You are hereCivil Rights / Liberties

Civil Rights / Liberties


Free Bradley

 
To: 
1) Maj. Gen. Buchanan at jeffrey.s.buchanan@us.army.mil
2) Adrienne Combs, Deputy Officer Public Affairs (202) 685-2900 adrienne.m.combs.civ@mail.mil
3) Col. Michelle Martin-Hing, Public Affairs Officer (202) 685-4899 michelle.l.martinhing.mil@mail.mil
4) The Public Affairs Office fax #: 202-685-0706

Dear General Jeffery S. Buchanan and Ladies and Gentlemen:

I understand that Major General Buchanan is the Convening Authority for Bradley Manning's court martial and that the General  has the authority to decrease Manning's sentence, no matter what the judge decides. I am writing today to ask you to release Manning and reduce any sentence he is given. To do so would serve the interests of national defense and military justice, and it would also help to protect and defend the constitution of the United States as you are sworn to do.

The United States of America has more than adequate defense against attack by military force. What is threatening our great country, instead, is policy-makers who lack allegiance to the foundational and constitutional values that have made the word "America" mean something more than "nice real estate."

It is said that America cannot be the land of the free if it is not the home of the brave. Bradley Manning has exhibited the kind of intestinal fortitude that I wish I had. There are many in the military who would rather stand as pickets in dangerous territory than go against the system, no matter how dysfunctionally or even criminally misguided the system may be. Bradley Manning is a hero defender in the war some in Washington are waging against human rights, American integrity, and accountable government.

Manning's trial has not been fairly conducted from what I understand, and I have doubts about the fairness of any military tribunal (particularly when compared to the standards in place in a civilian court). Consider also these points:
•  Mr. Manning was held for nearly a year in solitary confinement, “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” punishment, according to UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Ernesto Mendez.
• President Obama has unlawfully influenced the trial with his declaration of Bradley Manning's guilt.
• The media have been denied direct access to transcripts and documents related to the trial.
• The 3 year delay before starting the court martial violated the Universal Code of Military Justice advocacy for the right to a speedy trial.
• Absolutely no one was harmed by the release of documents that exposed war crimes, unnecessary secrecy and disturbing foreign policy (indeed the source of harm was the obfuscation and classification of facts that were damning of policy, rather than damaging to security).

The system has allowed an honorable soldier, who served America in ways that few have done, to be treated as though he is a traitor and a threat to security. There is no security to be found in hiding the secrets that Mr. Manning exposed. Quite the contrary. The criminally manifested "war against terror" will reliably manufacture new enemies wherever we take it, and more with each new violation of human rights and international law. Consider the words of Sun Tzu: "There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare."

I would argue that we already have cause for regret in the eyes of most Americans, and our stalled, debt-burdened economy is just one example of the costs of war. What is needed by the people, if we are to be a government by the people, is brave souls like Bradley Manning who can see and hear what others are hiding from us. An attack on these "eyes and ears" of America is, in my opinion, an attack on the country itself. An attack on the democratic underpinnings of the country is just as serious as any other attack. A round received amidships may cause harm and disorder, but a destroyed rudder ends the battle.

Bradley Manning is a hero who did the right thing when he revealed truth about wars that were based on lies. There are those who will make many arguments about the importance of turning thumbs down on Manning. Their main objective, I believe, is to silence other whistle blowers. They want to keep the light on US excesses dim. Perhaps they should face trial, as this is the real attack on America.

I am not optimistic that my appeal to you will win the day for Mr. Manning. I fear he will go to prison for a time, as many have before him. Nelson Mandela is an example that comes to mind.

With best wishes that you will serve true justice,

Mr. Claiborne Clark
Durham, NC

Uncle Sam Wants Your Passwords - Deal With It

In a revelation that only somebody living under a rock could possibly find surprising, the federal government wants your passwords, and the encryption on your passwords. 

You peon, how can you be so stupid as to think you have rights?

Haven't you learned anything over the past 12 years?

