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I am a casualty of America’s endless wars at the pleasure of corporate profiteers and in speaking truth to power. I am an example of American Human Rights violations under the leadership of the Obama White House (a nice bit of carry over from the last Administration, btw).
A little over a year ago, “i want(ed) people to see the truth… regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” (Wired)
So I began an online conversation via email and social networking with Adrian Lamo, a former “grey hat” hacker convicted in 2004 of having accessed The New York Times computer network without permission. As a soldier in south Iraq, I had become isolated and forgotten, helplessly watching open corruption proliferate as war atrocity was threatening to become the standard. It’s not so hard to imagine that Julian Assange drew my admiration and hope, late in 2009. How I might have contacted WikiLeaks in November 2009, days after it posted 570,000 pager messages from the September 11, 2001, attacks. I then gave Mr. Assange a video I stumbled over at my workstation in Iraq. I had access to SIPRNet and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, and in late 2009 I found the Apache helicopter video. I told Lamo: “At first glance it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter. No big deal … about two dozen more where that came from, right?
But something struck me as odd with the van thing, and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer’s directory. So I looked into it.” On April 5, Wiki published the Apache helicopter video of the July 2007 Baghdad airstrike, (which I am alleged, lets remember!, to have passed on in February). WikiLeaks called it the “Collateral Murder” video, and it attracted widespread coverage. On July 25, Wiki released the Afghan war documents, and in October the Iraq War documents, internal military war logs and diaries. There are allegations that I have given them 251,287 U.S. state department cables—written in 260 embassies and consulates in 180 countries—which I was supposed to have passed over to Assange and he, in turn, to several news organizations. Several thousands of emails / docs were published in stages, the first by WikiLeaks in
February 2010 (the Reykjavik13 document), then from November 29 by The New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, El País, and others. WikiLeaks said it was the largest set of confidential documents ever released into the public domain. The Wikileaks video leak brought some measure of justice and small Congressional oversight to this military strategy / war of wrongness. Am I truly the only one responsible for all of this information leakage? Mr. Lamo alleged later that I also said I had communicated directly with Assange using an encrypted Internet conferencing service, and that Assange had “coached” me. Can he prove that, though? Even so, I took the risk to act with conscious and integrity to expose the wrongness of these ‘wars’, if I did. Mr. Lamo is, after all, a hack, a snitch and self adoring pariah.
Let’s make no mistake, I do represent the overwhelming emotional and moral fatigue of a bona fide military serving on foreign land beside largely unsupervised, despicably unethical and vicious mercenaries, these ‘private security contractors’ who seemingly have no oversight nor authority to answer to.. they kill, rape and steal from each other after they have whetted their thirst for it on the resident population. [According to new statistics released by the Pentagon, with Barack Obama as commander-in-chief, there has been a 23% increase in the number of “Private Security Contractors” working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan, which “correlates to the build up of forces” in the country. These numbers relate explicitly to DoD security contractors. Companies like Blackwater and its successor Triple Canopy work on State Department contracts and it is unclear if these contractors are included in the over-all statistics. This means, the number of individual “security” contractors could be quite higher, as could the scope of their expansion.- Jeremy Scahill] People are loosing their homes and little businesses are failing as American leadership dumps billions into raping, murdering, savage criminals under the guise of Private Security! It’s outrageous! While I await charges that include transferring classified data onto my personal computer; transmitting national defense information to an unauthorized source; aiding the enemy … confused and lonely in Marine Corps Brig, Quantico, Virginia, then held from July 2010 to April 2011 in maximum-custody solitary confinement. Amnesty International expressed concern, calling my detention conditions harsh and punitive, and 295 American legal scholars signed a letter in April 2011 saying the conditions amounted to a violation of the U.S. constitution. Later that month, the Pentagon finally transferred me to a medium-security facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where now I can interact with other pre-trial detainees and recover some sense of hope.
