Saturday 1405 – 24.08.2013.
Please read to the end.. thank you
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This is my 100th Post, I know that doesn’t tally with the number of Saturdays I have left but that’s because I’ve done the odd extra posts too and possibly because I can’t count, but WordPress tells me it’s my 100th so who am I to argue. During the week I was thinking that this might be my last post but the jury is still out on that.
I’m not a natural writer and this takes up a lot of my time. As you may have guessed, if you’ve been following for a while, I often like to post about subjects usually that have got my blood boiling and which I need to research first. Writing has started to feel like homework and a chore!
As most of you know I also have a photography blog and if this is to be my last post on here it won’t affect Photomania; I will still be posting on there.
Anyway to the 100th post – I have been thinking all week about the outcome of the trial of Private Manning and feeling dismay at his 35 year sentence, though I had suspected it would be even longer than that.
This is not the first time I have written about Pte Manning, back on the 23rd February, I wrote a post called 1000 days without Trial – America’s Shame and you can read that post by clicking on the name.
I have long been a supporter of Manning because I believe that governments and in this case the American government in particular, should be telling the truth about the wars they are waging around the world, should be accountable when its armed forces are committing war crimes and should bring perpetrators to trial.
The first was, as I mentioned, the 35 year sentence which I believe is wholly unjust.
An example of why I think that – In November 2005 in Haditha in Iraq, 24 unarmed Iraqi men, women and children were killed by a group of US Marines. They were shot multiple times at close range.. A cover up began immediately, those charged ALL had the case against them dropped except one Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich who , following a plea deal, was convicted of just one count of negligent dereliction of duty despite substantial evidence against him.. He did not serve a SINGLE DAY of time..but just got a reduction in pay and rank..
As Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg said “The only person prosecuted for the crimes and abuses uncovered in the WikiLeaks’ releases is the person who exposed them,” “That alone proves the injustice of one more day in prison for Bradley Manning.”
Daniel Ellsberg is absolutely correct..
Bradley Manning is being punished for being an idealist and believing that what he did would make a difference to the atrocious US foreign policy.. The world is sadly very short of idealists..
The 2nd thing that made me angry was the way the BBC and other major news outlets have been treating the Manning Case. They have written/spoken more about it in the few days since Manning has announced to the world, what the transgender community have known for a long time, that he feels that he has always been a she and wishes to be known as Chelsea from now on.
The blatant inference in the media has been that it was only because Chelsea Manning was transgender and “troubled” that she leaked the information. It has felt like a smear campaign and has piled on yet more injustice.
The media should have been concentrating on those who committed abuses at every level, under cover of war, because THAT’S what’s important here, not what gender Manning is.
As you may know Chelsea Manning will be writing to the American President Obama asking for a Pardon. I make no apology for including the full text as read by Manning’s defense attorney David Coombs, which I found profoundly moving.
“The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy — the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps — to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
I understand that my actions violated the law; I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal. “
Remember in 2008 how Obama said he was going to protect Whistleblowers
“Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled as they have been during the Bush administration.”
Such hypocrisy !
If you care about whistleblowers, who put their life on the line to ensure the rest of us get the truth about what our governments are doing, then please join me in signing this White House petition started by Amnesty International and the Pardon.Bradleymanning Org asking for clemency for Manning. You don’t have to be in America to sign it but it does take a few mins.
As ever I welcome your thoughts.
Saturday girl signing off. So is this my last post? Only time and my energies will tell.
You can find my photography blog Photomania here