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 GardaĆ­ 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
Share this