Friday, January 14, 2011

What returns from Iraq

Wil Cruz (Fox News Latino) reports on the journey home of the bodies of Sgt Jose M. Cintron Rosado and Spc Jose Delgado Arroyo who became the two most recent US military deaths in Iraq January 2nd. Cruz notes, "The deaths of Cintrón Rosado and Delgado Arroyo, the third and fourth soldiers from the Puerto Rico National Guard killed since Sept. 11, are a somber reminder of the sacrifice Puerto Ricans and Latinos have made to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In all, 593 Latino members of the military have been killed since Oct. 7, 2001, when U.S. soldiers and Marines first landed in Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense. And that number doesn't include casualties who have committed suicide after returning from their tours."

Larry Copeland (USA Today) notes
that it's not just people, things are also coming back from Iraq, the unmanned drones are itching to come to your neighborhood:

One of the chief obstacles to widespread use of UAVs is their inability to "see and avoid" other aircraft as required by federal regulations, a key to flight safety. Davis says he believes operators on the ground can comply with federal rules if they can see the aircraft and the surrounding environment. Wesley Randall, principal investigator on an FAA grant awarded last year to researchers at Auburn University to study the risks associated with unmanned aircraft, predicts drones will be used by police departments in five to 10 years. Randall predicts that much larger unmanned aircraft will be used to transport cargo within 15-20 years.
No local police departments have been authorized to use unmanned aircraft, although police departments in Houston and Miami have conducted field tests of such planes, Dorr says.

Also home from Iraq is of Bradley Manning. Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning has been convicted in the public square despite the fact that he's been convicted in no state and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, he has made no public statements. Manning is now at Quantico in Virginia, under military lock and key and still not allowed to speak to the press. Paul Courson (CNN) notes Bradley is a suspect and, "He has not admitted guilt in either incident, his supporters say." War Is A Crime's David Swanson passes on:

Founded in 1960 as the National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee
CONTACT: Sue Udry, 301-325-1201

Martin Luther King Day is Monday, January 17, 2011

Invoking the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, peace and justice activists to descend on Quantico prison to protest torture of Bradley Manning

MLK Day plans call for noon demonstration at FBI headquarters in Washington followed by caravan to Quantico Marine Base

"Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak."
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We'll celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a way that would make the great man proud. We embrace his legacy. Martin will be with us in the streets.

Noon: Protest at FBI Headquarters - 935 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC, to demonstrate our outrage and indignation against police state surveillance, infiltration, and attempts to entrap peace, environmental, animal rights, civil rights, and solidarity activists.
Renowned "whistleblower" Coleen Rowley, a FBI special agent for almost 24 years, who testified to the Senate Judiciary on FBI's pre 9-11 failures, will address the crowd at the FBI headquarters. Ms. Rowley describes FBI abuses, "Instead of safeguarding our freedom and security, the FBI has become a growing danger to those trying to exercise our Constitutional rights. It is alarming to see the FBI revert to the abuses of the Vietnam era."

1 pm: Convoy to Quantico - We'll take off from the center of the American police state in a caravan to Marine Corps Base Quantico where military authorities are holding our brother Bradley Manning in an inhumane condition of solitary confinement. (Quantico is 45 minutes south of DC.)

2 pm: Rally at the Iwo Jima statue, Quantico Marine Base -
The statue is at the southwest corner of Rt. 1 (Jefferson Davis Hwy) and Rt. 619 (Fuller Rd.) From I-95: Take exit 150, Quantico/Triangle. Take route 619 east to the entrance of the base.

Activists will descend on Quantico to protest the isolation and torture of Bradley Manning at Marine Corps Brig Quantico. This treatment is designed to break Manning's mind and reduce his ability to defend himself. Manning has been kept in 23 out of 24 hour solitary confinement for 7 months in a 6 foot by 12 foot cell. He is not allowed any meaningful exercise, has his sleep and day-night cycles disrupted by constant light, and is harassed by what the military calls "prevention of injury" measures. These require a guard to ask him every 5 minutes "are you ok?" which requires an affirmative response.

We call on Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army Chief of Staff, Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Colonel Daniel J. Choike, Base Commander, Marine Corps Base Quantico, to end the inhumane, degrading conditions of pre-trial confinement and respect Bradley's human rights. Specifically, we are calling on Pentagon officials to lift the "prevention of injury" watch. This would allow Bradley meaningful physical exercise, uninterrupted sleep during the night, and a release from isolation.

See the Letter from Psychologists for Social Responsibility to Defense Secretary Gates

Dan Ellsberg captures our sentiments regarding Bradley, "I spent years [during Vietnam] keeping my mouth shut as presidents lied to us and kept these secrets. I shouldn't have done that. And that's why I admire someone like Bradley Manning, or whoever the source was, for actually risking their own personal freedom in order to tell us the truth. I think they're being better citizens and showing their patriotism in a better way than when they keep their mouths shut."

(See our letter attached hereto.)

“Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”

- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Endorsed by: Backbone Campaign, Bill of Right Defense Committee, Bradley Manning Support Network, CodePink, Courage to Resist, DC Bill of Rights Coalition, DC National Lawyers Guild, Defending Dissent Foundation,, Friends of Human Rights, Jobs for Afghans, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, National Accountability Action Network, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Peace Action, Peace of the Action, Progressive Democrats of America, United for Peace and Justice, Voters for Peace,, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, Witness Against Torture, World Can’t Wait

The following community sites updated last night:

I'm late this morning because we were in a dead zone. When we arrived yesterday evening, it wasn't. But apparently during daylight hours it's dead zone, dead zone, dead zone. No WiFi, no cell. Sorry.

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends