Sunday, December 09, 2012

Truest statement of the week

(if you think we're not still at war in Iraq, I can introduce you to some military families who are still posting love-you-be-safe letters to that particular delivery code)

-- a parenthetical aside from William Rivers Pitt, "Until They All Come Home" (Truthout).

[Ty note: Thank you to Alissa and John for e-mailing to point out the quote was credited wrongly to "Williams River Pitt" and not William Rivers Pitt.  Our mistake, thank you to the readers for catching it.  12-10-2012.]

Truest statement of the week II

In their reflexive circling of the wagons around United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, the U.S. Black Misleadership Class reveal a total absence of political or moral values beyond the narrow pursuit of group prestige through proximity to imperial power. Even the dashiki-wearers among them care not a whit for Africa, whose rape and depopulation has been the focus of Rice’s incredibly destructive career. Rice’s intimate involvement in the murder of six million Congolese, her frenzied campaign to bomb and blockade Sudan, her successful instigation of regime change and race war in Libya, and her bloody-handed role in the ongoing torture of Somalia – all this means nothing to the vacuous and fawning class that claims to represent Black America.

Believing their own prestige to be entwined with Rice’s fortunes, her Black boosters embrace an abettor of genocide and endless military interventions as one of their own – and indict themselves.

-- Glen Ford, "The Shameless Vacuity of Susan Rice's Black Boosters" (Black Agenda Report).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

William Rivers Pitt for a parenthetical.

Glen Ford on the endorsers of Susan Rice.

A profession so stupid, they're destroying their own jobs.

Ava and C.I. take on Revolution.

There are two more to more to come.  We appreciate the e-mails reminding us of the failure to continue the series.  The problem was always this piece.  Season one was the weakest season of The Bionic Woman.  Now that we've said it, the rest should progress nicely.

One of our two Iraq pieces.

A book parody.  This is the second in three planned parodies.

We get asked to do more music features so here you go.

A repost from Workers World.

Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

 See you next week.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: The superflous American media

Today Press TV reported the following:

Over 3,000 US troops have secretly returned to Iraq via Kuwait for missions pertaining to the recent developments in Syria and northern Iraq, Press TV reports. 
According to our correspondent, the US troops have secretly entered Iraq in multiple stages and are mostly stationed at Balad military garrison in Salahuddin province and al-Asad air base in al-Anbar province. 

As usual, nothing from the US press.  

Is Press TV correct?  

Maybe it's wrong.

But a new defense agreement was signed Thursday between Iraq and the US and the US press ignored that.  

A press that fails to cover what matters is a press that stops being trustworthy.  And, more than anything else, that sentence described the press of the last ten years and as it has really always been.

We starve, look at one another, short of breath 

Walking proudly in our winter coats 
Wearing smells from laboratories 
Facing a dying nation of moving paper fantasy 
Listening for the new told lies 
With supreme visions of lonely tunes 
 --  "The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)," written by Gerome Rangi, Jim Rado and Galt MacDermot 

More troops back into Iraq.  This after Tim Arango (New York Times) reported in September that a Special-Ops team had just been sent back in.  All the other outlets -- in fact that paper's own editorial board -- managed to look the other way and pretend that never made it into print.


With 4488 US military personnel having died in the Iraq War, you'd think the President of the United States sending troops back into Iraq would qualify as news.

But that's only true if the goal of a news outlet is to inform.  When it's to distract and cover for the government?  Audiences decline, trust vanishes and people aren't willing to pay for so-called 'news' content anymore.  In other words: Today.

TV: The real ugly

A writer who passed away in 2008 (spiritually and artistically if not physically) used to say 'we write to create the world as we want it to be, not as it is.'  Certainly, in terms of science fiction, she was correct.  No other genre allows -- no, forces -- a writer to push the boundaries of what can be into what might be possible.


Which is why NBC's Revolution has been a disappointment from day one.  The hour long show (on hiatus until March 25th, but you can stream the first ten episodes at the show's NBC webpage) was supposed to promise so much but quickly demonstrated it was another conceit show in the mode of Alcatraz and Flashforward.  The conceit here is that the electricity is gone.  We can no longer use our iPhones and iPads and iPods!  How will we live?

