The United States Army and Marine Corps call their enlisted job specialties, "MOS's," or Military Occupation Specialties.
Bradley Manning was a 35F or 35 Fox, Military Intelligence Analyst, assigned to Company B, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division Light Infantry (LI), when, the US Government says, he disclosed the largest leak of classified information in US History.
According to the US Army, the mission of the 35F Military Occupational Specialty [MOS] is to "gather, analyze, and report intelligence information that reveals the intended secrets of hostile forces," and 35F "must qualify for a top secret clearance with special access eligibility."
It should be noted, his alleged leak concerned information only marked at the lowest level of classification, "SECRET", or was not classified at all.
For example, on testimony by Army CID Agent, Toni Graham, at Bradley Manning's Article 32 Pretrial Hearing and similarly at the March 16, 2011 Motion Hearing for US v PFC Bradley Manning, there is still uncertainty as to whether or not the July 12, 2007 Baghdad air strike video, commonly known as "Collateral Murder" was classified or not.
35Fs analyze data including weather, terrain, and the position of opposing forces. They are trained to read and interpret maps, electronically plot symbols, and consolidate intelligence data onto a situation map.
Last Thursday, human rights and Julian Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson was held up on her flight from London to Sydney for security reasons. Over the years, journalists have been interrogated and detained at borders, often for purely political reasons. This incident was unprecedented with a lawyer now facing similar treatment.
Robinson was told that she is on an "inhibited" list of mysterious origin and that the Australian High Commission in London needed to be contacted before her departure. At some point, she was given the green light to board without that call being made and was able to get to her destination. When pressed, Australian Attorney General Roxon showed concern about the incident. She said that "this is not the result of any action taken by the Australian Government. We believe [Robinson], as an Australian who is not subject to any criminal charges or allegations, should be free to travel in and out of Australia."
The Guardian reported that "The Australian high commission in London has no record of a call being received from UK authorities concerning her travel". Virgin Atlantic, the airline that stopped Robinson, deferred responsibility to security services, while the UK Border Agency and DFAT each deny involvement.
Her body of work includes: "My Country, My Country", about the U.S. invasion of Iraq; "The Oath", about two Yemeni men caught up in America’s "War on Terror"; and her current work in progress detailing the U.S. surveillance state in post 9/11 America.
Woven through the museum were interactive installations by Stimulate, and two mysterious portraits of of Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks, who has been under house-arrest in Great Britian for 501 days without charge.
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" This familiar philosophical question came to my mind in response to a friend's challenge of my support for WikiLeaks and call for investigation into the recent shooting of a black teen in Florida. She said, "How do you know what the truth is? How do you know that George Zimmerman didn't act in self-defense? How do you know that Julian Assange didn't sexually assault women in Scandinavia? ... Unless you get on an airplane, go the scene of the action, and see for yourself, you can't be absolutely certain. You can check and crosscheck multiple different sources and you can draw reasonable inferences, but you still have to inject a certain amount of faith unless you conduct your own personal investigation".
It is true. We were not there at the moment of Trayvon Martin's death. Someone pulled the trigger and as a result the young man was dead. At the moment of his death, the neighbor's 911 call recorded someone crying for help. Someone was being threatened. Was it Zimmerman or Martin? We don't know if this was a murder or an act of self defense by Zimmerman. When the tree fell down, we were not in the woods to hear it.
Later I contemplated my friend's perspective and realized how it represents a psychological condition prevalent in American society. It is a kind of social disease, which perhaps explains the public silence around many problems in the world. This is a kind of belief system that says; I wasn't there. I don't know the truth, so I withhold judgment and remain aloof.
Julian Assange has now been detained for 500 days without charge. This includes the 10 days he spent in solitary confinement on top of the 490 days he's spent electronically tagged under house arrest. After all this time the media is still spreading the same falsities about his case and people continue to attack him with the same misconceptions as they were a year and a half ago.
I am indebted to Glenn Greenwald who posted an article here on the Tarek Mehanna case.
Greenwald outlines the case:
Tarek Mehanna, an American Muslim, was convicted this week in a federal court in Boston and then sentenced yesterday to 17 years in prison. He was found guilty of supporting Al Qaeda (by virtue of translating Terrorists’ documents into English and expressing “sympathetic views” to the group) as well as conspiring to “murder” U.S. soldiers in Iraq (i.e., to wage war against an invading army perpetrating an aggressive attack on a Muslim nation)
In a link by Greenwald to Julia Spitz of MetroWest Daily News, further details emerge:
He was a 'serious young man' who wanted to 'exemplify Islam,' said the judge, but became consumed by a fervor that led him to support al Qaeda by translating materials from Arabic into English and 'proselytizing' to recruit others to embrace his views.
Embrace his views or incite others to violence? (one might ask). As I wrote here, about incitement on the subject of certain Americans inciting others to kill Julian Assange:
There is no automatic 1st Amendment protection per Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969):
Freedoms of speech and press do not permit a State to forbid advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action
WikiLeaks News (Releases):
After a public forum on WikiLeaks, Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam made the following comment:
The Australian Government has done the absolute bare minimum above stuff-all to help this Australian citizen in trouble. […] They've attempted to block and delay Freedom of Information requests, they haven't answered straight questions, they've voted against motions, and to me it's starting to look not like indifference but like hostility.
This hostility from the Australian Government is becoming more and more apparent, especially as Julian Assange awaits the UK Supreme Court's decision on whether he'll be extradited to Sweden. Not only is the Government offering little support to its citizen, but it is making derogatory and false remarks against the WikiLeaks organization, refusing to offer timely release of relevant information, and passing new laws which make it difficult for WikiLeaks to continue operating legally and raise safety concerns for its founder.