Monthly Archives: August 2013

News & Views Roundup

ABA Journal: The Founding Fathers, the Third Amendment, and the militarization of local police forces across the country.

David Swanson: Lying liars lie, this time about Syria.

Miami Herald: Lawyers for Guantanamo defendants complain about Pentagon tech issues that could further delay the trials.

Nation of Change: Vets of US post-911 wars now must fight for the benefits they were promised.

Wired’s Danger Room: War, coming soon to a printer near you.

Stars and Stripes: Never mind about that backlog. Good job!

On the heels of Chelsea Manning’s coming out as transgender, a new effort by the transgender community to serve openly, with a new web video series, TransMilitary:

TransMilitary from Tyrus Emory on Vimeo.

Manning’s 35 year sentence reveals decline of US justice and journalism

[Update]: In a public statement issued on 8/22/13, Pvt. Manning disclosed that her name is now Chelsea Manning, and that she is a female. Going forward, we will honor her request to use her new name and appropriate pronouns, in support of her transition.

Today, Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years for the “crime” of revealing the seamy underside of US diplomacy and war-making. The sentence is substantially less than 60  years the prosecution asked for, but greater than what the defense requested. It was predicated on alleged damage done to the US, though it remains unclear what actual damage, aside from embarrassment, occurred. Indeed, the idea that transparency is damaging is one that should shock the conscience of any patriot, if one defines patriotism as something other than blind obeisance to whatever one’s government says.

Manning’s defense attorney, David Coombs, told the court that “(h)is biggest crime was he cared about the loss of life he was seeing and was struggling with it.” That, in fact, is what drove the government in its excessive and relentless attacks, inside and outside the courtroom, on Bradley Manning. That is what Barack Obama’s promise of the “most transparent” administration in history has devolved into.

Everyone in the country; nay, everyone the world over, should be outraged at his prosecution and sentence. But for Manning, Reuters still would not know what happened to its correspondents, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen, the day they were gunned down by an American air strike. And the world would not know the callousness of the Americans doing the killing, who had no regrets about also shooting a man and a young boy who came to assist the wounded and dead.

So, what is the legacy of Bradley Manning, his prosecution and sentencing? It dates back some 40 years and tells us more about the shift of power to an ever-more-secretive, imperial and imperious government from a population that has become less resistant and more pliable.