Posts Tagged ‘Torture’

I am a Republican, but I am not your typical Republican. I grew up in the blue state of New Jersey. I am 27 years old, and I have been a Republican for as long as I can remember. I am not your typical Republican, I am what I would like to call a “Progressive Republican” or “Classic Republican”. I believe in defending civil liberties, I believe in The Constitution, I believe in due process. I believe in Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of the Press. These are basic rights, but many in my party have thrown them out the window. I believe in the 4th Amendment and that no President is above the Constitution. I believe the Government shouldn’t tell you who you can marry, or what you can put into your body or what you can take out. It is not up the Government to decide and run our lives. I oppose nation building, and invading foreign countries, if it be with troops or unmanned drones.

I have always been let down by my party when it comes to these basic rights and freedoms, but I have always had my allies to the left. The Democrats, Liberals, Progressive; whatever you would like to call them. When we didn’t agree on other issues, I knew I could always count on them for having my back on these issues. When George W. Bush was President we stood up in a bipartisan voice and spoke out against the policies, and destruction of our rights and freedoms. We were not Republicans or Democrats, we were Americans. My Republican friends defended Bush, and I did not understand why, or how they could. We would argue, and they would just say the same old talking points. “He is protecting us for terrorist” “Do you want the terrorist to win” blah blah blah

Flash forward to 2013, Drones killing innocent civilians (4 Americans), torture still being practiced by the United States, Those who speak out against the Government being labeled “traitors”, Illegal wars being waged, The NSA illegally spying on every American, The President with a Kill List. Me a Republican who spoke out against my Republican President now speaking out against a Democratic President who has taken Bush’s policies and shot them up with steroids. The difference now is, I look around and all my former Democratic allies have fell in line with this President. They are delivering the same talking points that my Republican friends dished out when defending President Bush.

George W. Bush killed the Republican Party, and Barack Obama has killed the Democratic party. Together since 9/11 these two men have disregarded The Constitution. The have made it legal to detain and/or kill US Citizens without Due Process, They have made it legal to spy on every US Citizen without a warrant, They have made it legal to torture, They have made lying under oath acceptable, They have made OK to be the Policemen of the World and to wage wars as the see fit. When you don’t stand up to elected officials just because they have a certain letter next to their name, prepare to lose everything those before us fought for.

 

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“February 23 marks 1000 days in prison for Bradley Manning – a young gay man locked up for allegedly leaking the scandolous U.S. diplomatic communications published by Wikileaks.

These leaks exposed the rampant criminality of American foreign policy – but President Obama has chosen to imprison the alleged leaker, Manning, rather than those who committed violent war crimes such as massacring journalists and other civilians in Iraq.” Via (http://www.bradleymanning.org/support_events/bradley-manning-1000-days-in-prison-for-doing-the-right-thing)

1000 Days. You have read that correctly. 1000 days in prison for saying something he saw was wrong. So much for that speedy trial clause in the 6th Amendment: “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy . . . trial . . . .” People argue that what Bradley Manning did has put lives in danger. Whose lives have been put in danger? The people who committed the war crimes, those responsible for the death of innocence? Nope, they are not the ones who have been sitting in a jail cell for 990 days. They are not the ones who had to endure 11 months of solitary confinement and torturous conditions under a Peace Prize Winning Presidents Administration.

 

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In April of 2011 during a fundraiser Obama was asked again about Manning’s treatment, he responded by saying: “I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source,” Obama told an unidentified questioner. “That’s not how … the world works. If I was to release stuff, information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law … We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate … He broke the law.” Mind you this statement was made a year before the Manning trial would actually begin. So now according to Obama the Commander-in-Chief, Manning broke the law and he is guilty before he even stands trial before the military courts.

Bradley Manning is not a terrorist, nor did he “aide the enemy”. Bradley Manning did what the U.S. Government begs people to do; Say Something when you see a crime happening. Manning did not sell these leaks to foreign governments, or terror groups, he released it to the public so in his words, it would create “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”. 990 days after being imprisoned the discussion has died down, the debate is no where to be found, and reforms are not on the horizon. What Bradley Manning exposed can not be ignored, and we must keep fighting for transparency from an Administration that promised peace, and transparency. If we have learned anything from the attacks on Whistleblowers, this Administration does not want the public knowing what they are doing in our names.

