Defence papers tell of alleged US whistleblower’s stress, poor leadership by superiors, and serious security lapses
Sunday 18 December 2011
Bradley Manning, the abandoned man of the WikiLeaks saga, may have been kept mostly in solitary confinement and incommunicado since he was arrested, but he is about to make his presence felt. Startling claims by army personnel about both his mental state, and lax security at the US base from which he is alleged to have leaked a huge tranche of classified US cables, are contained in a document prepared by his defence team.
It quotes several officers saying that the army intelligence analyst, who has a Welsh mother, was so disturbed, immature and unsuited to military life that either he should never have been deployed to Iraq or that he should have been deemed unfit for service once he was there. At one point during his time in Iraq, according to the report, an officer “found Manning curled in the foetal position in the brigade conference room, rocking himself back and forth”. The 20-page dossier, itemising potential witnesses at the arraignment hearings, which continued yesterday at Fort Meade, Maryland, also contains a summary of testimony that claims security at Pte Manning’s base in Iraq was so lax that soldiers would buy films, music and games from a local market and install them on army computers.
It was from this base – where passwords to army computers were reportedly written on Post-it notes stuck on laptops – that Pte Manning is alleged by US officials to have captured and sent to WikiLeaks the classified information. If the defence claims are true, then the army could be accused of contributory negligence.
They also seem to have missed repeated warning signs that Pte Manning – gay, confused about his gender identity, and apparently subject to some bullying – was a deeply troubled individual. Neither, until too late, did it act on assessments of him when they were made. Other comments from potential witnesses (all of whose names are redacted) include that Pte Manning’s “mental and emotional issues were more than enough to put others at risk… his condition made him unfit for service as an intelligence analyst”, and the statement that “Manning should not have been deployed”.
Pte Manning, a one-time intelligence analyst stationed in Baghdad, is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive items, including Iraq and Afghanistan war logs. The leaked items also involved State Department cables and a classified military video of a 2007 American helicopter attack in Iraq that killed 11 men, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. The US said the leaks threatened valuable military and diplomatic sources, while WikiLeaks was feted, until sex allegations were made against its founder, Julian Assange, which led to protracted extradition proceedings and continuing appeals. Mr Assange has been staying in a supporter’s country mansion, while Pte Manning has spent much of the past 17 months in a cell.
According to the defence document, one witness “will testify that he recommended Manning should not deploy”. And on 24 December 2009 – months before Pte Manning was arrested in May 2010, but a month after he first contacted WikiLeaks – a psychologist examined him. He found him “under considerable stress… [he] did not appear to have any social support system and seemed hypersensitive to any criticism”. The defence document said the psychologist “determined Manning was potentially dangerous to himself and others and recommended removal of his weapon or removal of the bolt from his weapon”. Two months later, the material Pte Manning is accused of leaking first appeared on WikiLeaks. It was not until 28 May 2010 that a psychiatrist recommended his security clearance be rescinded.
Other evidence from army specialists is that Pte Manning, while having good computer skills, “seemed to act immature” and “was not receptive to commands”, and that there was a “lack of leadership” on his night shift. An officer with Pte Manning’s unit will testify that when he raised the matter of soldiers having unauthorised material on their army computers, “nothing was done”.
Other personnel, whose claims are not part of the defence document, have previously said that poor security meant many of the 300 stationed on Pte Manning’s base could breeze in and out of the computer room.
In a bizarre detail reported on a chat log published by Wired magazine, Pte Manning made out he was miming to a Lady Gaga track while downloading US cables.
His local commander will testify that it was not until Pte Manning allegedly assaulted another soldier that he was made aware of his psychological problems. Another officer will testify that, having learned of the full facts, he believes Pte Manning should not have been deployed to Iraq. There is also potential testimony that, although Pte Manning was “a very good intelligence analyst”, he “should have been removed from his position early on in the deployment”.
Yesterday, on his 24th birthday, Bradley Manning was back in a military courtroom to hear prosecutors begin presenting their case. The hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence to bring him to trial.
The Wikileaks pair: A tale of two whistle-blowers
Born Crescent, Oklahoma, to ex-Navy father and Welsh mother on 17 December 1987. Moved to Wales with his mother aged 13, only to return to the US three years later.
Occupation US army intelligence analyst. Demoted from specialist to private after assaulting female officer.
Claim to fame Accused of biggest leak of state secrets in US history, including footage of an Apache helicopter killing 12 Iraqi civilians, and thousands of US diplomatic cables.
Current address Initially, after his arrest in May 2010, he was kept in solitary confinement and forced to sleep naked in a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. After an international outcry, he was moved to a “medium-security facility” at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Charged with He is alleged to have transferred more than 250,000 embassy cables and 470,000 confidential military records to WikiLeaks. He faces 22 charges of obtaining and distributing government secrets, and, if convicted, could be sentenced to as much as 52 years in prison.
Born 1971 in Townsville, Australia. Led a nomadic childhood as his parents owned a touring theatre, later moving to the UK.
Occupation Founder of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, co-author of bestseller Underground. Convicted computer hacker.
Claim to fame In 2010, WikiLeaks published 2007 video footage of an American helicopter shooting Iraqi civilians. He made front-page news again in 2010, defending the release of thousands of classified documents on the Afghan and Iraq wars, plus a huge amount of US diplomatic cables.
Current address UK. Has been living at Ellingham Hall, Norfolk, the home of his friend and supporter Vaughan Smith, owner of the Frontline Club for journalists. Reported on Friday to have moved base. However, as a requirement of his bail conditions, he has had to sign in at nearby Bungay police station every day.
Legal case In 2010, an international arrest warrant was issued by the Swedish authorities after two women made allegations of rape and sexual molestation. Extradition proceedings followed which will culminate in his final appeal on 1 February 2012.
OCCUPY THE BASES
‘EVICT’ WAR – WE WON’T BE AMMUNITION FOR THEIR CRISIS
Bétera (Valencia). Saturday 17th of December 2011. 11:00 AM
OCCUPATION ? MARCH TO THE NATO BASE IN BÉTERA (VALENCIA) for:
– Expose military squandering in times of severe attacks on social rights
– Demand the closure of the base and the abolition of armies
– Meeting point ? Bétera
– Parade across the town
– March towards the NATO Base
– Occupation of the Base
Saturday 17th of December 2011, 11:00 AM
MARCH TO THE NATO BASE
Starting from the meeting point we will parade across the town with banners and music, and we will then march towards the military quarters to demand its closure. It would be a quite ride and has no legal risks.
Once we reach the surroundings of the quarters some people will get through the fences into the military area.
This will be an action of Nonviolent Civil Disobedience demanding the closure of the base and exposing the military squandering in this times of severe social cuts.
WAR STARTS HERE
Through this action, AA-MOC also wishes to highlight the fact that wars thousands of kilometers from us, such as that of Afghanistan, start actually next to our homes, in facilities such as the military base in Betera, making use of civilian transportation infrastructures. In fact, the Betera base will be designated by NATO in 2012 to command the Land Component of the NATO Response Force, the NATO most interventionist corps, in Afghanistan.
WE WON’T BE AMMUNITION FOR THEIR CRISIS
In addition, we want to emphasize the fact that in the current context of heavy cuts in the health care, education and social services, and strong attack on social rights in general, the military spending remains in its highest levels.
In a time when we are told that ?there is no money? and ?we must all thighten our belts’, we want to remind that one of every ten euros spent by the Spanish government goes to the military, and that 50 million euros a day of public money feed daily the machinery of armed violence. We are told that states must reduce debt by cutting spending, but at the same time the Ministry of Defense owes up to 30.000 million euros in weapon systems purchases to several weapons manufacturers.
We want to expose the immoral and unsustainable squandering of money and social resources that involves just sustaining a military, on top of everything, designed to intervene abroad following the criminal interests of the same political and economic elite that created this crisis.
ALTERNATIVE DESTINATIONS FOR MILITARY EXPENSES
– 1 soldier in Afghanistan = 11 secondary school teachers
– 1 fighter plane deployed in Libya = 684 health workers
– 1 Aircraft Carrier = 50 hospitals
– 1 Leopard tank = 6 schools
– 1 Eurofighter = 2 hospitals
Military expenditure per habitant per year = monthly unemployment subsidy
We want to decide what is done with our taxes
WE SAY NO TO MILITARY EXPENDING, YES TO SOCIAL SPENDING
This action is organized by Alternativa Antimilitarista?MOC Valencia. In the action AA?MOC groups from Bilbao, Salamanca, Madrid, Zaragoza, Elx and Pamplona will be participating.
Alternativa Antimilitarista-MOC is a countrywide network of local, antimilitaristic, non-violent, grass-root, independent and assembly-functioning groups. AA-MOC is affiliated to War Resisters’ International and is also coordinated wirh similar networks throughout Europe, such as those which organized the non-violent blockade of the Strasbourg NATO summit in April 2009, the blockade against the British nuclear weapons factory of Aldermaston in February 2010, the nonviolent blockade of the NATO summit in Lisbon in November 2010, or the massive entry to the largest weapon test range in Europe (NEAT) in northern Sweden, in July 2011.
“L’única maniobra militar honorable és la retirada”
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Está em curso uma guerra contra os povos!
Todas as guerras violam os direitos humanos, provocam derramamento de sangue e visam o lucro de uma minoria quer através do negócio da venda de armamento, quer através do controlo de territórios, dos recursos naturais e das rotas estratégicas. Após a fase da destruição torna-se ainda lucrativo o negócio da reconstrução dos países devastados.
Tornou-se “normal” assistir nos telejornais aos bombardeamentos ao vivo e já não nos espanta que a NATO exceda o seu papel de “defensor” de supostos ataques ao mundo ocidental, passando a força invasora e de ocupação de países que em momento algum nos declararam guerra. Ainda a guerra na Líbia não acabou e já se adivinham novas guerras; talvez no Mediterrâneo oriental, no Paquistão, no Irão… não sabemos ao certo, são os senhores da guerra que em reuniões secretas se juntam no Pentágono ou em Bruxelas para escolher e decidir quem será a sua próxima vítima.
A Grécia, um país à beira da bancarrota, com as pessoas desesperadas nas ruas comprou recentemente quatrocentos tanques de guerra aos EUA, o que significa que por muito grande que seja a crise mundial, o negócio da guerra está próspero e dá lucro garantido aos senhores da guerra, sejam eles meros negociantes de armas, sejam eles governantes mundiais.
Para além destas guerras sangrentas há também outras guerras em curso. São surdas e emanam de despachos e decretos governamentais, de imposições políticas e financeiras, das crises que o próprio sistema engendra para justificar o ataque aos direitos dos povos. Os senhores destas guerras não têm rosto, são Troikas e agências financeiras, são os mercados, é a bolsa, o dinheiro, o mercado de trabalho que não existe para todos. Estas crises “financeiras” costumam resultar ao longo da História recente em guerras generalizadas com muitos milhares de vítimas de parte a parte.
Entretanto investe-se a descobrir novos modos de repressão: surgem novas armas como O Grito (1), criam-se forças especiais, polícias europeias e forças militarizadas instruídas para conter a revolta das multidões. Esta guerra é exercida contra os povos. Procura esvaziar os direitos humanos e a possibilidade de viver condignamente.
(1) “O grito” é uma nova arma sonora que emite um ruído considerado insuportável para o ouvido humano. Já foi utilizada contra manifestantes na Cisjordânia, que protestam semanalmente contra a construção da barreira israelita nas aldeias de Bilin e Nahalin.
Abaixo todas as guerras!
O mundo não pode estar à mercê de senhores da guerra e de salteadores sem escrúpulos.
Há dinheiro para matar mas não há dinheiro para salvar!
Só a coragem cidadã pode travar o desastre.
PLATAFORMA ANTI-GUERRA ANTI-NATO, 15/10/2011
Contra a NATO e a presença de Rasmussem (secretário-geral da NATO) em Portugal!
Contra a subserviência dos Estado português aos desígnios imperialistas da NATO!
Contra a instalação em Portugal do comando operacional da força StrikForNato!
MANIFESTAÇÃO HOJE A PARTIR DAS 12H EM S.BENTO, FRENTE À RESIDÊNCIA OFICIAL DO PRIMEIRO-MINISTRO (Rua da Imprensa à Estrela, nº 8, 1200 Lisboa, atrás da Assembleia da República)
COMUNICADO DE IMPRENSA
A PAGAN – Plataforma Anti-guerra, Anti-NATO repudia a vinda a Portugal esta quinta-feira do secretário-geral da NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Na agenda de Rasmussen consta um almoço com o primeiro-ministro Passos Coelho e reuniões com os ministros dos Negócios Estrangeiros e da Defesa Nacional, em que serão debatidas questões como a situação da Líbia, as mudanças do Comando da NATO de Oeiras e a instalação em Portugal do comando operacional da StrikForNato.
Na sequência da Cimeira da NATO de Lisboa e da reunião do conselho de ministros da NATO (Bruxelas, 8 e 9/Junho), a NATO tem vindo a reformar a sua estrutura StrikForNato, preparando-se para instalar em Portugal o comando operacional dessa Força Marítima de Reacção Rápida, que tem actuado de forma agressiva na Líbia sob a capa de proteger a população civil.
Esta força especial que abarca a Sexta Esquadra dos EUA e forças navais de outros estados membros da NATO opera sobre a Europa e a África, no Golfo da Guiné, e conta já com intervenções na agressão à Jugoslávia (1999), ao Iraque (2003) e, mais recentemente, à Líbia.
A PAGAN condena a intervenção militar da NATO na Líbia, que artificiosamente esconde o seu carácter ilegal apoiando-se na Resolução 1973 do Conselho de Segurança, alegando a protecção da população civil, sacrificada pelos bombardeamentos criminosos da aliança atlântica. Esta intervenção teve como principal objectivo a mudança do regime de Kadafi a qualquer preço e o saque e imperialista do petróleo da Líbia, em estreita “cooperação” entre os EUA e seus cúmplices e aliados da União Europeia.
A PAGAN condena veementemente o Estado português de pactuar de forma servil com a estrutura militar e imperialista da NATO expondo o povo português às consequências de Portugal ser um país comprometido com a sua estratégia global agressiva e imperialista.
Rasmussen e a NATO fora de Portugal!
Contra a violência bélica sobre os povos e o saque imperialista!
Não à “cooperação estratégica” de Portugal nas guerras da NATO!
Pela extinção da NATO!
PAGAN – Plataforma Anti-guerra, Anti-NATO
O secretário-geral da NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, chega quinta-feira a Lisboa, para reunir com o Presidente da República, Cavaco Silva, o primeiro-ministro, Pedro Passos Coelho e os ministros dos Negócios Estrangeiros e da Defesa.
Na agenda de Rasmussen está um almoço de trabalho com o primeiro-ministro, Passos Coelho em São Bento, onde estarão também Paulo Portas e Aguiar-Branco.
Nas reuniões com os ministros dos Negócios Estrangeiros e da Defesa Nacional estarão em cima da mesa temas como a situação na Líbia, as mudanças no Comando de Oeiras e a vinda da StrikeForNato para Portugal.
Atenção: Ler o artigo de Rui Namorado Rosa «NATO arrasta Portugal na deriva militarista» AQUI