Sunday, January 23, 2011

Activists delivering Bradley Manning petition held at Quantico | Raw Story

Activists delivering Bradley Manning petition held at Quantico | Raw Story
Update from Firedog lake:
In December 2010, House came forward with testimony that he witnessed a deterioration in Manning’s physical and mental state due to the conditions of solitary confinement. House traveled to the Quantico brig to check up on Bradley’s well-being after a week in which Manning’s lawyer filed an Article 138 complaint over Manning’s mistreatment at Quantico. House and Hamsher also planned to deliver a 42,000 signature strong petition calling for an end to the inhumane conditions that Manning is being held. Upon arriving at the main entrance at Quantico, House and Hamsher were stopped and detained by military police who provided no explanation of detainment aside from a statement from one MP that his orders to detain had “come from the top.”

From 1:00 – 1:30 MPs took their IDs and made them sign a form that they could not deviate to the brig or else they would be trespassing. At this time, one of the MPs asked for Hamsher’s auto insurance card. Hamsher attempted to produce a digital copy of the card, at which point MP Gunnery Sgt. Foster informed Hamsher that her car would be towed. House and Hamsher offered to drive away off the base but were denied, despite being detained only ten feet inside the base’s perimeter. The MPs took the Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses of House and Hamsher.

Around 1:40 the tow truck arrived and MPs instructed House and Hamsher to leave their vehicle, informing them that their vehicle would be searched. At 2:00 pm House observed military officers arriving and entering the MP outpost which oversaw his detainment. House expressed concern that he would miss Manning’s visiting hours but was informed that he could neither exit nor move forward to the base. No explanation for House and Hamsher’s detainment was provided until at 2:50 when they were informed they could leave the base. They were detained for two hours up until Manning’s visitation time period was set to expire at 3:00.

In past visits, Hamsher and House have had no problem driving onto the base to visit Manning. This is the first time House has been denied access to Manning. House and Hamsher’s detainment comes on the heels of Amnesty International calling for an investigation into the conditions of Manning’s confinement. The UN rapporteur has also announced that the UN will be starting an investigation and Manning’s attorney has filed an article 138 complaint citing inhumane and overly harsh conditions on part of the Brig. Now House, Manning’s primary visitor outside of his attorney, who has provided public testimony about Manning’s deteriorating conditions as a result to his solitary confinement, has effectively been denied access to Manning.

These reporters are still being detained as we publish this. Check back for updates.
By Daniel Tencer
Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 -- 2:35 pm

Activist reporters who tried to deliver a petition protesting Bradley Manning's treatment by the US military were blocked from seeing Manning and held against their will at Quantico on Sunday, while their cars were towed on seemingly flimsy pretenses, the reporters say.

FireDogLake blogger Jane Hamsher told her Twitter followers that she was detained at the gate to the US Marine base at Quantico when she showed up to deliver a petition signed by 42,000 people, demanding that the US military take Bradley Manning -- the alleged source of the State Department cables released by WikiLeaks -- out of solitary confinement.

"Now been here at Quantico gate for 30 min.," Hamsher tweeted early Sunday afternoon. "Will not let us leave base, holding us."

David House, a FireDogLake blogger and computer programmer who is one of very few people authorized to see Manning, reported similar issues as he arrived at Quantico on Sunday to ask Manning about conditions in the prison.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Playing God in the Middle East: an Iraqi Reassessment

Michael Brenner: Playing God in the Middle East:
A rarely seen assessment of the cost to the Iraqi people of the American invasion of that country.
"We are now in the 10th year of the first decade of the 'war on terror.' So the inevitable anniversary assessments are beginning to appear. Iraq reappraisals specifically are back in vogue. They favor the drawing of balance sheets."

Brenner then offers an alternative to "Cost Benefit Analysis" remote from the realities of War:
here are some too readily slighted facts. 100,000 - 150,000 Iraqis are dead as the consequence of our invasion and occupation. That is the conservative estimate. Untold thousands are maimed and orphaned. 2 million are uprooted refugees in neighboring lands. Another 2 million are displaced persons internally. The availability of potable water and electricity is somewhat less than it was in February 2003. The comparable numbers for the United States would be 1.1 - 1.6 million dead; an equal number infirmed; 22 million refugees eking out a precarious existence in Mexico and Canada; 22 million displaced persons within the country. We did not do all the killing and maiming; we did most of the destruction of infrastructure. To all these tragedies we are accessories before and during the fact.

let me suggest a couple of ways to approximate that experience.

Step one. Go to your nearest cemetery; read and count the tombstones up to ten. Do that ten times, then multiply by a thousand. Try visualizing only half that number since it is in the nature of all of us to diminish drastically the affect and identity with those who are not part of our community.

Step two: go to RFK stadium, imagine it full. Do that 3 times and then imagine them all -- men, women and children -- in their graves. Repeat the exercise -- this time imagine them hobbling on one leg, lying crippled or blind on a cot in a cinderblock house. Imagine them as Americans -- men, women and children -- who placed USA stickers on their cars, chanted USA! USA! watching the Olympics, eating hot dogs and drinking Coke. Imagine them now six feet under. Imagine them all as the victims of an invasion and occupation by Iraqi Muslims who were deceived by their lying leaders who hid their own dark purposes.

Does this imply that pacifism is the only ethically acceptable conduct? No -- but it does give us a better fix on the true meaning of our shameful adventure in Iraq. Moreover, keep in mind that the Iraqis never gave us permission to do those things to them. We willfully imposed ourselves on them, did so based on the accusation of a fabricated threat that never existed.

Will we learn anything this time around (other than controlling the media is effective)?