Obama’s Willing Executioners of the Fourth Amendment

By Norman Solomon

It’s now painfully clear that the president has put out a contract on the Fourth Amendment. And at the Capitol, the hierarchies of both parties are stuffing it into the trunks of their limousines, so each provision can be neatly fitted with cement shoes and delivered to the bottom of the Potomac.

Some other Americans are on a rescue mission. One of them, Congressman Justin Amash, began a debate on the House floor Wednesday with a vow to “defend the Fourth Amendment.” That’s really what his amendment -- requiring that surveillance be warranted -- was all about.

No argument for the Amash amendment was more trenchant than the one offered by South Carolina Republican Jeff Duncan, who simply read the Fourth Amendment aloud.

Daniel McGowan: Victimized by US Injustice

 

Daniel McGowan: Victimized by US Injustice

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He's an environmental/animal rights activist. A previous article discussed him. He was victimized by "green scare." 

 

It refers to legal and extralegal government actions against animal liberation and environmental activists. 

 

Talk Nation Radio: Hunger Strikers and the Law vs. the Prison Industry

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-hunger

Diana Zuniga is statewide coordinator for CURB, Californians United for a Responsible Budget: CurbPrisonSpending.org  She discusses the hunger strike in California prisons and the ongoing struggle to resist further expansion of mass incarceration, and to move our society in a healthier direction.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Copperhead

Copperhead was a name for Northern Democrats opposed to the Civil War.  Now it's also the name of a remarkable new film: CopperheadTheMovie.com.  This is not the first film about a family opposed to the Civil War.  Many will probably recall the 1965 film Shenandoah starring Jimmy Stewart.  But Copperhead is the one to see.

This is a war movie that neither sanitizes war nor pornographies it.  This is a war movie set far away from the war, in upstate New York to be precise -- just as all of our wars today are far away from all 50 states.  It's an unpredictable movie, an engaging movie, a personal drama that makes the Civil War and the politics surrounding it more comprehensible than a gazillion tours of battlefields or hours of PBS specials.

We come, through this film, to understand the viewpoint of a man, and others like him, who opposed slavery but believed the cure of war to be worse than the disease.  Here was a man of principle and courage who saw better than others what war would mean, and who opposed it.  Here was someone opposing President Lincoln's assault on the Bill of Rights as he was engaged in it, not just centuries later as Lincoln's example is used to justify similar abuses.

Copperhead does a remarkable job of bringing us to understand the mindset of the copperheads, these opponents of mass-killing who found themselves accused of "aiding the enemy."  And yet I wish this film went one step further.  I wish it addressed directly the inevitable audience response that -- reasonable as the copperheads may have seemed at the time -- the war proponents were eventually proved right by the ending of slavery.

But the copperheads never claimed the war couldn't end slavery, only that slavery should be ended without war, as it had been in other countries and would go on to be in still more.  Today we have more African Americans in prisons, jails, and under the supervision of the U.S. justice system than were enslaved in the United States in 1850.  If we were to wake up tomorrow and discover that everybody was suddenly appropriately outraged by this horror, would a helpful proposal be for us to gather in some large fields and kill each other off by the hundreds of thousands?  Of course not!  What would that have to do with prison reform or with prison abolition?  And what did it have to do with slavery abolition?

Anti-slavery activists in the U.K. had already been somewhat disappointed when Parliament had chosen to compensate slave owners for the liberation of their slaves.  The slaves themselves were, of course, not compensated.  They had little but hard times ahead.  But the compensation of slave owners offered a model that might have served the United States better than bloody civil war.

During the American revolutionary war, the British had recruited slaves to fight on their side by promising them freedom.  After the war, slave owners, including George Washington, demanded their slaves back.  A British commander, General Sir Guy Carleton, refused.  Thousands of freed slaves were transported from New York to Nova Scotia to avoid their re-enslavement.  But Carleton did promise to compensate the slaves' owners, and Washington settled for that.  So, it was good enough for George Washington!

The original British abolitionists, including Thomas Clarkson, greatly influenced Americans like William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass. But few picked up on the idea of compensated emancipation, which had not originated with the abolitionists.  Elihu Burritt was an exception.  From 1856 to 1860 he promoted a plan to prevent a U.S. civil war through compensated emancipation, or the purchase and liberation of slaves by the government, following the example that the English had set in the West Indies.  Burritt traveled constantly, all over the country, speaking.  He organized a mass convention that was held in Cleveland.  He lined up prominent supporters.  He edited newsletters.  He behaved, in other words, like Clarkson and many an activist since.

And Burritt was right.  Britain had freed its slaves without a civil war or a slave rebellion on the scale that was possible.  Russia had freed its serfs without a war.  Slave owners in the U.S. South would almost certainly have preferred a pile of money to five years of hell, the deaths of loved ones, the burning and destruction of their property, and the uncompensated emancipation that followed, not to mention the century and a half of bitter resentment that followed that.  And not only the slave owners would have preferred the way of peace; it's not as if they did the killing and dying.

Obama’s Escalating War on Freedom of the Press

By Norman Solomon

The part of the First Amendment that prohibits “abridging the freedom … of the press” is now up against the wall, as the Obama administration continues to assault the kind of journalism that can expose government secrets.

Last Friday the administration got what it wanted -- an ice-cold chilling effect -- from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled on the case of New York Times reporter James Risen. The court “delivered a blow to investigative journalism in America by ruling that reporters have no First Amendment protection that would safeguard the confidentiality of their sources in the event of a criminal trial,” the Guardian reported.

Aafia Siddiqui: Victim of US Injustice

 

Aafia Siddiqui: Victim of US Injustice

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

She's one of thousands of US political prisoners. She's well known. She committed no crimes. She's been brutalized in captivity. Mercy isn't in America's vocabulary. Rogue states operate that way.

 

Washington's by far the worst. It reportedly agreed to Pakistan's extradition terms. Both sides will swap prisoners. 

 

Two different stories linked by one scary trend: Track and Truth: Manning and the "Other" Surveillance System

By Alfredo Lopez


The tumble of revelations and developments involving the Internet has produced a pastiche of truths that, when examined closely, show links between what might usually be considered separate news stories.

Just for Sissies: US Flaunts the Rule of Law while Demanding that other Countries Honor It

By Dave Lindorff 


Ah, the rule of law. How often we hear our government leaders angrily demand that the rest of the world adhere to this sacred stricture, most recently as it demands that countries -- even countries with which the US has signed no extradition treaty like Russia or China -- honor the US charges leveled against National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and send him to the US for trial.


US Courts Approve Indefinite Detention and Torture

 

US Courts Approve Indefinite Detention and Torture

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

America's a police state. It's ruthless. Iron fist authority rules. International law's quaint and out-of-date. US statute protections aren't worth the paper they're written on. 

 

Constitutional rights don't matter. They never did for most people. It's truer now than ever. They're null and void. Executive diktat power rules. Congress and federal courts go along. They're complicit. 

America's Surveillance Society

 

America's Surveillance Society

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It's not new. It's longstanding. State-of-the-art technology makes it easy. It's more intrusive than ever. It's lawlessly out-of-control. 

 

On July 6, The New York Times Times headlined "In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of NSA," saying:

Aiding the Enemy: Who’s Really the ‘Enemy’ in the Bradley Manning Case?

By John Grant


We now have clarity from a full-bird colonel in judicial robes that Bradley Manning is to be charged with “aiding the enemy.” OK, not much of a surprise here. Colonel Denise Lind’s ruling seems pretty predictable.

Talk Nation Radio: John Whitehead on Our Government of Wolves

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-john

John Whitehead discusses a recent attack by Alcohol Beverage Control agents on college students purchasing water and the larger trends toward a police state in the United States.  Learn more at http://Rutherford.org Whitehead's latest book is A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Same Old ‘Same Old’: Acquittal of Zimmerman Reminds (Again) that Racism Persists

By Linn Washington Jr.


I received the text message from my buddy blasting the acquittal of George Zimmerman minutes before I boarded an airplane in London in route to South Africa.

To say I was not surprised by the acquittal handed down by the predominately white, all-female jury is an understatement. 

His 'Crime' is Patriotism, not Betrayal Like Hale's Philip Nolan, Snowden has Become a 'Man Without a Country'

By  Dave Lindorff

 

In Edward Everett Hale's short story "The Man Without a Country," US Army Lt. Philip Nolan, following a court-martial, is exiled from his country, his citizenship snatched away, leaving him doomed to sail the seven seas confined to a Navy vessel, unable to make any country his home. His crime: being seduced by a treacherous leader to betray the US of A, the country of his birth.

A Personal Essay On the Zimmerman Trial By a Grown-up Florida Boy: Of Criminals and Crackers

By John Grant


When people think of Florida, they think of oranges and pink flamingos, palm trees and beaches, the blue-green ocean. They think of Disney and margaritas. ... But it has a feral heart, a teeming center that would rage out of control if not for the concrete and rebar that keeps it caged.

  -Lisa Unger, from Black Out

Zimmerman: Not Guilty of Cold-Blooded Murder

 

Zimmerman: Not Guilty of Cold-Blooded Murder

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

When is killing a non-threatening unarmed teenager not murder? When civil rights don't matter. When Jim Crow justice prevails. 

 

When the victim is black. When mostly white women jurors call cold-blooded murder self-defense. 

 

Guantanamo Prisoners' Groins Protected; Too Bad Yours Aren't

In an excellent ruling that provides rare good news for the prisoners illegally detained at Guantanamo, a U.S. judge reveals that he actually has a sense of justice. The good news for the prisoners, however, doesn't extend to the rest of us.

Read the rest at ABombazine.

Snowden Affair exposed more than NSA spying: US Corporate Media shown to be Rank Propaganda Arms

By Dave Lindorff


It’s little wonder that despite his disclosure of an unprecedented KBG-like or Stasi-like spying program targeting all Americans, fully half of all Americans polled are saying that National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is a “spy” or “traitor” who should be brought to justice.

Why would this be, when a solid majority also say they oppose the spying program?

In Obamaland, ‘Rule of Law’ is for the Other Suckers: US (and French) Courts Have Ruled Head-of-State Immunity is Absolute

By Dave Lindorff


It is clear that the entrapment and forced landing in Austria of the official airplane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales was the work of the US, which was obviously behind the decision by France and Portugal to deny air rights to the flight, and which also was obviously behind the Austrian government’s demand to be allowed to search the jet after it landed. After all, those countries have no interest themselves in capturing US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is only Obama’s and the NSA’s quarry. 


The Fourth of July

On this, the anniversary of the  U.S.’s independence from Great Britain, some observations:

A Noir America: Killers and Roller-Coaster Rides

By John Grant


We're all aware of the reputed Chinese curse about living in interesting times. Upheaval seems to be in the air. According to Wikipedia, the interesting times curse was linked with a second, more worrisome curse: "May you come to the attention of those in authority."

Germans Remember Das Leben des Anderen

Gauging Sympathy for Snowden

July 3, 2013

Editor Note: As the U.S. media turns on NSA leaker Edward Snowden – and as many Americans say they’re happy to trade some privacy for more security – samples of public opinion abroad are more sympathetic. An online poll by a major German daily reflects that sentiment, writes ex-Danish intelligence analyst Frank S. Grevil.

By Frank S. Grevil, Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence

Servile Euro Leaders Cave Under US Pressure: Bolivia's Morales Dissed and Pissed as Diplomatic Immunity Ignored

By Dave Lindorff


Those of us who have been saying that the US has become a weak, or at least more ordinary power among many in the world because of its military failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and because of its economic decline, will have to recalibrate our analysis after watching the pathetic behavior of the leaders of Russia, Germany and France under pressure from the Obama administration not to allow Edward Snowden to gain asylum in those countries or even to escape his purgatory in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Stores:























Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.