Chelsea Manning Says She Is ‘Never Backing Down’ in Face of US Detention Meant to Break Her
“My long-standing objection to the immoral practice of throwing people in jail without charge or trial, for the sole purpose of forcing them to testify before a secret, government-run investigative panel, remains strong.”
By Eoin Higgins
Two days after the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer published a letter he sent to the U.S. government urging her release from federal prison, whistleblower Chelsea Manning issued a response welcoming the support and promising to stay resolute in the face of her prolonged detention.
“My long-standing objection to the immoral practice of throwing people in jail without charge or trial, for the sole purpose of forcing them to testify before a secret, government-run investigative panel, remains strong,” said Manning
thank you all – we may be separated by steel and concrete but with your love and solidarity i feel seen and heard and know i am not alone 😌🌈 💕 https://t.co/LwgspoKyEb
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) January 2, 2020
Manning was imprisoned on March 8, 2019 for refusing to take part in a grand jury investigation on WikiLeaks and the group’s founder, Julian Assange. Manning and her supporters have alleged that the real purpose of her testimony would be to set perjury traps that could eventually land the former Army private in prison.
As Common Dreams reported, Melzer’s letter expressed the rapporteur’s “serious concern at the reported use of coercive measures against Ms. Manning, particularly given the history of her previous conviction and ill-treatment in detention” and requested more information on Manning’s detention.
“I recommend that Ms. Manning’s current deprivation of liberty be promptly reviewed in light of the United States’ international human rights obligations,” Melzer wrote. “Should my assessment regarding its purely coercive purpose be accurate, I recommend that Ms. Manning be released without further delay, and that any fines disproportionate to the gravity of any offense she may have committed be cancelled or reimbursed.”
Manning’s attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen in a statement said that Melzer’s letter made clear that Manning’s detention is in violation of international norms and for the sole purpose of torturing the whistleblower.
“Special Rapporteur Melzer has issued a legally rigorous condemnation of the practice of coercive confinement, and of Ms. Manning’s confinement in particular,” said Meltzer-Cohen. “While the United States has so far failed to live up to its human rights obligations, I remain hopeful that the government will reconsider its policies in light of the U.N.’s admonition.”
“In any case,” Meltzer-Cohen added, “there can be no further doubt that Ms. Manning has the courage of her convictions, and will never agree to testify before a grand jury, even at great personal cost.”
Manning echoed that sentiment in her statement.
“Even knowing I am very likely to stay in jail for an even longer time,” said Manning, “I’m never backing down.”licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
‘World War III’ Trends as Hawks Rejoice at Trump Decision to Assassinate Iranian Military Leader
“Hawks are celebrating Soleimani’s assassination not because they believe it weakened Iran…But because they believe we have passed an irreversible point of escalation.”
By Jake Johnson
As peace advocates voiced alarm at the very real prospect of all-out conflict with Iran following the assassination Thursday night of that country’s top military leader on orders from U.S. President Donald Trump, war hawks who have had their crosshairs trained on Iran for years enthusiastically celebrated Trump’s decision—and even suggested the president should go further by targeting the nation’s oil refineries.
“Trump’s Iran policy has been seeking to incite war with Iran since he reneged on the nuclear deal in May 2018.”
—Sina Toossi, National Iranian American Council
“To the Iranian government: If you want to stay in the oil business leave America and our allies alone and stop being the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world,” tweeted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a longtime supporter of regime change in Iran.
Trita Parsi, executive vice president at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, tweeted in response to the torrent of praise that “hawks are celebrating [Qassem] Soleimani’s assassination not because they believe it weakened Iran. Or the IRGC. Or that Iran will lose in Iraq. But because they believe we have passed an irreversible point of escalation.”
“From here, war is unavoidable, they believe,” Parsi added. “And celebrate.”
The likely unlawful U.S. assassination of Soleimani—and the jingoistic applause it provoked—led many to express fears of a global conflict, briefly catapulting “World War III” to the top of Twitter’s trending list. Trump, for his part, simply tweeted an image of an American flag following the strike:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani, as well as at least six others, with a drone strike in Baghdad came after the Pentagon threatened Iran with preemptive action in response to supposed indications it was planning attacks on U.S. forces in the region.
Though the Pentagon did not offer a shred of evidence that Soleimani or militia groups were planning attacks, corporate media outlets dutifully echoed the Trump administration’s line, leading some commentators to see parallels with the buildup to the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.
“I don’t see any way to stop what is coming, war from the Mediterranean to the Indus and harsh repression in the U.S. that may vitiate the 2020 election,” said Barnett Rubin of the Center on International Cooperation. “This is the test for the Democrats: have our leaders learned anything since 2003? I fear the answer.”
Observers warned the U.S. assassination of Soleimani, on top of the Trump administration’s violation of the nuclear accord last year and other aggressive actions, effectively foreclosed the possibility of peaceful negotiations with Iran.
“Whatever happens next, understand and never stop pointing out that Donald Trump walked into office with no crisis with Iran,” said Stephen Miles, executive director of Win Without War. “He then filled his cabinet with warmongers, walked away from a multilateral diplomatic accord, and purposefully engaged in ‘maximum pressure.’ He owns this.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei quickly vowed “harsh retaliation” in response to Soleimani’s assassination, and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the U.S. of committing “an act of state terrorism.”
Amid fears of revenge attacks, the State Department on Friday urged U.S. citizens to leave Iraq immediately.
“Trump’s Iran policy has been seeking to incite war with Iran since he reneged on the nuclear deal in May 2018,” said Sina Toossi, senior research analyst with the National Iranian American Council. “If a war breaks out, the blame lies squarely with this disastrous policy and its proponents.”
“Trump thinks he got his Bin Laden moment in an election year,” Toossi added. “In reality, he’s made the worst strategic mistake by an American leader since the Iraq invasion. The consequences will be felt for years to come.”licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
‘Entire Species Are Being Wiped Out’: Ecologists Say Half a Billion Animals May Have Been Killed by Australia Wildfires
“The fires have burned so hot and so fast that there has been significant mortality of animals in the trees, but there is such a big area now that is still on fire and still burning that we will probably never find the bodies.”
By Jake Johnson
Ecologists at the University of Sydney are estimating that nearly half a billion animals have been killed in Australia’s unprecedented and catastrophic wildfires, which have sparked a continent-wide crisis and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in desperation.
News Corp Australia reported Wednesday that “there are real concerns entire species of plants and animals have been wiped out by bushfires following revelations almost 500 million animals have died since the crisis began.”
“Ecologists from the University of Sydney now estimate 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have been lost since September,” according to News Corp. “That figure is likely to soar following the devastating fires which have ripped through Victoria and the [New South Wales] South Coast over the past couple of days, leaving several people dead or unaccounted for, razing scores of homes and leaving thousands stranded.”
The horrifying figures come as images and videos of animals suffering severe burns and dehydration continue to circulate on social media.
Mark Graham, an ecologist with the National Conservation Council, told the Australian parliament that “the fires have burned so hot and so fast that there has been significant mortality of animals in the trees, but there is such a big area now that is still on fire and still burning that we will probably never find the bodies.”
Koalas in particular have been devastated by the fires, Graham noted, because they “really have no capacity to move fast enough to get away.”
As Reuters reported Tuesday, “Australia’s bushland is home to a range of indigenous fauna, including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, possums, wombats, and echidnas. Officials fear that 30 percent of just one koala colony on the country’s northeast coast, or between 4,500 and 8,400, have been lost in the recent fires.”
The new normal, except it isn’t.
It’s going to get much worse.
— Greenpeace NZ (@GreenpeaceNZ) January 1, 2020
I am mourning the loss of wildlife and of the irreparable changes that are happening on the Australian continent. Entire species are being wiped out. #vicfires #VicBushfires #AustralianFires #NSWfires #wildlife https://t.co/1i48whrDam
— Claire Gorman (@ClaireGorm) January 1, 2020
Australia’s coal-touting Prime Minister Scott Morrison has faced growing scrutiny for refusing to take sufficient action to confront the wildfires and the climate crisis that is driving them. Since September, the fires have burned over 10 million acres of land, destroyed more than a thousand homes, and killed at least 17 people—including 9 since Christmas Day.
On Thursday, the government of New South Wales (NSW) declared a state of emergency set to take effect Friday morning as the wildfires are expected to intensify over the weekend.
“We’ve got a lot of fire in the landscape that we will not contain,” said Rob Rogers, deputy commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service. “We need to make sure that people are not in the path of these fires.”licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.