Archives for posts with tag: WikiLeaks

The perception amongst most Americans is that Bradley Manning should never have told us what was going on because he was breaking the law.

A U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.

The perception of most Americans is that Bradley Manning is a traitor.

More so, I imagine, than the man who shot 17 Iraqi women and children as they lay sleeping in their beds.

If a journalist with a degree had uncovered this information I believe most Americans would be ok with that.

His expensive education would somehow allow him the privilege of exposing the wrongs of the nation.

We are shooting the messenger because the messenger is poor white trash… who the hell does he think he is?

That’s what I’m hearing. That’s what’s really going on here.

Vivienne Westwood wears Bradley Manning

So, I’ve been spending time on Christian Mingle.

Looking for God’s match for me. Well, I’m sorry but… it’s shit.

God (not my usual God) made it quite clear to me whilst I was scrolling obsessively through acres of men who look like pedophiliac geography teachers… he made it perfectly clear that a life of abstinent solitude was probably on the cards or (if I was really lucky) being violently murdered by a crazy sex therapist or… luckier… a hit man sent by some crazier ex.

Which brings me illogically to:

Bradley Manning. My hero. What can I say? This courageous young man has revealed not only international truths triggering the Arab Spring and a hasty retreat from Iraq by the USA… but the truth about American, white gay men.

Fuck me. What a bunch of crazy, right-wing cock suckers.

I mean… these gay white guys are voting Democrat, so they get their miserable marriage equality then… as soon as they do… they’ll jump ship and vote Republican… if they aren’t already.

Gay White Men won’t feel like they are part of any minority once they achieve parity with their straight white male colleagues.

Powerful white men famously loathe sharing the stage with immigrants, brown people, poor people, ugly people, fat people, trans… and women. Fuck them. Especially women. Their natural enemy.

‘They don’t mesh with MY lifestyle.’ he said.  Yes, he really said that.

It fills me full of dread to imagine a world run by gay white men. But apparently, according to Elton John. It already is.

So Bradley, I had to draw a line in the sand.

It’s Anderson Cooper, Elton John, David Geffen, the HRC and any guests at a typical Hollywood pool party over there… and it’s me you and the brown people over here.

Bradley, in the USA the gays want to ignore you, demonize you, forget you.

The rest of the world thinks about you every day, rotting in that jail. They agree with me. They think you’re the bees knees.

Bradley, you won’t believe this but, yesterday Vivienne Westwood wore a laminated photograph of you pinned to her lilac, silk gown at the Metropolitan Fashion Ball.

Perhaps the gays might take you more seriously now?

I doubt it.

I’m really sorry that our community has let you down.

Apparently what you did… isn’t gay enough.

“What does Bradley Manning and his treason have to do with being gay?” That’s what they say Bradley.

You just ain’t the right flavor. And, of course, they (elite gay snobs) know you only joined the military in the first place to get a free education.

You ended up educating the whole world.

“You should have known better. You shouldn’t have broken the rules.”

That’s what the rich, white, gay men say.

Just Like You

Bradley, they were going to include you in the 2013 San Francisco Pride event. Did you hear about that? They were going to honour you.

But they lost their nerve after the rich, white gays persuaded the poor, black lesbian who runs the event that you were just a common thief.

There are well researched articles about you and what happened at San Francisco Pride. Bradley’s inclusion and outrageous exclusion.

After it happened I had to defriend over 250 affluent gay white men on Facebook. Yes, I did.

I felt like a Jew waking up out of a blackout at the Nazi Christmas party. Or a Muslim at the NRA National Convention. Or a Christian in the back room of a gay bar.

I had to make a big decision. I had to weigh up: the differences versus the similarities and… the similarities between me and the gays were negligible.

I had to redefine myself.

Bradley, for you… I am not gay.

I will have nothing more to do with them. Because of you.

Thanks for that Bradley. I owe you a club soda some time.

But, that’s only half the story.  I’ve been feeling very uncomfortable in my gay skin for a very long time.

It all began with that smile he gave me in the family court waiting area 3 years ago. He was with his dad.