This alone is supposed to be enough to hold our interest.  That thinking goes a long way towards explaining the casting.  What JJ Abrams and all the other Lost copycats seems to forget is that Matthew Fox was a pleasure to the eyes.  Abrams' Lost delivered a huge audience for many years on ABC.  Billy Burke is no Matthew Fox but damned if they haven't shoe-horned him into the part of leading man.

He plays Miles Matheson who is our hero that we follow around and listen to and the camera always finds him so that you'll know he's supposed to be the lead. He's unattractive and his efforts at expression always come off as play acting, like he's working the street late at night for any out of towner looking for a good time.  The actor tries very hard to project menacing and complicated but never manages more than sexually conflicted.  That's especially true in scenes with Nora (the show's only working actress, Daniella Alonso) who is supposed to be his ex-girlfriend and in scenes with General Sebastian Monroe (David Lyons) who is supposed to be his former friend.

No sexual tension at all exists between Nora and Miles but every scene between Miles and Sebastian drips with sexuality.  The show would make so much more sense if a future episode revealed the fall out between Miles and Sebastian was a lovers' row that destroyed everything.

Instead of that, we get one script after another insisting Miles is a leader, the only leader, the true leader -- It's as though series creator Eric Kripke won't stop visiting your house on Saturday mornings.  You keep expecting to find literature bearing Miles' likeness on your porch and the windshield of your car.

Miles had a brother: Ben Matheson.  Supposedly Ben is dead (viewers saw it!) but on this show, who knows.  Ben's wife Rachel Matheson (Elizabeth Mitchell) was dead, of course, until she turned up alive and being held by Sebastian. Ben and Rachel had two children: Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and Danny (Graham Rogers).  Sebastian sends Captain Tom Neville (Giancarolo Esposito) to retrieve Ben and instead Ben gets killed (or 'killed') and the militia grabs Danny.


Because Eric Kripke doesn't value women.  The creator of Supernatural made clear how unimportant women are to him on that show.

So Charlie's left to rescue her brother.  She, computer guru Aaron (Zak Orth) and Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips) set off to rescue Danny but first they have to stop off and get Uncle Miles to join them.  Otherwise, this might actually be a show where women do things, right?

After picking up Miles, who immediately becomes group leader, they encounter Nora and Maggie dies because the show hates women.  The hatred for women is why Maria Howell is violently attacked and kidnapped -- a terrorizing scene that is made strange both by the fact that she will later be passively working with her kidnapper Randall (Colm Feore) and by the fact that she's absent from whole episodes and has little screen time in the ones she does appear in.  The hatred for women is embodied in Tom's wife Julia (Kim Raver).  She has no power of her own and is married to a wimp but managed, after the electricity went out, to force her husband to become part of the unethical militia.  She's fond of intimidating the help until they're on the verge of tears and telling Tom what he needs to do next.

As you watch Julia, as you watch the whole show, you quickly grasp that you're trapped in the tired ravings of a sexist pig.  Science fiction was supposed to transport us, to provide us with a brave new world.  But shows like Revolution are created by the unimaginative, by the mentally insufficient.

So you get one male character after another having 'growth' by action -- geeky Aaron in the mid-season finale.  By contrast, female characters are made to cry and be conflicted. 

Like Jericho before it, Revolution exists in a world where, if everything came crashing down, women would take orders and men would lead and the writers are forever attempting to re-create slash fiction based on Father Knows Best.  Popular science fiction in the 20th century like Buck Rodgers, Flash Gordon and, later, Star Trek was based on something more than misogynistic lust. 

Revolution is a deeply conservative show.  It is to TV what The Dark Knight Rises was to film: Plodding and deeply sexist.  Toss in a tiny handful of women to hide behind and the boy-geniuses think they've managed to fool someone.  So Catwoman, a Middle Eastern woman that turns out to be the ultimate villian (how novel!) and, in one scene, the wife of Deputy Commissioner Peter Foley.  You're never supposed to notice, for example, that there are no women in New Gotham's police force.  You're just supposed to say, "Go, Anne Hathaway!  You're no Michelle Pfeiffer and your character's kind of weak and pathetic, but, go, Anne Hathaway!"

