Law and Disorder Radio – Greg Mitchell on Bradley Manning – Lawyers You’ll Like: Natsu Saito – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio

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Truth and Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning

In the past year, we’ve covered Wikileaks and specifically the Bradley Manning case in our updates. We talk today with Greg Mitchell, co-author of the new book Truth and Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning. In the first part of the book, titled “Solitary Man,” Greg Mitchell gives readers a detailed look into the character of Bradley Manning. The second part of the book details the Bradley Manning trials and is written by co-author Kevin Gosztola. The voices of friends and family document the important details in Manning’s life leading up to Wikileaks and then the book dives into the complexities of the trial. In the preface Greg writes, “Ultimate truths, in this case, may lead to ultimate consequences for one who would not be silent.”

Greg Mitchell:

  • The second half of the book is really the only thing out there that covers in depth what has happened to him in the last few months.
  • Namely his court martial proceedings after he was imprisoned for a year and a half. His first hearing was last December. He is awaiting what is expected to come out as a formal court martial in August. If it does start in August, it will be well over 2 years since he was arrested.
  • A lot of the charges are related to passing this classified information along to Wikileaks. Of course the most dynamite charge is that he gave aid to the enemy.
  • Who is the enemy? The government was forced to say that it was Al-Qaeda. That charge potentially carries the death sentence.
  • They’re interested in punishing Manning; the big fish they’re after is Julian Assange.
  • Last year there was global outrage when he was kept in solitary confinement, forced to sleep naked and stand at attention naked.
  • All the top media outlets had a falling out with Wikileaks, and I think there’s a spillover effect from that.
  • There hasn’t been any media coverage that really probes into what’s going on here.
  • Over and over Bradley Manning cited his outrage at what he was seeing in those cables and in Iraq, and things he was asked to participate in.
  • The court martial will be extremely embarrassing to the military because they gave him access to these documents.
  • He was a kid who grew up in Oklahoma, his parents eventually got divorced. He was a computer nerd, growing up. He realized in his teens, he was gay.
  • He wasn’t a longtime peacenik or things like that, he always had some social conscience, and when he got to Iraq, he saw things that upset him.
  • It may have never come out, that he would be arrested, except that he had these online chats with Adrien Lamo, who is a convicted hacker. Lamo decided Manning was talking too much about what he did and went to the authorities.
  • The Manning case shows this incredible legacy of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have gone on for a decade; it’s never-ending and yet the American public has never been brought face to face with what the US has done in those countries, the civilian casualties.

Guest – Greg Mitchell writes daily for The Nation magazine’s web site. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Campaign of the Century (winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize), So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits and the President Failed on Iraq, Why Obama Won, Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady, The Age of WikiLeaks, and with Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America and Who Owns Death? His most recent books are Atomic Cover-Up and Journeys with Beethoven. He was the editor of Editor & Publisher magazine from 2002 to 2009. He also served as the longtime editor of Nuclear Times magazine, and before that was senior editor at the legendary Crawdaddy. Hundreds of his articles have appeared in leading publications and he has served as chief adviser for two award-winning documentaries.

 Lawyers You’ll Like – Attorney Natsu Saito

For our Lawyers You’ll Like series, we welcome back attorney and professor Natsu Saito. In our last interview, Professor Saito mentioned how the current system of international law evolved from a broader agreement between the European colonial powers based on how they were not going to destroy each other in the process of taking over the rest of the world. It is this duality that Natsu writes about in her book Meeting the Enemy: American Exceptionalism and International Law. Professor Saito joined the Georgia State University College of Law faculty in 1994 and teaches international law, human rights, race and the law, immigration, criminal procedure, and professional responsibility. Her scholarship focuses on the legal history of race in the United States, the plenary power doctrine as applied to immigrants, American Indians, and U.S. territorial possessions, and the human rights implications of U.S. governmental policies, particularly with regard to the suppression of political dissent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Natsu Saito:

  • The contradiction is that the US does exempt itself from international law very consistently and very frequently, and yet promotes international law very strongly and relies upon it.
  • It has relied upon certain premises that are fundamental to the whole outlook and paradigm of colonialism – which is that there is a higher good, a more civilized approach the US embodies.
  • The law doesn’t apply because we have a higher aim of civilization and that justifies not playing by the rules.
  • The United States making others comply with human rights standards while exempting itself
  • Moving humanity toward this higher goal is so critical because if you strip that away and you look at the realities on the ground, you see what has been termed “Western civilization” has been incredibly barbaric.
  • In order to get around that analysis, you have to say it was for a higher good.
  • I think the “left” tends to accept the general framework, and to make particular criticisms of policies and practices that are obviously problematic–the US government engaging in torture for example. But each instance is accepted as anomalous instead of looking at the larger picture.
  • It is too frightening even for the people on the left to deal with the reality that this is a country that sits on occupied land, illegally occupied by its own rules. People on the left want to make it a kinder, gentler colonialism.
  • I started out thinking I was writing a book about the failure of the United States failure to comply with international law, as I got into it, the more interesting questions were the push/pull dynamics between reliance on international law and disregarding it.
  • The current system of international law evolved from the international law which was the agreement between the European colonial powers over how they were not going to destroy each other in the process of taking over the rest of the world.

Guest – Professor Natsu Saito, Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law.