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American Hero: Bradley Manning demands dismissal of his case due to inhuman punishment

© Reuters / Jose Liis Magaua
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.
Bradley Manning is expected to testify in a pretrial hearing that he has been punished illegally by being locked in solitary confinement. The whistleblower hopes that his inhumane punishment is grounds for having all charges against him dismissed.

Manning, who is accused of sending classified information to WikiLeaks, will testify in a pretrial hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland.

"Until now we've only heard from Bradley through his family and lawyers, so it's going to be a real insight into his personality to hear him speak for himself for the first time," said Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Manning's lawyers will maintain that his treatment in a small cell at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia was illegal and unnecessarily severe. If pretrial punishment is particularly flagrant, military judges have the right to dismiss all charges.

Manning, a 24-year-old Army private and intelligence analyst, was allegedly involved in the largest security breach in US history and was charged with 22 crimes, including violating the Espionage Act and aiding the enemy. He allegedly accessed 250,000 US diplomatic cables, 500,000 army reports, and videos of the 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Granai airstrike, and sending them to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks for publication in 2010. He is the only suspect arrested for his involvement in the security leak.

USA

Update: The Madness of a Lost Society, parts 1 to 3


Comment: Update 27 November 2012: Two years on from the first installment in this excellent video series, SGT Report has recently uploaded Part 3 to YouTube.



On 26th November 2010 - Black Friday - as the bankers and government officials planned the final demise of the US economy and the destruction of American society, millions of citizens across the US fought and trampled each other at thousands of stores for the privilege of buying insignificant consumer items made by virtual slave-workers in far off lands. This is the madness of a lost society on the brink of collapse.

Part 1


Star of David

Israel's shame: Children, the true victims

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The rockets slammed in, two in succession, just after 11.30 at night. When Huda Tawfil had shaken herself awake through the confusion and terror, her first thoughts were for her baby. Seeing what she did through the smoke and flames, she burst into tears.

The 20-year-old started digging through the rubble with her hands as other members of the family ran into the room and joined in. She then cradled her little girl on the way to hospital in her husband's car. There was an emergency operation, but the injuries from the shrapnel proved to be too severe.

The name of Hanin Tawfil was added to a growing and particularly grim list from the latest Gaza conflict. Out of 104 civilians killed and 970 wounded, 34 and 274 respectively were children; dozens of others who survived have been orphaned and left traumatised by the violence.

The figures are startling even by the vicious standards of the recent bloodlettings in this region. It is, of course, the case that rockets fired from Gaza by Palestinians, often indiscriminately, had led to casualties among young boys and girls in Israel. But the ministry of defence in Tel Aviv had repeatedly stressed in the course of this mission that its attacks were surgical and all efforts possible had been made to avoid collateral damage.

Star of David

Israeli Chief of Staff: "We will continue to pound Gaza despite truce mediation"

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© sabbah.biz
Child killed in Gaza by Israeli rockets
Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Benni Gantz, stated Wednesday that the Israeli army will continue its offensive against the Gaza Strip "as if mediation efforts are not ongoing", and added that the army is following an agenda that will be implemented despite of what happens on the political spectrum.


Gantz held a session with senior Israeli military and security officials to evaluate the current operations against Gaza, and said that the army is bombarding "high value" targets, including Hamas's institutions such as banks, security centers and weapons storage warehouses, in addition to bombarding infrastructure such, as roads and bridges.

He also said that the army fired missiles at fuel pipes that provide Gaza with fuel by running from the Egyptian side into Gaza through the siege-busting tunnels across the border.

Newspaper

The 'both-sides-are-awful' dismissal of Gaza ignores the key role of the U.S. government

© Baz Ratner/Reuters
Birds of a feather: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deliver joint statements in Jerusalem. Israel would not be able to commit the murders and human rights violations that it does, if it wasn't for the financial and all-around support from the US government
The temptation to wash one's hands of the whole conflict is understandable, but US support of Israel is a central force driving it all

Everything about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict follows the same pattern over and over, including the reaction of Americans. In the first couple of days after a new round of violence breaks out, there is intense interest and passion, which is quickly replaced by weariness, irritation, and even anger that one has to be bothered by this never-ending, always-ugly and seemingly irresolvable conflict. These sentiments then morph into an attempt to separate oneself from the entire matter by declaring both sides to be equally horrendous and thus washing one's hands from any responsibility for thinking further about it ("I'm sick of both sides"), followed by recriminations against anyone who actually has an opinion that is more supportive of one side than the other.

Esquire's Charles Pierce, one of the nation's best political writers, provided a classic case of this mindset yesterday in his post entitled "There Is No Side Worth Taking In Gaza". The crux: "I would like to have an opinion on this continual bloodletting that didn't sound banal but, goddammit, I'm out of them. I am thoroughly sick of both sides here." One encounters a version of this mentality with increasing frequency each day that the violence escalates.

Star of David

Shot in the head by Israel

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A Palestinian baby who was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier. One more example of how "Israel doesn't hurt children"?
There is something particularly horrifying when someone is shot in the head. Perhaps it's the gruesome image, the destruction of the brain, the clear intent to kill. The recent shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is made even more nightmarish by the location of her devastating injury.

Those of us who focus on Israel-Palestine are acutely aware of this horror.

Several years ago, I was researching the cause of death of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces during the first months of the Second Intifadah, the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation. As I counted up the numbers, I was chilled to discover that the single most frequent cause of death in those beginning months was "gunfire to the head."

