Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Devil and Bradley Manning

The layperson's familiarity with the game of Chess exhibits the image of an opening move - that of a pawn, any pawn, being moved two paces directly forward. It is impossible for that synthetic infantryman to be struck down immediately thereafter, but if it remains standing at the conclusion of the match, we are dealing with something other than your everyday player, or run-of-the-mill pawn.

I's have it
I hope she let's him walk. I know, up to now indications are that Colonel Denise Lind tends to reject arguments that'd favor the defendant. I'd like to think, however, that she'll give this a little more thought, or has given it more thought.

I refer, as to the latter, to her possibly having considered actual earthly justice as well as the appearance of process, or, in the case of the former, that she might be made to do some serious soul searching during sentencing arguments.

I realize she had the chance to let him walk already, and that "walk" is a technical misnomer, what with her first having adjudicated against his right to be set free based on Article 13 of the UCMJ, regarding his unlawful punishment up to that point, and her ultimately finding him guilty of almost all of the charges against him.

I nevertheless unreasonably hope that she might weigh, or have already weighed, as in the case of the former in the latter (the latter in the former), sentencing him to time served.

I further realize - as far as the case of the former in the latter - that we'd have to be dealing with someone who - while not necessarily playing the eleven dimensional variety of Chess employed by mythologically heroic leaders of the Democratic Party pantheon so as to keep any & everyone except for the most in-the-know friend or foe guessing for eternity - has had her intentions formerly engaged in the fourth dimension, wholly aware that her sentence will provide mercy, after having given the appearance of process its run. Still, it's nutty, I know. I's have it.


I try to avoid the kind of conspiratorial thinking that follows what Robert Anton Wilson called "a loser script" - the idea that if there is a shadowy ubiquity that grants TPTB access to their dominion, they are using it to work against me personally in perpetuity.

But the flip-side of the loser script is faith, from which I also abstain (notwithstanding the pipe-dream that Judge Lind would secretly harbor the will to sentence Manning to an average of just over three years for each of his convictions, and that she'd order the sentences served concurrently).

I really do believe that the essential conspiracy is that there's no conspiracy required, but that doesn't mean there aren't conspiracies. It's instructive to take a look at the most vast theories - of metaphysics & ancient astronauts & pedophile-rings of metallurgically conjured sodomizing lizard demons and the Faustian quid pro quo of the deep politics thereof - in order to boil them down to their most essential qualities and analyze their most real realities. To remove the myth from the mythology, as it were, so to speak. If you will.

Forgoing that, going straight to the spoiler, snorting the crusty powder left in the flask, we see simple truths like: Power corrupts, and politics makes strange bedfellows. But without having immersed oneself in the undiluted solution, I believe the meaning of "power" and "strange" is inadequate.

Whose game is this anyway?
Whenever the elders regard a lowly life hanging in the balance, they refer to the speech of Caesar. All puns aside, the law is byzantine down to the word. It obstructs informed reason with speech and action, or with the interdiction of either and/or.

Take the case of jury nullification. This is a step everyday rubes can take when they know the charges against the accused are bullshit, even if the law says otherwise. But while a jury can call bullshit on the law, the law sees the action as legally invalid and, in dutiful interest of self-preservation, prohibits any language that would make a jury aware of this time-honored utility for last-ditch fair treatment.

How often have you heard a juror make a reference to his or her hands having been tied? Indeed, pre-deliberation instructions would lead jurors to believe that their hands are beautifully bound with the brilliant blindfold of Lady Justice.

In instances where the sense is to acquit, it is because they are not entrusted with the ability to reason in matters of fair play; in instances when the sense is to convict, it's because they are not entrusted with the ability to reason in matters of redress.

Whatever real justice that blindness sometimes preserves, your peers of the jury are deliberately kept ignorant of- & actively misled about a prescription that could protect you when the law's myopia is gamed for despotism, as in the authoritarian's selective application of the law.

There are these moments when people either submit to an authority against their common sense, or take the law into their own hands. They don't always do it from the jury box.


Comic Relief


Whose myth is it anyway?

Every single charge against him is related to his having taken actions to expose to a slumbering multitude of those United States that their knights in shining armor - if having their crimes as dutifully enumerated as those of the messenger standing condemned - would be villainous murderers, murdering marauders, marauding larcenists, larcenist co-conspirators, conspiring obstructors of justice, and, hardly least of which, if they were just following the rules of engagement, after all, a monolithic conspiratorial villain of organized criminal intent.

((Rules of engagement are issued and interpreted by a military class well-aware of cushy defense jobs available when they retire, as early as 38. Nobody but the most engage-friendly officers snag that shit up.))

But I'm not convinced any aspects of Bradley Manning's treatment are because he "embarrassed power". I suppose somewhere in the shady corners of influence where the egos still betray aspects of their fragility, where statements are made like "This could be potentially embarrassing," the egg might drip at least for appearances' sake. Still, plain pissed off is more like it. Even then, I'm not so sure the anger extends beyond those who like to use the word "honor" as if it doesn't have quotes around it.