That's how you get women's role in Revolution: Whores.  "Sex and Drugs," episode six, finally shows women at paid work: at a brothel.  It's also the last time you saw women at paying jobs. To make that episode 'work,' they take Nora out of commission (to again allow Aaron to 'grow') and push Charlie into prostitution.  

And back to New Gotham's all male police force.  In the real world,  November 27th saw a major lawsuit.  The ACLU explained:

 The Defense Department’s longstanding policy barring women from thousands of ground combat positions was challenged today in a federal lawsuit by four servicewomen and the Service Women’s Action Network.
The plaintiffs are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Northern California and the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.
The four servicemembers have all done tours in Iraq or Afghanistan -- some deploying multiple times --where they served in combat or led female troops who went on missions with combat infantrymen. Their careers and opportunities have been limited by a policy that does not grant them the same recognition for their service as their male counterparts. The combat exclusion policy also makes it harder for them to do their jobs.

The ACLU is asking that what no longer can be denied -- American women have been in combat for years now -- be recognized officially.  It doesn't seem like too much to ask but maybe it is to those involved in Revolution?  Time and again, we see the militias, the officers, the rank-in-file, and they're always men.

Again, one episode made clear that women can 'serve' . . . as whores.  That's as disturbing as the findings in Rachel Larris' "A Closer Look: Who's Writing Nine Newspapers' Presidential Election Coverage" (Women's Media Center) from August.

Even in its 1978 incarnation, Battlestar Galactica created a world where women had equal opportunities.  The same cannot be said for Revolution.  And the wall paper of Charlie and Nora does little to conceal the ugly trash this show preaches in one episode after another.  Maybe that's why, with the exception of the mid-season finale -- every episode has shown a significant and steady drop in viewers?

Even the increase in ratings for episode ten didn't put it back at the high NBC had trumpeted when announcing they were ordering more episodes back in October.  Though nothing can educate Eric Kripke, JJ Abrams is smart enough to grasp that when viewership erodes with every episode, your basic concept isn't the problem, the execution of each episode is.  When the series returns in March, we'll quickly learn whether or not he's been able to fix that problem.


Note Marcia covers Revolution's episodes in real time.  For more discussions on the show, see her posts.

The Bionic Woman Season One


Kristy McNichol (above), Andy Griffith, Tippi Hedren, Donald O'Connor, Barbara Rush and Alejandro Rey are only some of the guest stars in season one.  Of?

The Bionic Woman The Six Million Dollar Man was a popular ABC TV series and it was felt that Steve Austin (Lee Majors) needed a female love interest for a number of reasons.  But not a regular love interest, just a quick on and off so Steve can remain unattached.


Lindsay Wagner, under contract to Universal, ended up cast as Jaime Sommers, a tennis star who gets engaged to Steve.  The childhood sweethearts decide to sky dive because if they don't there's not enough story for two episodes ["The Bionic Woman (Part 1)" and "The Bionic Woman (Part 2)"].

So they go sky diving and, as you probably expected, Jamie's shoot fails to open.  Her legs and her right arm are destroyed.  Her ear is punctured.  Steve begs Oscar (Richard Anderson) to do what they did for Steve when his crash: Rebuild with bionic parts.

Jaime's given a bionic arm, a bionic ear and two bionic legs.  But there's something wrong.  She hears this screeching noise and is in blind pain.  Her body is rejecting the bionics.  After everything done to save Jaime, Steve loses her all over again as Jaime dies.

Or does she . . .

Audience response was too great to allow Jaime to be a two episode character.  So they brought her back for another two-parter.  Steve thinks he sees Jaime.  He did.  She's still alive. Don't try to follow the plot too closely, it never makes much sense.  But she was put in suspended animation -- years before Fringe did the same by putting Olivia, Peter, Walter and Astrid in amber -- and then operated on.  She's alive, she's bionic, but she has lost the bulk of her memories.  But maybe a mission will bring those memories back?  That's the premise of "The Return of The Bionic Woman (Part 1)" and "The Return of The Bionic Woman (Part 2)."

Those four episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man are included in the season one DVD set of The Bionic Woman.  That's great for completists who like to collect everything and it works in another way also.

Season one of The Bionic Woman is the weakest of the three seasons.  A large reason has to do with the way she was presented on The Six Million Dollar Man.  That's carried over to the two-part series opening which will, at best, have people raising eyebrows as Jaime is clearly sexually harassed.


The fact that the man is a 'nice guy' really doesn't matter.  Jaime needs a job and can't find one in public schools (as a teacher) so Oscar arranges for her to go to a military school.  There she learns of the job from the same man who flirts with her and asks her out.

Too much of the  first season was all about reassuring viewers that Jaime was a girl, a girly girl, a little girl waiting for a man.  What ABC and many men working on the show never grasped was that the audience had not only already accepted Lindsay Wagner's character, they had embraced Jaime.

Failing to grasp that viewers aren't waiting for proof that Jaime's a 'girl,' the character is infantalized in several episodes.  When Steve's mother Helen goes with her on a mission -- Jaime has to pose as a beauty queen -- you quickly grasp that the only thing worse would have been Steve's father going with her.

With two super fast legs and one super strong arm, ABC and people with the show were clearly worried that Jaime might be 'too threatening.'  So we were constantly reassured that she was desired by men, that she was monitored by elders who were parent-like figures (she even lives in their carriage house), and she was always waiting to take orders from Oscar.

Now The Bionic Woman is one of the great shows of the seventies.  But, if you're going to appraise the entire series and do so honestly, you have to admit that this is the weakest of the seasons.  Fortunately, as season one goes along, it gets stronger and stronger.

The four best episodes are strong ones.  The beauty pageant is a famous episode of the show and that's for good reason.  "Bionic Beauty," written by James D. Parriott lets Jaiime sing ("Feelings") and also circumvents the natural story flow by having Jaime and her rival (Cassie Yates' Sally) meet up at the end in a scene that goes to the sort of depth and layering that would be the show's hallmarks.  As an added bonus, the scenes of Jaime jumping up to her hotel room and from her hotel room are filmed really good and give viewers the giddy high of bionics in a way that too often is ignored. 


"The Jailing of Jaime" (written by Bruce Shelly) also features some great use of bionics.  Jaime's delivered some high tech gadgetry to a man she thought was a general.  It's all a set up.  And how she's under arrest.  Demanding something to eat and drink, she gets her jailer to walk away allowing her to use her bionics to knock bricks out of the exterior wall so she can escape.  There's also the magic moment where she goes soaring up to the second story of a building.  Oscar's trying to help as she's hunted but his hands are tied and Jaime must fight to prove she's innocent.


Jaime's always at her best when she's got to fend for herself but she's also capable of caring for the one that everyone else writes off.  "Canyon of Death" (written by Stephen Kandel) finds one of her students, Paco (Guillermo San Juan) being creative to stand out and getting slammed for it.  The other teachers don't care for him, the students make fun of him.  Jaime and he come to an understanding which is especially good because someone's trying to steal a flying suit and Jaime needs help getting a message to Oscar.  "Mirror Image" (written by James D. Parriott) is a special treat because Lindsay Wagner gets to play Jaime and the bad Lisa Galloway who's had cosmetic surgery to look like Wagner.  Not only does Jaime have to prove she's the real Jaime, this sets the stage for season two.

Those are the four strongest episodes, they are not the only strong ones.  "Claws," for example, is pure Jaime.  Few other TV characters could be plugged into that episode and be believable.  


Along with teaching, Jaime spends the season being a flight attendent, a beauty contestant, part of a driving team and, as the season goes along, the writers begin to grasp that they have something special with Lindsay Wagner and need to utilize her unique qualities to make Jaime stand out.  Wagner became one of a handful of actresses to star carry an hour long show with The Bionic Woman.  First came Angie Dickinson  with Police Woman, which debuted in September of 1974, then Lindsay in January 1976 and then Lynda Carter in April 1976 with Wonder Woman.  September of 1976 would find three actresses (Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jacyln Smith) star in the hour long Charlie's Angels.

