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Mistreatment of Manning Criticized by UN Torture Investigator, Hundreds of Legal Academics and Hundreds of Thousands; Colonel: “Obama Could End Torture with One Phone Call”

April 16th, 2011

For Further Information- Jeff Paterson, Kevin Zeese - Bradley Manning Support Network press@bradleymanning.org 1-202-640-4388

Mistreatment of Manning Criticized by Leading Law Professors & UN Torture Investigator - Hundreds of Thousands Write Obama Urging End to Manning Abuse - Retired Colonel: “Obama Could End Torture of Manning With One Phone Call”

Washington, DC: The eight months of solitary confinement of Bradley Manning at Quantico has drawn national and international criticism in the last week. Support is growing for him around the world with 500,000 writing President Obama in the last few days and with hundreds of top U.S. legal scholars criticizing his conditions of confinement.

Lawyers representing every leading law school in the United States have written an open letter to President Obama criticizing the conditions of Manning. Among the law professors is Lawrence Tribe who was President Obama’s law professor at Harvard and served in his administration until recently. The letter, Private Manning’s Humiliation, raises questions about President Obama saying: “President Obama was once a professor of constitutional law, and entered the national stage as an eloquent moral leader. The question now, however, is whether his conduct as commander in chief meets fundamental standards of decency.”

Col. Ann Wright (ret) who served 29 years in the military noted that “President Obama could end the treatment of Manning with one phone call. As Commander-In-Chief he is responsible for the actions of the Marines at Quantico. Certainly he understands the constitutional right to be convicted before punished and that the condition of Manning violates protection from cruel and unusual punishment.”

The UN Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez reprimanded the United States for blocking an official visit with Manning to investigate his treatment. The UN torture investigator has been reviewing Manning’s case since December but the United States will not allow a private meeting with no tape recording. The military has also refused a U.S. Congressman’s request for an official visit to Manning, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, as well as a visit from Amnesty International.

Daniel Ellsberg, a veteran who graduated from Quantico and is noted for leaking the Pentagon Papers commented: “It seems likely that the Pentagon's refusal to allow Amnesty International and the UN Rapporteur on Torture to hold unmonitored discussion with Bradley Manning (as the UN mandate demands) reflects well-founded fear that such experts on abusive conditions and torture could conclude that Manning's treatment is not only ‘ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid’ -- as State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley was forced to resign for saying-- but criminal.”

This comes at a time when the U.S. and China are challenging each other on human rights. China issued a lengthy report regarding human rights violations in the United States this week. As PJ Crowley, former Assistant Secretary of State said when he resigned the Manning case would be an embarrassment to the U.S. internationally, highlighting “the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership. The exercise of power in today’s challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values.”

Around the world there is growing anger at the treatment of Manning. Five hundred thousand people have sent letters to President Obama urging him to “immediately end the torture, isolation and public humiliation of Bradley Manning.” The petition was put out by Azaaz.org and is addressed to President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Gates.

“A half million people have taken a stand in support of Bradley Manning. It's certainly a challenge to President Obama to get on the right side of history here and finally put an end to the extreme and illegal pre-trial punishment,” said Jeff Paterson, a veteran speaking on behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network. “After he ends the mistreatment of Manning, he could then ensure that Bradley receives the fair and public trial that is guaranteed under the Constitution.”

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Call the White House and tell President Obama end the torture of Bradley Manning: Comments: 202-456-1111. Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Stop Hillary Clinton's Veto on UN Resolution against Illegal Israeli Settlement Expansion

April 12th, 2011

PETITIONING: Secretary of State, United States Department of State

    "On January 19 2011 Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Debate on the Middle East stated “……We therefore consistently oppose attempts to take these issues to this Council and will continue to do so.....”

Clearly hinting towards a Veto or at best an abstention.

This is one Veto that must not be allowed. This is not just about the Middle East anymore. These self appointed “stewards” should not be allowed to control every human being’s destiny around the world? They have squandered hard earned American tax dollars on a charade called the peace process for almost the last four decades. Both Israelis and Palestinians have lost. The Palestinians are still homeless, still being attacked daily, and continue to lose more land every day with our blessings. Our ambassadors to the UN do not speak for us, they speak for a Zionist cause which is out of touch withreality. Please sign the petition against the veto and spread the word on social networking sites.

Stop Hillary Clinton’s Veto at: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/do_not_veto_un_resolution_on_illegal_israeli_settlement_expansion

Violence in Israel and occupied territories continues unabated on both sides of the conflict. The Israeli Defense Forces and border police persistently raid Palestinian lands, orchards and dwellings; demolishing buildings; violently evicting residents; and depriving helpless people of their meager means of survival and shelter. Many times occupation settlers themselves attack and beat up unarmed villagers to harass them into leaving their homes. Mean while, despite Hamas' commitment to the ceasefire, unknown and unaffiliated militants from Gaza continue to launch rockets and mortars giving Israel the prelude for almost daily air raids and ground incursions using overwhelming force against Palestinians. Both sides must be condemned roundly for this conduct.

For peace to be given a serious chance we need to convince Israel it cannot continue it’s illegal occupation and expansion into lands it acquired by force. We must approve and support the Security Council resolution that requires Israel to stop violating international laws.

