web analytics

Land of the free?

Written By: - Date published: 8:24 am, March 17th, 2011 - 14 comments
Categories: activism, Media, us politics - Tags: , ,

With so much going on in terms of large scale disasters at the moment, it is easy to lose track of the stories of a mere individuals. But there are two individuals whose stories should not be forgotten. They are facing the full might and anger of the American establishment. Their “crime” was to tell the truth:

Julian Assange has lost the first round in his case to avoid extradition to Sweden. His lawyers have said all along if he were sent to Sweden, he’d soon be on his way to the U.S. If the Obama Administration has anything to say about it, he will.

Assange, who is currently in England, faces charges in Sweden of rape and coercion stemming from sexual relations with two women. But the U.S. Department of Justice has for many months been investigating Assange, the editor of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, in connection with the release of about 250,000 classified cables beginning in November 2010 detailing correspondence between the U.S. State Department and its diplomatic missions around the world.

The Justice Department has set up a grand jury in Virginia to indict him under the Espionage Act. The problem for the Justice Department is that the Espionage Act seemingly does not cover Assange’s acts. It has never been used to criminalize publication of classified information. … Apparently, because the Justice Department couldn’t figure out a way to apply the Espionage Act to publication, it announced on Nov. 29, 2010, it was contemplating an end run a round the act. It would investigate Assange to see if he urged Bradley Manning to leak.

Manning is the U.S. soldier arrested in May 2010 on suspicion of having passed classified information on Iraq to WikiLeaks. This was a clever solution to the Justice Department’s problems. If it couldn’t prove Assange violated the Espionage Act, it would claim Manning had violated the Espionage Act at the urging of Assange.

This was an easier case for the government, since Manning, an employee of the government, in all probability was subject to the Espionage Act, unlike Assange. But if Assange conspired with Manning, Assange could be indicted for conspiracy.

This announcement caused angst in the First Amendment community. If Assange could be indicted for conspiracy, so could every journalist who discussed the leaking of classified information with a source within government. For this reason both the Committee to Protect Journalists and Human Rights Watch protested to the Obama Administration. They urged that Assange not be indicted. In a little noticed announcement of several weeks ago, the Justice Department said it was giving up on this approach. It said that it could find no evidence that Assange discussed the leaking of classified information with Manning.

This would seemingly leave the Justice Department with no case. But the department is not giving up easily. … The Justice Department is on what lawyers call a “fishing expedition.” They are looking desperately for any evidence to construct a case … what started off as a putative prosecution of Assange, has turned into a persecution.

The plight of Bradley Manning is particularly extreme:

“You can hear Bradley coming from a long way away because of the chains – his feet have chains on them, they go to a leather belt around his waist. His hands go into them and he has no free movement of his hands.” …

The picture became bleaker, however, as the months of imprisonment wore on, House says. After the suicide watch episode, he says, Manning seemed “catatonic” and exhausted. …

Amnesty International in Britain has expressed similar strong concern. International UK campaigns director Tim Hancock said: “We’ve heard that Bradley Manning is made to strip each night and then stand to attention, naked, each morning and wait for his clothes. This is completely degrading and serves no purpose other than to humiliate and punish him, given that he’s already under close supervision.

“Manning is being subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. This is particularly disturbing when one considers that he hasn’t even been brought to trial, let alone convicted of a crime.” …

In the latest escalation of his conditions, he has now been charged with 22 new offences, including the potentially capital crime of “aiding the enemy”. To his supporters, it seems that this small figure chained up in Quantico must represent something very terrifying to the US Army.

Home of the brave? Land of the free?

14 comments on “Land of the free?”

  1. Pete 1

    Both these cases reflect very poorly on the Obama administration.

    I had modest hopes for what Obama might achieve, especially after GWB, but he has been a major disappointment. I don’t know how much is due to Obama’s inability to step up (albeit to the great height of one of the highest leaders in the world), and how much is due to the US political system that promotes the impotence of POTUS.

    • Vicky32 1.1

      I am fortunate, in that I have not become disillusioned with Obama, because I never was illusioned!
      Deb

  2. ianmac 2

    Terrifying. It is as if all those incredibly implausible action movies where the good guy is pursued and persecuted by crooked State Agents, is true to life! And politicians choose injustice for political ends. All this reflects so badly on the USA Administration and its politicians.

