Bradley Manning, Shakar Aamer, Andy Worthington & Guantanamo, Drones
by Debra Sweet,Director, The World Can't Wait
Tuesday, we gave you a sense of how much World Can't Wait is appreciated for our role in sticking to principle, and supporting others who do. Today, I want to shout-out to some of the many who show courage and fortitude in the effort to show the rest of the world that there are people living in this country who don't go along with the program of war and repression. I'm concentrating today on people who expose and resist U.S. wars, drone strikes, and indefinite detention.
First, and in a class by himself, is Bradley Manning:
Brad Manning finally got to speak publicly last week in military court, which significantly enhanced our knowledge of the motivation for leaking information to the public on U.S. wars, torture, and bullying of other nations. Now that he is claiming responsibility, we can say, with no restraint, that Bradley is a hero, and should be freed and given a medal for his courageous whistle blowing. I urge you to watch and read the following:
Glenn Greenwald writes:
“...Whatever one thinks of Manning's alleged acts, he appears the classic whistleblower. This information could have been sold for substantial sums to a foreign government or a terror group. Instead he apparently knowingly risked his liberty to show them to the world because – he said when he believed he was speaking in private – he wanted to trigger "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms".
Compare this aggressive prosecution of Manning to the Obama administration's vigorous efforts to shield Bush-era war crimes and massive Wall Street fraud from all forms of legal accountability. Not a single perpetrator of those genuine crimes has faced court under Obama, a comparison that reflects the priorities and values of US justice.”
From Revolution newspaper:
“Julian Assange, the founder of Wiki-Leaks, told Democracy Now! (November 29), “What is happening this week is not the trial of Bradley Manning. What is happening this week is the trial of the U.S. military. This is Bradley Manning’s abuse case . . . [he’s been] subject to conditions that the U.N. special rapporteur, Juan Méndez, special rapporteur for torture, formally found amounted to torture.
“Why was that treatment placed on him for so long, when so many people—independent psychiatrists, military psychiatrists—complained about what was going on in extremely strong terms? His lawyer and support team say that he was being treated in that manner, in part, in order to coerce some kind of statement or false confession from him that would implicate WikiLeaks as an organization and me personally . . . this young man’s treatment . . . is directly as a result of an attempt to attack this organization by the United States military, to coerce this young man into providing evidence that could be used to more effectively attack us, and also serve as some kind of terrible disincentive for other potential whistleblowers from stepping forward.””
Shaker Aamer is the last British subject held at Guantanamo. He was singled out for the most brutal treatment because he has continually spoken up for the prisoners. He was set to be released many years ago, having been held now for almost 11 years with no evidence that he did anything to warrant imprisonment. Reports from recent years have made us very concerned for his life, especially after "suicides" of other prisoners. We are very glad to see this recent photo, and urge you to sign the petition to get him out NOW.
Andy Worthington has spent many years now documenting U.S. abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo, even as the Obama administration moved "forward" past its promise to close Guantanamo. His work is unique and invaluable. We hope we can get him to the U.S. again next month for the 11th anniversary of Guantanamo. See The Long Pursuit of Accountability for the Bush Administration’s Torture Program.
Nancy Talanian created the Bill of Rights Defense Committee after the Bush regime went crazy with the USA PATRIOT Act. She went on to form the No Guantanamos Project, bringing the challenge directly to U.S. communities to take released prisoners from the prison, if they could not be released to their home countries. Without her weekly newsletter, (subscribe here) I would not have known that Ryan Townsend, a student at USC, thinks Congress must close Guantanamo.
Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones. These friends live in upstate New York, folks! Where, even with climate change, it snows a lot. Still, they protest at the gate of Hancock Air Force Base with astounding regularity and commitment. This kind of action should spread to every base and every university where the U.S. Defense Department is handing out billions for drone research and development.
Brian Terrell of Voices for Creative Non-Violence is in prison for six months, the maximum sentence for trespassing on a US base near Kansas City for protesting U.S. drone wars last spring. View his story. His colleague Kathy Kelly travels constantly to the sites of U.S. occupations, identifying with the victims and bringing their stories to us. Read her message from Gaza in We Want It to Stop.
Bill Maher??? Sometimes people you don't agree with on much, say things that are strikingly prescient and true. See for yourself:
“We can now visit death upon our enemies without having to show up in person, look them in the eye and have an actual fight. It just feels wrong -- like breaking up with a girl via text message. If you're going to vanquish your enemy, shouldn't you have to confront them? How does a warrior willing to die for his cause in the Takhar Province fight a guy operating a joystick in Tallahassee?...We utilize the best means at our disposal to go into foreign lands and blow up the people we consider the bad guys even if that means collateral damage in the form of civilian casualties. When someone does that exact same thing to us, don’t we call it "terrorism"?”
Send me your nominations. Anytime people do and say things that are right on the mission of stopping the crimes of our government, please share.