“jewish global nazi war” is me, not the trot

Manning released amid growing attacks on democratic rights in Pindostan
Bill Van Awken, WSWS, May 18 2017

Chelsea Manning walked out of the Pindo military’s maximum security prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in the early morning hours Wednesday after serving a sentence of more than seven years, marked by brutality and ill-treatment tantamount to torture. Manning’s supposed “crime” was that of exposing to the people of Pindostan and the entire planet the criminal atrocities carried out by the Pindo government in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Faschingstein’s conspiracies around the world. It is ironic that the release of the Pindo Army private imprisoned for leaking classified documents received minimal coverage from the corporate media, even as it churned out endless stories covering Pres Trump’s alleged exposure to Russian officials of classified secrets.

The political crisis in Faschingstein is the product of a bitter internecine struggle between rival factions within the ruling political establishment and the state apparatus, which are equally hostile to the democratic principles and antiwar sentiments for which Chelsea Manning sacrificed her freedom and nearly lost her life. Days after her sentencing in Aug 2013, Manning came out as a transgender woman, but the military held her in an all-male prison, subjecting her to sexual humiliation and denying her treatment for her well-documented gender dysphoria. Much of her imprisonment was spent in punitively imposed solitary confinement. The predictable result was extreme mental anguish, depression and attempted suicide. Manning’s seven years of imprisonment and torment at the hands of the military represented the most draconian punishment ever imposed for leaking classified documents in Pindostan. She was originally sentenced to 35 years in prison in a drumhead military court martial in which the prosecution pressed for a “treason” conviction, a charge that carries the death penalty. Whom did Manning “betray”? Certainly not the Pindo creeple, to whom she helped expose crimes being carried out behind their backs. Rather, her actions cut across the interests of the capitalist ruling class, which is waging endless predatory wars and building up a police state apparatus to suppress social unrest and popular resistance at home. Working as a 22-year-old military intelligence analyst in Iraq, Manning became increasingly opposed to the US war and occupation in that country. In early 2010, she provided WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of classified documents exposing the crimes of Faschingstein. Among the first of pieces of this classified material to catch the attention of a wide public was the chilling “Collateral Murder” video. Viewed by millions, the video, recorded through the gun sight of a US Apache helicopter, provides a gut-wrenching exposure not only of a deliberate massacre of over a dozen unarmed civilians, including two Iraqi reporters working for Reuters, but of the criminal character of the Jewish Global Nazi war as a whole.

Other documents provided by Manning made it clear that Pindostan was vastly underreporting the number of civilians being killed and wounded in Afghanistan. Manning also gave WikiLeaks some 250,000 diplomatic cables from American embassies around the world, which exposed official Pindo lying, efforts to subvert governments, and dossiers on the prisoners at Gitmo, showing most of them had no significant role in terrorist operations. The exposure of these crimes provoked a vindictive reaction from the Obama White House and the State Dept, then headed by Hillary Clinton. The persecution of Manning was part of a broader crackdown on whistleblowers: the Obama administration prosecuted more individuals under the Espionage Act of 1917 than all previous administrations combined. This crackdown went hand-in-hand with and the buildup of a state repressive apparatus that extended from the massive spying on the US and world population to the president’s invoking the power to order the drone missile assassination of anyone, anywhere in the world. If Obama commuted Manning’s sentence on his final day in office (adding 120 days onto her time served), it was not out of any last-minute sympathy for the imprisoned soldier’s suffering or newfound democratic convictions. It was a calculated political act, aimed at sanitizing the filthy record of his administration and currying favor for the Demagog Party. The conviction and the draconian sentence remain on the books, a brutal warning to anyone thinking of following in the persecuted private’s footsteps.

During the seven years that Manning spent enclosed behind cement and iron bars, the government’s witch-hunt and persecution against those daring to expose its crimes has only intensified. Julian Assange has been trapped in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012, threatened by a US federal grand jury. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated last month that Assange’s arrest was a “priority,” adding that the US government is “stepping up our efforts on all leaks…whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.” This was accompanied by an extraordinary speech by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who branded WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” He declared that Assange “has no First Amendment freedoms” and that anyone who reveals the secrets of the US government is an “enemy” guilty of “treason.” Edward Snowden, who exposed the NSA’s illegal wholesale spying operations, has been turned into a man without a country, living in forced exile in Moscow. Both Trump and Pompeo have publicly called for his execution. If Manning, Assange and Snowden are compelled to face the threat of imprisonment and even death for lifting the lid on Washington’s dirty secrets, it is in large measure because the corporate media in the United States is fully complicit in these crimes, functioning more and more openly as a propaganda arm of the US government. In a revealingly hostile response to Manning’s pending release, the New York Times buried an article deep inside its printed addition Wednesday under the headline “Manning Is Set to Be Freed 28 Years Ahead of Schedule.” Presumably the newspaper of record would have preferred she serve her full term.

The NYT’s former executive editor Bill Keller expressed his attitude toward the WikiLeaks revelations in 2010, while Manning was being brutalized in a Marine Corps lockup in Quantico, Virginia. He described himself as “uncomfortable” with the notion that the Times “can decide to release information that the government wants to keep secret,” a practice that in an earlier period was regarded as the most essential function of the so-called Fourth Estate. He made the Orwellian declaration that “transparency is not an absolute good” and that “Freedom of the press includes freedom not to publish, and that is a freedom we exercise with some regularity.” Today, the Times’s editorial pages are under the direction of James Bennet, a figure with the closest ties to the state apparatus and the top echelons of the Democratic Party. (His father is a former head of USAID, a front for the CIA, and his brother is the senior senator from Colorado.) The Times churns out war propaganda, while news coverage is, by the paper’s own admission, vetted by the US intelligence agencies. These practices set the tone for the corporate media as a whole. The suppression of freedom of the press and free speech in the US—epitomized by the relentless persecution of Manning, Assange and Snowden—is driven by the needs of America’s ruling oligarchy as it seeks to extricate itself from deepening economic and political crises by means of ever more dangerous acts of military aggression abroad, while confronting rising hostility and anger from masses of working people in the US and around the world. The defense of these rights and the fight against state repression can be waged only as part of the struggle for the independent political mobilization of the working class against the capitalist system.

DoJ appoints special counsel to investigate Trump-Russia claims
Andre Damon, WSWS, May 18 2017

The factional battle raging in Faschingstein entered a new stage Wednesday evening with the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials. Mueller, who headed the FBI under Bush 43 and for the first two years of the Obama administration, was the longest-serving FBI director after J Edgar Hoover. The move follows a rapid-fire series of developments in Washington, including last Tuesday’s firing of Comey, allegations this week that Trump gave highly classified intelligence about a planned Daesh attack to Russian boxtops at a White House meeting the day after the Comey firing, and reports that Trump had urged Comey to drop the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn. The House Government Oversight Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee had all invited Comey to testify prior to the appointment of Mueller. Leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees have also requested all records of communications between Trump and Comey. In announcing Mueller’s appointment as special counsel, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein cautioned:

My decision is not the finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. (Mueller is to review) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Pres Trump (and) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.

A career operative in the national security apparatus, Mueller served as the head of the FBI from 2001 to 2013, appointed by Bush 43 and continuing under Obama, who asked him to stay on for an additional two years beyond the 10-year term prescribed by legislation introduced to prevent another J Edgar Hoover, who held the post for half a century. Mueller, in the words of the NYT, is “credited with building the modern FBI.” Trump, who reportedly learned about the appointment after it had been made public, issued a hasty statement that did not mention Mueller’s name. Trump wrote:

As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know: there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.

The announcement took place only six hours after Trump delivered a belligerent commencement address at the Coast Guard academy in Connecticut. Singling out the media for attack, he declared:

No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.

He made a thinly-veiled appeal to the military amid the deepening faction fight, telling the crowd of Coast Guard cadets and officers:

Don’t give in, don’t back down… the more righteous your fight, the more opposition that you will face.

The announcement of Mueller’s appointment took place just two hours after US financial markets closed in the worst trading day since Trump took office. All three US stock indexes closed down, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 372 points, its biggest fall in eight months. T-Bonds saw their values rise by the largest amount since the Jun 23 2016 Brexit referendum. According to reports in the financial press, the major driving force behind the sell-off was concerns among big investors that the deepening turbulence in Faschingstein will impede Trump’s domestic legislative agenda of corporate tax cuts, deregulation of business and massive cuts in health care and other social programs. On Wednesday morning, the WSJ ran a front-page article headlined “White House Turmoil Puts the GOP Agenda at Risk.” The article warned:

The series of controversies involving the president has threatened to swamp his legislative agenda on Capitol Hill, with potential hearings and widening investigations siphoning time and energy from plans to overhaul the health care system and tax code.

Congress critturs of both gender assignations voiced support for Mueller. The appointment of a special counsel was a principal demand of the Demagogs since Trump’s inauguration, and will be taken as a green light to escalate their right-wing campaign against Trump, based on an agenda for an even more militaristic and aggressive policy in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, centrally targeting Russia. Sen Jeanne Shaheen said:

This is very encouraging news and his appointment should go a long way towards depoliticizing the investigation into Russia’s unprecedented interference in our election.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said:

A special prosecutor is the first step, but it cannot be the last. Director Mueller is a respected public servant of the highest integrity, but he will still be in the chain of command under the Trump-appointed leadership of the DoJ. He cannot take the place of a truly independent, outside commission that is completely free from the Trump administration’s meddling.

While Mueller, as special counsel, will be answerable to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions having recused himself from the investigation, he will have discretion over the extent to which he keeps the DoJ informed of his investigation. The Watergate-era legislation providing for the appointment of an independent counsel completely outside the DoJ was allowed to expire in 1999, after the debacle of the Kenneth Starr investigation and impeachment of Bill Clinton. In its place, the DoJ has provisions for the appointment of special prosecutors, who operate with greater independence than a federal attorney but can still be removed by a president willing to pay the political price. The selection of Mueller makes it more difficult for Trump to take such action. Moreover, coming only a week after Trump fired Comey because he would not shut down the Russia investigation, the selection of Comey’s predecessor at the FBI is a clear slap in the face to the White House. Wednesday’s events underscore the depth of the crisis gripping official political circles in Pindostan. The bitter conflicts that have erupted to the surface express the interests of rival factions of the financial oligarchy that are both totally corrupt and reactionary. The intensity of the conflict is ultimately an expression of the fact that neither faction has any solution to the economic and geopolitical crises facing capitalism, expressed most directly in the staggering and endless growth of social inequality. The force that has yet to be heard from is the working class, which must intervene in the deepening political crisis on the basis of its own, socialist, political program.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s