In Aid of Bradley Manning…and Our Nation’s Moral Soul

Good morning Firedogs,

Most of you by now have probably read Kevin Gosztola’s diary announcing that:

“The investigative officer, Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, who presided over the Article 32 hearing in December, recommended all twenty-three charges, including the charge of “aiding the enemy,” which rests upon the government’s assertion that Manning knowingly provided intelligence to terrorist groups like al Qaeda through WikiLeaks.

Almanza did not recommend the death penalty for the “aiding the enemy” charge, which is a capital offense.”

Kevin reports additionally that:

“What is significant here is that it appears the investigative officer found there were no grounds to consolidate the charges as the defense had recommended in their closing argument.” [snip]   “The various specifications each carried a 10 year maximum sentence. Altogether, that would mean Manning could face up to 150 years maximum punishment in prison.”

It’s not as though it’s a shocking development, nor will it be when the commander of the Military District of Washington, Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington determines that a court-martial is in order, or that all twenty-three charges will be preferred.  Nor is it surprising that so many defense witness were barred from testifying for the defense, as they were key to refuting that Manning had ‘aided the enemy’.  After all, we have now gone so far down the road to hell that a General is now the Director of the CIA, which is supposed to be a civilian organization.

Clearly the military’s motives are to make the clearest possible example that no one should ever again even be tempted to leak military documents.  That Manning hasn’t fingered Julian Assange as the recipient has likely caused further desire for draconian revenge.

You’ll likely understand it when I tell you that I’ve alternately wept and raged since hearing this news last night, though I’ll refrain from detailing my cursing; you’ll have your own versions and targets.  Images of his past extreme suffering entwined with visions of an impossibly bleak future are almost too much to bear.  Far easier to intellectualize it than allow ourselves to feel it, picture it, and feel so powerless to help, although Kevin said this:

“I think we’ve helped him. The world has read the information he is accused of releasing and taken action.

Tunisians toppled their dictator.

Egypt rose up and they continue to struggle for a free society.

People like you and I were outraged at how he was treated when held in Quantico and expressed our disgust. He was eventually moved to Leavenworth.

And, now, when he needs it most, we’re paying attention and his aunt reported this during the holidays:

‘“I want you to know how much Bradley and his family appreciate the continuing support of so many, especially during the recent Article 32 hearing. I visited Bradley the day after Christmas–he is doing well and his spirits are high.”’

We aren’t powerless. Bit by bit we’re helping Manning. Just by being here we help.”

I’m trying hard to hear that, and I applaud Kevin and Jane and PeasantParty and Dan Choi and all the others who’ve been so dedicated to supporting Brad and reporting on the ongoing story…and helping him.

But:

~ Because  I remain a DFH, Yusuf Islam’s song has provided me some respite from the rage, and is a powerful harbinger of future hope

~ Because I believe in the power of prayer, even if not to a God I don’t particularly believe in

~ Because I believe that there is a collective consciousness whose quality can be influenced by intentional and directed thought, vision and dream…and that it can and does affect others

~ Because our country’s government has so utterly lost any semblance of a moral compass that it’s no longer recognizable

~ Because we owe such an immense debt to Bradley Manning, and he needs all the psychic and spiritual support we can provide him, as well as telling the truth of his story far and wide

~ Because our government has become so proficient at withholding truth from us, and no longer even pretends to serve us, and more of us need to know that in their hearts as well as their minds

~ Because we can find the keys to let him and many other political prisoners free after the revolution

~ Because we need periodic breaks from the rage we feel at the full panoply of injustices being perpetrated on us with such disdain:

I suggest to you that we make conscious efforts to use ourselves as broadcast beacons to send messages of support to Brad and others like him, as well as continuing to let others understand that he is an icon for so much of what’s wrong in this nation now.

I’ve been listening to the song below which says ‘the dead are not under the earth’ while writing this, and it made me think of the way that Tolkien’s Aragorn, heir of Isildur, summoned the Dead Men of Dunharrow to help fight the allies of the Dark Lord Sauron.  So hell; it’s fine with me if you call on the ancestors to help, too.  ;o)  We’ll need all the help we can summon to win back a just democracy.  ‘Because One Ring should not be allowed to rule them all.’   ;o)

 

I also wanted to let you know that one of the most ardent voices for truth in broadcasting will be back on the air this weekend (h/t Mr. wendydavis), either tonight or over the weekend.  Not PBS, but American Public Television has offered Bill Moyer’s new program Moyers and Company to local PBS member stations, and according to NPR, 93% of them have picked it up, though often in some strange time slots.  You can find out where and when it plays in your area at BillMoyers.com — click on the schedule, and enter your zip code.

The opening show of Moyers & Company features the work of two noted political scientists, Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, authors of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer–and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class. Calling it the most important book he has read in the past 18 months, Moyers says, “Their account does better than any I’ve read to explain how politicians rewrote the rules to create a winner-take-all economy that favors the 1% over everyone else, putting our once and future middle class in peril.”

If you’ve never watched it, Moyers’ interview with Barry Lopez is hands down the best I’ve ever seen; as an essayist and author, he is sincerely one of the best and wisest, IMO.

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