As I wait in jail to face my accusers at trail, my Commander-in-Chief has already proclaimed me guilty… and as the Commander-in-Chief, he is directing the military jurists to find me guilty. Where is justice in this? The jury that demands my guilt or innocence will be made up of military officers under his command. These jurors will already know that I’ve been mistreated, even tortured, during pre-trial detention. Under these circumstances it is hard to imagine military officers finding me not guilty. Will military officers contradict their commander-in-chief? He is currently personally urging prosecution of four other ‘whistle blowers’ as I continue to wait, in jail. Daniel Ellsberg, a strong supporter of mine, will explain how releasing classified / Secret documents and or information is NOT breaking the law because our country has no Secrets Act as precedent to break as law. To release classified information is not against the law simply because it would nullify our 1st Amendment rights to do so. The Espionage Act is NOT a Secrets Act. “In addition to pronouncing Manning guilty, the president misstated a critical fact in comparing Manning to Daniel Ellsberg,” said Jeff Paterson, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network steering committee. “Unlike Ellsberg, Private Manning released low-level classified documents that hundreds of thousands of people had access to. Daniel Ellsberg, on the other hand released documents classified as Top Secret. Ellsberg violated the secrecy of the United States at a much higher level than Manning.” Isolation in jail has hurt me.
I was charged on July 5 under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) with violations of UCMJ Articles 92 and 134 for “transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system in connection with the leaking of a video of a helicopter attack in Iraq in 2007,” and “communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source and disclosing classified information concerning the national defense with reason to believe that the information could cause injury to the United States,” between November 19, 2009, and May 27, 2010. And yet all the documents I am accused of releasing are openly available to (people even less than my own clearance) of hundreds of thousands of eyes. The information via documents, video and other informational venue that I am accused of releasing to Mr. Assange and his Wikileaks organization reveal levels of usery, incompetence, military code criminal behavior at home in command departments… and so much more. We learned that WMD were just a form of usery by the last administration to promote the war machine profits of companies they own or are profiting by. Oil wars are meant to ensure crude oil flow into the United States but these wars have only generated cultural obliteration and national insolvency for Iraq, Afghanistan and America… as it pushes the same towards the nuclear power of Pakistan.
A soldier’s first job is to ensure to the best of my ability, that the need to use force of violence is the last resort. The caveat to that if we understand our orders to be morally wrong, we must act according to our conscious. My name is Bradley Manning. I am a PFC in the United States Army. My country held me prisoner in cruel isolation from any defense of myself. Please remember me this Memorial Day weekend.
To protest the wrongness in our ongoing wars during this holiday, as the nation turns to stare it all in the face, I’m stand in sympathy with and have embraced the name of PFC Bradley Manning.
The Huffington Post provides an update and a take down of the Obama Administration’s recent efforts to ramp up prosecution of Assange and Wikileaks. Former attorney general under George W. Bush, Jack Goldsmith, has suggested that charging Julian Assange in any of the ways mentioned by the Obama Administration would hurt freedom of the press. He’s said that the Justice Department reportedly cannot find evidence that Assange induced Manning to leak and “even if it could, such evidence would not distinguish the many American journalists who actively aid leakers of classified information.”
Mainstream U.S. papers including U.S. News and World Report have increased coverage of the environmental crimes disclosed in the documents Bradley allegedly leaked. Specifically, how the U.S. and many other countries place far more importance in their foreign policies on oil, and far less on mitigating climate change, than they’re willing to admit publicly.
The National Theatre of Wales has decided to stage a production entitled The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning. The play will cover Bradley’s teenage school years. Artistic Direct John McGrath explains “It will be using the case as a prism to explore how do people feel about their political voice today?”
Finally, a reminder that we’re asking all Bradley Manning supporters to take pictures of their friends and family this Memorial Weekend for our photo petition! It’s a good way to honor Americans in uniform who’ve done the right thing, even when it wasn’t the easy thing. The GI Rights Network has already joined the petition.
- Our Government is Literally Stripping Away Every Right that Bradley Manning Has – Associated Content from Yahoo! – associatedcontent.com (stephencrose.wordpress.com)
- Frontline on Wikileaks (boingboing.net)
- Did Obama Compromise Fair Trial for Bradley Manning? (blogs.abcnews.com)
- The Bradley Manning Support Network (hotair.com)
- WikiLeaks Informant Lamo: I Would Have Leaked Helicopter Attack Video, Too (blogs.forbes.com)
Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m the colonists end game
excused land theft and genocide
made the victims bear the blame
I was ’round for Deir Yassin
and so many others unnamed
star of david held to the sky,
it sealed their fate, Palestine the prize
Pleased to meet you,
yes I have no shame
used the Holocaust as a
political brand name.
Drove the natives into refugee camps
where they remain today
barred the doors and changed the locks
Palestinians Stay Away!
Put up checkpoints to keep help out
Walls to keep them in
divert their water so our lawns are green
divert our sewage to the crops they eat
Pleased to meet you
yes I have no shame
I use the Holocaust as a
political brand name
Helicopter rocket attacks
bombs from F-15’s
justified as self defense
mass punishment-does this make sense?
Media is in my grasp,
I cry anti-Semitism
when truth be told, I’m European
Pleased to meet you
yes I have no shame
use the holocaust as a
political brand name
Just as all Palestinians are terrorists,
all Israelis saints
as heads is tails call me Zionist
I’m in need of some restraint
Pleased to meet you
Yes I have no shame
use the Holocaust as a
political brand name
By Jack Jodell, May 22, 2011
President Obama and congressional middle-of-the-road Democrats have been taking a lot of abuse lately over the poor state of the American economy, even though they had little to do with its cause. Some of this criticism is very well deserved. After all, joblessness remains high; wages have barely been rising at all for working people over the past 30 years (while corporate CEO salaries and perks have skyrocketed); benefits have seen drastic cutbacks; private industry unions have all but disappeared; and millions upon millions of good-paying American jobs have been (and still are being) outsourced to cheap foreign labor markets. Of course , conservative Republicans and teabaggers on Capitol Hill haven’t cooperated one iota with ANY of the President’s economic stimulus agenda, have instead obstructed it, and are now actively attempting to shut down funding for a good share of it. So, what little progress we’ve been making hasn’t been entirely the President’s fault, nor the fault of his party. We can and should hold them accountable for their weak attempts at reaching out to, and actual compliance with the conservatives. But we must always remember: they are NOT the TRUE enemies of the middle class, workers, or those on fixed incomes!
No, they aren’t the real villains in this repressive, regressive economic mess we are currently in. With this new series of posts, entitled “Know Thy TRUE Enemies!”, I will attempt to identify our REAL, TRUE enemies – the people whose deliberate greed, stupidity, arrogance, and intransigence are making life miserable and unneccessarily stressful for millions worldwide as well as here in our own country.
CARL-HENRIC SVANBERG, CEO, BP
For a short time, I was torn between featuring this crook and Rex E. Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, the most profitable corporation this world has ever known. BOTH of their compensation levels are unjustifiably piggish in relation to that of most of their countrymen ($1.1 MILLION for Svanberg vs. $9.73 MILLION for Tillerson), especially when you consider gasoline is hovering right under $4 per gallon and people are HURTING. The reason I decided to feature Svanberg is simply because BP is the one who has directly attacked our country by polluting our coastal Gulf waters, killing millions of aquatic animals, destroying the ecology as well as the livelihoods of millions of American fishermen, and HE HAS PAID OUT ONLY A FRACTION OF THE $20 BILLION BP PROMISED TO PAY OUT IN COMPENSATION TO THOSE DEVASTATED PEOPLE. Worse yet, he has continued to pollute the Gulf with that dangerous and ridiculously ineffective chemical Corexit which is NOT getting rid of spilled oil at all but only making it sink to the bottom of the sea, infecting and killing all kinds of fish and shrimp, as well as birds, snakes, and even HUMANS! Even WORSE THAN THAT, BP has successfully covered up any further news on the destruction their irresponsible oil spill has caused through a series of outright lying TV commercials used as propaganda! Yes, they’ve spent millions on propaganda while leaving millions of innocent Gulf citizens destitute.