  3. 26-64 4

    “…it seems that this small figure chained up in Quantico must represent something very terrifying to the US Army…”

    The silly part is that war crimes by US forces over time never changed the outcome of anything. History plods along, repeating itself. Even if you agree that he is gulity of negligence, treason or some other military crime, the punishment looks like absurd orchestrated overkill. Like they’re saying…we hate them terroists…we mean it…we really really really mean it… very very very very very much… we mean it so much we’re going to torture this little nobody… see how much we mean it.. we told you to listen …why didn’t you listen… where’s my mommy…why did the other kids tease me… it’s your fault!

    Wouldn’t chucking him out of the military be effective enough?

    • RedLogix 4.1

      Wouldn’t chucking him out of the military be effective enough?

      Not for the intended purpose of ‘making an example of him’.

  4. uke 5

    The American journalist Martha Gellhorn was at the liberation of Dachau in 1945 and concluded her article with words that still seem relevant:

    “We are not entirely guiltless, we the Allies, because it took us twelve years to open the gates of Dachau. We were blind and unbelieving and slow, and that we can never be again. We must know now that there can never be peace if there is cruelty like this in the world. And if ever again we tolerate such cruelty we have no right to peace.”

  5. JonL 6

    The american government, predominantly, is in the pocket of – bought and paid for, by the industrial/military and big business factions. They know only one thing – ultimate profit, and trample any and everyone to get there. The ridiculous “make an example of” revenge tactics they use, are the same as that of a playground bully, who’s been made to look bad…….and about as effective. That doesn’t, however, help people caught up in their corrupt little maelstrom. Land of the Free? – yeah right…….only if you are wealthy and without scruples!

  6. Sorry to be so lazy, but I’m frantically busy today.

    Can anyone shed light on whether, in the case of Manning, has any lawyer simply tried a writ of habeus corpus, given that he’s being held on US soil and they can’t slither out of it as easily as they did the atrocities at Guantanamo?

      • Thanks r0b.

        That request — which is really a formal complaint of mistreatment — will now be forwarded to the Secretary of Navy, and if he also rejects it, then Manning’s lawyer will file a Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.

        Strange… habeous corpus doesn’t have to rely on harsh treatment, they could simply argue that, say, seizing his passport and imposing stringent reporting conditions would suffice and that it’s not justified to keep him locked up at all. After all, his likelihood of reoffending is nil, his risk to the community is nil, I don’t see them having much of a case to refuse bail.

        It’s a strange anomaly – by no means confined to the US, of course – that the military can define its own standards of treatment of prisoners (outside of PoWs in a time of war, where there may be some justification for not meeting accepted standards). It’s as though society is saying that your willingness to put your life on the the line protect us entitles you to less consideration than the “common” criminal, rather than mitigating any but the most serious offence.

        • r0b 7.1.1.1

          Aided and abetted by the fact that almost anything a soldier does can be seen as relating to the most sacred of all sacred cows – “national security”. Invoke national security and you can get away with murder.

  7. Barry 8

    The plight of Manning is indeed dire, but Assange is overegging the pudding.

    He is much more likely to be extradicted to the US from Britain than Sweden. If the charges are as minor as has been made out then instead of fighting extradition he should have made a deal with the Swedish authorities that he be allowed to return to Australia (on a direct flight) after his case is dealt with.

