Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Is In The Water In Berkeley?

My jaw literally dropped when I saw the following story about the Berkeley City Hall and their most recent action. The headline gives you a hint: "Alleged Leaker Bradley Manning: Hero To Berkeley?". Of course, the headline refers to WikiLeaks. And the answer would be...

YES!!!! By a vote of 7-3, the Peace and Justice Commission passed a resolution to go to the City Council claiming Manning should be freed, and is a hero:
An Army private jailed for allegedly leaking sensitive military data is a hero and should be freed, according to a resolution under consideration by the Berkeley City Council.

The council is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to declare its support for Pfc. Bradley Manning, who's suspected of providing WikiLeaks with classified military documents and a video depicting an Army helicopter attack in Baghdad in which 11 civilians were killed. [snip]

Oh, boy. But wait, it gets better:
"If he did what he's accused of doing, he's a patriot and should get a medal," said Bob Meola, the Berkeley peace and justice commissioner who authored the resolution. "I think the war criminals should be the ones prosecuted, not the whistle-blowers."

The proposed resolution originated from the same commission that declared the Marine Corps "unwanted intruders" in Berkeley in 2008. The council's ensuing approval - and reversal - ignited some of the city's most raucous protest in years and prompted more than 25,000 e-mails to City Hall.

Now that should tell you all you need to know. I don't know about you, but when my back is against the wall, if I had to choose between one of these yahoos and a Marine, I'd take a Marine any day of the week. But that's just me.

Okay, now I know that there can be times when the release of sensitive information, whistle blowing, has resulted in positive changes. I get that. But to declare this soldier who stole classified information, information that is putting lives at stake (according to our Secretary of State, the director of the DOJ, and former President Clinton), does not a hero make. IMHO, that is.

So, how about those "no" votes? This is what one of them had to say:
[snip] Commissioner Thyme Siegel was one of the three "no" votes.

"We're just sitting here in Berkeley - we don't know that Afghani informants aren't being murdered because of these leaks," she said. "Bradley Manning sounds like a very sincere person, but I'm sorry, we really do have enemies, and it's not clear at all what the effects of these WikiLeaks are." [snip]

You're damn skippy, Ms. Siegel. That's my point. Not just for the Afghani informants, but for intelligence assets and US personnel around the globe.

In case you were wanted to know more about the resolution, it continues:
Berkeley's proposed resolution thanks Manning "for his courage in bringing the truth to the American people and the people of the world."

Army officials had no comment on Berkeley's resolution, but said that leaking classified data can endanger the lives of informants, provide useful information to the enemy and undermine the trust of those working with the military, according to Department of Defense spokesman Bob Mehal. [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

Holy moley. Ah, yes - "courage." Is that what we are calling treason these days? Providing classified information to a foreign national? Give me a break already. Manning isn't exactly Karen Silkwood. He stole classified information, is cocky as hell about it all, and does not appear to be doing it in a "whistle blowing" kind of way, but more of a, "hey, look what I did!" kind of way. Big, big difference.

Not too long after I picked my jaw up off the floor from reading this article, I received the following email from Voters for Peace, with this in the Subject line: "ON BEHALF OF JULIAN ASSANGE AND WIKILEAKS." Wow. You know I had to open it. The email reads:
Challenging U.S. Empire and its illegal and unjust wars are at the heart of our work at VotersForPeace.US.

This mission calls us to the active defense of journalist Julian Assange, and the courageous whisteblower(s) who are dealing the most powerful blow to U.S. Empire in recent memory with the continuous massive release of documents now rocking world capitals and dominating the global media.

In an attempt to intimidate and silence others, there is serious concern that the U.S. government will try to make Assange an example by manipulation of existing law or the creation of new laws retroactively applied charging him with crimes in the United States and pressuring other governments to extradite him to the USA.

We must create a culture where it is safe and supported to tell the truth about our government’s activities. We must encourage more people to have the courage to reveal what they know about the murder, torture and corruption committed in our name.

We must stand up to protect all whisteblowers and truth tellers in the face of a U.S. government which is increasingly unaccountable to citizens, to domestic or international laws, or to our Constitution.

Recall that The New York Times has admitted it checked every document it published with the government beforehand. We must say to the Empire, "We draw the line HERE. Step back. We will not sit silently while you make this journalist and good government activist into a criminal to drive fear into the hearts of any other who would oppose you. We will resist.”

Please consider signing this petition as an expression of your support for peace, justice, and democracy,


Linda Schade
Co-founder, Voters for Peace

WTH? The "U.S. Empire"?? Are these some of the same people involved in "Hacktivism," trying to disrupt Visa, Mastercard, and the Palins own personal credit cards,a long with Palin's PAC to support what they consider to be WikiLeaks free speech rights? (Ironically, they have a narrow view of free speech. It only applies to them, and not to those who, like Palin, oppose what Julian Assange has done. Perhaps they can look up the term "hypocrite" in Wikipedia to see if their picture appears there. Just a suggestion.)

Meanwhile, looks like the DOJ is finally getting its act together (seriously - how long have they had to look into possible wrong-doing?). According to the UK Independent, "Assange Could Face Espionage Trial In The U.S." What a concept.

Now - about Bradley Manning - will he face additional charges? A court-martial, perhaps? Huh - I wonder what the people in Berkeley would do then? I shudder to think. How about you?


Anonymous said...

Berkeley is full of a bunch of people who think Roman Polanski got railroaded, too. Clearly if you're going to be a left-wing hero, murking a few snatches is just part of the perqs.

Stray Yellar Dawg? said...

What this boils down to is black and white thinking. The inability of any extremist (be they Left or Right) to appreciate nuance.

I guess we should be grateful that the same extreme types that sit on the Berkeley city council don't run the whole danged country!

Oh wait... maybe they do... :~0

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

I should say that it was the Peace and Justice Commission that passed the resolution to go forward to the City Council - the article was unclear, but that is my understanding. Sorry for any confusion!

And yes, SYD, I think you are right, they do seem to be running the country, don't they?

Janis, you are right - these are the same people who think Polanski has been "done wrong." Crazy!