News Releases

China: From Demonization to Dialogue

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Bloomberg reports: “Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants President Barack Obama to cancel Chinese president Xi Jinping’s upcoming state visit. Stealing some of his thunder, Florida Senator Marco Rubio swooped in and countered that it should be downgraded to a regular working visit.” CNN headlined a story last week: “Donald Trump: No state dinner — only Big Mac — for China’s president.”

HENRY ROSEMONT Jr, hrosemont at smcm.edu
Available for a limited number of interviews, Rosemont is distinguished professor emeritus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and visiting scholar of religious studies at Brown University. His books include A Chinese Mirror: Moral Reflections on Political Economy. His latest book is the recently released Against Individualism: A Confucian Rethinking of the Foundations of Morality, Politics, Family and Religion.

Rosemont said today: “As the state visit of President Xi Jinping draws nigh, his demonization at the hands of the media, many members of Congress and most of the presidential candidates will make it difficult for the Obama administration to suggest a much more cooperative than confrontational approach to U.S.-China relations.

“But brinksmanship with China is even more irrational than with Iran, for (at least) four reasons. First, it almost surely will not be effective. China cannot be bullied, and the U.S. has a far greater capacity to influence the country positively than negatively. Second, cooperation rather than confrontation — or even competition — would be in the best economic, military, social and environmental interests of both nations. Third, increased tensions and mutual distrust between the U.S. and China instead of close cooperation will eliminate what may well be the best option for providing a measure of global stability that neither the U. N., E.U., World Bank, I.M.F. or other international institutions seem capable of maintaining any longer on their own. And the 4th reason is the unthinkable: World War III, nuclear weapons and all.

“Here are a few steps the Obama administration might easily take without compromising our security or economic conditions: de-emphasize democracy issues in favor of deepening last Fall’s climate change agreement; sponsor China’s becoming a major player in the IMF and promise to support the inclusion of the renminbi for drawing rights instead of obstructing it at the next round; acknowledge that China has the same security concerns in the South China Sea as the U.S. claims for the Caribbean; refuse to sell arms to Taiwan any longer in exchange for China’s disavowal of the use of force against the island; explore the joint creation of an international naval patrol force on the model of the ‘1000 ship navy’ first proposed by the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen.

“The rewards for these and similar initiatives are potentially great, but cannot be achieved either by appeasement or threat. Only negotiations can achieve them, and that requires trust, not demonization. As cooperation deepens, the conversations might deepen as well, to become a genuine dialogue between civilizations: individual rights and social rights; democracy and meritocracy; security and liberty; the right and the good; divinity and a human-centered religiousness; and more. Both sides might well learn much from the other.”

The Huffington Post recently published excerpts of Rosemont’s  most recent book. See: “We All Think We’re Individuals. Here’s Why That’s Not True, And Why The Lie Is Told,” which states: “It is possible to challenge the libertarian on moral and political grounds, but not, I believe, if one accepts a foundational individualism as grounding ethics.”

See video of his talk at the China Studies center at Saint Vincent College.

In 2008, he co-wrote the piece “Is China a Threat?

Obama in Alaska: PR to “Greenwash his Climate Legacy”?

President Obama is scheduled to talk about climate in Alaska on Monday. See accuracy.org/calendar for upcoming events.

The New York Times writes: “Before Obama’s Alaska Trip, Climate Group Charges Hypocrisy” while Mark Hertsgaard (author of Hot) just wrote the piece: “Three Weeks After Obama Announced His Clean-Power Plan, He Greenlit New Oil Drilling in the Arctic” for the Nation.

STEVE HORN, steve at desmogblog.com, @Desmogblog
Horn is research fellow for Desmogblog, which seeks to “clear the PR pollution that clouds climate science.” He said today: “President Obama will go to the Arctic in Alaska and feign being a deep green ecologist. Meanwhile, his policies across the board — free trade agreements agreed to, domestic fracking and its promotion worldwide, offshore drilling and offshore fracking, coal mining and exports, approval of several major tar sands pipelines, among other things — show that the real purpose of the trip is to greenwash his ‘climate legacy.’ Any scientist, as opposed to PR practitioner, will tell you that legacy will be written with the impacts of climate change his administration helped propel forward.”

ZACH ROBERTS, zdroberts at gmail.com
Roberts is a writer for the Alaska-based TheMudflats.net. He said today: “Alaskans are environmentalists. Weird to think that citizens of a state that gave us Sarah Palin, and funds itself with oil money could possibly be considered it — but they are. They fought like hell against the trillion dollar mineral find in Bristol Bay called Pebble Mine — polling 62% against it. One of the spots that President Obama will be going to would be directly effected by Pebble — I hope that’s one of the reasons he’s stopping there — to announce an end to discussion on a project that would with certainty end in disaster.

“And right now they’re going up against some of the worlds largest coal companies with the Chuitna Mine. Alaskans have decided that salmon — a renewable resource is more important to them and their economy. They’ve learned from past corporate debacles like the Valdez Spill and looking at other parts of the country like West Virginia that have lost their water supplies and mountain ranges to dirty fuel sources.

“In fact, when President Obama flies into Anchorage he might be able to see a 17.6 megawatt wind turbine project on Fire Island that powers thousands of homes in the area. Many villages have long had no choice but to look to renewables as they are cut off for weeks at a time for outside fuel sources. Kodiak Island in fact has gone 100% renewable.

“They’re doing this not just because they want clean water and air but because it’s the only way to survive in a place that can be difficult for even the toughest Americans to live in.”

RICHARD STEINER, richard.g.steiner at gmail.com
A marine biologist and former University of Alaska fisheries extension agent, Steiner said today: “On climate change, President Obama has been good, but not good enough. The U.S. commitment to reduce carbon emissions by about 30 percent in the next 15 years is about half of what is urgently needed. It is like we are on a sinking boat, taking on two gallons of water a minute, and we are bailing one gallon a minute. We are still sinking. We urgently need a U.S. and global commitment at the Paris climate summit of at least 60 percent carbon reduction by 2030. Otherwise, we’re sunk.

“Obama has claimed a lot of credit for extending three pre-existing OCS [Outer Continental Shelf] leasing withdrawals in Alaska — Bristol Bay, an area in the Chukchi Sea, and a thin strip in the Beaufort Sea. Even the national environmental community has raved about these.

“However, none of these withdrawals are permanent, and all were pre-existing, except one small area in the Chukchi. The new area in the Chukchi he withdrew — Hanna Shoal — is the primary walrus feeding habitat, and it’s good to not have offshore drilling there. But not far from there, he allowed Shell to drill its wells, which it is doing as we speak.

“The president’s executive withdrawal of these OCS areas can be undone by a future president, just as Pres. Bush eliminated the former Clinton withdrawal of Bristol Bay. So, Obama has accomplished nothing as yet for permanent marine protections in Alaska. We are pushing him to use his executive authority to designate marine national monuments in the Aleutians, Bering Strait, and the Arctic Ocean, but we’ll see if he is so bold.”

A petition Steiner initiated has nearly 100,000 signers: “Tell President Obama to designate Marine National Monuments in Alaska.”

Cooking the Books: The Danger of Bad Intel on “Islamic State”

The New York Times reports: “Inquiry Weighs Whether ISIS Analysis was Distorted.”

PETER VAN BUREN, petermarkvanburen at yahoo.com
Van Buren is a 24-year veteran of the State Department and author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. He said today: “Are American analysts skewing intelligence reporting and assessments to provide a rosier outlook of U.S. progress against Islamic State?

“At least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst says so, and has convinced the Pentagon’s Inspector General to look into it. The analyst says he had evidence officials at United States Central Command, overseeing the American campaign against Islamic State, were improperly rewriting conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama.

“While legitimate differences of opinion are common in intel reporting, to be of value those differences must be presented to policy makers, and played off one another in an intellectually vigorous check-and-balance fashion. There is a wide gap between that, and what it appears the Inspector General is now looking at.

“Cooking the intel to match policy makers’ expectations has a sordid history in the annals of American warfare. Analysis during the Vietnam War pushed forward a steady but false narrative of victory. In the run-up to Iraq War 2.0, State Department analysis claiming Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction was buried in favor of obvious falsehoods.

“Jokes about the oxymoron of ‘military intelligence’ aside, bad intel leads to bad decisions. Bad intel created purposefully suggests a war that is being lost, with the people in charge loathe to admit it.”

25,000 Petition Signers Urge Bernie Sanders: Challenge the “Madness of Militarism”

A petition with more than 25,000 signers from around the United States was transmitted to the campaign headquarters of Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday (Aug. 27), urging him to directly tackle foreign policy issues in his run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Organized by the online group RootsAction.org, the petition says:

“Senator Sanders, we are enthusiastic about your presidential campaign’s strong challenge to corporate power and oligarchy. We urge you to speak out about how they are intertwined with militarism and ongoing war. Martin Luther King Jr. denounced what he called ‘the madness of militarism,’ and you should do the same. As you said in your speech to the SCLC, ‘Now is not the time for thinking small.’ Unwillingness to challenge the madness of militarism is thinking small.”

The petition is headlined “Bernie Sanders, Speak Up: Militarism and Corporate Power Are Fueling Each Other.” In addition to signing the petition, about 5,000 of the 25,000 signers wrote individual comments that are posted online as part of the petition.

In a letter to Sanders that accompanied the petition, RootsAction.org offered to directly relay any response from him to all of the petition’s signers.

NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive at gmail.com
Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder of RootsAction.org. He is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He wrote the recent piece “Bernie Sanders Should Stop Ducking Foreign Policy.

“This petition to Bernie comes under the heading of critical support for his presidential campaign,” Solomon said today. “Bernie has been terrific in this campaign as he eloquently denounces corporate power, economic inequality and ‘oligarchy.’ But he’s not saying much about crucial issues of war, militarism and foreign policy — issues that have a great deal to do with a wide range of concerns that have been central to his grassroots campaign.

Solomon added: “As RootsAction noted in launching this petition campaign, ongoing war and huge military spending continue to be deeply enmeshed with basic economic ills from upside-down priorities. The National Priorities Project has documented that 54 percent of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending now goes to military purposes. We sidestep these realities at our peril.”

JEFF COHEN, jcohen at ithaca.edu
Co-founder of RootsAction.org and director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, Cohen said today: “Like most progressives, I’m thrilled that Bernie’s campaign has aroused so much enthusiasm among voters, especially young voters — despite mainstream media’s embarrassing obsession with candidate Trump. In strongly endorsing Bernie for president, human rights champion Cornel West grouped him with ‘prophetic politicians’ who deserve ‘our critical support’ despite ‘their faults and blind spots.’ That comment probably speaks for thousands of Bernie supporters and sympathizers who signed the RootsAction petition: It is a serious ‘blind spot’ to denounce corporate power and oligarchy without emphasizing militarism and perpetual war.”

Cohen added: “Bernie is connecting with voters by arguing that a country as wealthy as ours should provide free college and healthcare for all and infrastructure jobs. But some supporters are questioning how that’s fundable unless billions of war dollars are redirected homeward.”

SAM HUSSEINI, sam at accuracy.org, @samhusseini
Communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy, Husseini just wrote the piece “Lousy Food, Small Servings — Sanders Foreign Policy: Backing Saudi Intervention.” He said today: “While Sanders’ pronouncements on foreign policy have been scant, a perhaps larger problem is that some of what we’ve heard has actually been regressive. The foreign policy issue that he seems most passionate about is particularly dangerous. Sanders has pushed for the repressive Saudi regime to engage in more intervention in the Mideast.

“Saudi military intervention in Yemen has helped bring what the UN calls a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ to that country and more Saudi intervention in Syria, Iraq, Libya or elsewhere will almost certainly lead to more human suffering.

