To gauge the transformation in the response by the U.S. military, the mainstream media and the public to a U.S. war crime, one need only compare the reactions to two of the most heinous American crimes: the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the gunning down of innocent Iraqis on a Baghdad street in 2007.
The latter was captured on a cockpit video from attacking Apache helicopters and revealed in a video released by WikiLeaks ten years ago today. Wikileaks obtained the video from a conscientious U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning.
The My Lai incident was revealed to the public in Nov. 1969 through the reporting of investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. An army veteran whistleblower, Ronald Ridenhour, had first written in early 1969 to the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and members of Congress revealing credible details about the massacre. It lead to a military investigation.
The probe found that U.S. Army soldiers had killed 504 unarmed people on March 16, 1968 in the village of My Lai, including men, women and children. Some women were gang-raped by the soldiers. The military investigation led to charges against 26 soldiers. Just one, Lieutenant William Calley Jr., a C Company platoon leader, was convicted. He was found guilty of the premeditated murder of 109 villagers. (Given a life sentence, he ultimately served only three and a half years under house arrest.).
But Calley’s conviction was largely covered up by the military. The New York Times ran only a short Associated Press story on Sept. 7, 1969, with few details. Hersh, however, heard something about the incident from a military source in Washington and started poking around. Eventually he got to see Calley in his cell in Georgia and was even allowed to look through classified notes on his case. Hersh had his story. He pitched it to Look and Life Magazines, but was turned down. Eventually the freelancer published his story at the obscure Dispatch News Service.
There was a public outcry after Hersh’s revelation. It was picked up by newspapers across the nation, including on the front pages of The New York Times and Washington Post. It fueled anti-war sentiment and hatred of President Richard Nixon. Two days following Hersh’s story about 250,000 anti-war protestors gathered at the Washington Monument. “It surpassed in size the civil rights March on Washington in 1964 and was easily the largest — and was perhaps the youngest — antiwar crowd ever assembled in the United States,” the Post reported.
Forty years after the My Lai incident, Apache helicopter gunships patrolling the skies of Baghdad on July 12, 2007 opened fire on a group of civilians on a street below, killing a number of people, including two Reuters journalists, and the driver of a van who had come to pick up the wounded.
During the My Lai incident one brave American serviceman, Hugh Thompson, landed his helicopter between cowering civilians and advancing GIs and told the Americans his gunship would fire on them if they didn’t stop. In Baghdad, one U.S. soldier, Ethan McCord, saved the lives of two Iraqi children over the orders of his superiors.
Photo by United States Army photographer Ronald L. Haeberle on March 16, 1968 in the aftermath of the My Lai massacre (Source: Wikipedia)
Where the Similarities End
Some similarities between the two incidents are uncanny. But the outcomes were wholly different. Both were stories of a U.S. military massacre of innocent civilians, just two instances of many such massacres across Vietnam and Iraq. Both began with a whistleblower, Ridenhour on My Lai and Manning on Baghdad. Both stories were turned down by major media, and later accepted by obscure publications (which then made WikiLeaks well-known). (Manning was first turned down by the Times and The Washington Post).
But that’s where the similarities end. The My Lai story led to a military investigation and a conviction of a U.S. soldier for mass murder. It caused a global outcry when all the facts became known. It contributed to the growing anti-war movement in the U.S. And it catapulted Hersh into prominence. As a result of his story, the freelancer was hired by The New York Times.
The Baghdad massacre led to no military investigation or charges against any soldier involved, despite video evidence that was stronger than what came out of My Lai. (The Army photographer who took the photo up top admitted to destroying pictures of the murders being committed.) The whistleblower was not jailed, as Manning was, but was listened to, and it led to an investigation. The ‘Collateral Murder’ video caused a stir, but hardly a global outcry, and it did not contribute to a U.S. anti-war movement. While WikiLeaks was catapulted into prominence, its publisher did not win a Pulitzer Prize, as Hersh did, but instead is languishing in a London prison on remand pending an extradition request by the United States to stand trial for espionage.