DON’T GET ME WRONG, PEOPLE: ALL OF THE OIL COMPANY EXECS ARE CRIMINALS FOR DELIBERATELY OVERCHARGING YOU FOR GASOLINE, AND ALL ARE YOUR TRUE ENEMY, BUT SVANBERG IS THE WORST OF THE WORST!
THOMAS DONOHUE, President and CEO
of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
This 73 year old man has has turned what was once a more or less benign, loose-knit association of American businesses into the most potent, anti-labor business lobby in our history. They have become a major political donor, overwhelmingly to the now very conservative Republican Party. The Washington Post has said of him, “Nobody has mastered the new Washington game better than Tom Donohue.” That spells nothing but bad news for American working people.
While never having actually worked in the corporate world he so aggressively lobbies for, Donohue speaks for over 3 million companies. He has increased Chamber membership more than 15 times what it was at the start of his tenure in 1997, making it now the largest business advocacy group in the nation. The PAC he helped create played a major role in the defeat of then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) in 2004. This snake then went on to lainch major Chamber drives against President Obama’s health care reform and climate-change control initiatives. A blunt-talking and ruthless business advocate, he has fought labor unions tirelessly. “…we don’t want to just talk about these issues and feel good about where we stand on them. We want to win!”, he has said. And he has done done almost anything to make sure the business community does just that. He has established the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, an activist group which has had many successes in courts at the state and local levels, in electing state attorneys general, and even in the Supreme Court. He actively lobbied for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ nomination, arguing that the very pro-business and close-minded Roberts practiced “fairness, keen intellect, open-mindedness, and judicious practice of the law.” Well, maybe for corporations he has, Mr. Donohue – but not for anyone else.
Under Donohue, the Chamber has accepted many millions of dollars in donations from foreign firms that engage in outsourcing. He has repeatedly had his Chamber put out issue alerts against Democratic efforts to encourage businesses to hire locally rather than following the crazy :free trade” outsourcing measures advocated by the Chamber and its huge profit-obsessed corporate allies and donors. As such, Donohue has actively campaigned tirelessly for the benefit of our new American oligarchy rather than for the hopes and dreams of American workers and American communities. He has told American workers to “stop whining” about outsourcing. He was once quoted as saying “while at one time organized labor played a valuable role in establishing workers’ rights when there were few protected by government, today it is clinging to a world that no longer exists, and, in doing so, risks becoming completely irrelevant and ineffective.” IRRELEVANT and INEFFECTIVE, Mr. Donohue? What could be possibly MORE relevant in the face of outsourcing American jobs and entire plants as American wages are frozen and falling than a strong organized labor presence? . Donohue’s efforts have borne only sour fruit for the vast majority of our countrymen. He is definitely NOT an advocate for the TRUE American way!
MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, PROGRESSIVES AND WORKERS: THOMAS DONOHUE AND HIS NOW-RENEGADE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ARE YOUR ENEMY!
So you see, folks: the President and his party are NOT the ones we should be focusing our political attacks upon. They have disappointed us, but they are not our REAL enemy! We must keep our focus on the TRUE enemies of social and economic fairness in this country, for it is they who currently have the upper hand in politics and law. If left unchecked, they will continue their insane far-right drive to strip regular citizens of all economic, legal, and social rights, and the leverage we have worked so hard for so many decades to achieve. Carl Henric-Svanberg and Thomas Donohue are but two of the many right-wing villains whose efforts we must fight to overcome. There are many. many more. Misguided partisan zealots like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, David and Charles Koch, Dick Armey, Grover Norquist, Paul Ryan, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell — they are ALL your enemy, and each will be spotlighted and exposed in future volumes of this series. WATCH FOR THEM!