That arrogant grin. You see… he thought he’d won the war.

Americans always think they have to win.

It was shocking because, until that moment, I’d only ever seen his ersatz humility. I did not recognize him any more.

But, I knew the smile. I’d seen it before… on the entitled faces of rich, white gay men.

Oh God. I thought. That’s who you are. That’s what you’ve been hiding.

The pain I felt around the gays. The revulsion I felt at the gay charity events, gay AA, gay white men, gays en masse.

The smell of them began to make me nauseous.

Perhaps, I thought, it might just be self hate? Internalized homophobia?

Just like I thought my gall stones were indigestion… it was the wrong self-diagnosis.

I am surrounded by millions of gay zombies.  In the perpetual search for fresh meat.

Zombies forcing other gays, gays with unnatural ideas to think like them.

Bradley, President Obama is on the TV right now… warming up his audience with a few self-deprecating quips.

The gays love him. They don’t care if they’re being used to shield what’s really going on.

Hey America! Look at this dancing gay who wants to get married… look… over here! Look over here whilst we torture these Muslims and spray the world with bee killing Round-Up.

If you ever get out of that prison… you’ll find a very different gay America. Oh yes.

But don’t expect a heroes welcome from the gays. It ain’t happening.

Don’t expect a GLAAD award.

Their ‘heroes’ are prescribed by good looking GLAAD president Herndon Graddick and his ilk. Heroes? A GLAAD ‘hero’ is anyone who comes out of the closet or a celebrity who says publicly that they like gay people.

Herndon Graddick?  Consider the source.

You know what, Bradley? The last time I saw Herndon (fascist star-fucker) he was sobbing in a gay AA meeting because he can’t stop doing meth.

The time before that I saw Herndon he was at gay traitor Ken Mehlman’s drinks party with his forked tongue shoved so far up Ken’s ass what he pulled out was scarcely chewed.

Bradley, you were very brave.

Most of the gays I know in LA and NYC are the kind of men who stayed close to the teacher at school because they lived in fear.

Fear has shaped their lives.

They are scared of you.  They used to be scared of radical homosexual Peter Tatchell.  Before Elton brought him in from the cold.

Bradley, you didn’t come from an affluent family, you’re not a great looker. You might not even be a man… that’s what they say.

But who ever you are, you are my hero. You made me rethink, reshape my life. Redefine myself as queer rather than gay… and I thank you for that… again. Because without you… things might have remained confusing for me.

But now… they’re not.

The story of S.F. Pride versus Bradley Manning and S.F. Pride versus the activist community of San Francisco is an ugly one that illumines the maggoty underside of assimilationist politics and policies. In the quest for straight acceptance that has propelled the LGBT community headlong into the arms of two of the most historically repressive institutions, marriage and the military, dissent has become anathema. The values of ads that used to pepper the personals in queer newspapers and magazines “seeking straight-looking, straight-acting, no fats, no fems” have become internalized within the community. The controversy over Manning highlights what has happened in the juggernaut move toward equality — there’s no room for outliers. Either you are a Lisa Williams-style straight-acting, straight-looking martinet with no temper for dissent or you are like the people who signed the complaint — activists all — who recognize that our queer story is not going to be told simply through marriage equality and being able to enlist openly in the military. Marriage and military equality are important, but they aren’t our only issues. Manning took the actions he did because of his outrage over DADT, which was still in effect throughout his deployment. But he also acted like so many patriots have over our nation’s history — out of loyalty to American democracy. Manning thought the government was lying to the people. So he told them the truth.

VICTORIA A. BROWNWORTH is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist who has won the NLGJA and Society of Professional Journalists Awards for her series on LGBT issues. She is the author and editor of more than 30 books, including the award-winning Too Queer: Essays From a Radical Life. She lives in Philadelphia. Find her on Twitter at @VABOX.

