© 2005 Maher Osseiran

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Letter to Manning's Prosecutor.

July 4, 2015 - The following is a letter that was sent to Private Manning's prosecutor on July 17, 2013. Also copied were AG Holder and three sitting Federal Judges. All were sent registered mail with return receipt and all signed the return receipt card. The letter was sent prior to the verdict in the case. Later, after the verdict came out, attorney Coombs was copied, so was the ACLU, and parties gave me assurances that attorneys working on Manning's appeal will also be copied. In the letter, I strongly argue against the charge of "Aiding the Enemy"; the most serious charge of which Manning was acquitted. I don't know how much my letter influenced the verdict but I thought it was time to share it with the general public and for you to decide. It to the new AG under the banner "Is This True"; let us make it a campaign. The following is the body of the letter: 

Dear Mr. Ashden Fein Prosecutor of Record of Private Manning,

Before Private Manning, Before Snowden, there was Donald Rumsfeld.

One may ask what is common to these individuals; they are all leakers of classified material.

What differentiate them are the reasons they leaked the information.

It is important to point out that Rumsfeld leaked his information on December 13, 2001, close to ten years before Manning, and about twelve years before Snowden.

Rumsfeld leaked the information in order to shore up support for an illegal war, the war in Afghanistan, shore up support for the never-ending war on terror on a global scale, followed by the war on civil liberties at home. Manning and Snowden leaked their information in the hope to redress the damage Rumsfeld and his cabal inflicted and hoping for the return of the rule of law.

While the government is struggling to show that direct damage to US security and personnel was inflicted by the Manning leaks, including the farcical and ridiculous usage of a Navy Seal Team 6 member to testify that bin Laden had Manning leaked material in his possession at his hideout in Abbotabad, it is so much easier to show that Rumsfeld with premeditation directly aided the enemy, put American troops in harms way, caused the unnecessary death of many US personnel, military and civilian, not to mention the civilian casualties from other countries.

What Rumsfeld leaked was a videotape that was released by the Pentagon on December 13, 2001, that shows Osama bin Laden sitting at a dinner gathering with members of his entourage including Abu Ghaith and Al-Zawahiri, confessing his foreknowledge of, and indicating possible involvement in the 9/11 attacks to a paraplegic guest from Saudi Arabia named Khalid Al-Harbi.

The Pentagon released the tape and billed it as the smoking gun and proof of bin Laden’s guilt.

On December 15, 2001, two days after the bin Laden confession tape aired, Ed Vulliamy and Jason Burke reported in The Observer of London (linked) that “intelligence sources have suggested… that the tape, although absolutely genuine, is the result of a sophisticated sting operation run by the CIA through a second intelligence service, possibly Saudi or Pakistani.”

As a byproduct of an intelligence operation and since bin Laden had not been captured yet, the videotape is highly sensitive material and most likely classified “Top Secret”. According to Executive Order 12958, Classified National Security Information, the following are those who could declassify such material: “"Top Secret" original classification authority may be delegated only by the President or by an agency head or official designated”.

It is unlikely that Rumsfeld acted alone and his co-conspirators might even include the Commander in Chief, George W. Bush.

The release of the tape was in reaction to a worldwide call for evidence that bin Laden was involved in the 9/11 attacks – a call that was strongest in Muslim and Arab countries. The tape was released to shore up the decision to invade Afghanistan to the detriment of America’s long-term security.

When the tape was released on December 13, 2001, bin Laden was still at large with no indication that he would be apprehended. If unapprehended, bin Laden would eventually view the tape. If the videotape were produced covertly, bin Laden would realize how close intelligence services were to him despite his tight security protocol.

Bin Laden would realize that if enemy intelligence operatives got close enough to interact with him and tape him, they could have chosen instead to kill him. In reaction, his security protocol would only get tighter and no one would ever get that close to him till almost ten years later when he was a sitting duck in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

From what has been presented above, if there were a textbook example of aiding and abetting the enemy in time of war, the release of the videotape of bin Laden on December 13, 2001, would be that example.

If bin Laden were killed instead of being taped, where would the war on terror be? Would we have had the Iraq war? Would Manning or Snowden have done what they did?

How serious is the Rumself leak and would a detailed analysis of the tape reveal more crimes that the US government was engaged in?

For the record, the videotape I speak of was never properly analyzed or authenticated by anyone in the media, the US government, or any other government.

A detailed technical and contextual analysis of the tape with the help of the best translation available that was provided by Ali Al-Ahmad of the Institute of Gulf Affairs, Pakistani intelligence involvement was eliminated from The Observer report leaving us with American and Saudi intelligence.

Also, the analysis I refer to, “Osama’s Confession; Osama’s Reprieve”, first published by www.counterpunch.org, refuted every assertion about the tape that the Pentagon made which led me to say, if 10% was wrong, it would be an honest mistake on the part of the Pentagon, if 40% was wrong, it would be serious incompetence, but when 100% is wrong, it is simply intentional and a whole bunch of lies. Obviously, when the Pentagon released the tape, they were trying to disguise it as best as they could as something other than a byproduct of an intelligence operation.

The analysis reveals that the setting of the tape was a small village in northern Ghazni Province where bin Laden’s family and his favorite son Hamza lived and that the taping took place around September 26, 2001, barely 2 weeks after 9/11 and ten days prior to the start of the carpet bombing of Afghanistan.

What else does the analysis reveal? It reveals that Al-Harbi left Saudi Arabia on September 21, 2001, in a hurry -- “as soon as travel arrangements were finalized,” Al-Harbi explains in the tape. The translation of Al-Harbi’s statements also reveals that his sting team was comprised of at least two other individuals, a burly man who worked for the Saudi religious enforcement police, and a younger man who came along to join the Jihad.

These individuals’ sting operation cover was as helpers to the wheelchair-bound Al-Harbi in his travels. The real task of the burly man was to wear the hidden camera that taped bin Laden’s confessing (the first part of the sting), while the real task of the younger man was to stay behind in the village, where the taping took place, in order to alert the American Special Forces of bin Laden’s return to the village so he could be captured or killed (the second part of the sting), according to the contextual analysis and events.

Al-Harbi and his sting team traveled to Afghanistan through Iran and were met at the Iranian-Afghanistan border by Mokhtar, a Bin Laden trustee who was also entrusted with Bin Laden’s children, acting as their big brother and companion while bin Laden was away. Mokhtar traveled with Al-Harbi and his team through Kabul on the way to a guesthouse in the village in northern Ghazni.

Based on the departure date from Saudi Arabia of September 21, 2001, which was provided by Saudi authorities, and the rush to reach Afghanistan which Al-Harbi indicated on the tape, it is estimated that they reached the guesthouse around September 25. It can be deduced with reasonable accuracy that the taping took place on September 26 when Bin Laden arrived under the cover of darkness the next evening to meet with his visitors.

The next day, Al-Harbi and his burly companion left Afghanistan, and by September 30, they arrived at a safe location in an undisclosed country and shared their taped material with their American and Saudi handlers. The first report of Al-Harbi’s later whereabouts was in the form of a leaked fax report sent to Dick Cheney, the vice president, by attorney Thomas Henry; The report places Khalid Al-Harbi, at the Midtown Hotel Metro Manila, Philippines, on October 15, 2001, in the presence of Brad Lee, a representative of the “company”, i.e. CIA, and, SAC Robert Wachtel, i.e. FBI. Manila is where Al-Harbi’s safe house was located under the watchful eyes of the American government.

The first part of the sting operation, the taping, was successful. How about the second part, the capturing or killing of bin Laden?

On November 2, 2001, the young Saudi operative who stayed behind in the village alerted US intelligence of bin Laden’s return to visit his family, according to the analysis which was complemented by reports in The Observer and Al Jazeera. Two Black Hawk helicopters, supported by one F-14, lifted off from the USS Roosevelt on the kill-or-capture mission. The weather over that area of Afghanistan was sleet and freezing rain, the time was close to midnight. Based on the weather and the darkness, the flight by itself was a suicide mission.

Upon arrival at the outskirts of the village, a prototype Predator drone operated by the CIA was in the same air space as those helicopters. Based on photos, extracted from the Rumsfeld released tape, of intermingled helicopter and Predator wreckage, the drone and one of the helicopters collided causing the mission to fail.

According to William F. and David S. (last names withheld in order to comply with the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) of 1982, which makes it a felony) of the CIA confirmed that the Predator drone collided with the helicopter; they also stated that the collision was intentional in order to sabotage the capture and kill mission.

For the historical record, a canteen with the name Staff Sergeant Pabela was recovered from the helicopter wreckage by Mokhtar and bin Laden’s kids and later videotaped; a still from that video is extracted from what Rumsfeld leaked. It is also important to note that potentially, Staff Sergeant Pabela is the first human casualty of a drone attack.

The Pentagon did report both losses, helicopter and drone, but reported them as two unrelated incidents attributed to bad weather.

Until now, the only potential crimes are aiding and abetting the enemy in time of war and the suspicious collision between the Predator and the helicopter. What the US chose to do with the tape between the time it was taped, September 26, 2001, and the time it was released, December 13, 2001, led to even more serious crimes.

There is strong indication that the US government strictly used the tape to convince NATO countries and countries that are important to the war effort to join in the invasion of Afghanistan while totally ignoring its obligations under the UN Charter and the Geneva Convention.

The following are statements by high-ranking officials that support this assertion.

Early in October, Toni Blair made a series of statements about evidence of bin Laden’s guilt, if we add these statements together in a coherent sentence, this is what we get “he [Blair] has been shown strong evidence linking Bin Laden to the attacks… the evidence from intelligence services was "powerful and incontrovertible”… the evidence we have is intelligence and highly sensitive. It is not possible without compromising people or security to release precise details”. Also in early October, Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman, Mohammed Riaz Khan, said: "There is sufficient grounds for indictment in terms of the material we have seen and we have studied."…” He added: "This material certainly provides a sufficient basis for an indictment in a court of law."

To top all, on October 5, 2001, NATO, for the first time in its history declares Article 5, which was crafted as a deterrent to the then Soviet Union, was now being used to justify the invasion of Afghanistan. Article 5 partially reads as follows “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, …, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, …, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area”. One would hope that an organization such as NATO would have made its decision based on solid evidence; the only evidence available at the time was the covert tape of bin Laden with Khalid Al-Harbi. Was NATO deceived and who among NATO members knew the truth?

On the other hand, the Taliban were asking for evidence of bin Laden’s guilt and were willing to give him up in exchange for such evidence and avert war; the Taliban’s request was rebuffed.

The US could have supplied the taped evidence to the Taliban while continuing its preparations for the invasion and if the Taliban did not surrender bin Laden, the US could have gone to war without delay and the invasion would have been justified. Under the Geneva Convention and the UN Charter, the invasion of Afghanistan is a criminal war.

The US might argue today that giving the evidence to the Taliban would have compromised the Saudi operative left behind in the village; such argument does not hold water. According to experts I spoke with, the sting operation that taped bin Laden was extremely sophisticated and must have taken months to prepare, therefore, it had to have been designed prior to 9/11. Being the most wanted man on the FBI list for the embassy bombings in Africa, the sting had to have been originally designed to capture or kill bin Laden and not to tape him confessing to an event that had not yet taken place. The primary objective of the operation was changed after 9/11 and supports the assertion that an invasion – not justice – was the only goal.

Even though the US got countries to sponsor and rubber stamp its invasion, the Arab and Muslim streets were still asking for proof that bin Laden was guilty. The only proof available to the US was the bin Laden covert tape and it had no intention at the time of making it public.

Toni Blair was recruited to deal with the evidence issue but a dismal failure on November 14, 2001, and, the failure of Colin Powell to provide any of the evidence that he had promised, forced the hand of the administration to release the bin Laden confession tape.

