individuals are a threat, they repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the bongo truck; and once granted, they engage the vehicle at least six times. Shortly after the second engagement, a mechanized infantry unit arrives at the scene.

Within minutes, the aerial weapons team crew learns that children were in the van; and despite the injuries, the crew exhibits no remorse.

Instead, they downplay the significance of their actions, saying quote ‘Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle’ unquote.

“The aerial weapons team crew members sound like they lack sympathy for the children or the parents. Later in a particularly disturbing manner, the aerial weapons team verbalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the ground vehicles driving over a body – or one of the bodies.

As I continued my research, I found an article discussing the book The Good Soldiers written by Washington Post writer David Finkel.

In Mr. Finkel’s book, he writes about the aerial weapons team attack. As I read an online excerpt in Google Books, I followed Mr. Finkel’s account of the event belonging to the video; [and] I quickly realize[d] that Mr. Finkel was quoting, I feel in verbatim, the audio communications of the aerial weapons team crew.

It is clear to me that Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his tenure as an embedded journalist.

I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as ‘payback’ for an earlier attack that led to the death of a soldier.

Mr. Finkel ends his account by discussing how a soldier finds an individual still alive from the attack. He writes that the soldier finds him and sees him gesture with his two forefingers together, a common method in the Middle East to communicate that they are friendly.

However, instead of assisting him [the wounded], the soldier makes an obscene gesture extending his middle finger. The individual apparently dies shortly thereafter.

“Reading this, I can only think of how this person was simply trying to help others, and then he quickly finds he needs help as well.

“To make matters worse, in the last moments of his life, he [the wounded person who had tried to help others] continues to express his friendly gesture – only to find himself receiving this well known gesture of unfriendliness.

“… I am left wondering what these things mean, and how it all fits together. It burdens me emotionally.”

Young soldier takes action

“I saved a copy of the video on my workstation. I searched for and found the rules of engagement, the rules of engagement annexes, and a flow chart from the 2007 time period – as well as an unclassified Rules of Engagement smart card from 2006.

“On February 15, 2010, I burned these documents onto a CD-RW; at the same time, I burned the 10 Reykjavik 13 Cable onto a CD-RW.” 
[Wikipedia note: The ‘Reykjavik 13 cable,’ was released by WikiLeaks on February 18, 2010, and was followed by the release of State Department profiles of Icelandic politicians a month later. In the summer of that year, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange reached an agreement with media partners in Europe and the United States to publish the rest of the cables in redacted form, removing the names of sources and others in vulnerable positions. On November 28, the first 220 cables were published under this agreement by El País (Spain), Der Spiegel (Germany), Le Monde (France), The Guardian (United Kingdom) and The New York Times (United States). WikiLeaks had planned to release the rest over several months. As of January 11, 2011, 2,017 had been published.]

“At the time, I placed the video and rules for engagement information onto my personal laptop in my CHU. I planned to keep this information there until I redeployed in summer 2010. I planned on providing this to the Reuters office in London to assist them in preventing events such as this in the future. 
[Wikipedia note: Containerized Housing Unit or CHU, sometimes called Containerized Living Unit or CLU is the name given to an ISO shipping container pre-fabricated into a living quarters. Container Housing units are related to the site and land occupied during a certain amount of time by the need of water supply and excavation, electricity, telecommunications, etc. An example of CLU housing is at the Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa base (Camp Lemonnier) in Djibouti. Such containers can be transported by container ships, railroad cars, planes, and trucks that are capable of transporting intermodal freight transport cargo. Modular shipping containers are typically referred to as isotainers and in some military applications, the slang terms ‘Combat Housing Unit’ or ‘cans’ are used.]
Bradley Manning25-year-old U. S. Army Private First Class

“However, after the WLO [WikiLeaks Organization] published 10 Reykjavik 13, I altered my plans. I decided to provide the video and the rules of engagement to them so that Reuters would have this information before I re-deployed from Iraq.

“On [or] about February 21, 2010, I described above, I used the WLO [WikiLeaks Organization] submission form and uploaded the documents. The WLO released the video on April 5, 2010.

“After the release, I was concerned about the impact of the video and how it would be received by the general public.”

Young Soldier’s Mission, Motive behind Action

“I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as [I was] about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members.

I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare.

“After the release, I was encouraged by the response in the media and general public who observed the aerial weapons team video.

“As I hoped, others were just as troubled – if not more troubled than [I was] ─ by what they saw.”

Soldier with a conscience.

Sources and notes

The Guardian UK

“Bradley Manning read out a personal statement to the court in Fort Meade, Maryland, at a pre-trial hearing over his prosecution for leaking the largest trove of state secrets in US history. It provides the first account in his own words and under his own name of how he came to download hundreds of thousands of classified documents and videos from secure military databases and transmit them to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

“The U.S. government has refused to publish contemporaneous transcripts and documents from the Manning court martial, prompting legal complaints from open government groups. In the absence of a full official copy of Manning's statement, journalists covering the case have had to rely on their own note-taking from the courtroom.

“Here the Guardian publishes a transcript compiled by independent journalist Alexa O'Brien, who has been covering the pre-trial hearings. It provides the most comprehensive and accurate account of a highly significant statement.

“This transcript was compiled by O’Brien from her contemporaneous notes, not from a recording or from an official document. Inevitably, it may contain errors.”

“Bradley Manning's personal statement to court martial: full text ─ In the absence of a full official copy of Manning's statement, journalists have had to rely on their own note-taking from court,” guardian.co.uk, guardian.co.uk, Friday 1 March 2013 12.58 EST, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/01/bradley-manning-wikileaks-statement-full-text

Bradley Manning self described is a “25-year-old Private First Class in the United States Army currently assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, HHC, U.S. Army Garrison (USAG), Joint Base Myer, Henderson Hall, Fort Meyer, Virginia.”

MANNING: “During the mid-February 2010 time frame the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division targeting analysts, then Specialist Jihrleah W. Showman discussed a video that Ms. Showman had found on the T-drive. The video depicted several individuals being engaged by an aerial weapons team.”

Army Times December 20, 2011: Former Army Spc. Jihrleah Showman led the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, team that analyzed local Shiite threat, ” http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/12/army-bradley-manning-hearing-witness-says-assaulted-in-iraq-122011w/


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy


No comments:

Post a Comment