Hello to everybody, my name is Chris Capps-Schubert. I served with the US Army in Baghdad Iraq from 2005-2006, and I deserted the US Army in 2007 to refuse to deploy to Afghanistan, and I currently live as a free man in Germany.
It is unfortunate I am not able to attend your event today, however I was invited to send a statement of my solidarity with Bradley Manning, to be read at your demonstration.
In my opinion Bradley Manning, if he is truly the person who gave classified military information to Wikileaks,is someone who should be celebrated for performing such a courageous act instead of possibly facing the death sentence.
Part of Bradley Manning´s job at FOB Hammer in Iraq was supposedly to assist Iraqi security forces detain civilians for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature”. In one such incident Bradley Manning analyzed the literature, it was evidently nothing more than an investigative report on the indisputably corrupt government of Iraq entitled “Where Does the Money Go?”.
The US Army itself has documented several incidents which have occurred in the Iraqi prisons where these civil Iraqi dissidents were being sent. Iraqi prisons are being run in a manner that makes the incidents at Abu Ghraib earlier look like a UNESCO humanitarian relief effort. Summary executions, electrocution, rape and sexual molestation, beating, humiliation and mutilation are the order of the day in these prisons, and thanks to the documents released by Wikileaks knowledge of this is in the public domain.
When Bradley Manning brought up his role in assisting Iraqi authorities in detaining civil dissidents of the same nature we´ve seen in the past few months in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Bahrain to his chain of command he was told to “shut up”, and continue his work. It shouldn´t surprise anybody with any sense of decency that Bradley Manning may have been repulsed and disgusted by not only what he was doing, but his chain of command´s indifference and support for such behavior. Its not difficult to envision a disenchanted private wanting to find some way to get word out to the public what exactly was happening not only at FOB Hammer, but throughout the continual disaster known as “the War on Terror” or “Overseas Contingency Operations”.
What Bradley Manning has allegedly done is correct an imbalance. While the United States espouses concerns about Human Rights, Democracy, and Freedom, it has systematically avoided transparency about its own operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (and as the Diplomatic Cables have shown the whole world) out of concern of what an informed electorate might think. It has gotten away with this by classifying any information that may be embarrassing, or run counter to politicians talking points and propaganda regardless of whether it was “real” intelligence that directly had to do with ongoing operations or not.
BAE? As the diplomatic cables have shown they were caught red handed bribing the royalty of the oppressive Saudi government to get them to buy their lethal hardware, breaking countless British and international laws along the way. The British government got them off the hook due to “security concerns” (I´m sure the security of the Saudi public isn´t what they had in mind, more like the security of careers at BAE).
What happens to Bradley Manning, accused of giving the public a glimmer of information as to what goes on in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how US diplomacy works? Thrown in jail and subjected to torturous conditions before even facing a judge, and possibly facing the death sentence for “aiding the enemy”. That’s right, the international public and the US electorate Bradley Manning was allegedly seeking to inform is now considered an enemy.
The farcical hypocrisy and inconsistency of the US government regarding Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Wikileaks in general undermines any moral authority it has in the world, and the documents released by Wikileaks beg the question if it ever at any point was guided by anything remotely resembling ethical principles, or notions of justice.
If the US was motivated by any sense of justice, why are they prosecuting and torturing the person who allegedly exposed crimes, illegal operations, and general hypocrisy, instead of those the US government has documented to have committed crimes?
I have sworn to piss on my passport and renounce my US citizenship if the US government executes Bradley Manning. I can no long tolerate being a citizen of a country that talks so highly of human rights while behaving as any repressive regime in the world does in attempting to silence and discredit dissent, imprisoning and torturing dissidents, and possibly crossing that line in to executing them for being enemies of the state. Yes, the so called “land of the free” is degenerating to such a barbaric level, all in the name of state security, or as they call it here in Germany: Staatssicherheit. Such a government does not deserve security, it deserves to be abolished and rebuilt from the ground up with a more accountable Democracy installed.
Here is a list of some things the information Bradley Manning has allegedly released has shed light on:
A video of the slaying of two Reuters journalists and an Iraqi family by Apache gunships killing a total of 12 civilians, secret orders for the US military to ignore abuse in Iraqi prisons, the fact that the US has been lying about the number of civilian deaths in Iraq, Secretary of State Clinton gave orders for diplomats to spy on UN officials, Obama worked together with the Republican party to apply pressure to end any investigations of the Bush administration abroad, the US pressuring Germany not to prosecute CIA agents involved in torture and extraordinary rendition, the President of Yemen lying about US airstrikes in his country, India torturing prisoners in Kashmir, the UK training a death squad in Bangladesh, the Department of Defense lying to the American public about the conditions on the ground after the bombing of the Golden Dome in Samarra Iraq, the British government agreeing to shield American interests during Tony Blair´s whitewash called the Iraq War probe, the Pope refusing to cooperate with sex abuse investigations, US Special Forces working inside Pakistan with the Pakistani military, Pakistani military and intelligence forces are aiding Taliban groups inside Afghanistan, secret military assassination squads operating with little accountability in Afghanistan, widespread corruption throughout the governments of both Iraq and Afghanistan, several hundreds of undocumented civilian deaths in Afghanistan, the US collaborating with China to sabotage climate talks in Copenhagen, US and Italian forces training Egyptian secret police and military at COESPU in Vicenza, Japan being warned about its nuclear reactors, and as mentioned above the British government protecting BAE from prosecution after they are caught red handed bribing Saudi officials.
There are crimes being committed here, but what Bradley Manning is being accused of is not a crime. This is a case of shooting the messenger, and not addressing the message.