Again, such a highly sensitive tape, a byproduct of a failed intelligence operation -- the capture-or-kill portion of the sting – Was declassified and released but not in its raw form. It was released as an out of sequence collage from three different sources hoping to hide its provenance. The three sources are: the confession portion taped by the burly Saudi operative, a surveillance portion taped by the younger Saudi operative who was left behind in the village, and finally, bin Laden family home videos obtained when the village was overrun in early November 2001.

This attempt to hide the provenance of the tape could not have fooled bin Laden when he eventually viewed it. This attempt was specifically designed to hide its origin from the American people, media, and the world at large in an attempt to conceal the criminality of the American government.

Again, such sensitive material could only have been declassified by high-ranking individuals that include the president of the United States, George W. Bush, or anyone designated by him to have that authority which potentially include Vice President Dick Cheney.

By declassifying and releasing the tape, several prosecutable crimes were committed: treason, misprision of treason, and aiding and abetting the enemy in time of war. Using the tape to take the US and other countries into an illegal war would add wrongful death, or even murder for all the military and civilian casualties in Afghanistan; internationally, it would amount to a crime against humanity.

When crimes and wrongs are committed, and many have been, they can only be addressed with remedies. For starters, One remedy would be to learn the truth about the bin Laden confession videotape through an official, international, and transparent investigation.

On my part, I have informed the highest ranking law enforcement authorities in the US government, the democratic House and Senate judiciary committees, US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Manhattan DA, Attorneys General of CT, NJ, and NY, and four Federal Judges. Dr. James Zogby, an Arab-American leader, personally brought the matter to the attention of John Conyers, Jr. D-Michigan, at the time head of the House judiciary committee; Conyers promised an investigation in due course.

To this date, no investigation has taken place despite the severity of the crimes.

The only reaction out of Washington came the day after Federal judges Eginton, Hall, Nevas, and Underhill were informed. The next day, William F. and David S. of the CIA were indignant and insisted, through their intermediary to know what I had done. The day after that, the intermediary instructed out of the blue that the President had nothing to do with the leak and that Washington must have gone through protect the President mode. William F. and David S. were never heard from again.

It is appalling that Washington chose, despite the severity of the crime to protect the criminals rather than investigate and prosecute. 

To the above list of informed, you are now added, and it is very much within the jurisdiction of your office, the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, to investigate a good portion of these alleged crimes that precede and eclipse anything Manning allegedly committed. Also, crimes that would have precipitated Manning’s actions.

Your failure or refusal to investigate and prosecute the original crime eliminates you and the authority your represent from prosecuting Private Manning.

Your failure or refusal to investigate and prosecute the original crime effectively creates a two-tier legal system, one that applies to whistleblowers, as well intentioned as they may be, who commit leaks unsanctioned by the government, and another tier that overlooks those who commit sanctioned leaks no matter how criminal, malicious, and detrimental such leaks are to the country and humanity.

Your failure or refusal to investigate and prosecute the original crime is a clear violation of Private Manning’s legal rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, his rights under the Equal Protection Clause.

Reference material – the attached material is also available online:

“Osama’s Confession; Osama’s Reprieve” can be found on two locations on the Ineternet, second one includes pictures

“Is it high treason or just a simple case of dereliction of duty” also two locations; again, second has better pictures.

Certificate of Service

I hereby certify on this 17th day of July, 2013, I caused the above letter to be sent to those listed below via priority mail with an affixed return receipt at the following addresses:

Mr. Ashden Fein
Office of the SJA
103 3rd Ave SW
Fort McNair, DC 20319-5058

Mr. Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Honorable Warren W. Eginton, USDJ
United States Courthouse
915 Lafayette Boulevard
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604

Honorable Janet C. Hall, USDJ
United States Courthouse
915 Lafayette Boulevard
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604

Honorable Stefan R. Underhill
United States Courthouse
915 Lafayette Boulevard
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604

Other entities or individuals served are, The Guardian, Hurriyet Daily News, Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald, Indian Country, Code Pink, Project Salam.

Others in the media and civic leaders will also be informed.

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© 2005 Maher Osseiran