Courage

March 12th 2020, Chelsea Manning was once again released from a year long imprisonment for refusing to testify in a grand jury hearing against JOHN DOE 2010R03793Julian Paul Assange.

I wrote to President Obama back in 2013 – after she was sentenced to serve 35 years at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

President Obama later commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence to 7 years time served, Chelsea was released January 17th 2017.

My letter to President Obama – originally posted on August 26, 2013

 

President Barack Obama,

I ran across Chelsea (Bradley) Manning’s sentencing statement this morning. I think that everyone that goes to war as an idealist (and what twenty-something is not an idealist) at some point discovers the truth about war. If only we as a species could somehow teach this truth to our young so that they could learn it without having to experience war themselves every other generation.

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

– Chelsea (Bradley) Manning (August 21, 2013)

Although, as I read through this again – it seems there is still a great deal of idealism in there.

This is the kind of person we should be trying to recruit into our military.
This is the kind of person who would never dishonor our country or our military by committing atrocities in our name; even when ordered to do so.

This is the kind of person that you have allowed to be imprisoned for up to 35 years.

Emoluments

A Open Letter to all Representative Members of the 116th Congress of these United States.

Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been following closely your progress in investigating and drafting articles of impeachment for President Donald John Trump with considerable frustration. From his first months in office, President Trump has accepted payments (emoluments) to his businesses (from which he has divested in name only) from domestic and foreign organizations and governments in direct contravention to the United States Constitution Article 1, Section 9, Paragraph 8:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

and Article 2, Section 1, Paragraph 7:

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

The meaning of these clauses that no federally elected official is to receive any gift, payment, or payment in kind; is so clear that no president before now has even sought to challenge them.

A further charge of obstruction of justice suggests itself from President Trump’s repeated successful attempts thus far to block the release of his tax returns. The lengths of litigation to which President Trump is willing to commit would make any reasonable person wonder at the perversities he has indulged in his tax filings.

Please include in your articles of impeachment the charges of receiving emoluments from organizations and governments both foreign and domestic. We need to set a strong precedent that our federal officials cannot accept payments of any kind from any source.