Monday, December 19, 2011

Whose sexual discomfort?

Rubble (Indybay Media -- link is text and audio) reports that Saturday's Occupy San Francisco actions including a Financial District march during which participants chanted "Free Bradley Manning!"

Meanwhile Justin Rainmondo floats his sexual discomfort. He insists:

That’s also why the sickening smear campaign launched against both Manning and Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has taken on the dual aspects of both a witch hunt and a crusade. You’ll note, too, that both Manning and Assange are being assailed as sexual perverts – that’s the peculiar style of our outraged elites, who combine their own prurient decadence with a vicious and very personal hatred for anyone who defies them.

"Sexual perverts"? If Bradley Manning sufferes from Gender Identity Disorder, that doesn't make him a sexual pervert. Julian Assange is accused of rape. By two women. One who has stated she was asleep when the act began. If true, that would be rape. Rape allegations are best left to a court to determine not a reactionary columnist prone to heavy drama. What's being presented about Bradley Manning is being presented by his attorneys in a court of law and Justin may not agree with the tactics or arguments, but to suggest that Bradley's being portrayed as a sexual pervert says more about Justin Raimondo's sexual hang ups than it does about the presentation.

He wants to toss around the term prurient but exhibits little awareness of what the term means as he serves up a reactionary posture.

As Carla Bradley (AP -- video report) explains, "Saturday, his attorneys argued, his status as a gay soldier before the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell played an important role in his actions." And guess who joins Justin in objection to that issue? Why the government. Bradley explains, "Saturday they [the prosecution] objected to questions by the defense about Manning's sexual orientation."

This is not a minor part of the defense's argument or a sidebar. This is as important to the defense as lax security and lack of oversight on security issues.

Justin can certainly object to that or any part of the defense. But when he starts tossing around "sexual perverts" to describe what's been presented in the hearing about Bradley, he's crossed a line.

Nothing that was stated on Saturday was new. But we never referred to any of it here before. We never wrote about Bradley being gay or that he had a female persona. That's because others were saying it. Didn't make it true and didn't make it false. But Bradley was the one behind bars, the one suffering and we weren't going to traffic in gossip. It's no longer gossip, it's being presented by his defense. Once it was, we began including it here.

It may make Justin uncomfortable -- possibly because he's embarrassed by what he does in bed himself -- but that's his hang up and he's got no right to push his sexual discomfort off on others.

GID and gay are not the same. I will not go along with any efforts to portray them as the same (see Saturday's entry).

As I understand it, Bradley suffers from GID and entered the military thinking he was gay (and hoping to some degree it would make him 'normal'). Hiding your sexuality constantly and repeatedly creates great stress. Both due to the denial of who you are and to the fear of being found out. That alone is an argument about Bradley being under stress. When you bring in the belief or fear that he also suffers from GID, that's another level of pressure. If you think the military has a problem with gays and lesbians, that's nothing compared to those who suffer from GID.

Treatment for GID is gender reassignment surgery. Show me where that's covered in military health insurance. Give me statistics on the number of post-surgery service members who the leadership allows to continue serving.

The military 'treatment' for GID is to drum you out of the force.

Outside of crackpot Raimondo land, most in civilian society are well aware that GID is a real condition and that those with is are not "sexual perverts." The medical community has now spent decades treating it via gender reassignment surgery.


If the US military cannot even treat GID with awareness, can do nothing but recoil in horror from it, exactly how can that military give Bradley a fair trial?

As we noted on Saturday, the military needs to provide Bradley with a private therapist (Bradley can refuse such an offer -- that's his right) and the failure to do when they are aware that someone they've held for over a year may be suffering from GID is abuse. You can be sure it will be seen as such in fifty years. And Barack's supervision of this miscarriage of justice (as commander in chief) may actually damage him more historically than his illegal war on Libya, his attacks on the Constitution or anything else.

The Article 32 hearing continues today (part of it in closed door hearing). Alison Knezevich (Baltimore Sun) reports, "Defense attorneys for Army Pfc. Bradley Manning on Sunday grilled military officers about the intelligence analyst's dealings with classified information, suggesting that computer security at his Iraq base was lax and rules were routinely broken." Jason Ryan (ABC News) focuses on the testimony of Capt Casey Fulton:

Under cross examination by Manning’s defense lawyer David Coombs, Fulton testified that soldiers working in the SCIF had shared music and video games on their shared network computers.
“No one ever told you that music on the shared drive was a violation of information assurance procedures?” Coombs asked.
“No,” Fulton said.

Julie Tate (Washington Post) adds, "In addition, two of the Army’s witnesses — among Manning’s superiors — declined to testify Sunday on the grounds that their testimony might incriminate them." Kevin Gosztola (Firedoglake) notes that the two are SFC Paul Adkins and WO-1 Kyle J. Balonek. In addition to reporting at Firedoglake, Kevin Gosztola is also Tweeting the hearing.

On this week's Law and Disorder Radio -- a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) -- they explore predator drones, lasers, the Holy Land Foundation case with Noor Elashi (daughter of Ghassan Elashi) and cover the forum in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal by featuring the presentations of MOVE's Ramona Africa, poet Amiri Baraka, attorney Michael Coard and Mumia's daughter Goldi.

We'll close with this from the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal last month, this is law professor Francis A. Boyle's "The Bush Administration Was an Ongoing Criminal Conspiracy Under International Law and U.S. Domestic Law:"

Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal

November 17-20, 2011

Mr. President, Distinguished Judges, may it please the Tribunal.

Since the impeachable installation of George W. Bush as President in January of 2001 by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Republican Gang of Five, the peoples of the world witnessed a government in the United States that demonstrated little if any respect for fundamental considerations of international law, human rights, and the United States Constitution. What the world watched instead was a comprehensive and malicious assault upon the integrity of the international and domestic legal orders by a group of men and women who were thoroughly Machiavellian in their perception of international relations and in their conduct of both foreign policy and domestic affairs. Even more seriously, in many instances specific components of the Bush administration’s foreign policies constituted ongoing criminal activity under well-recognized principles of both international law and U.S. domestic law, and in particular the Nuremberg Charter (1945), the Nuremberg Judgment (1946), and the Nuremberg Principles (1950), as well as the Pentagon’s own U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 on The Law of Land Warfare (1956), all of which applied to President Bush himself as Commander-in-Chief of United States Armed Forces under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.

Depending upon the substantive issues involved, those international crimes typically included but were not limited to the Nuremberg offenses of crimes against peace: For example, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan, as well as their longstanding threatened war of aggression against Iran. Their criminal responsibility also concerned Nuremberg crimes against humanity and war crimes as well as grave breaches of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and of the 1907 Hague Regulations on land warfare: For example, torture at Guantanamo, Bhagram, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere; enforced disappearances, assassinations, murders, kidnappings, extraordinary renditions, “shock and awe,” depleted uranium, white phosphorous, cluster bombs, Fallujah, and the Guantanamo kangaroo courts. Notice that all of their victims were Muslims, Arabs, and Asians of Color.

Furthermore, various members of the Bush administration committed numerous inchoate crimes incidental to these substantive offences that under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles as well as paragraph 500 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 were international crimes in their own right: planning and preparation, solicitation, incitement, conspiracy, complicity, attempt, aiding and abetting.

Finally, according to basic principles of international criminal law set forth in paragraph 501 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, all high level civilian officials and military officers in the Bush administration who either knew or should have known that soldiers or civilians under their control -- such as the C.I.A. or private mercenary contractors -- committed or were about to commit international crimes and failed to take the measures necessary to stop them, or to punish them, or both, are likewise personally responsible for the commission of international crimes.

This category of U.S. officialdom who actually knew or should have known of the commission of these international crimes under their jurisdiction and failed to do anything about them include at the very top of America’s criminal chain-of-command: President Bush and Vice-President Cheney; U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld; Rumsfeld’s Deputy Paul Wolfowitz; Secretaries of State Powell and Rice; Director of National Intelligence Negroponte; C.I.A. Director Tenet; National Security Advisor Hadley; his Deputy Elliot Abrams; U.S. Attorneys General Ashcroft and Gonzales, both criminally responsible for the torture campaign launched by the Bush Jr. administration; and the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staffs along with the appropriate Regional Commanders-in-Chief, especially for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

These Bush administration officials and their immediate subordinates were responsible for the commission of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes as specified by the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles as well as by U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10. Today in international legal terms, the Bush Jr. administration itself should now be viewed as having constituted an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international criminal law and U.S. domestic law because of its formulation and undertaking of serial wars of aggression, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in violation of the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles that were legally akin to those perpetrated by the Nazi regime in Germany.

Of course the terrible irony of today’s situation is that sixty-five years ago at Nuremberg the U.S. government participated in the prosecution, punishment and execution of Nazi government officials for committing some of the same types of heinous international crimes that the members of the Bush administration inflicted upon people all over the world. To be sure, I personally oppose the imposition of capital punishment upon any human being for any reason no matter how monstrous their crimes, whether they be George Bush Jr., Anthony Blair, or Saddam Hussein. In this regard, the Defendant Tony Blair had been at all relevant times an aider and abettor, a principal-in-the-first-degree, a co-conspirator, and an accessory before, during, and after the fact to all of the international crimes committed by the members of the Bush Jr. administration. Tony Blair was an integral part and necessary component of the Bush administration’s ongoing international criminal conspiracy.

Today this Tribunal must reaffirm humanity’s commitment to the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles by holding all U.S. and U.K. government officials fully accountable under international law for the commission of such grievous international crimes. You must not permit any aspect of American and British foreign affairs and defense policies to be conducted by acknowledged “war criminals” according to the U.S. government’s own official definition of that term as set forth in the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles, U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, the U.S. War Crimes Act, the Four Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations.

This Tribunal must insist upon the conviction and long-term incarceration of all U.S. and U.K. government officials guilty of such heinous international crimes. If not so restrained, the American and the British governments could very well precipitate a Third World War.

After the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001 America and Britain have vilified and demonized and exterminated Muslims and Arabs and Asians of Color almost to the same extent that America inflicted upon the Japanese and Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. As the Nazis had previously demonstrated with respect to the Jews, a government must first dehumanize and scapegoat a race of people before its citizens will tolerate if not approve their elimination: witness Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In post -9/11 America and Britain, the world is directly confronted with the prospect of a nuclear war of annihilation conducted by their White Racist Judeo-Christian Power Elites against Peoples of Color in the Muslim and Arab and Asian worlds in order to steal their oil and gas.

The Crusades all over again. But this time nuclear Armageddon stares all of humankind right in the face!

This Tribunal must now lead the fight against the racist American and British dictatorial Empires! This is your Nuremberg Moment! Convict the Defendants of all crimes charged! Humanity and History demand no less of you!

Thank you.

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