Maybe you just heard? Obama finally acceded to so many of us pleading and finally commuted the whopping 35 year sentence (more than most murderers and rapists get) of Chelsea Manning, one of our nation’s greatest whistleblowers. Manning is the one who allowed us to learn of the mistreatment of unlawfully detained people and the callous murdering of civilians (including reporters and good Samaritans) which parts of our military committed in Irak and elsewhere. These are things we should know about, shouldn’t we?
How exactly does it serve us Americans when our government commits atrocities in our name, bloodying our hands and at the same time demonizing us thereby around the world, firing up terrorism against us – terrorism which exists precisely of such actions in the past – and we never even find out about it thanks to our government and mainstream media hushing it up, unless – or until – a brave heart like Manning thankfully blows the whistle? How does it help us when that same government terrifies other potential whistleblowers through such harsh sentences which they get as reward for their brave acts due to drummed up charges of endangering us or our (often very questionably acting!) secret agents through the disclosure of (often wantonly or even wrongfully) classified material, typically without evidence that such potential harm was actually done? And while the commuting of the sentence is at least something – after years already spent in jail, much of it in solitary confinement which drives most people insane – it is no pardon. Manning will continue to have a felony on her record. I can’t quite say, “Good job, Obama, for throwing us a bone.”
At the same time, Obama refused to pardon Edward Snowden, who informed us that the NSA was spying on ALL of us – no court order, no probable cause, no consideration for the 4th Amendment, just ALL of us – and who has had to be on the run and accept sanctuary from countries like Russia, of all places, which took him in after our government had canceled his passport so he couldn’t pick less controversial countries to flee to. And now Obama is holding precisely that against him.
Meanwhile, Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, continues having to hide in London’s Ecuadorian embassy since U.S. authorities are waiting to pounce on him the moment he leaves such protection. They avoid bringing charges until they have him in a vulnerable position, say in Sweden which brought phony charges of sexual assault against him (debunked by now) in order to get him extradited and then extradite him to the U.S. That’s how our fine government works with its fine allies like Sweden. Obama has long been asked to pardon Assange, as well, to protect and free him from this. No such deal. Assange’s kids have to grow up without their father.
Yes, Obama is far more charming than his predecessor-duo, smirking G.W.-Cheney, and his boorish successor Trump, but putting a charming face on continued policies which have been driving our nation into the ground (war, assassinations, crony capitalism, cruelty against whistleblowers, etc., etc.) is anything but a good thing. It is a very dangerous thing that our so-called “liberal” politicians have long specialized in, one which makes it even harder for us, the people, to realize we are being had and violated. It keeps us from waking up and fighting back. I hope that the DNC’s horrible war on Bernie Sander’s campaign last year has awoken enough of us that we won’t be fooled any longer. Let us call our “representatives” to account, no matter which political party pack they run with or how charming or uncouth they are. The real issues matter far more than pretty packaging or identity politics.
Two very informative articles on the allegations against Julian Assange:
- Getting Assange_ the Untold Story (CounterPunch)
- Assange Case: Evidence Destroyed Over And Over Again (Stranger in a Strange Land)
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