“Sanders has repeatedly argued for more Saudi intervention. He said on CNN: ‘Saudi Arabia is the third-largest military budget in the world, they’re going to have to get their hands dirty in this fight. We should be supporting, but at the end of the day this is [a] fight over what Islam is about, the soul of Islam, we should support those countries taking on ISIS.’

“Progressives in the U.S. are supposed to look toward the Saudi monarchy to save the soul of Islam? The Saudis have pushed the teachings of the Wahhabi sect and have thus been deforming Islam for decades. This actually helped give rise to ISIS and Al Qaeda. It’s a little like Bernie Sanders saying that the Koch Brothers need to get more involved in U.S. politics — they need to ‘get their hands dirty’.”

Stock Turbulence an Argument for Financial Transaction Tax

Heal America, Tax Wall Street

Nurses unions and other groups have protested for a Financial Transaction Tax.

JAMES HENRY, jamesshelburnehenry at mac.com, @submergingmkt
Henry is former chief economist at the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. He is now senior fellow at the Columbia University Center for Sustainable International Investment.

He said today: “This stock turbulence is a great example of why we need a Financial Transaction Tax. As brilliantly portrayed in this video by the British actor Bill Nighy, a tiny tax on financial translations carried out by institutions would raise hundreds of billions of dollars.”

See Henry’s just-released remarks from The Real News: “The Sky Is Not Falling? China’s Stock Market Impact.” Says Henry: “This was an example, I think, of the way stock markets have been structured. About 84 percent of the trades that went on on Monday in the first couple hours, when the Dow plunged … were run by so-called automatic trading programs. No humans involved, they’re just looking at computers, basically looking at momentum and stop order limits that they’ve put in place. And this was just a completely arbitrary kind of decline, way out of proportion to any real economic factors. …

“Take a look at the Shanghai stock market that set all this off, and it’s like a casino. Fifteen, twenty million people. Many small investors trading on margin, which means they borrow to buy the stocks. There’s no active insider trading regulation. Shanghai’s entire daily trading volume is less than the value of the decline it set off  in Apple’s stock– let alone all other US securities. …

“We have a real breakdown in terms of macroeconomic consensus in terms of the kind of stimulus programs that countries should be engaged in. I think that’s a first priority here, to maintain growth. We can’t just do it on the basis of the Federal Reserve’s low interest rates forever. Fed’s been talking about raising interest rates like 0.375 percent in September. That won’t have any real impact on our economy to speak of. It’s certainly not responsible for this meltdown on Monday. …

“But the other thing is when we look at countries like China, they have tremendous problems of domestic kleptocracy and corruption, and basically the kind of legal systems that we take for granted are just really a work in progress in China. So if you’re an investor there, you’re worried about taking your money out of the country. There’s been massive capital flight from China. A lot of the arguments about what’s going on in China today have been talking about their debt. But the debt problem in China is really a domestic debt problem, and from a global balance sheet perspective, they have a lot of capital flight offshore.”

Henry is senior adviser with the Tax Justice Network, which last year in their report “The Price of Offshore Revisited,” estimated that total wealth in tax havens was between $21 trillion and $32 trillion.

New Orleans: Recovery or Removal?

SANDY ROSENTHAL, hoppinhill at gmail.com@leveesorg
Rosenthal is president of Levees.org. AP reports: “The catastrophic flooding of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward now has a commemorative marker at the site where a floodwall protecting the neighborhood collapsed, unleashing a wall of water 10 years ago during Hurricane Katrina. The plaque was erected Monday and unveiled during an emotional ceremony. … On Aug. 29, 2005, the floodwall along the Industrial Canal catastrophically failed. The resulting flood wiped out the African-American neighborhood and killed scores of people. …

“Getting the plaque erected was the work of Levees.org, a citizens group that formed after Katrina to push for reforms in levee building and oversight. The group led efforts to erect two similar historical markers at the breach sites along the 17th Street Canal and London Avenue Canal. The three breaches where plaques are now standing caused the majority of the flooding during Katrina. Sandy Rosenthal, president of Levees.org, said her group wants to make sure Katrina is properly remembered. The group has long pushed to, as members have put it, ‘bust the myths of the flooding during Katrina.'”

MONIQUE HARDEN, mharden at ehumanrights.org
Harden is the co-director and attorney of the New Orleans based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights. She said today: “In the name of recovery, billions of tax dollars have been spent on abusing the human rights of African American residents who’ve been displaced after Hurricane Katrina. We hear and read Mayor Landrieu repeating the words ‘resilience’ and ‘recovery,’ but his actions have built a rec center for kids on a former waste dump, obstructed necessary reforms of a corrupt police department and prison, selectively targeted the homes sought by developers for huge code enforcement penalties, and ridiculed African American residents of flood-damaged neighborhoods in need of help. He gives lip service to climate change, but refuses to hold oil and gas industries accountable.”

JORDAN FLAHERTY, jordan at grittv.org
Flaherty is a New Orleans-based journalist and author of Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six. His most recent coverage of post-Katrina New Orleans can be seen in an article about social justice organizing in The Nation magazine, and in a new documentary “New Orleans: Recovery or Removal?” airing around the U.S. on The Laura Flanders Show, on LinkTV, and Free Speech TV, and internationally on the teleSUR News Network.

He said today: “Around 100,000 black residents are still displaced; housing prices continue to rise rapidly, pushing out those trying to get by on jobs in the city’s low-paying tourism economy. But despite the violence represented by these changes, or perhaps because of them, New Orleans has also seen a rise in coordinated resistance. More people have been organizing, taking to the streets, and risking arrest than at any other time in recent history.”

IMANI JACQUELINE BROWN, imanijacqueline at gmail.com
Based in New Orleans, Brown is a founding member of Blights Out (“collaborative and creative initiative to unite residents of New Orleans in the design of a new model for development that shares the tools for locals to build the destinies of their own neighborhoods”) and an organizer with Gulf South Rising. She said today: “Our future cannot be one of ‘resilience;’ the punches of climate change, the growing police state, and escalating wealth divide will come faster and harder and the effort of continually rebuilding and rebounding is wasted energy that could be better spent on resisting, refusing, and designing a way out of this failed system.”

What Do Iranian Jews Say About the Nuclear Accord?

Outside Youssef Abad synagogue in Tehran. (BEHROUZ MEHRI, AFP/Getty Images)

REESE ERLICH, ReeseErlich2 at hotmail.com
Freelance foreign correspondent Erlich is recently back from Iran on assignment for GlobalPost. He has reported from Iran six times and has covered the Middle East since 1986. His piece “Iran’s Jewish community gets behind nuclear deal with U.S.” was recently published by GlobalPost and USA Today:

“Israeli leaders and conservative politicians in the U.S. have denounced the accords as too weak, saying they’ll allow Iran to eventually develop atomic weapons.

“Most Iranian Jews strongly disagree with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s denunciations of the accord. …

“Iranians argue that they never built a nuclear bomb and have no intention of doing so. They broadly support the accord in hopes that the U.S. will lift economic sanctions and the economy will improve.”

Two prominent right-wing websites attacked Erlich’s reporting, and today he answered in a GlobalPost commentary: “Why are some right-wing bloggers so upset with GlobalPost coverage of Iranian Jews?

GlobalPost Special Correspondent Reese Erlich received a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for his reporting from Iran. His latest book is Inside Syria: The Back Story of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect.

His other recent pieces on Iran include, for Vice: “Here’s What Iranians Hope and Fear About the Future of Western Sanctions.;” and for GlobalPost and USA Today, “In Iran, Death to America doesn’t mean what you think.

Greek Elections: Why Now?

BBC reports: “Greece crisis: PM Tsipras ‘to hold September election’.”

COSTAS PANAYOTAKIS, cpanayotakis at gmail.com
Panayotakis is professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York and author of Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy. He said today: “Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ decision to call early elections in September is an attempt to complete the transformation of his party, Syriza, from the main anti-austerity political force in Greece to the dominant political force in the austerity camp. Going against the mandate that he received, in the July 5th referendum, to resist the Europeans’ demands for further austerity, Tsipras was forced to make an about turn and accept the continuation of the kind of austerity policies that Greeks elected him to reverse. Responding to the refusal of more than 30 deputies of his party to vote for this new wave of austerity, Tsipras is calculating that early elections will allow him to reaffirm his position as prime minister before the full effect of these measures begins in coming months to be fully felt by ordinary Greeks.”

DIMITRI LASCARIS, dimitri.lascaris at siskinds.com, @dimitrilascaris
Lascaris has done extensive reporting on Greece for The Real News, most recently “Greek Bailout Approved in Parliament Causing a Rebellion in Syriza.” See “Greece: The Battle Against Austerity” for more background and video from Greece.

He said today: “European media report that Greek PM Alexis Tsipras will call a snap election for September 20. The media also speculate that Tsipras has elected to hold that election rapidly so that the vote will be held before voters have experienced the full effects of the latest and harshest round of austerity. That may well be true, but there is another potential advantage to Tsipras in moving quickly. The third ‘bailout’ of Greece has a gaping hole in it, and that hole is debt relief. Thus far, the noises emanating from European capitals point decidedly to cosmetic debt relief for Greece. A review of Greece’s compliance with the bailout is scheduled for October, and the Eurogroup has declared that debt relief cannot be negotiated unless and until that review determines that Greece is in compliance. By scheduling an election in September, Tsipras would deprive Greek voters, whether by design or otherwise, of critical information that they require to determine whether the bailout has any chance of success. Without massive debt relief for Greece, a bailout that requires the imposition of a raft of recessionary measures is doomed to fail, a point that former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has made repeatedly.”

Lascaris is a partner with the Canadian law firm of Siskinds, where he heads the firm’s securities class actions practice.

“Welfare Reform” Entering 20th Year of Ensuring Poverty?

Bill Clinton signs welfare “reform” legislation in 1996.

Saturday, August 22 marks the beginning of “welfare reform’s” 20th year, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. See accuracy.org/calendar for a listing of upcoming events.

FELICIA KORNBLUH, fkornbluh at gmail.com, @VTfeminist
Kornbluh is associate professor of history and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at the University of Vermont. Her books include The Battle for Welfare Rights: Politics and Poverty in Modern America and Ensuring Poverty: Welfare Reform After Twenty Years, (with Gwendolyn Mink), forthcoming.

Kornbluh said today: “Playing to a racist imagination and dealing in sexist double standards, Republicans and Democrats came together 19 years ago to transform income assistance for the poor into a system of regulation, deprivation and punishment. The legislation that established TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, made limiting women’s choices and ending single motherhood its goals. The nation’s chief policy dedicated to impoverished families with children did not include mitigating poverty, enhancing opportunity, or attenuating inequality as its goals. As a result, while welfare rolls have declined, poverty still stalks single mothers and their children — and extreme poverty is at crisis high levels. As we approach the 20th year of this disgraceful program, it is time to overhaul TANF principles and practices to support the family work single mothers do and open real pathways to economic security.

“TANF, which heaps unrealistic expectations about wage-earning upon people whose employers pay them less than enough to survive, and unrealistic expectations about balancing waged work and motherhood upon impoverished women, is not so much public policy as ANTI-public policy. The time for reexamination is long overdue.”

See: “Five Questions with Professor Felicia Kornbluh.”

Chelsea Manning Facing Indefinite Solitary Confinement; Legal Team Cites “Harassment and Abuse”

chelea in color w toothbrush

Chelsea Manning is facing solitary confinement for, among other alleged infractions, possessing expired toothpaste and a copy of the Senate Torture Report. Drawing by Deb Van Poolen.

EVAN GREER, press at fightforthefuture.org, @fightfortheftr
Greer is Campaign Director of Fight for the Future. The group states in a news release today that advocacy groups supporting imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning plan to deliver a petition signed by close to 100,000 people to the Army Liaison office tomorrow morning, Tuesday, August 18th, at 11:00 am at Rayburn House Office Building, Room B325. Supporters are available to speak to media before and after the delivery.

“The petition at FreeChelsea.com was initiated by digital rights group Fight for the Future and supported by RootsAction.org, Demand Progress, and CodePink. It calls for the U.S. military to drop the new charges against Chelsea, and demands that her disciplinary hearing on Tuesday be open to the press and the public.

“Chelsea faces possible indefinite solitary confinement, which is widely recognized as a form of torture, for four ‘charges,’ which include possession of LGBTQ reading material like the Caitlyn Jenner issue of Vanity Fair, and having a tube of expired toothpaste in her cell.”

Greer said: “The U.S. government has a terrifying track record of using imprisonment and torture to silence free speech and dissenting voices. They’ve tortured Chelsea Manning before and now they’re threatening to do it again, without any semblance of due process. Perhaps the military thought that now that Chelsea is behind bars she’s been forgotten, but the tens of thousands who signed this petition are proving them wrong. Chelsea Manning is a hero and the whole world is watching the U.S. government’s deplorable treatment of whistleblowers, transgender people, and prison inmates in general.”

Two of Manning’s attorneys can be contacted via Christina DiPasquale, christina at fitzgibbonmedia.com — also, see @xychelsea

CHASE STRANGIO, Chelsea’s attorney at the ACLU, said: “During the five years she has been incarcerated Chelsea has had to endure horrific and, at times, plainly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. She now faces the threat of further dehumanization because she allegedly disrespected an officer when requesting an attorney and had in her possession various books and magazines that she used to educate herself and inform her public and political voice. I am heartened to see the outpouring of support for her in the face of these new threats to her safety and security. This support can break down the isolation of her incarceration and sends the message to the government that the public is watching and standing by her as she fights for her freedom and her voice.”

NANCY HOLLANDER, one of Chelsea’s criminal defense attorneys, said: “Chelsea is facing serious repercussions and punishment if these charges are upheld, yet the prison has denied her the right to legal counsel, even legal counsel at her own expense. Now we have learned the prison authorities have denied her the use of the prison library to prepare for her hearing. The whole system is rigged against her. She cannot have a lawyer to assist her; she cannot prepare her own defense; and the hearing will be secret. This harassment and abuse must end and we are grateful for the support from the public to demand justice for Chelsea Manning.”

MARCY WHEELER, emptywheel at gmail.com, @emptywheel
Wheeler writes widely about the legal aspects of the “war on terror” and its effects on civil liberties. She is the “Right to Know” investigative journalist for ExposeFacts and blogs at emptywheel.net.

She just wrote the piece: “Declaring Chelsea Manning’s Voice against Torture Contraband,” which states: “As a number of outlets have reported, Chelsea Manning faces a disciplinary board on Tuesday for four alleged violations, including brushing crumbs on the floor, disrespecting an officer, keeping toothpaste past its expiry date, and keeping items deemed contraband, including the Vanity Fair issue on Caitlyn Jenner.

“Manning will not have a lawyer at the hearing, and over the weekend authorities refused her access to the prison law library. She may receive indefinite solitary confinement as punishment for these absurd alleged offenses.

“Along with that list of seemingly trivial items, Leavenworth officials also confiscated an item that goes to the  core of the whistleblowing that landed Manning in prison in the first place: the Senate Torture Report.

“Chelsea Manning faces the threat of solitary confinement, which most countries and many psychologists consider torture, because she was reading the Senate Torture Report.

“Recall that among the events that led Manning to provide information to WikiLeaks was when she was ordered to ‘assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki’ — people who Manning discovered were actually criticizing Maliki’s corruption. Manning realized that by helping the Baghdad Police, U.S. forces would be helping put them ‘in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police [where they would be] very likely tortured.’ In an effort to thwart U.S. complicity in torture, Manning leaked classified materials to WikiLeaks, including information on Iraq’s Wolf Brigade, a unit that conducted torture the official US policy on which was to ignore.”

Manning has been writing a column for the Guardian.

Next Page »