Monday, July 26, 2010



According to Wikipedia, a 22-year-old US Army intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, was arrested by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command in May 2010. Manning was detained without charge in a military jail at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

2. To quote the Wikipedia: "In early July, he was faced with two charges of misconduct: "transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorised software to a classified computer system" and "communicating, transmitting and delivering national defence information to an unauthorised source". The maximum jail sentence is 52 years. Lieutenant Colonel Eric Bloom has said that "as part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the next step in proceedings would be an Article 32 Hearing, which is similar to a grand jury. An investigating officer will be appointed, and that officer looks into all facts of the matter, does an investigation, and upon conclusion, the findings will be presented to a convening court martial authority. The division commander will consider based on what is in that, what the next steps are. Either there is enough evidence or not enough evidence to proceed to a court-martial ... A date has not yet been set. We haven't even identified the investigating officer. We're still in the early stages of this case".

3. It added: "Manning allegedly told journalist and former hacker Adrian Lamo via instant messenging that he had leaked the "Collateral Murder" video (of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike), in addition to a video of the Granai airstrike and around 260,000 diplomatic cables, to the whistleblower website Wikileaks. Lamo handed the instant messenger chat logs to U.S. investigators, who began searching for evidence to determine whether Manning's apparent statements to Lamo were true. The "Collateral Murder" video showed an attack by a U.S. helicopter crew on a group of men presumed to be insurgents. Two children were wounded, and several men were killed, including the father of the children and two men who were later identified as Reuters employees. Manning reportedly said that the diplomatic documents expose "almost criminal political back dealings" and that they explain "how the first world exploits the third, in detail". He said that he hoped the release of the videos and documents would lead to "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms". Manning reportedly wrote, "everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed." However, Wikileaks said "allegations that we have been sent 260,000 classified US embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect".

4.On June 17, 2010, Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst working for the Rand Corporation during the Vietnam war, who had similarly leaked on grounds of conscience a large number of Pentagon papers about the Vietnam war, was interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales on the Democracy Now! TV and Radio show regarding the parallels between his actions and those of Bradley Manning.Ellsberg said that he feared for Manning and another person by name Julian Assange, as he feared for himself after the initial publication of the Pentagon Papers. He called them "two new heroes of mine".

5. Though Wikileaks, the whistleblowers' web site, may not admit it, there are strong grounds for suspecting that Bradley Manning must have been the source of the nearly 90,000 classified documents, mainly relating to the war in Afghanistan, which were uploaded by Wikileaks on its web site on July 25. It had allegedly made many of them available in advance to the "New York Times", the "Guardian" of the UK and "Der Spiegal" of Germany.

6.Senator John Kerry, the Chairman of of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who is close to President Barack Obama, has been quoted by the British Broadcasting Corporation as saying that the leak came at a "critical stage" for US policy in the region. He added: "However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America's policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan."

7.How long will the US cover up the misdeeds of Pakistan against India in order to protect American lives and interests? How long will India keep silent on the US cover-up of Pakistani misdeeds in the long-term interests of the developing strategic relations between India and the US? For an Indian, these are the two questions which assume even greater importance than in the past as a result of the leakage. The leaked documents confirm three facts which were already known---firstly, the role of Pakistan in training and arming the Taliban; secondly, the role of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Taliban in organising a car bomb explosion through a suicide bomber outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7,2008, and thirdly, the attempts of the ISI to use the Taliban to have the Hamid Karzai Government in Afghanistan destabilised. Fifty-eight persons, including India's Defence attache Brigadier R D Mehta and Counsellor Venkateswara Rao, were killed when the suicide bomber targeted the Embassy during the morning rush hour.

8.The leaked documents also show that the Taliban has shoulder-fired, heat-seeking missiles which it had been using against NATO planes and helicopters. During the 1980s, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had trained the Afghan Mujahideen in the use of Stinger missiles against Soviet aircraft. It had issued a large stock of these missiles to the ISI for being given to the Afghan Mujahideen. The ISI issued some to the Mujahideen, gave some to Iran and one to North Korea for re-engineering purposes and kept some for use by the Pakistan Army against India. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the CIA asked the ISI to buy back the unused Stinger missiles from the Afghan Mujahideen and return them to the CIA. The ISI evaded doing so. On coming to office in January 1993, President Bill Clinton forced Mr.Nawaz Sharif, the then Pakistani Prime Minister, to sack Lt.Gen.Javed Nasir, the then Director-General of the ISI, and some other senior officers who had avoided returning the unused Stinger missiles. Till Mr.Nawaz sacked them. Mr.Clinton had placed Pakistan on a so-called list of suspected State-sponsors of terrorism. In 1994, when the Taliban was formed by the ISI, some of the unused Stinger missiles were given to it. The leaked documents only mention in passing that the Taliban has shoulder-fired missiles without mentioning all these details as to how the Stinger missiles reached the Taliban.

9. This is one of many such instances of the ISI training and arming the Taliban, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and other terrorist organisations for using them to advance its strategic agenda in Afghanistan and India. It has been brazenly doing this because of its confidence that the US would not take any punitive action against it and that the Indian leadership and bureaucracy would not have the courage to act against it----either on the diplomatic or military front or through appropriate covert actions. The ISI did have some fears when Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao were Prime Ministers, but thereafter it lost all fears because of a succession of soft Prime Ministers we have had.

10. Will the revelations about Pakistan and the ISI in the documents leaked to Wikileaks lead at long last to Pakistan and its ISI being subjected to punitive action. I have serious doubts. After some strong statements, the US will hush up the matter once again and the Govt. of India will avoid pressing the US to act against Pakistan. It is a great national shame. ( 26-7-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )