VFP Gainesville Chapter 14

Veterans For Peace

Manning Testifies About His Torture; Was it Aimed at Turning Him on Assange?

Manning Testifies About His Torture; Was it Aimed at Turning Him on Assange?.

From the testimony as observed by Michael Ratner,

This report of the testimony at the trial comes from Michael Ratner President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He is currently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

The main burden of the psychiatrists’ testimony—this was by the defense—was that they did not recommend that Bradley Manning should be put on suicide risk or on preventive injury risk, that he should be treated like the regular population. But, in fact, for this year, he was treated as if he was a suicide risk. And because of that, he was treated very badly, and probably even worse than people put on that are treated. Normally, those treatments are for four to seven days. The psychiatrists uniformly recommended that Bradley Manning should be treated as normal in the regular population. That was disregarded both—that was disregarded at Quantico in Virginia, where he was ultimately sent for about nine months.

The Bradley Takes the stand:

What you expected about Bradley Manning, particularly after all the negative press about all his problems, all his issues, about his sexuality and the military, etc., what you got was somebody very different. He opens his mouth, and you had this confident, bright, intelligent, articulate person who could really describe what happened to him, not nervous, straightforward.

And what happened to him was really outrageous. It was an essential effort to break him down as a human being. And I’ll just summarize it quickly. The first two months, roughly, he was held at a military camp in Kuwait. And here’s how he was held. He said he went into a tent, and there were two cages like they keep animals, each about 8-foot cubes. He was put into one of the cages. The other cage was empty. And he was essentially kept there almost the entire two months. Most of the time had to eat in those cages.

Ratner’s take on the Ideal Outcome:

the ideal case would be that Manning should be acquitted in this case and the government should be tried

So True!  This is well worth watching in its entirety (16 plus minutes) Watch the rest on the video above.

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What It’s Like to Go to War |Bill Moyers interviews Marine combat veteran on War and PTSD

Full Show: What It’s Like to Go to War | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com.

Karl Marlantes, Yale graduate and Rhodes Scholar, has written two books on his experiences serving in combat in Vietnam. A Marine who was awarded the Navy Cross,  He articulates the causes and consequences of PTSD clearly, drawing on his own battle experiences in a powerful way.  An excellent message for all those who are considering signing up for war or who have no experience of war.

Marlantes describes the essential breaking point of combat experience:

“’Thou shalt not kill’ is a tenet you just do not violate, and so all your young life, that’s drilled into your head. And then suddenly, you’re 18 or 19 and they’re saying, ‘Go get ‘em and kill for your country.’ And then you come back and it’s like, ‘Well, thou shalt not kill’ again. Believe me, that’s a difficult thing to deal with,”

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Breaking Private Manning | The UN Ruled it Torture

“[If] you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington, D.C.… what would you do? … It’s important that it gets out…it might actually change something… hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms…”

via Breaking Private Manning | MyFDL.

The quote above is Attributed to Private Bradley Manning a 23 year old army soldier and whistle-blower.  So what exactly has the UN Special Rapporteur found to be cruel and inhumane treatment?

“Bradley Manning is being punished – and tortured – for a crime that amounts to believing one’s highest duty is to the American people and not the American government

 

bradley manning

Bradley Manning

By the time the 23-year-old soldier’s court martial starts on February 4, 2013, Bradley Manning will have spent 983 days in prison, including nine months in solitary confinement, without having been convicted of a single crime. These conditions include the nine-month period spent 23 hours a day in a six-by-eight-foot cell where he was forbidden to lie down or even lean against a wall when he was not sleeping – and when he was allowed to sleep at night, officers woke him every five minutes – and where he was subjected to daily strip searches and forced nudity. ”

And why was this done? To break Manning and force him to implicate Wikileaks and Julian Assange all to no avail.  The real story here involved not only Wikileaks and Assange but also the New York Times and UK Guardian which published parts of the classified documents released to them by Wikileaks who received them from an anonymous source.

The real story here is whether we can continue as a Democracy when our government constantly hides its business behind Secrecy Acts and prevents public knowledge of wrong doing with intimidation and torture of a US citizen who I and many others would call a true patriot.

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Scott Camil: A Winter Soldier Carries On

Scott Camil: A Winter Soldier Carries On | Web2Carz.

Great Article about our VFP coordinator, Scott Camil.  The article gives a good comprehensive history of Scot’s career as a Marine and a peace activist. It also illustrates Scott’s strength as a community organizer by combining an ability to bring many different people together with honest critical thinking about the problems we face.

The article quotes a Marine corps Fitness Report: Scott is praised for “his organizational skills, his fierce motivation, and his keen ability to instruct enlisted men and officers alike”.  These are skills those of us who work with Scott today are well aware of. In fact the article points out that
the military reviewers “couldn’t possibly have known that the 21-year-old sergeant would apply the same skills which made him a good marine to a tireless life of activism.”

The article turns around a reunion of Scot’s unit in Vietnam. Scott sums up their coming together in a very touching and hopeful way:

“What are amazing (about the people at the reunion) are the varying backgrounds, where we are politically, what we believe in and what we stand for is so different. But when we’re together, we’re fucking Marines first, Americans first, and the other bullshit doesn’t matter and that’s how our country should be.”

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The Drone War Continues

CHildren in the middle East under dronw attacks

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Bring Me Home: Is this the future Our Children Should Face?

POWERFUL! This 52 Second Clip Will Produce A Lump In Your Throat – Democratic Underground.

Many of our soldiers serving Afghanistan today were Elementary school students when the War started.  What will our present day 8 and 9 year old children be doing in 10 more years?

 

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Nobel Laureates Salute Bradley Manning

Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu,known as the conscience of South Africa< Adolpho Perez Esquivel, a champion of nonviolent solutions in South America and Mairead Maguire who worked to end conflict in Northern Ireland all salute the efforts of Bradley Manning and Wiki leaks to inform citizens about violence that their governments try to hide from them and protest the inhumane treatment of Manning in military custody.

As people who have worked for decades against the increased militarization of societies and for international cooperation to end war, we are deeply dismayed by the treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning.
We have dedicated our lives to working for peace because we have seen the many faces of armed conflict and violence, and we understand that no matter the cause of war, civilians always bear the brunt of the cost. With today’s advanced military technology and the continued ability of business and political elites to filter what information is made public, there exists a great barrier to many citizens being fully aware of the realities and consequences of conflicts in which their country is engaged.

via Nobel Laureates Salute Bradley Manning | The Nation.

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Cpl. Aaron Mankin (as seen on Maddow) at Iraq & Afghanistan Vet fundraiser speaks of the Cost of War

This reflects a Vietnam service memory that will always haunt me. We were visiting the Medi-vac. A young soldier was celebrating his 21st birthday. I, a 23 year old member of the air-force serving in Vietnam, watched the scene as the lights were dimmed and the nurse urged the young patient to blow out the candles. He hesitated as the candle light reflected off his bandaged face which had been erased by a land mine. That was Vietnam; Meet his present day counterpart from Iraq. I applaud his courageous and generous spirit. How much longer will this continue?

Cpl. Aaron Mankin (as seen on Maddow) at Iraq & Afghanistan Vet fundraiser – Democratic Underground.

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Army suicides for 2012 surpass last year’s numbers – Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten months into 2012, the number of suspected suicides by active-duty soldiers has surpassed last year’s total, even as the Pentagon struggles to stem the persistent problem.

According to the Army says there were 20 possible suicides in October, bringing the total for the year to 166 — one more than the total for 2011. The 20 suspected soldier suicides in October is also a spike, compared to 15 in September.

U.S. Army officials have been worried about the pace of suicides this year and were concerned the numbers would surge higher than last year despite efforts to increase programs and outreach. In late September, the Army ordered a service-wide "stand down" requiring soldiers to put aside their usual duties and spend time discussing suicide prevention, including how to identify signs of trouble with their comrades.

via Army suicides for 2012 surpass last year's numbers – Yahoo! News.

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Empire Watch: The Culture War of National Security

The Culture War of National Security

Drone assassinations? Guantanamo? Why civil libertarians can’t win in the fight against an expanded security state. And why we can blame Caesar.

via The Culture War of National Security –.

Being aware of the politics of National Security and how we communicate and make decisions is an important part of effective opposition to the policies of our present day empire. Can we learn from Caesar’s mistake?

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