At this time America stands alone and isolated against the rest of the world. Even the British appear to be backing the resolution. As has been pointed out in a letter to President Barack Obama dated January 18, 2011 and signed by 52 citizens, including academics, former administration officials and ex US ambassadors, the current resolution is in line with UNSC resolutions, including: UNSCRs 446 and 465, determining that the settlements have "no legal validity". The letter goes on to state “America's credibility in a crucial region of the world is on the line - a region in which hundreds of thousands of our troops are deployed and where we face the greatest threats and challenges to our security. “ Additionally a large number of Jewish peace activists and human rights organizations have spoken out in support of the resolution.

Unchallenged and uncontrolled, Israel will inflame an already volatile region and it’s continued aggression will result in greater violence and once again drag the US into any ensuing conflagration as an unwilling partner.

The world has seen us supporting Israel’s immoral positions for the better part of the 20th century. These are not American values. We want to be remembered as a fair and just people. We do not wish to be a part of recorded history where American people are shown as being accomplices to Israel’s crimes.

Stop Hillary Clinton’s Veto at: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/do_not_veto_un_resolution_on_illegal_israeli_settlement_expansion

Zafar Khan
Thanks & Regards.
Silent Voices of Conscience
http://www.silentconscience.org

The Link Between War and Big Finance

April 7th, 2011

Veterans For Peace Endorses the April 15th Rally and Protest in Union Square Park

from Kevin Zeese

Veterans For Peace has joined in endorsing “Sounds of Resistance,” a concert and protest against Wall Street banks that draws the connections between militarism, Wall Street, the wealth divide and the downward spiral of the wealth of most Americans. The event, on April 15 at 11:00 a.m. in New York City’s Union Square Park, is part of a democratic awakening that more and more Americans are joining.

Americans are recognizing the link between the military-industrial complex and the Wall Street oligarchs—a connection that goes back to the beginning of the modern U.S. empire. Banks have always profited from war because the debt created by banks results in ongoing war profit for big finance; and because wars have been used to open countries to U.S. corporate and banking interests. Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan wrote: “the large banking interests were deeply interested in the world war because of the wide opportunities for large profits.”

Many historians now recognize that a hidden history for U.S. entry into World War I was to protect U.S. investors. U.S. commercial interests had invested heavily in European allies before the war: “By 1915, American neutrality was being criticized as bankers and merchants began to loan money and offer credits to the warring parties, although the Central Powers received far less. Between 1915 and April 1917, the Allies received 85 times the amount loaned to Germany.” The total dollars loaned to all Allied borrowers during this period was $2,581,300,000. The bankers saw that if Germany won, their loans to European allies would not be repaid. The leading U.S. banker of the era, J.P. Morgan and his associates did everything they could to push the United States into the war on the side of England and France. Morgan said: "We agreed that we should do all that was lawfully in our power to help the Allies win the war as soon as possible." President Woodrow Wilson, who campaigned saying he would keep the United States out of war, seems to have entered the war to protect U.S. banks’ investments in Europe.

The most decorated Marine in history, Smedley Butler, described fighting for U.S. banks in many of the wars he fought in. He said: “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

In Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins describes how World Bank and IMF loans are used to generate profits for U.S. business and saddle countries with huge debts that allow the United States to control them. It is not surprising that former civilian military leaders like Robert McNamara and Paul Wolfowitz went on to head the World Bank. These nations’ debt to international banks ensures they are controlled by the United States, which pressures them into joining the “coalition of the willing” that helped invade Iraq or allowing U.S. military bases on their land. If countries refuse to "honor" their debts, the CIA or Department of Defense enforces U.S. political will through coups or military action.

Tarak Kauff, Veteran For Peace activist and organizer, stated, "There are trillions for wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya, billions yearly to support Israel's occupation and oppression of Palestine, again trillions in bailouts to make those at the top of the economic food chain even more powerful, but relative pennies for our children's education, adequate health care, infrastructure, housing and other necessities of Americans. Yet big corporate banks are thriving and, like Bank of America, pay no taxes. But you do, and I do, and working people all across this country pay taxes. I ask, what are we paying for and into whose pockets is it going? The wealth of this country is disappearing down the tubes into the stuffed pockets of the financial/military/industrial oligarchs. Americans are being bled dry while people of the world are literally bleeding and dying from U.S.-made weapons and warfare. Do we not see the connection?"

More and more people are indeed seeing the connection between corporate banksterism and militarism; they are seeing how uncontrolled spending on war is resulting in austerity at home. In a recent interview, Cornel West brought the issues of the wealth divide, Wall Street and militarism together. Prof. West also spoke about Obama, calling him “a cagey neoliberal at home and a liberal neoconservative abroad" who expanded the wars and military while re-enforcing the existing Wall Street-dominated power structure at home, a president who has abandoned the poor and working class and is becoming” a pawn of big finance and a puppet of big business." See the interview with Professor West here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_y3psTDT58&feature=channel_video_title.

Join us April 15 in Union SquarePark at 11:00 a.m. for the Sounds of Resistance concert and protest.

Kevin Zeese is co-founder of Voters for Peace and directs Come Home America.

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