On 29 May, Private Bradley Manning will have been held in USmilitary detention without trial for one year. A 23 year old openly gay man, he faces a battery of charges, including “aiding the enemy” – a crime punishable by execution under US law.Manning’s crime? It is alleged that he blew the whistle on war crimes and cover ups by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. If this is true, the man is a hero. He is a defender of democracy and human rights. His actions are based on the principle that citizens have a right to know what the government is doing in their name. Bradley should not be in prison. The charges against him should be dropped. Set him free. Instead, put on trial those who killed innocent civilians and those who protected the perpetrators.

Bradley Manning is a true patriot, not a traitor. He reveres the founding ideals of the US – an open, honest government accountable to the people, which pursues its policies by lawful means that respect human rights. At great personal risk, he sought to expose grave crimes that were perpetrated and then hidden by the US government and military. These are the characteristics of a man of conscience, motivated by altruism. Any misjudgements he made in the alleged release of certain documents are fair outweighed by the positive good overall. Thanks to Manning, we, the people, know the truth.

One aspect of Bradley Manning’s commitment to human rights is his active support for LGBT equality. He has participated in Gay Pride marches and campaigned against the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ restrictions on US gay military personnel. In 2008, he attended a rally in New York to oppose attempts to ban same-sex marriage in California.

For nearly a year, Manning was imprisoned in harsh, inhuman conditions at Quantico marine corps base in Virginia. He was subjected to long periods of solitary confinement and many extreme deprivations, which amounted to pre-conviction punishment. After worldwide protests, he was recently transferred to a standard medium security military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where his treatment has significantly improved.

Manning is being held on the as yet unproven allegation that he leaked classified US military and diplomatic documents that were subsequently released by Wikileaks. These documents exposed US war crimes, as well as US foreign policy dishonesty and duplicity.

A senior United Nations representative on torture, Juan Mendez, reprimanded the US government in April 2011 for not allowing him to meet Bradley Manning in private and in confidence. This is the kind of censure the UN normally reserves for authoritarian regimes: http://tiny.cc/nq3mq

Mendez, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said: “I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr Manning.”

My friend US congressman Dennis Kucinich and a representative from Amnesty International were likewise refused permission to visit Manning.

Also in April, more than 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars signed a letter protesting against the mistreatment of Manning during the nine months he was detained in Quantico military brig, arguing that his “degrading and inhumane conditions” were illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture: http://tiny.cc/bs95c

The open letter by these scholars states:

“For nine months, Manning has been confined to his cell for twenty-three hours a day. During his one remaining hour, he can walk in circles in another room, with no other prisoners present. He is not allowed to doze off or relax during the day, but must answer the question “Are you OK?” verbally and in the affirmative every five minutes. At night, he is awakened to be asked again “Are you OK?” every time he turns his back to the cell door or covers his head with a blanket so that the guards cannot see his face. During the past week he was forced to sleep naked and stand naked for inspection in front of his cell, and for the indefinite future must remove his clothes and wear a “smock” under claims of risk to himself that he disputes.”

The letter goes on to question the US government’s motives for detaining Manning:

“The administration has provided no evidence that Manning’s treatment reflects a concern for his own safety or that of other inmates. Unless and until it does so, there is only one reasonable inference: this pattern of degrading treatment aims either to deter future whistleblowers, or to force Manning to implicate Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a conspiracy, or both.”

The list of scholars who signed the letter included Barack Obama’s own constitutional law professor, Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America’s foremost liberal authority on constitutional law.  He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.

You can read this Guardian report about the mistreatment Manning suffered at Quantico: http://tiny.cc/junb2

In summary, the Guardian report states that was being kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, in a windowless room 12′ x 6′, and shackled hand and foot when he was transferred to a room where was allowed only to walk around in a circle. He was fed a daily diet of antidepressant pills which disoriented him, forced to stand naked, forbidden to exercise in his cell, and woken if he attempted to sleep in the daytime. Manning was continually subject to what is called “maximum custody”, and also to a so-called “prevention of injury” order, which among other things, deprived him of his clothes at night and also of normal sheets and bedding in favour of a blanket he describes as being like the lead apron used when operating x-ray machines. He was allowed no personal possessions.