 

Bradley Manning is a 24 year old U.S. Army solider from Oklahoma, who is facing life in prison because he spoke out against what he believed to be wrong. An openly gay solider who had access to classified networks for long periods of time. He believed that files and videos that he had access to deserved to be in the public domain. He said he hoped the material would lead to “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”. Manning leaked this information to Wiki Leaks so the public could really know what was actually going on in these wars that cost millions of deaths, and billions of dollars.

Manning was arrested on May 29, 2010, on July 29, 2010 Manning was moved from Kuwait to the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. He was held for 9 months as a “maximum custody detainee”. During those 9 months he stayed in a 6x12ft cell, with no windows for 23 Hrs a day. He was denied sleep between the hours of 5am and 8pm, no sheets for his bed, no pillow, and forced to sleep in his boxers, which resulted in server chaffing of the skin. Frustrated with his treatment Manning made a sarcastic comment to one of the guards saying if he wanted to hurt himself, he could do so “with the elastic waistband of his boxers or his flip flops”. After that comment Manning was forced to sleep naked, and stand in front of his cell naked every morning.

Manning’s treatment was brought to the public’s attention and there was immediate outrage. In March of 2011 State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley speaking to a small audience called Manning’s treatment “ridiculous, and counterproductive, and stupid”. This caught headlines, and at a Press Conference a few days later, Jake Tapper from ABC News asked President Obama if he agreed with P.J Crowley’s statement. Obama responded by saying “I asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards.” “They (the pentagon) assure me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.” A few days after that press conference P.J Crowley resigned as State Department spokesman.

In April of 2011 during a fundraiser Obama was asked again about Manning’s treatment, he responded by saying: “I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source,” Obama told an unidentified questioner. “That’s not how … the world works. If I was to release stuff, information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law … We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate … He broke the law.” Mind you this statement was made a year before the Manning trial would actually begin. So now according to Obama the Commander-in-Chief, Manning broke the law and he is guilty before he even stands trial before the military courts.

It is an outrage that a President like Obama who ran on a platform of ending torture, and transparency would allow this to happen. And, when confronted about what was going on he would just respond with “He broke the Law” and “his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards.”. Glad to see “Our” basic standards are what Obama considered torture when he was running for President in 2008, and  in which he bashed former President Bush of doing to alleged foreign terrorist. Now “Our basic standards” are allowing torture of an American Citizen, who didn’t even stand trial. If this would of happened today, under the NDAA 2012 (which Obama signed into law 1/1/12) Bradley Manning or anyone who speaks out against war crimes, or wrong doing by their government would be arrested and detained indefinitely with no right to a trial. You would just disappear and your voice would be silenced.

On October 21, 2011 Obama makes a big announcement: “After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011. As Commander-in-Chief, ensuring the success of this strategy has been one of my highest national security priorities.” also stating by the end of the year all troops will be withdrawn from combat in Iraq. Woo, everyone praise Obama, Hooray!!! He fulfilled another promise….Wait not so fast. Obama and Leon Panneta both said that they intended on keeping up to 20,000 combat troops in Iraq past the 12/31/11 deadline. They didn’t want to end the war, they were forced out by the Iraqi Government. Why were they forced out you ask? Well in a cable released by Wiki Leaks, in which they received from Bradley Manning, it shows that US forces were responsible for at least 10 Iraqi civilians (LINK) which included a 70 year old grandmother, and 5 month old infant. The US government covered this up by bombing the house in which the crime was committed, but before they could , the people of the village captured photos, and reported eye witnesses account to back up the cable provided by Bradley Manning. Which stated that an autoposy performed on the victims showed that they were handcuffed and shot in the head. The Iraqi government was furious about this and refuse to accept Obama’s plea to keep 20,000 combat troops in Iraq for the years to come. Now, Obama uses this as a big campaign message, that he fulfilled his promise to the end the War in Iraq, yet when the real hero is Bradley Manning.

So now Bradley Manning, a brave solider who has been tortured for 9 months, charged with “aiding the enemy”, and now faces life in prison, for what? Speaking out about something he thought was ethically and morally wrong. Something he felt that the American people deserved to know what was going on in the Middle East. Tortured by the administration of a President who claims to care about humans rights, and transparency. Who says that  “I was clear throughout this campaign and was clear throughout this transition that under my administration the United States does not torture,”
“We will abide by the Geneva Conventions. We will uphold our highest ideals.”. What a crock of shit. And people wonder why I dislike Obama so much, they say “Oh, it’s just one person who broke the law” When did speaking out against murder, rape, violence, and depravity become breaking the law. Bradley Manning did what was right and now faces life in prison. Make your voice be heard and speak out!!!

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” -Thomas Jefferson