All of the actresses brought something strong and unique and helped enlarge TV's portrayals of women.  Lindsay Wagner's special gift there was in showing smarts and strength with a concern for life that really drove the show.  Not a concern for law and order.  The other actresses tended to essay that.  Wagner's Jaime Sommers zoomed in on what was right and if that conflicted with the law, oh well.


Was she so concerned with life -- humans and animals -- because she had artificial limbs?  An argument can be made for that.  Season one finds the writers playing with several strands -- and also writing generic -- before they seem to grasp that Lindsay Wagner's providing the character and they need to start writing to her strengths and kill the generic idea that's floating in their heads.  When this is grasped, viewers no longer have to endure scenes where Steve parents are parenting poor, can't remember Jaime.  When that falls away, the show gets stronger and moves towards its core as Jaime's own inner core is strengthened.


 Season one is not a bad season.  But it is the weakest of the three.  It works best as a set-up for what's to come and also to demonstrate that Lindsay Wagner remains one of TV's strongest actresses.  We covered "The Bionic Woman Season Three" and we'll do two more features this month. 

Iraqi women protest the treatment of women in prison

Iraq map

Al Mada reports that Saturday in Falluja, women demonstrated to demand an investigation into the treatment of women in Iraqi prisons and detention centers.  If you count on US press outlets, you won't learn of that protest or even why it took place.  But, in reality, this is an issue that has been building for several weeks now.

November 27th,  All Iraq News reported that the Women, Family and Children's Committee was calling for the Ministry of Justice to make prisons and detention centers open to legislative committees so they can see what the conditions are.   All Iraq News also noted MP Safia al-Suhail is calling on the Ministry of Women to focus on eliminating violence against women in prison.  November 29th,  Alsumaria reported that Iraqiya MP Hamid al-Mutlaq accused security forces of raping and torturing women prison and he traces the culture back to the torture of Iraqis by Americans at Abu Ghraib prison.

November 30th, Al Mada reported that a fight broke out in the halls of Parliament  between State of Law (Nouri al-Maliki's political slate) and Iraqiya (led by Ayad Allawi) and that it was over the issue of what is happening to Iraqi women in prisons and detention centers as well as an allegation that State of Law had attempted to bury the report and refusing to allow Parliament's Committee on Women to issue the report on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25th).  Dar Addustour added that the Committee report is said to have found that women are being arrested without judicial warrants and that, while in prison, women are being tortured to force confessions against their husbands.

 Saturday, December 1st, Nouri gave a speech (that has since been called out by many including Moqtada al-Sadr, Jalal Talabani, Massoud Barzani and  Ayad Allawi) in which he threatened to arrest those members of Parliament who had discussed the violence against women in Iraqi prisons and detention centers.

The Ministry of the Interior is over prisons.  Who is over the Ministry of Interior?

If Nouri had followed the Constitution, it would be the Minister of the Interior.  However, Nouri refused to ever nominate anyone to the post.  So he is in the one in charge of the ministry.  He has an acting minister who does what he is told or loses his job.  (If the 'acting' minister had been nominated and Parliament had approved him, Nouri wouldn't be able to remove him.)  So the criticism -- and this is why State of Law resorted to fists with Iraqiya -- really stings Nouri.

Rather than address the problem, he prefers to attack the people who raise it.  And that's why Iraqi women took to the streets of Falluja.

The Ministry of the Interior denies the charges.  Who's in charge of that Ministry?  That's right Nouri al-Maliki.  Because he refused to nominate anyone to head it.

Robert Gibbs explains Men Still Can't Have It All


The man whose belly launched a thousand MPREG fantasies, Robert Gibbs, has just completed Why Men Still Can't Have It All.  In the book, he not only explains how the world is set up against men, he explains that, as a menist, he used his position as White House spokesperson to ensure that women were restricted in the White House.