Eye 2

Inside the Psyche of the 1%

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We are the '1%' (although our real number is more like 6%)
Do the rich and super-rich tend to be psychopaths, devoid of guilt or shame? Are the 1% lacking in compassion? Does their endless accumulation of possessions actually bring them little to no happiness? To each of these, the answer is "yes" - but a very qualified "yes" with lots of subtleties. Even more important is what these issues suggest for building a society which does not ravage the last remnants of wilderness and rush headlong into a climate change tipping point.

Strange concepts of psychopathy

The word "psychopath" often elicits an image of a deranged murderer. Despite Alfred Hitchcock's chair-gripping Psycho, stabbing victims in the shower is not a typical activity of psychopaths. They are more often con artists who end up in jail after cheating their victims. Classic definitions of psychopathy include features such as superficial charm, anti-social behavior, unreliability, lack of remorse or shame, above average intelligence, absence of nervousness, and untruthfulness and insincerity. [1]

Most of those in the mental health industry sternly observe that a strict set of consistent rewards and consequences is the only treatment which works with psychopaths. But they admit that even this treatment might not work too well. Progressives may dismiss observations by psychologists because the field tends to explore a behavioral pattern as it exists in a certain Western culture at a given point in history and then imagine that it characterizes all people at all times. Psychology has a long tradition of bending to current race, gender and sexual orientation biases. Its class bias is reflected by the dominant portrayal of psychopathy.

Comment: Interesting research, but the problem, at root, is not capitalism. The problem is a biological one. The mind of a psychopath is so totally alien to people with a normal psychological substratum that we are literally talking about two completely different species. It's not about which model you use as a lens through which to view the world, it's about getting educated to the fact that humanity has an "intra-species predator", as foremost expert on psychopathology Dr. Robert Hare has defined them.


Heart - Black

North Wales pedophile network: Government officials and high level public figures involved

In a report by Channel 4 on the initial investigation into north Wales child abuse in 1991 to the Waterhouse inquiry in 2000, Sian Griffiths, North Wales council worker, has collated details of every allegation and document surrounding the scandal. In her testimony, she reveals evidence of judges silencing victims when they mentioned "high profile" names and court orders to destroy photographic and other evidence implicating 'high level' abusers.


Newspaper

Hamas and Israel have opened the 'gates of hell' in Gaza yet again. And the number of journalistic cliches in hell is growing by the day

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Everyday is 9/11 in Gaza.
'Surgical air strikes', 'rooting out terror', and 'cyber-terrorism' cannot conceal reality

Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. Here we go again. Israel is going to "root out Palestinian terror" - which it has been claiming to do, unsuccessfully, for 64 years - while Hamas, the latest in "Palestine's" morbid militias, announces that Israel has "opened the gates of hell" by murdering its military leader, Ahmed al-Jabari.

Hezbollah several times announced that Israel had "opened the gates of hell" for attacking Lebanon. Yasser Arafat, who was a super-terrorist, then a super-statesman - after capitulating on the White House lawn - and then became a super-terrorist again when he realised he'd been conned by Camp David; he, too waffled on about the "gates of hell" in 1982.

And we journos are writing like performing bears, repeating all the clichés we've used for the past 40 years. The killing of Mr Jabari was a "targeted attack", it was a "surgical air strike" - like the Israeli "surgical air strikes" which killed almost 17,000 civilians in Lebanon in 1982, the 1,200 Lebanese, most of them civilians, in 2006, or the 1,300 Palestinians, most of them civilians, in Gaza in 2008-9, or the pregnant woman and the baby who were killed by the "surgical air strikes" in Gaza last week - and the 11 civilians killed in one Gaza house yesterday. At least Hamas, with their Godzilla rockets, don't claim anything "surgical" about them. They are meant to murder Israelis - any Israelis, man woman or child.

Eye 2

Elites Will Make Gazans of Us All

© Mr Fish
Gaza is a window on our coming dystopia. The growing divide between the world's elite and its miserable masses of humanity is maintained through spiraling violence. Many impoverished regions of the world, which have fallen off the economic cliff, are beginning to resemble Gaza, where 1.6 million Palestinians live in the planet's largest internment camp. These sacrifice zones, filled with seas of pitifully poor people trapped in squalid slums or mud-walled villages, are increasingly hemmed in by electronic fences, monitored by surveillance cameras and drones and surrounded by border guards or military units that shoot to kill. These nightmarish dystopias extend from sub-Saharan Africa to Pakistan to China. They are places where targeted assassinations are carried out, where brutal military assaults are pressed against peoples left defenseless, without an army, navy or air force. All attempts at resistance, however ineffective, are met with the indiscriminate slaughter that characterizes modern industrial warfare.

In the new global landscape, as in Israel's occupied territories and the United States' own imperial projects in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan, massacres of thousands of defenseless innocents are labeled wars. Resistance is called a provocation, terrorism or a crime against humanity. The rule of law, as well as respect for the most basic civil liberties and the right of self-determination, is a public relations fiction used to placate the consciences of those who live in the zones of privilege. Prisoners are routinely tortured and "disappeared." The severance of food and medical supplies is an accepted tactic of control. Lies permeate the airwaves. Religious, racial and ethnic groups are demonized. Missiles rain down on concrete hovels, mechanized units fire on unarmed villagers, gunboats pound refugee camps with heavy shells, and the dead, including children, line the corridors of hospitals that lack electricity and medicine.