Yelm-area resident Milt Gordon wrote a poignant and touching Letter to the Editor of the Nisqually Valley News letter, published January 21st based on his experience serving in the military. Mr. Gordon has given permission for his letter to shared with Yelm Community Blog readers, as well:
“There is a young military man sitting in solitary confinement awaiting trial for releasing classified documents, a major compromise of military and national security.
My first reaction was he should be called to account for his compromise and then I began to remember.
Fifty years ago I served our country for three years in the U.S. Army. I held a top secret and cryptographic clearance and much was made of the fact that severe penalties awaited anyone who compromised this trust.
I was also required to attend monthly briefings that discussed the Geneva Code of Conduct. Name, rank and serial number were all you were required to offer the enemy and torture or physical violence of any form were in no way acceptable by either side.
German war criminals were used to illustrate the fact that the excuse of I was only following orders was an absolutely unacceptable defense to justify crimes against humanity.
This message was repeated every month for the 36 months I served on active duty.
Today I sit and listen to the ex vice president of our country justify torture to extract information that presumably will be used to protect us from those who might harm us.
A young man apparently saw videos of our soldiers killing innocent Iraqi civilians, released the video and is charged for compromising classified information.
If he is guilty, what about his superior officers? Are they released from responsibility by the defense? I was only obeying orders.
Somehow I feel my values as an American Citizen are being compromised by the dont do as I do, do as I say attitude.
How long do we sweep dirty laundry under the rug by hanging top secret or other restricted classified ratings on information that reveals a compromise of human dignity and values?
We need to wake up or our way of life is gone.”
Jim Miklaszewski, Chief Pentagon Correspondent for NBC News reported on January 24th:
“U.S. military officials tell NBC News that investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between a jailed army private suspected with leaking secret documents and Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The officials say that while investigators have determined that Manning had allegedly unlawfully downloaded tens of thousands of documents onto his own computer and passed them to an unauthorized person, there is apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure…
Assange told msnbc TV last month that WikiLeaks was unsure Army PFC Bradley Manning is the source for the classified documents appearing on his site.
‘That’s not how our technology works, that’s not how our organization works,’ Assange said. ‘I never heard of the name of Bradley Manning before it appeared in the media.'”
SO, WHY IS ARMY SPECIALIST BRADLEY MANNING:
“being held in connection with the WikiLeaks’ release of classified documents”, quoting the US Military?
TO QUOTE MR. GORDON:
“We need to wake up or our way of life is gone.”