Saturday, May 11, 2013

Guantanamo and Manning

It has been far too long since last I wrote in my blog. I have been working very hard at a job for which I am now losing all enthusiasm. I also have little hope that living conditions will improve for most Americans within the existing paradigm, and that prospects appear dim for any sort of major shift away from the existing status quo. My friend Debbie and I will be scouting out our future home in Ecuador at the end of the summer.

However, I find myself compelled to write finally. This past week, the Washington Peace Center celebrated its 50th anniversary. I am proud to have been associated with this great small progressive org. There were times when it appears this org would not make it to 50 years of life, but it did. And I would say a lot of the credit goes to the activists associated with it for so long, its generous donors, and its past and present board members. They have never given up hope that positive social change could occur through the vision and organizational leadership of the Washington Peace Center, even when the org was nearly out of funds and operating out of a board member's living room. Here's to another 50 years!

Some promising news recently: After years of protests, direct actions, and citizen lobbying it appears there is in fact some strong momentum now to shut down our military's own immoral and unlawful gulag, Guantanamo Bay. There has been a petition circling widely written by a former military prosecutor demanding Obama use his executive power (and there is a clause within the NDAA which expressly states this ability) to bypass Congress and immediately shut it down. There are 86 men there who have been cleared for release by the military for years now. The fact this place is still open approximately 5 years after Obama pledged to close it is his own great shame.

Here is a link to this petition (currently it has about 200,000 signatures) drafted by Morris Davis, former Air Force prosecutor at Guantanamo: There was a press conference Friday on Capitol Hill about the ongoing hunger strike by prisoners who have lost hope about ever being able to again walk with their friends and family as free men, and the renewed energy to close this hell on earth.

Also, since I last wrote, Bradley Manning has plead guilty to lesser charges for releasing thousands of government and military memos and reports to WikiLeaks. This move was not received well by the government and military who have vowed to continue pursuing the Aiding the Enemy charge, which could very well leave Manning in jail for the rest of his life. Public support for Manning as a courageous whistle blower has also been on the increase.

Manning's trial is expected to finally begin June 1. That's four years Manning has been in jail for exposing war crimes and massive government corruption around the globe. This event, similar to Daniel Ellsberg's release of the Pentagon Papers, except this material was classified at a lower secrecy level, has earned Manning several nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. It is widely believed that news reports in Tunisia based on some of these releases helped spark the people's uprising, also known as the Arab Spring. There will be a large rally at Ft. Meade that first day of the trial.

Next time I will share some more restaurant reviews/tips and maybe a recipe I have used recently. Note: I made some delicious cornbread two weeks ago. Until then!

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