Tuesday, March 12, 2019


Chelsea Manning has yet again taken a brave stand.  I'm just going to note some of the reports about her.  Andre Damon (WSWS) reports:

On Friday, a federal judge ordered the courageous whistle-blower Chelsea Manning imprisoned for refusing to testify before a secret grand jury that is drawing up fabricated charges against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange on behalf of the Trump administration. In a savage action, the judge sentenced Manning to remain in jail until she purged her contempt of court by agreeing to testify or until the term of the grand jury expired, i.e., for an indefinite period.
Despite being offered immunity, Manning took a brave and principled stand by refusing to testify in the Star Chamber proceeding against Assange, who remains effectively imprisoned in the Ecuadorian embassy while the United States and Britain plot to have him evicted and extradited to the US to face espionage and/or conspiracy charges that could result in his execution. Upon refusing to cooperate with this pseudo-legal travesty, Manning was immediately jailed.
The imprisonment of Chelsea Manning is cruel, criminal and totally unjustifiable. The White House wants to set a precedent for jailing whistle-blowers and journalists who publish information critical of the military and state apparatus.
In 2010, Manning made public, via WikiLeaks, the "Collateral Murder" cockpit video of the July 12, 2007 US helicopter airstrike in Baghdad that killed 16 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists, in cold blood.

I have followed Manning since she publicly came out in 2010. Though I was still deeply in the closet as a transgender woman and only just starting to be exposed to veins of political thought outside the mainstream, she was a key figure who represented what resistance really meant to my younger self. She was at once standing up to the forces of the U.S. military apparatus (which I had opposed as I was coming of age under then president George W. Bush) and our cultural notions of cisnormativity (which I would only start to challenge years later). To see a woman with such historic impact detained during Women’s History Month is a hellish irony, and that’s why I’m writing this as she’s sitting in a federal detention center in Alexandria, Virginia.


She insists that she had shared all that she knew at her court-martial, a point made clear by the extensive if convoluted nature of the prosecution’s effort to build a case.  “The grand jury’s questions pertained to disclosures from nine years ago, and took place six years after an in-depth computer forensics case, in which I tesified [sic] for almost a full day about these events.  I stand by my previous testimony.”  Before Friday’s hearing, she also reiterated that she had invoked the First, Fourth and Sixth Amendment protections.
Grand juries have gone musty.  Conceived in 12th century England as a feudalistic guardian against unfair prosecution, they became bodies of self-regulating and policing freemen (often barons with a gripe) charged with investigating alleged wrongdoing.  Doing so provided a preliminary step in recommending whether the accused needed to go court. The US Constitution retains this element with the Fifth Amendment: that no “person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury.”
The independence of that body of peers has been clipped, modified and fundamentally influenced by the prosecutor’s guiding hand.  The federal grand jury has essentially become a body easily wooed by the prosecutor in closed settings where grooming and convincing are easy matters. The prosecutor can also be comforted by that level of procedural secrecy that keeps the process beyond prying eyes; Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) makes the point that the jurors and government attorneys “must not disclose a matter occurring before the grand jury.”  Sealed and confined, the participants accordingly forge a narrative that tends to encourage, rather than dissuade a finding, of guilt.
That influence is hard to deny, leading to reluctance on the part of any empaneled grand jury to reject the plausibility of a prosecutor’s claims.  The US Bureau of Statistics, looking at 2010 figures on the prosecution of 162,000 federal cases, found that grand juries only failed to return an indictment in 11 cases.  As Gordon Griller of the National Centre for State Courts reasoned, “The problem with the grand jury system is the jury.  The prosecutor has complete control over what is presented to the grand jury and expects the grand jurors to just rubber stamp every case brought before it.”

Now some Tweets:

  1. STATEMENT: Fight for the Future calls for the immediate release of whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who has been jailed for mounting a principled opposition to testifying before a secretive Grand Jury
  2. I agree with , and admire 's courage. Compelling sources to testify against the journalists with whom they've worked threatens the independent function of the free press in an open democracy. She must be released.
  3. Join me in contributing to 's defense fund. Here's my statement about her unjust and dangerous re-imprisonment- via :

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, March 12, 2019.  The Iraq War continues -- and Tulsi Gabbard brings some reality to late night TV.

NEW: Speaker Pelosi on impeachment: "They wanted me to impeach President Bush for the Iraq War. I didn’t believe in it then, I don’t believe in it now. It divides the country. Unless there is some conclusive evidence that takes us to that place."
0:11 / 0:17
  1. 0:06

Nancy Pelosi didn't end the Iraq War.  She didn't impeach Bully Boy Bush,  She didn't do much of anything.  She spoke a lot in front of the media.  Most of the time, the media covered for her.  Even in 2007, she had huge cognitive problems (we covered the time Rahm Emanuel had to rescue her publicly).  Adam Schiff and others are wasting time with investigations and wasting tax payer monies.  Impeachment will not happen under Nancy.

She didn't want accountability for the Iraq War and if something that monumental goes unanswered for, nothing else will be.

Part of Nancy's reasoning, as we've explained before, is the timeline issue.  Impeachment attempts will take you right into an election cycle at this point.  And an impeachment attempt, she fears, will energize the Republicans (not just the base) where as it will alienate swing voters and some Democrats.

War is never questioned, apparently, just used to turn out votes for both of the two major political parties.  Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) reports:

 As had been previously reported late last week, President Trump has unveiled a budget plan which, in addition to cutting social spending across the board, would seek a huge increase in military spending, centered almost entirely on war funding.

US military spending is always by far the largest on the planet, several times the amount of the next highest spending, China. But while other nations like China and Russia are scaling back their budgets, the Pentagon’s budget, as ever, continues to rise.

Trump’s proposal would bring the overall defense budget for 2020 to $750 billion. This includes a $544 billion base-line defense budget, which is not in and of itself a huge increase. But on top of that will be a nearly $100 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Fund, and a $9 billion “emergency” funding request meant to make up for the money already taken from the military to build the border wall.

And it goes beyond just the US.

What Wikileaks reveals about the Blair and Brown governments – next 3 tweets.
1/ Wikileaks file show how the UK govt made promises to the US to “protect your interests” in the Chilcot enquiry into the Iraq war.
2/ Wikileaks file shows how US and UK rigged the International Criminal Court to stop it being able to hold Blair and Bush accountable for the crime of aggression over Iraq
  • 3/ Wikileaks file shows UK International Development Secretary under Brown and soon-to-be-appointed MI6 chief working with the US to prevent reform of the world financial system.

     WIKILEAKS crime, never forget, was reporting the truth.

    US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard 

    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: "I served in a war in Iraq, a war that was launched based on lies and a war that was launched without evidence."

     Some are supporting Tulsi because they believe she would be a great president.  Some are supporting her to get her onstage at the debates because they know she will expand the conversation.

    She expanded it for late night comedy talk shows last night.

    Stephen Colbert: Why do you want to be president of the United States?

    US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard: Because as a soldier I know the cost of war and the most important job the president has is to be commander in chief.

    Stephen Colbert: Do you think that the Iraq War was worth it?

    US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard:  No.

    Stephen Colbert:  Do you think that our --  Do you think that our involvement in Syria has been worth it?

    US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard: No.

    Stephen Colbert:  Do you believe that -- Do you believe that ISIS could have been defeated without our involvement and support of the local troops there?

    US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard: There are two things we need to address in Syria.  One is a regime change war that was first launched by the United States in 2011, covertly led by the CIA.  That is a regime change war that has continued over the years that has increased the suffering of the Syrian people and strengthened terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS because the CIA was using American tax payer dollars to provide arms and training equipment to these terrorist groups to get them to overthrow the government.  So that is a regime change war that we should not have been waging --

    Stephen Colbert:  So but if -- 

    US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard:  The second --

    Stephen Colbert: -- someone like Bashar Assad [cross talk] or engages in War Crimes against his own people, should the United States not be involved.

    US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard:  The United States should not be intervening to overthrow these dictators and these regimes that we don't like, like Assad, like Saddam Hussein, like Qaddafi and like Kim Jong Un.  There are bad people in the world but history has shown us that every time the United States goes in and topples these dictators we don't like, trying to act as the world's police, we end up increasing the suffering of the people in these countries, we end up causing a loss of life -- both American lives and the lives of people in these countries, we end up undermining our own security. [. . .] to speak of the trillions of dollars spent on these wars that we need to be using right here at home.

     In Iraq, Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran, continues his visit (it's expected to be a three day visit).

    Iraq and Iran signed several preliminary trade deals as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held his first visit to Iraq, reports
    0:10 / 1:07

    Iran-Iraq Summit, Day 1: Met Pres, PM, Speaker+political & business leaders Agreed on: -Inclusive regional security -No-fee visas -Connecting railways -Dredging border river after 43 yrs -Joint industrial zones -Energy cooperation -$20B in trade -PTA 2 more days; 2 more cities

    Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) notes of yesterday's violence, "At least four people were killed, and six were wounded; 15 bodies were found."

    AP has changed their headline on yesterdy's trash so we're ignoring it.

    New content at THIRD:

     The following sites updated:

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