Sunday, January 23, 2011

Harassment for Delivering Petitions

I have spent a lot of the afternoon watching Twitter as Jane Hamsher and David House attempt to deliver petitions to the Marine base at Quantico and visit Bradley Manning. Manning is being held there under conditions that amount to torture for the alleged crime of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks.

Jane Hamsher is a blogger at FireDog Lake, appears frequently on news shows. Okay, I admit it, I kind of have a crush on her, okay?

Bradley Manning is an American soldier who started saving files and sneaking them home on CDs, and gave them to WikiLeaks. Maybe. He hasn't confessed or had a trial. The only evidence the government has against him is the word of one very shady hacker/informant, Adrian Lamo, and some instant message logs that Wired and the Washington Post have but won't release to the public. In the meantime, Manning is being held in solitary confinement and under a "suicide watch," not allowed to exercise or pretty much do anything. He is allowed pre-approved visitors for an hour once a week -- David House is a friend of Manning's who has been approved to visit and in fact has visited previously. Manning has been locked up in a Marine brig since July 2010. Quote: "I want people to see the truth regardless of who they are because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public." (Timeline of Manning events HERE)

The conditions of Manning's incarceration are inhumane, especially since he has not even been tried yet, and people around the world are rallying to support him. A petition asking for better treatment for Manning received 42,000 signatures and Hamsher and Manning's friend David House went today to Quantico to deliver it to the Marines. House has permission to go on base and has previously visited Manning in the brig. Hamsher called ahead to notify the authorities they were coming.

Reading the Twitter stream, it seems that their car was stopped at the gate and information was demanded of them. Hamsher's proof of insurance is electronic and the Marines would not accept it or allow her to go across the street to print it out. The Marines wouldn't let them onto the base or off it, but kept them there until visiting hours were over. Their car was impounded and House has been served a summons to appear in court in two weeks.

There are a couple of things here. One is the fascinating phenomenon of observing news in the making over the Internet. While they stand beside the car in 28 degree weather, watching it being towed away, they are both tweeting to the world. I know that if I drove down there right now I would see them at the gate. I doubt that any news teams have arrived, in fact I doubt this will be a big news story at all, but I can sit at my kitchen table and "watch" the whole thing.

The other thing is the reawakening of the word totalitarianism. These people were delivering petitions, fer cryin' out loud. And now the military has taken their car. A guy is locked up in supersolitary confinement for the crime of embarrassing the government, and these people are delivering petitions with more than forty thousand signatures protesting the conditions of his imprisonment, and the Marines are acting like big babies about it.

There is a need for security on a military installation, and it is a kind of duty for us as citizens not to question that -- they live in their own separate world and our national defense depends on their discipline and order. The guys at the gate are getting their orders from somebody with stripes on their sleeve, who are getting their orders from somebody in the Pentagon, who are getting their orders ultimately from the Commander in Chief. Somebody somewhere in the chain of command has determined that there is danger in allowing the delivery of petitions, and everybody below that level is doing what they're told to do.

Also, we all understand that Bradley Manning is going to get in trouble for leaking classified material. You or I would get fired for giving away company secrets, higher-ups would not be happy about it, since this is the military it is altogether reasonable that he would be charged with violating a regulation and taken to trial. There are probably some legal angles to this, having to do with freedom of speech for instance, but basically you know you're going to get in trouble if you do certain things, whether there's a law against it or not. Then you weigh the risks and decide whether to go through with it.

But look at it this way. Manning leaked, for instance, this video showing Americans murdering more than a dozen innocent people. As far as I know, none of the murderers have been charged with anything. Manning apparently downloaded some information and handed it over to WikiLeaks. No one was killed or even endangered, but some government officials were embarrassed. Yet not only is Manning being held under desperate conditions, the military is impounding Hamsher's car and harassing the two of them because they tried to deliver some petitions.

Murdering innocent civilians: okay. Revealing that fact: a crime.

Now, as I write this and refresh my screen, House tweets "MPs looking for a reason to arrest us; brass arrives. The US government is like any animal: scare it and it will try to tear your face off." Hamsher has her lawyer on the phone and is advised that either they have permission to be on the base or they don't, either security should allow them to pass or turn them away. It doesn't make any sense to take her automobile. Oh, and now the tow truck driver wants to be paid for the time he spent waiting. There's three hundred bucks down the toilet.

The most interesting thing will be seeing how the media handle this. They should support Hamsher and House -- remember, Manning's crime is that he is a source for a journalist, he is no different from the people who give Bob Woodward classified information for his best-selling books.

It appears now that the Marines have given permission for Hamsher and House to leave the base. FireDog Lake is following the story. It appears that part of the reason for this was to prevent Manning from receiving a visitor. House missed the opportunity to see his friend, and the next visiting hour is next week. Well, the story has only just happened, there will be explanations and details, I'm sure.

It will be interesting to see how the government explains its extraordinary behavior in this case.

[ Update: Statement of Events: Bradley Manning’s Primary Visitor Detained at Quantico ]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are probably some legal angles to this, having to do with freedom of speech for instance, but basically you know you're going to get in trouble if you do certain things, whether there's a law against it or not. Then you weigh the risks and decide whether to go through with it."

Manning deciding to join the military. Bad decision.

Leaking classified information = treason = death penalty. Another bad decision.

He's lucky he is alive. He probably has contributed to unrest and deaths of TRUE American soldiers around the world.

January 23, 2011 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I spent the day making sure my daughter's car had the oil changed and taping the 40 year old storm windows on my old leaky house shut...and getting her school supplies.

Elitist that I am living in the lap of luxury. Tomorrow after work, new insulation for the entrance to the crawl space and install weather stripping on the door to the crawl space room.

More lap of luxury activities :-)

January 23, 2011 7:26 PM  
Anonymous America says Thank You said...

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday the Senate will get to vote on the repeal of health care reform even though Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he would not bring it bring the repeal bill passed by the House to the floor.

"If they don't want to have the vote, we'll have the vote," McConnell said Sunday. "I'm not going to discuss how we'll do it from a parliamentary point of view here, but ... I assure you we'll have a vote on repeal."

Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip, said on the same program "we should revisit our laws and revisiting the health care reform law is not unreasonable."

But Durbin said that while the Republicans may get around Reid's decision not to bring up the bill by attaching repeal as an amendment to other legislation, he hoped the effort would not get necessary defections from Democrats to help pass it, saying, "We're hoping there's still some support for health care reform."

Sen Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on CBS' Face the Nation that "if the Republicans offer an amendment on the floor, then we will require them to vote on the individual protections in the bill. So in the end, their repeal bill is going to be so full of holes it looks like Swiss cheese."

McConnell acknowledged that the repeal measure won't be easy to pass, but said, "We intend to go after this healthcare bill in every way that we can" by going after it "piece by piece and try to do what we can to keep it from being implemented."

January 23, 2011 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right. Mitch McConnell thinks poor people don't deserve health insurance, he thinks they deserve to get sick and die.

McConnell wants to screw that provision in the Constitution that says “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”

January 23, 2011 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor people already can get health insurance, it is called Medicaid.

Some people who can afford to purchase health insurance choose not to do so, that's called stupid but also called freedom.

47 million uninsured, when you reduce for illegal immigrants and folks that are already covred by Medicaid and Medicare but didn't enroll, 12 million left.

Figuring out a way to help those 12 million (assuming they want to be helped).... sure, we should figure out how to do that.

What if they are Amish and don't believe in modern medicine ? Does the mandate apply to them ? No it doesn't. Not if this is still the land of the free. Is it ?

So, I think we should do something to help the 12 million left that WANT to be helped, and for those that don't.... Hey, it is their choice. Their decision, their consequences.

That sort of reform won't cost 1 trillion dollars. But it also won't let the Democrats put in EOL measures to deny health care to the elderly.... which of course was their objective all along.

But we are not a communist country. We are America.

January 23, 2011 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Figuring out a way to help those 12 million"

the way Obamacare helps them out is that, when they don't buy insurance, as they still won't, they'll have to pay a fine to the repressive government, making them that much worse off

they'll do it though, because the fine is cheaper than the insurance would be

thanks, Barry, on behalf of the downtrodden uninsured fer helpin' 'em out!!

January 24, 2011 12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Single payer is the answer. We all share the same benefit and risk as everyone else, just like we currently do with our military that every citizen is required to fund or pay the price for tax evasion.

January 24, 2011 7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

single payer puts the govt in charge of who lives and dies.

Way to big brother for me, thanks but no thanks. Health stays between the doctor and the patient and big bro can stay out.

Changing a system that 500 million of us like to help the 12 million who don't have health insurance...

Don't think that is the answer...

January 24, 2011 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

The democrats didn't put in end-of-life measures so that they can deny health care to the elderly. What they did say was that insurance would pay for the doctor to talk to patients about end-of-life choices. This is what Sarah Palin called "Death Panels". I call it giving false witness.

January 24, 2011 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that not providing health insurance to millions of people via single payer, like the one that insures Congress, says the government thinks the uninsured are expendable. I can't think of anything more big brother than that.

January 24, 2011 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not the government's problem to take care of everyone ...

January 24, 2011 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why, hello yourself, Anon. Two questions. One, what is the government's job, and two, who is going to help the helpless?

January 24, 2011 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The democrats didn't put in end-of-life measures so that they can deny health care to the elderly. What they did say was that insurance would pay for the doctor to talk to patients about end-of-life choices. This is what Sarah Palin called "Death Panels". I call it giving false witness."

Robert, you ignoramus, death panels weren't in the health care bill. They were in the stimulus bill Obama pushed through as soon as he took over. He created the commission that will provide the information on which to deny service to the ill.

Rahm Emanuael's brother is the evil director Obama snuck in to run it while Congress wasn't in session.

Read a little, Robo. Sarah was right.

January 25, 2011 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Let's see proof of your claim. Cut and paste the provisions of death panels in the stimulus bill as well as the link to your source so we know you are not lying like your heroines Betsy McCaughey and Sarah Palin.

January 25, 2011 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Here's a link to a video of Betsy McCaughey on the Daily Show on August 20, 2009, claiming the health care reform bill includes "death panels."

This is part one, and when you view the video, look to the right hand side where you can follow links to Part 2 and the extended interview, which was too long to fit on the 30 minute show.

And here's Sarah Palin's facebook quote from 08/07/09:

"As more Americans delve into the disturbing details of the nationalized health care plan that the current administration is rushing through Congress, our collective jaw is dropping, and we’re saying not just no, but hell no!

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

You should really try harder to get your facts straight, Anon.

January 25, 2011 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can all be grateful for your fortunate life situation: my "daughter's car had the oil changed and taping the 40 year old storm windows on my old leaky house shut...and getting her school supplies..."

Your daughter has a car, you have a home, she is getting her school supplies? Try, once in a while in your life of comfort, to give thought to the millions of people, who through NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, don't have the choices and the luxuries that you seemingly take for granted and assume that everyone else has. Just because you have your daily-existence "problems" you should not excoriate others who are less fortunate than you.

That's the Christian thing to do.

January 27, 2011 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We think the problem of incivility and rudness exists only within Congress and between political figures? They merely reflect the views and behaviours of those who elect them!

Here's a typical example of the perpetual boorishness engaged in here by a certain "Anonymous":
"Robert, you ignoramus..." (one of a multiplicity of other rude and demeaning descriptors used by "Anonymous").

If we can't engage in civil and respectful discourse at this site, how can we ever expect to change the problem within our society?

January 27, 2011 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is actually no problem in society

it's a fabrication by liberals to try to gain leverage in discussions because their positions rarely have an logical or empirical valididty

you don't see the Jets whining this week that the Steelers were mean to them on Sunday

liberals need to stop whining

they're embarassing themselves

btw, I hear Maxine Waters color-coordinated her outfit with her Republican seatmate on Tuesday

what a Congress!

and, I didn't call Robert an ignoramus just to insult him

I was just stating a relevant fact

January 27, 2011 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Well, Anon, I see you've decided for some reason not to grace us with the so-called "death panel" provisions you claimed were "in the stimulus bill Obama pushed through as soon as he took over" and about which you also claimed "Sarah was right."

I've done some research on this issue and found that Betsy McCaughey, who lied about both the Clinton health care proposal in the 90's as well as the health care reform bill passed in 2009, has lied again, this time about the stimulus bill. No surprise there.

Here's a link to McCaughey's op ed lies about death panels in the stimulus bill published by Bloomberg. Most of the points she made were about Tom Daschle's book, not about the stimulus bill itself. Not only that, but she didn't even use
the final version of the stimulus bill that was enacted into law.
Instead, McCaughey talked about provisions in the first version of the stimulus bill passed by the House of Representatives, which is 679 pages long, and referred to page numbers not even found in the final version of the stimulus bill that was enacted into law, which is only 407 pages long.

In August 2009, the NY Times reported:

"...Ms. McCaughey, whose 1994 critique of Mr. Clinton’s plan was hotly disputed after its publication in The New Republic, weighed in around...

She warned that a provision in the stimulus bill would create a bureaucracy to “monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost-effective,” was carried in a commentary she wrote for Bloomberg News that gained resonance throughout the conservative media, most notably with Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck.

The legislation did not direct the coordinator to dictate doctors’ treatments. A separate part of the law — regarding a council set up to coordinate research comparing the effectiveness of treatments — states that the council’s recommendations cannot “be construed as mandates or clinical guidelines for payment, coverage or treatment.”...

You and your heroine, Ms. Palin, fail to understand that you are relying on the never ending lies of Betsy McCaughey.

You might think calling Robert an "ignoramus," calling Orin "loco," and accusing me of being in a mental hospital is joking around but I don't. It makes you look petty and small. In fact I have been facing down a cancer scare (which turned out to be benign) and have had more important things to deal with than your pettiness and lies.

January 27, 2011 7:20 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home