- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2018

The source of hundreds of thousands of leaked U.S. military documents detailing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan condemned journalists over their reporting on the escalating situation in Syria.

WikiLeaks source, U.S. Senate hopeful and former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning said “do your job” in a Wednesday tweet directed at journalists.

War “is not a game 7 world series baseball game – be critical - don’t just give warmongers a platform and give a play by play with a swirling 3D map - you are complicit,” Ms. Manning, 30, wrote in a tweet addressed to journalists accompanied by an icon of a rainbow, an icon of hearts and the hashtags #Syria and #Russia.

Ms. Manning did not cite specific examples, but she sent the tweet after a series of posts addressing the worsening situation in Syria, where a suspected state-sponsored chemical attack this month has raised the possibility of a U.S. military strike against Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s regime and potentially subsequent retaliation from Russia, a staunch Assad supporter.

“We keep going to stupid wars for sweet nothings and outright lies - politicians just cheer from their cozy offices with rich defense lobby friends - meanwhile the rest of us struggle and die - we can do better,” Ms. Manning tweeted.

“We can stop the endless wars - we need to dismantle the sprawling military/police/intel state piece by piece as soon as possible.”

Ms. Manning’s critique of journalists’ reporting on Syria is noteworthy given her role in supplying media outlets with classified U.S. military documents obtained during her stint as an Army intelligence analyst, including hundreds of thousands of records detailing the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as throngs of State Department diplomatic cables and previously unavailable aerial footage that showed a U.S. helicopter gunning down civilians and slaying two Reuters journalists, among other materials.

“I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information … this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general,” she testified during her court-martial in 2013.

Ms. Manning obtained the material while deployed in Iraq and supplied it to the WikiLeaks website for publication, and many of the documents were released in 2010 in tandem with agreements reached between WikiLeaks and outlets including The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel. She was ultimately arrested, convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison in connection with the leak, but the bulk of her sentence was commuted days before President Trump assumed office in early 2017 at the end of the Obama administration and is currently running in the 2018 Maryland Democratic Primary against incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin.

“Assad needs to be held accountable for his war crimes,” Mr. Cardin said earlier this week in response to the suspected chemical attack. “We say ‘never again,’ yet we continue to see heinous war crimes committed by President Assad against his own people in Syria. The international community must hold him accountable.”

Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday that he continues to weigh a military strike against Syria in response to the assault.

“Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon said earlier this week that any U.S. missiles fired at Syria would be targeted by its air defense system, Reuters reported.

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