The organizations led a rally of survivors of the disaster and those exposed to contaminated groundwater to the Union Carbide factory at the end of which they set an effigy of Dow Chemical on fire. The marchers carried picture of US hacker activist Jeremy Hammond, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, who exposed Dow Chemical’s snooping on Bhopal activists. The effigy, that of a corporate executive with horns and a forked tail, bore marks of damage caused to Dow Chemicals in India including the criminal case on bribery, the blacklisting of Dursban, the cancellation of the joint venture in Gujarat and the gutting down of its proposed R&D Centre at Chakan near Pune. Rashida Bee, who has lost 6 members of her family to the disaster and is the president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said “The Presdient of United States must summon the courage to express remorse for the US Government’s financing of the world’s worst industrial disaster through the EXIM bank as revealed through Wikileaks documents.
December 10 is the Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Here is an update from the United Workers Free Your Voice human rights committee: The United Worker’s Free Your Voice human rights committee has been working to stop the nation’s largest trash burning incinerator from being built less than a mile from their school and an elementary. Last year, a group of students at Benjamin Franklin High School, who are members of the United Workers human rights committee, learned about a plan to build the nations’ largest trash burning incinerator less than a mile from their school. The students were alarmed and decided to take on the issue as the focus of their group.
On behalf of all the families and individuals who are members of the Independent Workers and Peasants Urban and Popular Movement (MIOCUP CNPA MN) from the North East Mountains of Puebla State in Mexico, we want to say our Occupy Wall Street comrades in NY how deeply grateful we are with your support and fight to stop the disastrous Trans-Pacific Trade (TPP) that is just satisfying the interests of a small group of multi-millionaires who think of themselves as the chosen ones. They think they have been blessed by Heaven to decide on behalf of millions of millions of people who inhabit this planet, condemning the majority of the human race to poverty and death. We aggressively, soundly and totally reject the international ratification of the TPP and its effectiveness in Mexico because it is the most anti-democratic international tool of dispossession and exploitation to the nations that has been designed in the history of humanity, allowing multinational corporations’ rights to supersede the constitutional provisions of all the countries and the peoples’ rights.
We have four days to get 75,000 more signatures for Chelsea Manning. Sign this petition and share it widely. Sign here: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/restore-united-states%E2%80%99-human-rights-record-and-grant-clemency-pvt-bradley-manning/L7zHZv4r Restore the United States’ human rights record and grant clemency to Pvt. Bradley Manning! The prosecution of Bradley Manning starkly contrasts to the US govt’s repeated failure to deliver justice for serious human rights violations committed during counter-terror operations of the past decade. Manning, who released classified information exposing potential breaches of international humanitarian law by US forces, was sentenced in military court on Aug 21st to 35 yrs in prison.
I admire Manning for willingly taking on the role of scapegoat to attempt to hold the government accountable in the court of U.S. public opinion, even though she was blocked from doing so in the court in which she stood trial this past summer. While the national security state’s hegemony remains intact, Manning put a sizable dent in its armor. Lastly, I admire her for a different reason — for holding true not only to her principles (namely the commitment to peace and justice through ending the unjust occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq) but to her identity, which is just as inconvenient to the military as the crimes she exposed. She is an inspiration to everyone unfairly closeted due to gender or sexual identity and is now one of the leading foot soldiers in the struggle for transgender recognition and equality.
There are strict rules now in our American penal colony. If we remain supine, if we permit ourselves to be passively stripped of all political power and voice, if we refuse to resist as we are incrementally reduced to poverty and the natural world is senselessly exploited and destroyed by corporate oligarchs, we will have the dubious freedom to wander among the ruins of the empire, to be diverted by tawdry spectacles and to consume the crass products marketed to us. But if we speak up, if we name what is being done to us and done in our name to others, we will become, like Manning, Julian Assange and Snowden, prey for the vast security and surveillance apparatus. And we will, if we effectively resist, go to prison or be forced to flee.
On August 22, Ursula Rozum and Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre interrupted President Obama’s speech at Henninger High School to bring attention to the imprisonment of US Army whistleblower Private Manning. Rozum and Ramsey-Lefevre were escorted off the premises after shouting: “President Obama, you must free Private Manning. With all due respect, sir, Private Manning exposed war crimes. Private Manning exposed torture. Private Manning aided the public, not the enemy. Private Manning is a hero.” The two women also held banner which read “Free Bradley Manning.”
President John F. Kennedy stated: “War will exist until that day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.” Today with the outrageous sentencing of Pvt. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison (functionally life in prison) the US has continued to distance itself from any notion of respect for the conscientious objector or commitment to democracy. Through the court martial and sentencing of Bradley Manning the government has sent an unambiguous and chilling message to the American public and in particular to present-day and future whistleblowers that it will not tolerate dissent, transparency or exposing government corruption.
Well before the sentence came down, supporters of Manning were busy campaigning to get him freed. There were demonstrations in Washington and elsewhere, bumper stickers, and online petitions—one of which Daniel Ellsberg, the former Department of Defense official who leaked the Pentagon Papers, helped to organize. In the wake of the verdict, more protests were planned, including a rally outside the White House on Wednesday night. Amnesty International asked President Obama to release Manning and called on the U.S. government to “turn its attention to investigating violations of human rights and humanitarian law” he helped to uncover. In helping to reveal that the U.S. authorities had repeatedly misled the public about the war in Vietnam, Ellsberg also broke the law, of course. So do most whistle-blowers who are employed by the government. But history tends to be kinder to them than the courts, and I doubt that this case will be an exception. In fifty years, people will look on the Manning case as another blot on a dark era for the United States and the values that it claims to hold dear. As for Manning himself, future historians will surely agree with Ellsberg, who, speaking to the A.P. yesterday,described him as “one more casualty of a horrible, wrongful war.”
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.
It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability. In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
Join Amnesty International and the Bradley Manning Support Network insigning a petition to President Obama, then submit your photo with a personal message below. After a prosecution which starkly showcased US government officials’ misplaced priorities when it comes to human rights, whistleblower and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. The information that Bradley gave to the public exposed the unjust detainment of innocent people at Guantanamo Bay, shown us the true human cost of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and changed journalism forever. There is no evidence that anyone died as a result of the leaked information.
Just after receiving a sentence of 35 years in prison for transmitting hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and U.S. Army reports to WikiLeaks in 2010, Bradley Manning was in a surprisingly “cheerful mood,” according to his attorney. “He said, ‘Hey It’s OK. It’s alright. I know you did everything you could for me. Don’t cry. Be happy. It’s fine. This is just a stage in my life. I am moving forward. I will recover from this,’” his defense lawyer David Coombs said in an interview conducted immediately after the sentencing. Presiding military judge Col. Dense Lind, sternly handed down the sentence to a packed courtroom, stating only, “Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, this Court sentences you to be reduced to the grade of Private E-1, to forfeit all pay and allowances, to be confined for 35 years, and to be dishonorably discharged from the service.”
WikiLeaks whistle-blower Pfc. Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison today, an outrage that flies in the face of America’s essential ideals of accountability in government, and which seeks to instill a chilling effect on those who’d dare to expose the United States’ illegality. A heroic soldier of conscience, Manning witnessed war crimes, rampant corruption, and covert abuse while stationed in Baghdad in 2009-10, and exposed what he saw by releasing hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic files to the transparency website WikiLeaks. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three years in a row. Earlier this month, more than 100,000 signatures in support of his 2013 nomination were delivered to the Nobel committee in Norway. Military judge Col. Denise Lind’s sentence is an outright injustice that we cannot accept.