"With only 78% of the positions filled by men, I knew that a menist like myself was needed to ensure that we finally achieve the 100% we hadn't really seen in over a century. I thought about that as I finished a Hungry Man Angus Beef Charbroil XXL Sandwich.   Needing to make a statement, I burned my boxers but that only prompted Rahm Emanuel to joke that even I didn't want to touch my dirty drawers.  So I went to Target and bought a bra -- while lying to everyone that it was Janet Napolitano's and saying 'you know!' when asked how I got it -- and burned that.  The menist movement was fully launched."

Gibbs goes on for 18 pages about the first meeting of the menist movement and how his big contribution was in disputing the myth of the penile orgasm.  He then goes offers five pages on how early reality TV star Sarah Purcell was "the original Honey Boo Boo and Mama June combined into one comely package as mouth watering than a slice of Chili's Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie."

In a section labeled "Regrets," Gibbs writes:

Like many other men, I have had to face the reality that I will most likely never be able to carry a pregnancy to term.  No matter how long I have tried and dreamed, I have yet to give birth.  It is a special ache, a special kind of loneliness that no woman could ever understand but that I can sob over when meeting men friends for chili cheese fries at Applebees.  

He also dishes on sex and politics.  Excerpt:

I basically never met a Republican until I was 17 and at Bible camp.  He wore ostrich skin boots, smelled of Canoe Cologne and red licorice, and drank Zima that he smuggled into the camp in 2-liter bottles of Tiki Punch Shasta.  He was Dudley Do Right and I was Betty Boop.  Oop-boop-a-doop!  We had sex quickly and afterwards he wiped his penis on my Snoopy blanket making me associate Sunday comics with so much more than mild laughter.  Totally.

He addresses body image by advising people to buy "stretchy fabrics" and "avoid mirrors."  Mainly he dispenses what he calls "hope lessons."

"Hope," Gibbs explains, "is that thing that keeps us eating Chips Ahoy! cookies even though there's never been one in history that actually tasted good."

He goes on to explain how hope "drove Obama straight into the White House without stopping for fries." He elaborates that hope "misled so many of us into believing that we could have it all.  We could have work and family!  But no matter how hard you try, there are still only 24 hours in a day and you will never be able to give birth.  Even sadder, as a men, we are rarely invited to either bridal or baby showers -- so just forget about eating those cute little finger sandwiches or pastel mints."

Time and again, what stands out most, other than his irrational hatred of women,  is how food pops up in at least every other paragraph.  In the final pages of the book, Gibbs address this and confesses, "What some might call an obsession, I proudly call an active addiction.  And while sexism and inequality may prevent me from ever actually giving birth, I have had many a large bowel movement.  That's something no woman will ever be able to take away from me."

Best news of the month

A reader e-mailed to say she can't take Barack's Drone War -- and the silence over it -- so she's given up on NPR and now just listens to music on the radio.  We understand what she's saying so much.  We are, collectively, a struggling nation -- caught between the ethics we once held dear and a White House that has surpassed the worst of Bully Boy Bush.

At times like these, we take comfort where ever we can.  And though we were greatly disappointed in the nominees for the upcoming Grammys, we are thrilled that Janis Ian was nominated for Best Spoken Word Album for Society's Child: My Autobiography -- her ninth Grammy nomination.


But we were even more excited to read in her monthly newsletter, "Started working new songs into the shows, refining them and blocking most of 2013 to write my next studio album, with an eye to recording and releasing in 2014."

This would be her first new studio album since 2006's Folk Is The New Black.  As Kat observed in real time, "what you'll note mainly is the care that's been put into each track and the voice that always seemed to blow in on a gentle breeze." And in the six years since, it's become a much loved classic with the powerful  "All Those Promises" only growing more haunting with each listen.

So news that Janis will be recording a new album qualifies as news worth celebrating.

Bradley Manning testifies (Chris Fry, WW)

Repost from Workers World:

Manning testifies of torture conditions in tiny cell

By on December 9, 2012 » Add the first comment.