This abuse of Manning constitutes illegal “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment”, contrary to the UN Convention Against Torture and the 8th Amendment to the US constitution. It has been condemned by many civil liberties and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International: http://tiny.cc/7sr4w

The International Criminal Court should commence legal proceedings against the head of the US government and military commander-in-chief, President Obama.  He bears direct personal and legal responsibility for the mistreatment of Manning. He knew about it, publicly endorsed it and did nothing to stop it.

The transfer of Manning from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth – and the subsequent significant improvement in the conditions under which he is being detained – occurred just days after the legal scholar’s letter was publicised, and appeared designed to preempt plans by Manning’s lawyers to mount a legal challenge to the harsh conditions of his detention at Quantico. It also followed an online petition by avaaz.org which gathered half a million signatures in one week in early April.

Private Manning, a US military intelligence analyst, was arrested in Iraq following the release by Wikileaks of video footage of a US Apache helicopter attack that gunned down 11 Iraqi civilians in 2007, including two Reuters journalists and men who had gone to the aid of the wounded. Two children were also gravely injured when the US helicopter opened fire on their van. The video records US soldiers laughing and joking at the killings, and also insulting the victims.

The video of the massacre can be seen at: www.collateralmurder.com

This slaughter had previously been the subject of a cover-up by the US armed forces, which claimed dishonestly that the helicopter had been engaged in combat operations against armed enemy forces.

It is only (allegedly) thanks to Bradley Manning that we now know the truth about this slaughter of innocent civilians – and about the killings of hundreds of other civilians in unreported and undocumented incidents.

Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, which exposed US lies and criminality in Vietnam, has hailed Manning as a hero.

Manning is a humanist and a man with a conscience. When he discovered human rights violations by the US armed forces and duplicity by the US government, he was shocked and distressed. He became disillusioned with his country’s foreign and military policy; believing it was betraying the US ideals of democracy and human rights.

The abuse that first triggered Manning’s disillusionment was when he was posted to Iraq in October 2009 as an intelligence analyst. He was shocked to discover US military collusion with the repression of dissent in Iraq; in particular “watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police….for printing ‘anti-Iraqi’ literature.” The offending literature exposed corruption in the US-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. When he complained that US forces should not be assisting with the suppression of free speech and peaceful protest, he was told to shut up and that the US armed forces in Iraq should be doing more to silence opponents of the Maliki regime.

Manning is a US citizen but also a British citizen via his Welsh mother. Since he has been in detention, he has received no British consular support. Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg have failed to help him. They have never spoken publicly against his maltreatment or, as far as we know, made any private appeals to the US government and military to halt the abuse that Manning suffered at Quantico. So much for the coalition’s professed commitment to human rights and civil liberties.

Manning’s mother requested assistance from UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to ensure a British consular visit to her son. This request has been ignored: http://tiny.cc/4e732

TAKE ACTION – What you can do:

1.    Write to Bradley Manning. Send him your support: PFC Bradley Manning 89289. Fort Leavenworth Military Detention Centre, 830 Sabalu Road, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, KS 66027, USA. 

2.    Sign the petition in support of Bradley Manning: www.bradleymanning.org 

3.    Ask your MP and MEPs to urge the British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to ensure a British consular visit to Bradley Manning, and to press the US government to drop all charges and release him. You can email your MP and MEPs direct via this website: www.writetothem.com 

4.    Phone or write to the US Embassy in London – 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE – 0207 499 9000

5.    Write to President Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC20500, USA

6.    Please tweet this message: 

If Bradley Manning blew the whistle on US war crimes, he’s a hero. Free him. Sign the petition: www.bradleymanning.org  #bradleymanning

 

I love wiki leaks for this reason:  It’s like getting to hear what everyone ever said about you behind your back…confirming exactly what you thought they might be saying.

Today…I had lunch with Tom, his wife, daughter and assorted friends.

I am now in bed with the most terrible flu so here are some pictures.  Lunch was delicious.  Conversation amusing.  Children delightful.   Discussed Scott Crolla.

Tom’s Garden

Tom’s Garden

Sir Tom and Lady Croft

me

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