My 100th post – Maybe the end?

Saturday 1405  – 24.08.2013.

Please read to the end.. thank you

If you are new to my blog take a look at my About page here

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Howard Zinn quote

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.

Bradley manning facing prison for informing the public about what it's government is doing  2 things made me angry this week  –

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.

 https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/restore-united-states%E2%80%99-human-rights-record-and-grant-clemency-pvt-bradley-manning/L7zHZv4r

As ever I welcome your thoughts.

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Saturday girl signing off. So is this my last post?  Only time and my energies will tell.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here 

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18 comments on “My 100th post – Maybe the end?

  1. […] 1000 Days Without Trial – America’s Shame.  and  My 100th post – Maybe the end? […]

  2. […] Ok last week I wrote my 100th post and speculated that it might be my last. You can read that one here […]

  3. LensScaper says:

    Thank you for including that message that Bradley Manning sent to the President. An important thread to this topic. Blogging is time consuming – my wife constantly reminds me of that! – usually when a task requires my attention. I regard a Blog as a golden opportunity to write a column on whatever I want to write about – short or long, serious or humorous, snapshot or strong image. No Editor to hassle me – I write what I feel. And that is what makes this blog of yours so good (and I’m sorry I only discovered it recently) – because it’s written from the heart, no holds barred, no punches pulled. The Blogosphere needs folk like you, Helen. I hope you can continue.Just imagine your life expectancy is 100 and that will allow a few Saturdays off!

  4. I greatly object to the characterization of a transgender individual as “troubled”. As for the rest of the sticking points, my head hurts at the moment, so another time.

  5. scillagrace says:

    I have been thinking about you as “news” of Manning’s sexuality made the Yahoo! front page. It fits with all the celebrity gossip about who is losing weight, etc., but it’s obviously NOT what matters. And the only part of the larger quote you post that they picked up is where it says, “I’m sorry I hurt people.” And the string of comments that followed were even pettier and more stupid. In my home town, the most revealing story about war came about when a returning Marine stalked and murdered his wife, a police officer. Issues of jealousy, PTSD, and his participation in war atrocities came out in trial. The man murdered 68 Iraqis as part of his duty, including women and children and a boy he’d befriended and begun to teach English. Armed civilians confuse soldiers. Critical thinking is attacked. We really need to stop picking around at the mote in the eyes of soldiers and take out the plank in our systems’ eyes. Our military/economic/industrial/political systems are blind to humanity and the rest of the living planet.

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Very well said indeed Scilla. Your voice is most distinctive and authoritative and indeed welcome.
      Thanks also for not berating me about this possibly being my last post.. too kind.

  6. the President of The Untied States of America could as Commander in Chief have stopped this ridiculous charade. He did not, he chose not to, yet still the public at large will vote for change. In an effort to seek justice, I strongly advice not voting in a rigged system. There is no left, right in politics, nor can there be as long as we serve the “military industrial machine” it is time to stop supporting liars and corruption. No justice, no peace, know justice, know peace. It may be a struggle but we are talking about the sanctity of life, liberty and freedom. I do not believe it is any longer a case for “better the devil you know” for that is how we got here. We must rise up and say no more, no more war, no more hatred, no more injustice. Know more peace, know more love, know more justice. Knowledge is the key, stay informed and passionate about creating a better world, never give in. Chelsea Manning did the right thing. love and peace are my weapons.

  7. I agree with you entirely. There is a whistleblower story developing in “The Newsroom” , which appears to be a successor to The West Wing in some form. An NSA boss says he joined the service because he didn’t like the Russian Government and what they did to their people (surveillance,lack of freedoms, oppression). Then after 9/11 the US started doing the same. Thus, he was blowing the whistle.
    Perhaps a factional take on things but thought provoking just the same.
    You can still lose your head in the UK for treason. As far as I know that one hasn’t been repealed.
    Whistleblowers at this level lose their freedom. The Might of the Governments turns them into criminals.
    Sad to say, I wonder what is gained if nothing changes.

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Oh I think something changes, if only in the hearts and minds of the general public.. it is just way too slow for my liking.
      I admire those who against the odds can still do what is the right thing..

  8. Adrian Lewis says:

    Helen, I agree totally with what Dave says here – and also I can remind you of what you said to me recently, that blogging should be enjoyable and not a chore. But, yes, do keep up Photomania – I enjoy your pictures. Adrian

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Thanks Adrian. I did indeed say that to you! As I was reading yours and Dave’s comments I did think what else would I be doing with my time.. Housework? hmmmm and sometimes I think I post about important stuff that needs to be said.

  9. bananabatman says:

    I understand the effort that you have put into this blog Helen. Frankly, I don’t know how you have maintained the commitment. I couldn’t have done it. I know that anger about the way the world behaves can be a good catalyst, but many of us would just have taken the easy path and fumed quietly. Well done for expressing your views. I have sympathised with many of them. I for one will be happy to read more, but do stop when you have had enough. Please do keep up Photomania though. Dave.

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