It bears repeating: At least one American soldier was imprisoned in My Lai. Hersh and the whistleblower did not go to jail. Not one U.S. soldier has gone to jail for the Baghdad massacre and the whistleblower and the journalist who revealed the crime were both imprisoned.
Manning’s 35-year sentence was commuted in 2017. She was again imprisoned for more than 250 days for refusing to testify to a grand jury against Assange, before she was released last month. Assange remains in a maximum security prison for doing the same job Hersh did.
These fundamentally different outcomes to a strikingly similar situation shows how far American society has sunk into the mire of authoritarianism and obedience.
Ellsberg and Assange
There is another Vietnam-era story that contrasts sharply with WikiLeaks, demonstrating how much the U.S. has changed for the worse in half a century. During the 1973 trial of whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers it became known that the government had broken into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office and bugged his phone to dig up dirt on him. The judge in the case was also offered the FBI directorship if Ellsberg were convicted.
When this serious prosecutorial misconduct became known, Ellsberg’s case was immediately thrown out and he was a free man. Fast forward nearly 50 years to Assange’s case. It is now publicly known that a Spanish company, UC Global, was contracted by the Ecuadorian government to conduct 24/7 video surveillance of Assange in the London embassy and that this audio and video–including of privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers–was sold to the Central Intelligence Agency.
In other words, the prosecuting government eavesdropped on the defense preparations. This is even more egregious misconduct than in Ellsberg’s case, though it has not led to the extradition request on espionage charges being immediately tossed out.
At a rally for Assange in London in February, I asked Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, why this was so. “The difference is that Dan was tried in a normal court,” he said. “Julian will never be given this opportunity. Julian is going to disappear into a system where not even his lawyers will know what the charges are. Habeas Corpus does not exist for him. Things are getting worse. Far worse.”
Originally published on 2020-04-05
About the author: Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @unjoe
Source: Consortium News
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
Albanian terror in Kosovo against the Serbs from June 1999 up to the end of 2000
The current problems in Libya and Ivory Coast are complex and clearly the opposition has different aspirations. After all, both sides are involved in a bloody conflict and the use of violence is being used by each faction in these divided nations. Therefore, it appears that the “new democratic warriors” of peace and freedom carry guns and kill their enemies, just like their enemies would kill them.
This article is not about defending the leaders of either nations and clearly the leader of Libya is known ...
Key facts about Kosovo’s Islamic Albanian minority of Serbia and the century long drive by Islamic extremists to exterminate Kosovo Serbs from that region:
1389—Muslims defeat Christian Serb defenders in Kosovo, depopulate the area and invite mountain tribe of Albanians, in exchange for converting to Islam, to take over pillaged land from Serbs.
1594—Sinan Pasha, an ethnic Albanian, who was a commander in the Ottoman Turkish Empire, burned the relics of St. Sava at Vracar, Belgrade. St. Sava is the Saint that brought Serbs into Christianity.
1878—Albanian nationalist leaders meet in Prizren, known as the First League of Prizren, to announce the creation ...
The only discussion of principle emerging from the debates over Kosovar and Crimean independence is that initiated by Woodrow Wilson towards the end of World War One, about whether national minorities have the right to self-determination. Can a smaller group be compelled to be part of a larger state, or should they be permitted to secede? To what extent do minority rights amount to a freedom to determine one’s own sovereignty?
In June 1999 an international military force led by the United States annexed Kosovo, then a province in southern Serbia with a population of perhaps 1.6 million people. Virtually all ...
A billboard at a construction site, with a photo of an Ottoman-style mosque with four minarets and the flag of Turkey, was erected recently in the center of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. With less than 2 million people, Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, is the home of over 800 mosques. Now the Islamic Community of Kosovo is building the “Central Mosque” at an estimated cost of $35- $40 million. Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is financing the project.
The Diyanet also financed the building of a similar mosque on a 10,000-square-meter parcel of land on ...