Who would this fuming faculty be? The president?
N-word, please.

The folk attitudinally predisposed to pro or con think the president "ended the war in Iraq" when dude's administration was actually trying to negotiate an extended US military presence there, a transaction that included, ironically, the US seeking "a guarantee of legal protection for American soldiers" - when one of the diplomatic cables leaked by an American soldier exposed why the US government might have been seeking that protection.

Somehow I doubt that Bo Rama's upset at getting the credit Bradley Manning deserves.

But if the leaks in any way hindered the reasons behind the stated desire to keep a few thousand troops in Iraq in spite of a promise to bring them all home, you can bet that someone was at least temporarily irritated. And you can go all-in that it negatively affected paychecks - probably those of the rooks or their handlers. So they'd be pissed.

So what if jilted occupiers come in apple pie flavor. Big deal. Surely we've learned by now that there's nothing quite like the mistrust between partners in wholesale slaughter.


Would you believe that some people don't believe that the bottom-line strategy of the DOD and its associated forces is enemy breeding? Cut that sentence however you like, it's true:

The less the military and its associated forces were to engage, the fewer enemies it would breed; the fewer enemies it bred, the lower the perceived need for military engagement; the lower the perceived need for military engagement, the fewer the number of people who'd aspire to deploying defense industry product.

Fewer aching to murderously maraud means less money all around.

You might be thinking that - like the paperboy who throws his advertising-inserts into the sewer yet still collects the bill for the subscription once a week - weapons manufacturers so interwoven into the beltway of war profiteering and corporate manufactured media should be able to generate profit by fighting wholly phantom enemies inked in black & white print alone, without so much the need to kill and cover for it, or even promote, in color, the benefits of the manufacture of weapons.

You might be thinking that the "war is profit" scenario is too complicated, with entirely too much trouble being taken to sell the product.

For that reason one might be led to believe that the Pentagon and associated forces kill for the reasons they say they do.

And you'd be partially correct. Waste be as waste do. But you might also be surprised at the number of finicky old ladies who miss those advertising-inserts.

And more than that, you would be oblivious to the premium gun-maker who gets a rush out of shooting things and watching them die - a person hellbent on the destruction of life who's been as long accustomed to a certain standard of living.

This kind of creature, with a keen sense of the darkest side of human nature, can forge a nearly impenetrable coalition between those who have an undying thirst for money, prestige, and the appearance of influence, and those who enjoy killing people. They are especially fond of those who, uh, actually believe their own bullshit. So it pays to pretend that you do.

In the myth I was raised on, they call that murderous merchant & gatherer of status seekers The Beast. But, really, would such an entity spend emotional energy ensuring an Army private's being made an example of?

Even if it were so inclined, it wouldn't have to.

It is true that this process delivers a message to those who would follow in Manning's footsteps, but the effect of criminalization was already a given. You think anybody with the guts to do what Manning did is gonna be frightened off by this example?

Still, even if it wouldn't embolden the less daring to take similar paces forward, a judicious handling of Manning as the heroic figure the people's mythology properly affords him is quite simply not even the remotest option under the law per se.

And while there are plenty of plebes to crank the cogs of emotional justice - some salivating and crossing the t's, a few weeping whilst dotting the i's - most are probably thinking about lunch.

Many read about it, or watch it on TV. But most don't.

This is just another case in the annals of "we the people" enmeshed in "a nation of laws" - its just-so-ness evidenced in the lack of interest relative to the Trial of the Century it deserves to be.


Surrounding yourself
The defense in court-marshal cases have a move to consider that their civilian equivalents do not.

In the case of 666 v. BRADLEY MANNING, the defense (or the defendant) got a choice (or had to choose) who would hear the case and render the verdict.

Had they chosen the militarist's version of a jury of one's peers, they would have been faced with a panel of at least five commissioned officers, unless they had further opted for the panel to include a token-third of enlisted personnel.

Instead, the defense chose to place the accused at the mercy of a single officer. Considering the outcome of the trial phase, one less indoctrinated unto the rules of the game might believe they'd erred. But I understand the logic of that move under the circumstances: very few in the available pool are likely to be sympathetic to the accused in this case. Each additional jury member only increases that factor.

This choice is important when you consider that the verdict in a court-marshal is the majority result of the panel's one vote. The likelihood of one judge having compassionate instincts is greater than the probability of three out of five random military personnel weighted in number towards the elite of their class not trending total antagonism towards the guy the general populace so easily calls a traitor.

Seen another way: justice in the military, like military justice, is a gun. When it's all dress uniforms and somber proceedings, think of it as a game of Russian roulette, but with the extra jury members representing not more bullets in the chamber - the gun is extra loaded anyway - but additional turns at pulling the trigger. Pull it once and be done with it.

At any rate, that's what the defense in the case of 666 v. BRADLEY MANNING chose to do.

God speed.

von Squire & Anderson