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Manning, Assange and Suu Kyi

Friday, June 29, 2012

Manning, Assange and Suu Kyi

On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released a classified US military video of three air strikes from a US Apache helicopter last July 12, 2007 in New Baghdad, Iraq. Eighteen people were killed, including two journalists working for Reuters, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen, while two children were wounded in an incoming private van that was going to rescue one of the reporters before it was fired upon.

We know of the children because the video that showed US ground troops arriving at the area — recorded by the gunsight camera on the Apache helicopter, Crazyhorse 18 — had a soldier “running as he (carried) one of the children wounded in the attack on the van.”

Thanks to YouTube, millions of global citizens laid witness to those gruesome events. But had it not been for Private Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old intelligence analyst with the US Army in Baghdad who allegedly passed on the material to WikiLeaks, the world might still have not had any inkling of the atrocities that transpired on that fateful day.

Manning was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq on suspicion of passing classified materials to the whistleblower Web site, then charged with communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding the enemy — all of which could result in lifetime imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the other figure in this controversy, Julian Paul Assange (aged 42 today), is an Australian computer programmer, Internet political activist, publisher, and journalist, best known as the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, a Web site that publishes information from whistle-blowers everywhere.

A hacker-activist in his youth, Assange has garnered numerous awards and nominations, including the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award, the 2010 Readers’ Choice for Time’s Person of the Year, the 2011 Sydney Peace Foundation gold medal, the 2011 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, and a nod for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. Fearing the accolades were a build-up for another “useful idiot,” I kept quiet about him; now, I’m convinced he is genuine.

In 2010, a European arrest warrant was issued for Assange on what appeared to be trumped-up charges of rape and sexual assault. He was later arrested in the UK and freed on bail after 10 days. On May 30 of this year, Assange lost his Supreme Court appeal to prevent extradition to Sweden. Then on June 19, Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought political asylum on the basis of political persecution. Ecuador granted him temporary protection pending deliberations by the Ecuadorean parliament.

Just before his asylum bid and while serving house arrest in the UK, Assange had around half a dozen episodes of his own talk show beamed over Russia Today (seen here on Destiny Cable Channel 86). Every episode and interview I had the chance to follow was always interesting and in-depth; the last one with Imran Khan of Pakistan was no exception as it exposed the US as well as the Pakistani ruling class’ corrupt politics.
The work and sacrifice of these two heroes, at a time when US imperialism is at its apogee, highlights the power of truth and modern information or — to borrow from another Internet dissident Alex Jones — the “Information War.” This “Infowar” is one that will rouse the world against the US war industry and its controlled war-coddling mainstream media all over the world.

Indeed, these are the people who deserve all the international peace and democracy awards (except for the debased Nobel Peace Prize after it was bestowed to a mother-and-child killer in the White House, now infamous for his unmanned drone terrorism all over the world).

Sadly, there is no clamor yet in the Philippines for the kind of heroism of these two whistleblower-warriors for truth and global transparency. This is perhaps because a lot of column inches are being devoted to certain darlings of Western “human rights” advocates such as Aung San Suu Kyi.

Our Tribune colleague, Ken Fuller, wrote in “A rendezvous with disappointment” a good assessment of Suu Kyi and with apologies I summarize: “US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew in and… met Aung Sang Suu Kyi for talks… Then, on April 13, following the NLD (Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy) by-election victories, in came UK Prime Minister David Cameron… What is happening here… is that Western leaders… are now hurrying to secure a place at the head of the line… Surely Aung San Suu Kyi would not allow them to pillage her country?… (But as) we get to socio-economic questions… what will the economy look like? Will Myanmar attempt to industrialize? What will be the balance between public and private, local and foreign enterprise?… voters were told that the NLD would ‘focus on seeking necessary international assistance for development of the nation,’ and that ‘it is required to make a shift to market economy with a right balance between freedom, stability and social justice, based on the rule of law.’  So, there will be a market economy. But that is not all. ‘It is required to closely cooperate with the International Monetary Fund…’”

Last week in Oslo, Suu Kyi personally received the Nobel Peace honor bestowed on her 21 years ago, getting “two standing ovations as she gave her long-delayed acceptance speech.” Before the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the King and Queen of Norway, and about 600 dignitaries, “The 66-year-old champion of political freedom praised the power of her 1991 Nobel honor both for saving her from the depths of personal despair and shining an enduring spotlight on injustices in distant Burma.”

But I wonder, notwithstanding the fact that Myanmar has never invaded other lands, what has Suu Kyi really said and done about Western imperialism and its heinous cruelties all over the world? Hasn’t she merely epitomized the hypocrisy of the West by serving as “human rights” leverage against struggling Asian and African nations?

Indeed, placing her side-by-side with the heroic Manning and Assange only reveals who the real glove-puppet of the West is.

(Watch Destiny Cable GNN’s HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m., this week on “The Oust PiNoy Movement” with Mon Pedrosa; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives).

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/commentary/item/855-manning-assange-and-suu-kyi


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