The Chinese have a genius for pithy expressions and few are more packed with meaning, while immediately understandable, than "paper tiger". NATO is one, but paper tigers that overestimate their powers can be dangerous.Some Russians are concerned that there are today more hostile troops at the Russian border than at any time since 1941. While this is true, it is not, at the moment, very significant. The Germans invaded the USSR with nearly 150 divisions in 1941. Which, as it turned out, were not enough.Today NATO has – or claims to have – a battle group in each of the three ...
In an interview for the German news magazine Zuerst! (April 2015) Srdja Trifkovic considers the significance of Otto von Bismarck’s legacy, 200 years after his birth.Dr. Trifkovic, how would Bismarck react if he could see today’s map of Europe?Trifkovic: He would be initially shocked that the German eastern border now runs along the Oder and Neisse rivers. Otto von Bismarck was a true Prussian. In his view, cities such as Königsberg, Danzig or Breslau were more properly “German” than those in the Rhineland. His first impression therefore would be that Germany has “shifted” to the West, and that an important social and ...
The origins of Czechoslovakia (1918−1920)Czechoslovakia gained its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. Even though the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was one political entity, the Austrian part and the Hungarian part existed under a Dual Monarchy. Each half of the empire had a large amount of control over their area independent of the other half of the country. The differing policies of the Austrians and the Hungarians had a strong impact on the state of what is now the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. In particular, the Czech industry was developed, while Slovakia remained a mostly agrarian area managed by ...
This essay goes to the matter of Kosovo; where the Western states (NATO & the EU) has determined Serbia is not fit to govern a minority (of ethnic Albanians) on their own (Serbian) territory but the now purported (by the West) independent Kosovo is fit to govern a minority (of ethnic Serbs).The EU position seems to embrace an attitude of ‘never mind the inconvenient fact’ that recent Kosovo ‘leaders’ are being arrested and delivered to an international tribunal for crimes against ethnic Serbs (includes organ harvesting), also not to mention what amounts to mere ‘lip service’ (no concrete action or ...
The media never merely report the news. They manipulate and distort the news. They want to tell you what and how to think. Pursuant to this role, they routinely rewrite history. A striking instance of media rewriting of history is in the reporting on Kosovo. In the AP article “US Prosecutor to Probe Kosovo Organ Trafficking”, it is reported that the alleged atrocity occurred “during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia” in 1999.
Everyone remembers that war as one to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing, that it was “a humanitarian intervention”. But here it is now characterized and defined as a ...
Projections and Projective IdentificationsMartti Ahtisaari, the Chairman Emeritus of the International Crisis Group (ICG), a globalist think tank sponsored by the US, asserted that all Serbs were “guilty as a nation” for seeking to prevent the secessionist/separatist Greater Albania movement launched by Albanian ultra-nationalist terrorists in 1998. He told the Serbian Kosovo negotiating team that “you are guilty as a nation.” This is an example of the racist concept of “collective guilt” typically applied to a group of people based on shared characteristics to punish that group. It is one of the most primitive and barbaric human conceptions ever devised. ...
Bombardment (or other military invasion) of a country that has not invaded nor threatened to invade the attacking country(s) is “aggression” under international law, and is the chief crime that the Nazis were hanged for at Nuremberg after World War II.
The U.S. and its allies have routinely committed aggression, in places such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. A particular instance of it, to be discussed here, could be especially prosecutable, because the alleged ‘cause’ for the invasion could turn out to have been a provable lie, an intentional fabrication which had been concocted by the perpetrators so as to ...
Paul Atwood, a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, provides a concise summary of the history that informs North Korea’s “relations with the United States” and “drives its determination never to submit to any American diktat”.
Excerpts from Atwood’s summary are here used as a framework, with other sources where indicated.
Atwood notes it is an American “myth” that the “North Korean Army suddenly attacked without warning, overwhelming surprised ROK defenders.” In fact, the North/South border “had been progressively militarized and there had been numerous cross border incursions by both sides going back to 1949.”
Part of what ...
Make 4 July Independence from America Day (2014).Originally published in 2014Author: Dr. Gideon PolyaOrigins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
Albert Einstein, along with other Jewish luminaries, including Hannah Arendt, published a letter in the New York Times on December 4, 1948. That was only a few months after Israel had declared its independence and as hundreds of Palestinian villages were being actively demolished after their inhabitants were expelled.The letter denounced Israel’s newly-founded Herut party and its young leader, Menachem Begin.Herut was carved out of the Irgun terrorist gang, famous for its many massacres against Palestinian Arab communities leading up to the Nakba, the catastrophic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their historic homeland in 1947-48.In the letter, Einstein, ...
The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013
A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea
Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea.
It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty.
I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013.
I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity ...
So much after the fact; so much in terms of opportunism gone to seed and destruction. But planned historical calamities tend to be rare. There are only absurd moments, dastardly opportunities, and tragic convergences. History is less the outcome of wise deliberation than folly dressed up as reason, occasionally tinged by a touch of malice.On November 2, 1917, the British government published the Balfour Declaration (one of “sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations”) by means of a letter written by Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild. It suggested forthcoming British assistance for the establishment of a Jewish ...
The current Greek population in Turkey is estimated at fewer than 2,000. But this population decline was not due to natural causes; the Greek community has become nearly extinct due to many state-sponsored attacks and pressure.
The largest attacks took place during the last years of the Ottoman Empire with pogroms and discrimination continuing until the present day.
In 2007, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) announced that “the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks.”
The destruction of Greek heritage and institutions, including schools, continued ...
General Draza Mihailovich with the people during WWII. Contrary to General Mihailovich, Communist leader "Marshall" Josip Broz Tito posses no one photograph with the people of Yugoslavia from the wartime In 1971, the movie Klopka za generala, A Trap for the General, was released in Yugoslavia directed by Miomir “Miki” Stamenkovic starring Rade Markovic, Ljuba Tadic, and Bekim Fehmiu. The screenplay was by Dragan Markovic and Luka Pavlovic. The film was produced by the Sarajevo-based company Bosna Film of Yugoslavia and featured a cast made up of Serbian, Bosnian Muslim, and Albanian Muslim actors. The film was released in Serbian ...
Fighting against the U.S. Corrupted Administration: Chronology of Events in the Case of Ronald Thomas WestRepublished by permission by the author.Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
Just three years after a citizens’ referendum returned Crimea to Russia, from which it had been separated for sixty years, the people of Catalonia, Spain’s largest province, will vote to leave that country.And just as the international community has decreed that the Crimean referendum was a fake, Spain’s Prime Minister felt compelled to declare that the vote could’t possibly take place, that it would be illegal, that independence, in his words, could only be ‘a pipe dream’ for the country’s richest province.Clearly, national governments don’t like losing land and people, however when it suits the international community, some communities are ...
UN, France & US in Libya and Ivory Coast: Using Violence and Islamic Forces Just Like Kosovo
Kosovo: Key Dates in the Century Long Goal to Create a Greater Albania
Kosovo and Crimea: What’s the Difference?
Erdogan’s Islamic Vehicle to the Balkans: Ottoman Symbolism in Kosovo
NATO: А Dangerous Paper Tiger
Bismarck’s System of Continental Alliances
A Short History of Czechoslovakia
How Macrocosmic Western Propaganda Launders Geopolitical Crimes
Media Literacy 101: Kosovo and Libya
Martti Ahtisaari and Kosovo: Projections, Externalizations, and Projective Identifications
Did U.S. and Allies Commit War Crime by Bombing Syria on April 14th?
Endless Atrocities: The US Role In Creating The North Korean Fortress-State
The US has Invaded 71 Nations since 1776
Albert Einstein on Israel
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes
The Tragic Declaration: Colonial Legacies, Balfour and Israel
Greeks in Turkey on the Verge of Extinction
Draza Mihailovich in Film: “A Trap For the General” (1971)
Fighting against the U.S. Corrupted Administration: Chronology of Events in the Case of Ronald Thomas West
Crimea, Kosovo, Catalonia, Corsica and Kurdistan
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS