Tag Archives: US occupation of Iraq

“Talk to an Iraqi” (This American Life)

This American Life, “Talk to an Iraqi,” Part I:

This American Life, “Talk to an Iraqi,” Part II:

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Obama: Stop Torturing Bradley Manning!

http://www.avaaz.org/en/bradley_manning/?vl

Dear friends,

Right now, Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning is being tortured in a US military prison. Manning is subjected to utter isolation that can drive many people insane, with short periods each day where he is stripped naked and abused by jeering inmates.

Manning is awaiting trial for releasing secret military documents to Wikileaks – including a video of US soldiers massacring Iraqi civilians. And his brutal treatment appears to be part of an intimidation campaign to silence whistleblowers and crack down on Wikileaks. The US government is split on this issue, with diplomats publicly criticizing the military for Manning’s treatment, but President Obama has stood aside so far.

Obama cares about the US’s global reputation – we need to show him that it’s at stake here. Let’s build a massive global call to the US government to stop torturing Manning and uphold the law. Sign the petition below – our message will be delivered through hard-hitting ads and actions in Washington DC as soon as we reach 250,000 signatures:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/bradley_manning/?vl

On paper the United States opposes torture. The US Constitution forbids “cruel and unusual punishment”. And, along with almost a hundred other countries, the US has signed an international convention promising to treat all prisoners “with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.” But today, Bradley Manning is utterly isolated in a cell without sheets, not allowed to exercise and is being subjected to brutal humiliation that is causing serious mental harm. This violates US and international law.

Bradley is being held under ‘prevention of injury’ status despite 16 reports from military mental health professionals that he should be removed from these severe conditions. His lawyers are trying to enforce his basic Constitutional and international human rights in court, but so far the military tribunal responsible for Bradley’s fate has ignored his suffering.

There has been a crack down on Wikileaks since the explosive revelations of US military crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many speculate that this brutal pressure on Bradley is intended to force him to implicate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. But Obama promised Americans and the world that he would protect, not persecute, whistleblowers:

“Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled.”

Bradley’s cruel treatment does the opposite and sends a chilling message to others who may want to expose important information. Let’s act quickly to put massive international pressure on the United States government to honor its commitment to human rights and the protection of whistleblowers and end the shockingly cruel treatment of their own citizen. Sign the petition below:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/bradley_manning/?vl

Bradley Manning claims he is a patriot and has admitted to releasing information that he felt the world had a right to know. While reasonable people can disagree about the approach of Wikileaks and the the rights or wrongs of those who delivered information to them, the illegal torture of Bradley Manning, who has yet to receive a fair trial or be convicted of any crime, is a shameful violation of human rights and human dignity.

With hope and determination,

Emma, Ricken, Pascal, Janet and the rest of the Avaaz team

Sources:

Check out Obama’s statement on the importance of whistleblowing released on his official website http://change.gov/agenda/ethics_agenda/

PJ Crowley resigns over Bradley Manning remarks, The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/13/pj-crowley-resigns-bradley-manning-remarks

Soldier’s inhumane imprisonment, LA Times

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/10/opinion/la-ed-manning-20110110

US: Explain Conditions of Bradley Manning’s Confinement, Human Rights Watch

http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/03/16/us-explain-conditions-bradley-manning-s-confinement

Stripped naked every night, Bradley Manning tells of prison ordeal, The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/11/stripped-naked-bradley-manning-prison

WikiLeakers and Whistle-Blowers: Obama’s Hard Line, Time

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2058340,00.html

The Implications of the Inhumane Treatment of Bradley Manning, Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-kane/bradley-manning-obama_b_832933.html

U.S. Pledges Rights Improvements, New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/19/world/19briefs-ART-Nations.html

Bradley Manning: charge sheet

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/interactive/2011/mar/04/bradley-manning-charge-sheet

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The Protest They Didn’t Want You to See, The War You Don’t See

Scenes from an antiwar civil disobedience action outside the US White House, organized by Veterans for Peace on December 16:


www.commondreams.org
Black-Out in DC: Pay No Attention to Those Veterans Chained to the White House Fence
by Dave Lindorff

There was a black-out and a white-out Thursday and Friday as over a hundred US veterans opposed to US wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world, and their civilian supporters, chained and tied themselves to the White House fence during an early snowstorm to say enough is enough.

Washington Police arrested 135 of the protesters, in what is being called the largest mass detention in recent years. Among those arrested were Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who used to provide the president’s daily briefings, Daniel Ellsberg, who released the government’s Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration, and Chris Hedges, former war correspondent for the New York Times.

No major US news media reported on the demonstration or the arrests. It was blacked out of the New York Times, blacked out of the Philadelphia Inquirer, blacked out in the Los Angeles Times, blacked out of the Wall Street Journal, and even blacked out of the capital’s local daily, the Washington Post.

Making the media cover-up of the protest all the more outrageous was the fact that most news media did report on Friday, the day after the protest, the results of the latest poll of American attitudes towards the Afghanistan War, an ABC/Washington Post Poll which found that 60% of Americans now feel that war has “not been worth it.” That’s a big increase from the 53% who said they opposed the war in July.

Clearly, any honest journalist and editor would see a news link between such a poll result and an anti-war protest at the White House led, for the first time in recent memory, by a veterans organization, the group Veterans for Peace, in which veterans of the nation’s wars actually put themselves on the line to be arrested to protest a current war.

Friday was also the day that most news organizations were reporting on the much touted, but also much over-rated Pentagon report on the “progress” of the American war in Afghanistan–a report that claimed there was progress, but which was immediately contradicted by a CIA report that said the opposite. Again, any honest journalist and editor would see the publication of such a report as an appropriate place to mention the unusual opposition to the war by a group of veterans right outside the president’s office.

And yet, the protest event was completely blacked out by the corporate news media, even as the capital was whited-out by a fast-moving snowstorm that brought traffic almost to a standstill.

If you wanted to know about this protest, you had to go to the internet and read the Huffington Post or to the Socialist Worker, or to this publication (okay, we’re a day late, but I was stuck in traffic yesterday), or to Democracy Now! on the alternative airways.

My old employer, the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, showed how it’s supposed to be done. In an article published Friday about the latest ABC/Washington Post Poll, reporter Simon Mann, after explaining that opposition to the war in the US was rising, then wrote:

“The publication of the review coincided with anti-war protests held across the US, including one in Washington in which people chained themselves to the White House fence, leading to about 100 arrests.”

That’s the way journalism is supposed to work.

Relevant information that puts the days news in some kind of useful context is supposed to be provided to the reader.

Clearly, in the US the corporate media perform a different function. It’s called propaganda. And the handling of this dramatic protest by American veterans against the nation’s current war provides a dramatic illustration of how far the news industry and the journalism profession has fallen.

__________

John Pilger, The War You Don’t See:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

__________

Thanks to The Unrepentant Marxist and Lenin’s Tomb for previously posting these videos.

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