  8. prism 9

    I wonder if an Amnesty International letter writing campaign would succeed in changing the treatment of Bradley Manning by the USA? Sometimes regimes can be embarrassed enough to change behaviour. Has the USA any room in their self-concepts for shame and embarrassment? It isn’t a good look either for them or for the ideal of democracy.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Milford Track to partly reopen after storm damage
    Hundreds of New Zealanders and international visitors will be able to get back out into nature with the Milford Track partially reopening next week, after extensive assessments and repairs, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The popular Great Walk has been closed since 3 February after an extreme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Government drives low-emissions transport momentum
    Up to 110 new EV chargers nationwide in cities and regions 50 electric vehicles for ride-sharing The Government is helping deliver more infrastructure and options for low emissions transport through new projects, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods says. Tauranga, Nelson, Levin, New Plymouth and Oamaru are just some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Kiwis better off under Coalition Government
    New Zealanders are increasingly better off under this Government as wages rise and families have more disposable income, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ reported today that average household disposable incomes after housing costs rose 4.9% in 2019. This was the highest rise in four years and came as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Another step towards restoring rights for screen production workers
    All New Zealanders need to have their voices heard at work to ensure we have an inclusive and productive economy. Today we introduce a Bill to do this for workers in the New Zealand screen industry, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Screen Industry Workers Bill will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Enhanced Taskforce Green for Southland and South Otago
    The Government has announced further help for the Southland and Otago regions to speed up recovery efforts from the floods.  “I’ve approved Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG), making $500,000 available to help with the clean-up in Fiordland, Southland, and the Clutha district in Otago,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Employers and Industry take the lead to connect students to vocational education
    Following the announcement that more than 340 schools will be funded to run events promoting vocational education, the Government has announced it will fund a further 257 events to be run by employers and industry. “These industry-run events will allow more than 30,000 students to connect with more than 2,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Rental reforms a step closer with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill
    Today the Government is making progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill in Parliament.  “This Bill includes a series of reforms to improve the wellbeing of the 609,700 households that live in rented homes, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Biosecurity Minister announces world first eradication of pea weevil
    A Government programme to wipe out pea weevil has achieved a world first, with Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor today announcing the successful eradication of the noxious pest from Wairarapa. This means the nearly four-year ban on pea plants and pea straw was lifted today. Commercial and home gardeners can again grow ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for Southland flooding
    Southland residents hit by flooding caused by heavy rainfall can now access help finding temporary accommodation with the Government activating the Temporary Accommodation Service, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare announced today. “The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bridges: Over-hyped and under-delivered
    “Is that it?” That’s Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s response to Simon Bridges’ much-hyped economic speech today. “Simon Bridges just gave the most over-hyped and under-delivered speech that I can remember during my time in politics,” Grant Robertson said. “It’s not surprising. Simon Bridges literally said on the radio this morning ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Police to trial eye in the sky in Christchurch
    A trial deployment of the Police Eagle helicopter in Christchurch will test whether the aircraft would make a significant difference to crime prevention and community safety. “The Bell 429 helicopter will be based in Christchurch for five weeks, from 17 February to 20 March,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Momentum of trade talks continues with visits to promote Pacific and Middle East links
    The Government has kept up the pace of its work to promote New Zealand’s trade interests and diversify our export markets, with visits to Fiji and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker. Building momentum to bring the PACER Plus trade and development agreement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Coalition Govt’s investment in Customs nets record drugs haul: 3 tonnes stopped at borders in 2019
    The Coalition Government’s investment in a strong border and disrupting transnational organised crime produced record results for stopping drugs in 2019, says Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa. The illegal drugs were seized at the New Zealand border by Customs, and overseas by Customs’ international border partners before the drugs could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Separated scenic cycleway starts
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off construction of a separated cycleway alongside Tamaki Drive. A two-way separated cycleway will be built along the northern side of Tamaki Drive, between the Quay Street Cycleway extension and Ngapipi Road. There will be a separate walking path alongside. Phil Twyford said giving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Earthquake-Prone Building loan scheme: eligibility criteria announced
    Owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings will have certainty about the financial support they’ll be eligible for with the release of criteria for an upcoming assistance scheme, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Travel restrictions to remain in place as coronavirus precaution
    Temporary restrictions on travel from China will remain in place as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The restrictions which prevent foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China from entering New Zealand have been extended for a further 8 days. This position ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Over $1 million to help Tairāwhiti youth into employment
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today that Tairāwhiti rangatahi will benefit from an investment made by the Government’s He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) scheme. The funding will go to the Tautua Village, Kauneke programme and the Matapuna Supported Employment Programme which will fund 120 rangatahi over two years. “Both programmes work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • School attendance has to improve
    All parents and caregivers need to ensure that their children go to school unless they are sick, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin said today. “The school attendance results for 2019 show, across the board, a drop in the number of students going to school regularly,” the Minister says. “Apart from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Crown and Moriori sign a Deed of Settlement
    A Deed of Settlement agreeing redress for historical Treaty claims has been signed by the Crown and Moriori at Kōpinga Marae on Rēkohu (Chatham Islands) today, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little has announced. Moriori have a tradition of peace that extends back over 600 years. This settlement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Waikato Expressway driving towards completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today with Māori King Tuheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII officially opened the country’s newest road, the $384 million Huntly section of the Waikato Expressway. The 15km four-lane highway with side and central safety barriers takes State Highway 1 east of Huntly town, across lowlands and streams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 3400 New Zealanders treated in first year of new hepatitis C treatment
    The rapid uptake of life-saving new hepatitis C medicine Maviret since it was funded by PHARMAC a year ago means the elimination of the deadly disease from this country is a realistic goal, Health Minister David Clark says. Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which attacks the liver, proving fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Kaupapa Māori approach for homelessness
      Kaupapa Māori will underpin the Government’s new plan to deal with homelessness announced by the Prime Minister in Auckland this morning. “Māori are massively overrepresented among people experiencing homelessness, so, to achieve different outcomes for Māori, we have to do things very differently,” says the Minister of Māori Development ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government steps up action to prevent homelessness
    1000 new transitional housing places delivered by end of year to reduce demand for emergency motel accommodation. Introduce 25% of income payment, after 7 days, for those in emergency motel accommodation to bring in line with other forms of accommodation support. Over $70m extra to programmes that prevents those at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Important step for new financial conduct regime
    Clear requirements for ensuring customers are treated fairly by banks, insurers and other financial service providers are included in new financial conduct legislation that passed its first reading today. “The recent reviews, by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and Reserve Bank of New Zealand, into the conduct of banks and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Applications invited for $7 million Regional Culture and Heritage Fund
    Applications are now open for the fifth round of the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson announced today.   “I am delighted to open this year’s fund which has some $7 million available to support performing arts venues, galleries, museums and whare ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Law Commission appointment celebrates Māori and women
    The Minister of Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta today congratulated Associate Professor Amokura Kawharu on her appointment as the next President of the Law Commission.  “Amokura Kawharu will be a standout in her new role, leading in an innovative and forward looking approach to the law reform process. She will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Associate Professor Amokura Kawharu Appointed Law Commission President
    Auckland University legal academic Amokura Kawharu has been appointed as the next President of the Law Commission, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today.    Associate Professor Kawharu will take up her new appointment on 11 May 2020.   “I would like to congratulate Associate Professor Kawharu on her appointment,” Andrew ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister of Employment launches Youth Ready Employer Programme
    A programme for employers to help them engage effectively with younger employees was launched today by Minister of Employment, Willie Jackson. The Youth Ready Employer Programme contains a range of on-line templates that employers can easily access to help with employing and retaining young people in their businesses. The programme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Budget 2020 date announced
    Budget 2020 will be delivered on Thursday 14 May, Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “This year’s Budget will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also preparing the economy for the future. “Those challenges and opportunities cannot be resolved in one budget, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s tribute to former Prime Minister Mike Moore
    I move, That this House place on record its appreciation and thanks for the devoted and distinguished service to New Zealand by the late Rt Hon Michael Kenneth Moore, member of the Order of New Zealand, a member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, an Honorary Member of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Agriculture Minister declares adverse event in Northland
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has today classified the drought conditions in Northland as an adverse event for the primary sector, unlocking $80,000 in Government support. “This is recognition that the extreme and prolonged nature of this dry spell is taking its toll on our farmers and growers and additional support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police disrupt methamphetamine trade
    The Minister of Police says an operation to smash a trans national drug smuggling ring today will make a significant impact on the methamphetamine trade fuelling harm in our communities. Police have announced 10 arrests and the seizure of up to five million dollars’ worth of illicit drugs after an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Crown accounts in good shape to counter global challenges
    The Government’s books are in a strong position to withstand global headwinds, with the accounts in surplus and expenses close to forecast, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown accounts for the six months to December. The operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was above ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Racing Safety Development Fund open for applications
    Race courses can improve safety with this year’s second round of funding from the Racing Safety Development Fund. Minister for Racing Winston Peters has announced the second funding round of 2019/20 is open with $347,875 available for distribution. “The racing industry is integral to the economic and social fabric of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening New Zealand’s Immunisation System
    Hundreds of thousands of young adults will be offered measles vaccinations in a new campaign to strengthen New Zealand’s immunisation system, Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter said at its launch in Auckland today. “About 300,000 young adults aged between 15 and 29 are not fully protected against measles, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to fund Aids research
    The Government is committing $300,000 to fund research to update behavioural information to make sure HIV and STI prevention services are targeted appropriately in New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson made the announcement at today’s Big Gay Out in Auckland. “There is much talk about ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work to begin on a possible new public media entity
    The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media has announced work will begin on a business case to assess the viability of forming a new public media entity.   “The Government must ensure New Zealanders have a strong independent public media service for decades to come, which means ensuring public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government support for communities impacted by flooding
      Minister of Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare announced today that the Government will contribute $100,000 to the Southland regional Mayoral Relief Fund, to support communities impacted by the recent flooding in Southland.  Mr Henare says this week’s flooding has caused significant disruption to communities in the lower South Island.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New grants for seismic strengthening of heritage buildings
    Heritage buildings throughout New Zealand will benefit from the $1.1 million in Heritage EQUIP funding grants announced today. “These grants for seismic strengthening projects help private building owners get the advice they need to start building work or to get the work completed,” Grant Robertson says. “Timaru’s Grosvenor Hotel has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Next level results for game development industry
    A new survey has found New Zealand’s game development sector has grown beyond expectations and is on track to becoming a billion dollar industry in 2025, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says. “New Zealand’s interactive media sector grew by 42 per cent in last financial year to $203.4 million, according ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago