Author and Journalist Jeremy Scahill’s podcast Intercepted recently held a special live episode in Canada, which was originally billed to feature the military whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
Sadly, in further evidence that PR-master Justin Trudeau is a happy-clappy mannaquin distracting from an administration harbouring no intention of counteracting any aspect of Canada’s military-crazed Southern neighbours, Manning was denied a visa to the country on account of her past whistleblowing.
Manning famous leaked hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and war logs from Iraq to the organisation Wikileaks back in 2010, and she paid a harsh price for her determination to elucidate the War on Terror to the American citizens who pay for it.
She spent a year in de facto solitary confinement at a marine corps prison in Virginia before being handed a 35-year sentence at a maximum-security prison. The Obama administration initially made an example of Manning, but after 7 years of internment and two suicide attempts President Obama commuted her sentence as one of his final acts in government.
Manning served her time, and after an extensive investigation the Department of Defence released a report saying that her actions resulted ‘no significant strategic impact on U.S. war efforts’. It further clarified that there were certainly no soldiers who were endangered due to the breach, contradicting General Stanley McChrystal’s earlier smear against Manning and Wikileaks.
Now she is back in the real world, but far from liberated. As well as being unable to obtain a visa to any other country with the ‘treason’ label being placed upon her head by the US military, she is gagged from speaking about almost anything political and is routinely ostracised from public life due to behind-the-scenes coercion from the Pentagon.
She was due to be named the first ever LGBT visiting fellow at the University of Harvard, but this honour was quickly rescinded after Harvard’s resolve gave-in to a mountain of pressure coming from former spooks and intelligence-type douchebags who make up a worryingly large number of positions at the university.
One such influential spook was former CIA director Michael Morrell, who was simply beside himself that he would have to share a university honour with a woman who believes that the US military personnel who are involved in torture should be punished for their actions, and resigned his fellowship as a result.
Michael Morrell wrote a shallow memoir of his time at the CIA a few years back in which he vehemently defended the use of waterboarding – which through untold levels of metal gymnastics he concludes does not constitute torture – as well as Obama’s drone war which resulted in the deaths of over 160 young children for no discernible outcome whatsoever.
And so we arrive in a situation of inconceivably cruel irony, where a man who is responsible for war crimes is in a position to pass moral judgement on a woman who sacrificed her freedom in order to expose the said war crimes. And all this happens at the world’s #1 ranked university.
It doesn’t stop at Morrell and Harvard. As the US cracks down on military whistleblowing through increasingly unjustifiable punishments, the military leaders who instructed unpalatable crimes of war across the Middle-East occupy numerous positions at the summit of academia or politics.
General Stanley McChrystal, who was one of Manning’s harshest critics, is a senior fellow at Yale University in The Jackson Institute of Global Affairs. McChrystal has good reason to take a dim view of increased military transparency, as he was the main man involved in the cover up of the death of NFL player turned soldier Pat Tillman through friendly-fire. McChrystal even went as far as ensuring that Tillman’s diary and personal body armour were destroyed to remove any incriminating evidence.
He did such a great job at his Winston Wolfe-esque cleanup of the tragic young man’s death that McChrystal managed to narrowly bypass a series of half-hearted Congressional Inquiries and endless questions from Tillman’s family to continue his grand military career and retire into the world of endless academic platitudes.
For more evidence, look no further than the one-time superstar General David Petreaus, who hired and oversaw two individuals, James Steele and James Coffman, who created and trained sectarian militias in Iraq that tortured and killed Sunni insurgents.
Petraeus is a visiting fellow/honorary professor/other bullshit platitudes at several elite universities including Harvard’s John Kennedy School of Government and their Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the University of Southern California and the University of Exeter in the UK.
These are all cases of individuals who oversaw or even personally committed crimes that befit an audience at The Hague, but instead are given a throne at some of the most prestigious yet morally-bankrupt academic institutions in the world.
It certainly seems as though crime does, in fact, pay. Whistleblowing, on the other hand, has never been more dangerous when it’s the US military or intelligence community in the firing line.
Leak of Nations | Chelsea Manning