Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nine Months In Solitary. You Try It. #FreeBrad

 T-shirts benefit Firedoglake, not the Manning defense fund. But how cool is this graphic?
Soon, Bradley Manning will testify at his court martial pre-trial hearing for giving Wikileaks info about how our government and its military operate. I can't wait!

It will be the first time he has spoken in public about his situation, unless you count his recent admission that he was the source of the information provided to Wikileaks. Info published by mainstream news outlets like the Guardian and the New York Times though you don't see any of them in 900+ days of detention without a trial and no editors got put in nine months of solitary confinement at the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia.

Quantico is the place I witnessed what seems now to be foreshadowing of the large scale military style response to fairly small crowds of non-violent protestors. It mirrored the out of proportion violence being done to a young intelligence officer who followed his conscience and dared to defy authority.

The government is hard pressed to prove that what Manning did harmed anyone, but he has been brutally treated just the same. A portent of what the response would be in cities across the continent when Occupy broke out. OWS sign: "If banking regulations were enforced like camping laws in this country, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in."

In March 2011 when we stood outside Quantico when Bradley was being detained in the worst conditions -- sleep deprivation, forced nudity, and other humiliation tactics. This was before they moved him to Leavenworth. While he faced the demons inside the facility, his supporters outside faced scores of the following: military police, state police, town police, county sheriffs, mounted police, K-9 police, riot squad police, and commandos in cammo with automatic weapons. We were outside the gates of the base and at one point officers shut down the major road that we were standing along side in an open field, a couple hundred of us, with our signs. Then they kettled us into the now closed street using metal barricades. In an act of civil disobedience retired Col. Ann Wright sat down in the road and, according to his own account, Dan Ellsberg was then inspired to sit down with her. Then others joined in. Last I saw of her that day, riot police with shields were wrenching her arm as she did not get up quickly enough when they told her to get up.

Now the action has moved to Ft. Meade where the pre-trial hearings have been going on. Today's update for Nov. 27, 2012 from the website BradleyManning.org:
At this extremely important hearing, Bradley’s lawyer David Coombs will focus on the abuse Bradley endured in Quantico, VA. It is now well-known that Bradley was held for nine months in solitary confinement, in conditions that were declared by UN Chief Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez to be “cruel, inhuman and degrading.” David Coombs will present evidence that brig psychiatrists opposed the decision to hold Bradley in solitary, and that brig commanders misled the public when they said that Bradley’s treatment was for “Prevention of Injury”. 
I am looking forward to hearing what Brad has to say in court. He is the most significant political prisoner in the U.S. of our time. He has been in jail for years for sharing mildly classified information, even though war criminals who have waged genocide walk free.

A cool holiday gift that communicates. Note: T-shirts benefit Firedoglake, not the Manning defense fund.

1 comment:

chrisrushlau said...

Those "legal scholars" who dismiss the notion of justice as a self-evident quality, and who must therefore base their theory of law on the concept of sovereignty, that is, some dude has the arbitrary power and judges have to bow and serve, which is the only theory being taught in law schools as far as I know, cannot explain how we are to figure out how to read the minds of these judges as they read the mind of this sovereign dude: so as to know "what the law is". It might be a dame, not a dude. Let me tell you, the Socratic method as practiced at Maine's law school around the turn of the century was pure show-biz. Professor walks in, says to the class, "I'm thinking of three words," and the students jump up and down, having read the model exam answers in the library and consulted past years' classnotes, but careful, if called upon to balance a beachball on the tip of their noses, not to advance an argument that stands on its own four legs, since that would be an offense against the professor's sovereignty, dignity, autonomy, and authority.
So our law frequently trips over self-contradictions, like Manning's disclosing a small chapter in a huge book of violations of the law of war as that concept is taking shape over the past hundred or so years. But judges are not merely suck-ups who cheerfully implement absurdities. They also are entrepreneurs. They don't just read the society pages to see who the sovereign is today. They also look out the window to see if the sovereign-of-the-day's house is being burned down by a mob while the police stand around and recite Bob Dylan lyrics.
Israel is coming apart. Today in Haaretz the headline proclaims as a fact what is at best a prediction: Netanyahu will not carry through on his threat to punish "the Palestinians" when Abbas brings his suit for observer status for a Palestinian entity to the UN tomorrow. The headline says, "Talk loudly but carry a small stick." The body of the article refers to this "humiliation" of Israel. In a nutshell, racism ends when its officers can't stop laughing at themselves at the absurdity of it.
So the judges facing Manning now and in prospect are looking out the window. It may not be so hard to read their minds. Stand tall, Coombs and Manning.