Some said it was a miracle Yatimah lived at all, others whispered it would have been a mercy if she hadn’t. Umayma saw only the will of God, and the love of family. And the sightless eyes which recognized her in dreams, the voiceless mouth which spoke to her in those same dreams.
Umayma woke suddenly, her heart pounding, sweat beading her forehead. She listened intently but heard nothing out of the ordinary. Her father snoring in the next room, the kitchen clock ticking. The tinny sound of the old refrigerator. Yet something…..there it was again. A helicopter. A helicopter, and a whooshing noise, very loud…
….she had no memory of being pulled from the rubble along with her mother, only knowing what she’d been told of the events which followed immediately afterward. The hours of waiting at the checkpoint, her pregnant mother’s trickle of blood increasing in flow till she began hemorrhaging, agitated Arabic voices contrasted with bored Hebrew speech. As the pregnant woman’s heart stopped and her life slipped away, a medical student performed his first surgery – a caesarian which brought into the world a damaged child, a child whose only living relative would christen her Yatimah.
Aid workers thought the child might live a year at best, but Yatimah surprised them. Umayma bathed her sister and fed her, sang to her and slept beside her. In nearly six years of life she had never made a sound, yet the unseeing eyes tracked her sister. Yatimah seemed to hear quite well.
Umayma had been a good student who’d hoped to be a doctor one day, a choice of career in character with her propensity to bring home sick or injured animals to nurse back to health. A baby bird fallen from a nest, an abandoned kitten, a grasshopper missing a leg – all were loved and cared for. Her nature made her this way, and it was why she willingly and gladly raised Yatimah.Perhaps it was this nature which guided her dreams.
Yatimah glanced shyly at her sister, waiting for her to ask what the surprise was. Umayma pretended not to notice, wiggling her toes in the cool water of the brook. She munched on dates until she could no longer hold back her giggles. Yatimah joined her big sister in laughter then opened her hands to display a butterfly with wings of purple and gold. Raising her arms as if in offering, the sunlight glinted off the butterfly’s wings as it took flight, night quickly descending as the butterfly began to glow and rose to take its place among the night stars. Both girls hugged each other and spoke of secrets only the two of them understood.
Yatima’s skin was yellowish now, cool to the touch. The girl had eaten nothing for days, only taking small sips of water. Umayma brushed her sisters hair then changed into bedclothes, lying next to the younger girl. Gradually her breathing slowed.
The sisters held hands, tall trees murmuring greetings as the pair walked into a meadow. One dipped its branches to the girls, each of them selecting a piece of ripe fruit before sitting on the lowered branch of another tree. An owl seated on the same branch regarded them amiably before taking flight. Taking her beloved sisters hands in each of her own, Yatimah gently explains that she will not be returning this time. She will remain here.
Stricken, Umayma bows her head and begins to cry. The little sister whispers words of gratitude and courage, strength and hope, drawing wisdom from those gathered nearby, visitors and residents now visible to her but unseen by Umayma.
Following the burial and funeral service are days of solitude, filled with prayer and thoughts of her sister. Soon the mourning period has passed.
The teenage girl walking up the road was a real beauty. The soldier returned her smile as she approached, belatedly realizing she hadn’t turned away from his tower. He frantically gestured for her to halt, the combination of a backpack and an odd smile causing him to panic. He fired two shots, one at the ground and one into her chest.
She reaches up to grasp Yatimah’s extended hand, gazing into eyes filled with adoration. Her soul rises up to greet her sister. A young man kneels next to her, finding no sign of a pulse. As the young man closes her eyes, he hears a voice whisper ‘Umayma‘.