US military prosecutors building a case against Pfc. Bradley Manning are set to turn their focus on the May 2009 US air strike against the Farah Province, which the Afghan government’s investigation revealed killed 140 civilians.
Manning is said to have given videos of the strike to WikiLeaks, but they were never actually released to the public. Prosecutors claim that the videos and other reports “compromised sensitive information.”
Exactly what that sensitive information is remains unclear, but officials gave such a bizarre round of slap dash reports on Farah in the first place that efforts to cover up the toll seem almost a certain bet to be one aspect.
The US claimed that the Farah toll was exaggerated at the time, then said the Taliban framed them, and then went on to accuse Afghan civilians of making up the whole thing up to try to extort trivial sums of blood money out of the occupation forces.
The focus on Farah is telling, not only in that the incident was one of those cases of detailing embarrassing war crimes Manning’s defense rests on, but in that the videos that are supposed to have been so damaging were never released at any rate, and couldn’t possibly have done damage to national security if no one saw them.