B. Manning
Pfc. B. Manning testified in a military court pre-trial hearing on Nov. 29 and 30 at Fort Meade, Md., about the horrendous prison conditions this whistle-blower had to endure, particularly in Kuwait and at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia. Pfc. Manning’s court-martial trial is scheduled to begin next February. Manning could face life in a military prison if convicted.
More than two and a half years ago, Manning was arrested in Afghanistan, accused of sending Pentagon and State Department documents to WikiLeaks, and transferred to Kuwait to spend two months locked in a tiny 6 foot by 8 foot cage. Manning testified: “I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to die.’ I thought I was going to die in a cage.”
Then the Army transferred Manning to the brig at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, where the outrageous treatment continued for nine months. Manning testified about often being stripped naked, and kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.
The brig commanders testified that all of this was a necessary “suicide watch,” even though military psychiatrists who examined Manning at Quantico testified that they told the commanders that this “watch” was not necessary. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has called Manning’s treatment “cruel and unusual” and amounting to torture.
A reporter from the progressive website “Democracy Now” spoke with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has obtained sanctuary in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Assange said:
“There’s a question about who authorized that treatment. Why was that treatment placed on him for so long, when so many people — independent psychiatrists, military psychiatrists — complained about what was going on in extremely strong terms? His lawyer and support team say that he was being treated in that manner, in part, in order to coerce some kind of statement or false confession from him that would implicate WikiLeaks as an organization and me personally.”
Manning’s defense team asserts that this horrendous treatment constitutes such a travesty of justice that Manning should be released immediately.
Manning’s lawyers also presented motions to modify and eliminate many of the charges against him. The military judge will rule on these motions.
Of course, Manning and the defense team are completely justified in using any legal maneuver they deem necessary. But it must be clear to all progressives that Private Manning’s so-called “crime” was to refuse to silently obey illegal orders. U.S Army Field Manual 27-10 incorporates the Nuremberg Principles into military law, among them Principle IV: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to an order of his government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”
Since the Obama administration took office in 2009, it has refused to even investigate, let alone prosecute, the false imprisonment, torture and other war crimes committed by the George W. Bush administration, and has continued the occupation and war in Afghanistan to this day.
To prosecute and torture Private Manning for allegedly disclosing secrets of the U.S. government about its culpability in acts of torture and wars and other U.S. human rights violations does indeed itself constitute a war crime. It must be stopped! Free Private Manning now!

 Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

 "I Hate The War" -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site.

"An analysis of NBC's Whitney," "1 woman, 7 men and NBC's Whitney," "scandal 'happy birthday, mr. president'," "Another fight between Whitney and Alex," "Arrow," "Fringe 'The Human Kind',"   "revenge," "How to spoil enthusiasm TV-style," "666 Park Avenue" and "The Good Wife" -- Betty, Ann, Rebecca, Marcia, Stan and Mike cover TV.

 "THIS JUST IN! PRIORITIES!" and "What an embarrassment Barack is" -- Wally and Cedric take on Barack's priorities.

"Vegetable Nachos in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a recipe.

"The disappointing Grammy nominees and more" and "When fads speak" -- Betty and Kat on music.

"Brett Easton Ellis in his fat Oprah phase" -- Kat explains an idiot.


"4 women, 2 men (and the racism of Lincoln)" and "Monster" -- Ann and Stan go to the movies.

"The Dumb Ass Sandy Shanks" -- Elaine takes on an idiot.

"Media consolidation," "Remember when Bully Boy Bush tried to do this?,"   and "Here comes the war repeat" -- Ruth, Stan and Mike on how we on the left used to object to certain things.

"Snarly Rice steamed"  and  "THIS JUST IN! SNARLY RICE GETS STICKY!"-- Cedric and Wally on the Rice.

"Try thanking Mr. Greedy" -- Ruth says pin the tail on the ass.

"Barry and TOTUS" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

 "The sorry economy" -- Trina on the continued non-recovery.

"A column with more right than wrong" -- Ruth weighs in.

"Media and women" -- Elaine offers a few thoughts.
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