Monday, 2 December 2013

Chelsea Manning family welcomed to Dublin

Due to family commitments, I was able to attend only one of the many Welcome events for the family of Chelsea Manning over the weekend.

It was a great privilege to share a hug with her lovely mother Susan and to have a little chat with her about the brave child hero she had mothered and reared.

Susan told me that she has no difficulty at all now with my referring to her  as Chelsea.

In a short comment from the stage I had offered my own 100% support to Chelsea and later asked her mother to pass it on.

It was also a pleasure and honour to meet Chelsea's uncle Kevin and aunts  Sharon and Mary.

It was great to meet old anti-war and human rights friends in the Edmund Burke theatre after the event.  Caoimhe Butterly, Carmen Trotta, Ciaron O'Reilly, Gearóid Kilgannon, Harry Brown, Joe Murray among others as well as new friends Catherine (Caoimhe's mother) and Gerry Conlon who had spoken passionately about the false imprisonment and conviction of himself, his father and aunt in England and how it would not have happened had there been whistleblowers such as Chelsea, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange around at the time.

Thanks to Ciaron O'Reilly for his long and faithful witness to all good causes, for the immense effort he has put into his support for Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange and in particular for organising events such as the weekends in Wales and Ireland.  Thanks also to Joe Murray and his team at Afri for organising a mammoth weekend on the Dublin side that saw the Chelsea Manning family feted in Dublin, and honoured by their Irish friends.

We owe them the solidarity they were promised.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

"Thanksgiving" and "Heroes"

I often receive unrequested mail from some people whose ideas I don't share.

Today this email came from Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska (in blue)

My reply follows (in black)

"As we approach another holiday season, it is easy to get caught up in all of the hustle and bustle and lose sight of the many things we – as Americans and as Nebraskans – are so thankful for. This week, Steph and I are taking a step back to reflect on these blessings. We’re thankful for family and friends, as well as for the kindness and concern for one another that Nebraskans embody so well. I continue to be thankful to have the honor of representing Nebraska in the United States Senate. Despite the very serious challenges our country faces, we must not lose sight of how fortunate we are to be Americans.
We owe a special thanks to our troops – many of whom will spend the holidays away from their families so that the rest of us can be safe at home with ours. This holiday season take a moment out of your day to join me in participating in the Holiday Mail for Heroes program to send holiday wishes to service members and veterans. Cards can mailed or dropped off at any of my offices by Tuesday, Dec. 3. This is a small way to let our troops know that even though they may be many miles away, they are never far from our thoughts." - Senator Johanns.


Dear Senator Johanns

Thank you for your communication about your celebration of Thanksgiving and your request for American troops whom you refer to as "Heroes".

Senator, have you ever thought about the native Americans and how they must feel about foreigners who occupied their country and gloat over it year after year with sumptuous Thanksgiving dinners?  Probably much the same as the Palestinians who were ousted by Israel, who had their lands confiscated by Israe land now live under a brutal regime of occupation?

Or have you considered that a large amount of soldiers whom you proclaim "heroes" have now become broken in mind and body and spirit, neglected by the country that sent them to kill humans?  They were driven to do unspeakable things by you and your country, but now they are ignored and insulted.

"War is hell", as General Sherman says,

"I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting — its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers ... it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated ... that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation."

I might add: "and for more celebration".

With best personal wishes

Justin Morahan
Dublin Ireland

Friday, 25 October 2013

Free the Arctic 30

Today I rang the Russian Embassy in Dublin to register my strong protest and anger at the charging of the Arctic 30 with first "piracy" and now "hooliganism" for making a peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Arctic by attempting to board the platform of the oil drilling company.

They care about the Arctic, about global warming and the adverse effects of Arctic oil-drilling on the environment.

These brave Green Peace activists include two photographers. Here are all 30:
 Just scroll down to see them  [Photos by Greenpeace] or see them all together on Greenpeace site:

Peter Willcox
Peter Henry Willcox

Crew Member
United States of America
Miguel Hernan Perez Orsi

Crew Member
Camila Speziale
Camila Speziale

Colin Russell
Colin Russell
Crew Member
Ana Paula
Ana Paula Alminhana Maciel

Crew Member
Phil Ball

United Kingdom
Kieron Bryan
Kieron Bryan

Freelance Videographer
United Kingdom
Alexandra Harris
Alexandra Harris

United Kingdom
Frank Hewetson
Frank Hewetson

United Kingdom
Anthony Perrett
Anthony Perrett

United Kingdom
Iain Rogers

Crew Member
United Kingdom
Alexandre Paul

Crew Member
Paul Ruzycki
Paul D Ruzycki

Crew Member
Faiza Oulahsen
Faiza Oulahsen

Mannes Ubels
Mannes Ubels

Crew Member
Anne Mie Roer Jensen

Crew Member
Sini Saarela
Sini Saarela

Fransesco Pisanu
Francesco Pisanu

Crew Member
Cristian D'Alessandro
Cristian D'Alessandro

Crew Member
Jonathan David Beauchamp
Jonathan Beauchamp

Crew Member
New Zealand
David Haussmann
David John Haussmann

Crew Member
New Zealand
Tomasz Dziemianczuk
Tomasz Dziemianczuk

Roman Dolgov
Roman Dolgov

Denis Sinyakov
Denis Sinyakov

Freelance Photographer
Dmitri Litvinov
Dima Litvinov

Camila Speziale
Marco Weber

Gizhem Akhan
Gizem Akhan

Crew Member
Ruslan Yakushev

Crew Member
Andrey Allakhverdov

Ekaterina Zaspa

Friday, 23 August 2013

Chelsea Manning

It's hard for me to begin to understand what it's like to be a woman trapped in a man's body.  I can only imagine long hours, long days and nights, long weeks, long years of torment and silent suffering.

This is what I believe happened to that most remarkable woman, Chelsea E Manning.

Only on her way to prison she made a statement that has gone viral around the globe.  [Google for the full text of Chelsea Manning's statement and you will find  well over 1 billion references]. Chelsea has the ear of the world.

After thanking her supporters during her long ordeal of prison and trial up to now Chelsea said:

As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. 

I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. 

Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.

 I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). 

I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.

Thank you,

Chelsea E. Manning

Chelsea Manning formerly known as Bradley Manning is the US soldier who blew the whistle on US army crimes.

She  has been sentenced to thirty five years in prison.

She is a brave woman and should never be forgotten.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Pre-Sentence Letter to Barack Obama

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Dear President Barack Obama

I write to you, through your Ambassador in Ireland, as the sentencing of a whistleblower, Bradley Manning is imminent.  Bradley is a member of the United States Forces of which you, President Obama, are the Commander-in-Chief. What happens in the US Armed Forces is your responsibility.

When there is heinous wrongdoing happening within your army, you bear the ultimate responsibility for that wrongdoing.  If a whistleblower reveals the heinous wrongdoing, it is your duty to protect the whistleblower, to shield her or him from harm and, if possible, honour her or him in order to encourage other whistleblowers and to protect the truth.

What happened in the Baghdad "air strikes" of July 12 2007 was heinous in the extreme.  I have seen and perused the video at length but even your own official account is chilling to read. 

When the cameraman on the ground aimed his camera in the direction of Bravo Company 2–16, a pilot remarked "He's getting ready to fire". An Apache maneuvered around a building to get a clear field of fire and shot all nine men, killing eight. (US Central Command release)

We know that subsequently when a van pulled up to take on board an injured civilian, the Apache opened fire on van and helpers and injured civilian, killing three and wounding two children inside the van.  The footage of these events and the accompanying dialogue resembles what one might expect from a seriously deranged horror movie. Bradley revealed the truth of these events.  Admittedly he did not report them to his superior officer and later regretted that.   But why should that make any difference to you, Mr President.  The truth was out.  You would be glad that you would be able to stop similar outrages by your forces in the future. You would take the necessary steps to prevent any repetition of the evil-doing of July 12 2007.  And you would credit Bradley Manning for helping you to take these steps.  Because, as Commander-in-Chief, you do not stand over such atrocities.

Or am I wrong? What did you do? 

You allowed (or maybe even ordered) Bradley Manning to be arrested and charged with, among other thing, "aiding the enemy" - an offence that could have draw down the barbarous execution of the accused person.  You prejudiced his trial by telling a reporter "He broke the law" at a time when he was not declared guilty of breaking any law.  In four words you denied him any chance of a fair trial.  Yet, you allowed a trial to proceed. 

Meanwhile Bradley Manning was kept under lock and key in chains, subjected to nudity, isolation, harassment, sleep-deprivation - all inhuman punishments bordering on torture.  Only international protest ended this inhuman treatment of a prisoner not yet tried in any court.

Now he  has been found by a military court to be guilty of lesser charges and today the prosecutors are requesting a sixty year sentence! It is another day of infamy for you and the United States.

Unless, that is, you salvage some credibility by pardoning him, after sentence. 

That is my request to you today.

With best personal wishes

Justin Morahan, human rights activist, pacifist.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

US Troop Carriers continue to use Shannon Airport unsupervised

Courtesy of Shannonwatch, here is recent evidence of the US use of an Irish civilian airport at Shannon

The Irish Gardaí have been asked many times to inspect the planes in case they are carrying Drone parts but they have refused to do any inspection to date.

Meanwhile, Shannonwatch holds monthly protests near the airport
6th July: US troops boarding a Hercules C-130 at Shannon.
10th July: Omni Air International troop carrier, registration N918AX
27th July: Another Hercules C-130 warplane at Shannon
11th August: Troop carrier parked at the terminal building at Shannon
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Friday, 12 July 2013

Petition for Guantanamo force-fed prisoners

Yesterday I started a petition for the prisoners in Guantanamo who have been on hunger strike and are now being force-fed twice daily because of body weight loss.


Below is the e-mail I received which prompted me to start  the petition:

Subject:  A message from Gitmo, Force-Feeding Video, & CA Hunger Strike

Day 152 of the Guantanamo Hunger Strike

Dear Friends:

One hundred fifty-two days into the hunger strike and now weeks past
President Obama's renewed promise to close the prison at Guantanamo
remains in a state of moral, political, and medical emergency.  More
than 40 men are being force-fed, in a practice condemned by human
rights organizations, medical professionals, and even the head of the
US Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

But the resolve of the detained men remains unbroken, as they endure
hunger, illness, and new forms of torture in their bid for justice.

Inspired by their resistance, the world community continues to speak out.

This morning, the actor and rap artist Yasiin Bay (aka Mos Def),
teaming up with the UK's Reprieve, released a video showing Bay being
force-fed according to the precise guidelines for force feeding at

[WATCH: Mos Def Undergoes Force-Feeding To Protest Gunatanamo Prison ]

An attorney for several men at Guantanamo recently wrote Witness
Against Torture to say:

"I was at GTMO all week meeting with clients. I wanted to share with
you the following words from . . .  Moath al-Alwi, a Yemeni national
who has been in U.S. custody without fair process since 2002.

Moath was one of the very first prisoners to reach GTMO, where the
U.S. military assigned him Internment Serial Number (ISN 028). He has
been on hunger strike since February and the U.S. military is now
force-feeding him.  Moath shared the following during our meeting,
translated as accurately as I could from the Arabic:

"I recently had an interesting conversation with one of the Navy
officers in charge of my force-feeding here at Guantanamo. He told he
was here to make sure I was treated humanely as I was being force-fed.
So I answered through the interpreter, saying:

"What I am enduring now is torture and the American people will tell
you as much. Humanitarian organizations, various human rights bodies,
as well as American groups such as Witness Against Torture and Doctors
Without Borders have all declared that what is taking place at
Guantanamo is a violation of human rights and that it amounts to

"The officer's face changed and he walked away."

The men at GTMO are fully aware of your work and their eyes literally
tear up when I describe the various protest actions you and your
fellow activists have undertaken in solidarity with their plight. To
say they are grateful would be an understatement.


Our eyes fill with tears as we contemplate the significance of what
Moath shared: that our actions  however inadequate we feel them to be
help the men at Guantanamo resist assaults on their dignity and
confront their persecutors, with added confidence in the justice of
their position and the world's concern for their plight.  There can be
no greater affirmation of the value of our efforts, nor greater
motivation for us to work harder."

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Penalty points controversy

Concerning the penalty points that were restored by senior gardai to a range of people who included judges and prominent sports personalities, Pat Kenny's programme this morning was unusually one-sided, resulting in the e-mail below which was not read out.
Garda John Wilson, one of the two whistleblowers, has resigned from the force because his position, he said, was untenable.  After I had sent the e-mail, he later phoned the show himself to make some points that had not been highlighted by Pat.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter is to reveal an internal Garda report on the issue today in the Dáil with the names of those who had penalty points restored redacted. 

You didn't do a fair interview on the penalty points issue. 

You didn't personally make the point that it is just wrong for the Gardai to investigate themselves

You didn't express any concern that a whistleblower Garda has been hounded out of his job

It was one against three. 

You allowed - even encouraged - Fionan Sheahan and the retired superintendent to deflect the conversation away from the alleged wrongdoing to the argumentum ad hominem fallacy about two TDs who have raised the issue.

In all, a shoddy and shameful interview

Justin Morahan

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Israel continues injustices against occupied Palestinians

The respected Israeli Uri Avnery writes every week about events in his country.

He fought in the so-called "war of independence" on the side of Israel and was a highly respected member of the Israeli Knesset.

It is not comforting to read his constant witness to the ongoing injustices perpetrated on the Palestinian population by the Israeli occupiers.

Lately he wrote about the recent visit of President Obama and his contrasting attitudes when he visited Israel and the West Bank.  Every word right in Israel, but in the Palestinian occupied West Bank, a different story...

"He told his Israeli audience to “put yourselves in the shoes of the Palestinians”. But did he do so himself? 

Can he imagine what it means to wait every night for the brutal banging on the door? 

To be woken by the noise of bulldozers approaching, wondering whether they are coming to destroy your home? 

To see a settlement growing on your land and waiting for the settlers to come and carry out a pogrom in your village? 

 Being unable to move on your roads? 

To see your father humiliated at the road blocks? 

To throw stones at armed soldiers and brave tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and sometimes live ammunition?
Can he even imagine having a brother, a cousin, a loved one in prison for many, many years because of his patriotic actions or beliefs, after facing the arbitrariness of a military “court”, or even without a “trial” at all?
This week, a prisoner called Maisara Abu-Hamdiyeh died in prison, and the West Bank exploded in rage. Israeli journalists ridiculed the protest, stating that the man died from a fatal disease, so Israel could not be blamed.
Did any of them imagine for a moment what it means for a human being to suffer from cancer, with the disease slowly spreading through his body, deprived of adequate treatment, cut off from family and friends, seeing death approaching? 

What if it had been their father?"

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Letter on Guantanamo posted online to White House website.

To President Obama of the US and Barack Obama, human being

( I posted this letter without headings today)

Your promise to close down Guantanamo remains unfulfilled.

Instead, prisoners who are completely innocent are being held imprisoned indefinitely without trial.

Worse still they are being tortured, force fed and their human rights destroyed in a United States hell hole where United States law does not apply.

There is no regard for ethics, morality or international law.

The recent comments you have made, Barack, Mr President, indicate that your own concern is more about the bad name Guantanamo is giving to the US than any concern you have for the basic human rights of the tortured victim inmates you have flown from innocent freedom into Guantanamo torture.

You are right to believe that your name is besmirched because of Guantanamo but surely you as a human being should have deeper concerns about the individual welfare of these innocent victims of US torture and injustice.

Close Guantanamo, free the kidnapped victims, admit your crimes, stop interfering in other countries' affairs in a biased way. 

Be a man, a human we can be proud of, someone your children will be proud of, someone who uses your immense moral power without fear to do good rather than evil.

Please don't plead inability.

Remember YES YOU CAN.

With best personal wishes

Justin Morahan

Monday, 18 February 2013

zero dark thirty

Uneasy viewing in Tallaght last night, and not just because of the torture.

I had a queasy feeling that this was a slick production that deliberately set out to justify Bush and Obama's wars and their acceptance of torture as a legitimate weapon.

The character of  the oh-so-sensitive but determinedly patriotic "Maya" played by Jessica Chastain reinforced my queasy feeling. Maya is portrayed by Jessica as a beautiful CIA agent who has all the charm you need to win over a partisan audience to her producer's point of view.

She is the female John Wayne without the guns but not without the hired guns and water boarders.  We are back to the days of the good guys and the bad guys, cowboys and Indians. And the cheer lines are there after the horrors.

As torturers cannot even yet be depicted as heroes for cinema-goers, Maya is always at one remove from the torturers.  The horror on her face, while it is happening, assures us that here is a human being, just doing her duty to her  country.

As with the cowboy and Indian myths, America is good, Bin Laden is bad. So kill Bin Laden.

The film begins with a dark screen with frantic voices.  This is meant to depict 9/11. There is no serious question asked about why or how this atrocity happened.  We are expected to know.  Didn't George W Bush tell us it was Bin Laden.

The lies of the neo-cons, post 9/11, are air-brushed out of the narrative.  The war in Iraq - scarcely a mention.  It has to be good guys and bad guys - or good dolls and bad guys.

It was the perfect propaganda entertainment for the convinced and the brain-washed.

When I was told that American audiences did not take kindly to the film, I wondered about Kathryn Bigelow, the award-winning producer - was I misjudging her.

Was she maybe telling it as it was, warts and all?  She did point to the hypocrisy of Barack Obama by juxtaposing a torture scene in the film with a real TV clip of the President telling his audience that America does not do torture.

But then again, Obama was not the "hero" of this production.  The real hero was the CIA and the young woman who described herself as the "mother-fucker" (sic) who had found Bin Laden's hiding place.