US Marine charged with killing transgender Filipina–Protests Stop US Navy Visits

Philippine Dept. of Foreign Affairs says 3 US ships canceled port visits

In this Oct. 17, 2014, photo, a US marine walks inside the USS Peleliu, where US Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton was said to be detained after allegedly killing Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude at the Subic Bay free port, Zambales province. Nine US Navy ships scheduled to arrive in Subic in November until December have decided to cancel their port calls due to “anti-American sentiments” in the country after Pemberton was implicated in the slaying of Laude, a group of business owners said.  AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA

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Filipina transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, left, was allegedly killed by US Marine Sgt. Joseph Scott Pemberton,, right. The ensuing protests over yet another US military person charged with abuse or murder of Filipinas has created a suspension of “normal” US visits to the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines–Three US Navy ships have canceled their scheduled port visits to the country this month for operational reasons, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.

“The reconsideration of the port visits is a normal occurrence as US ships are deployed in many areas in the Pacific and are subject to changing operational requirements,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said at a press briefing, citing a US Embassy diplomatic note.

The Inquirer reported Monday that the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce had said that nine US vessels had scrapped scheduled port calls because of “anti-American sentiments” stemming from the slaying of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude on Oct. 11 in an Olongapo City motel.

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N.S.A. Promises to Stop Getting Caught Spying on Allies

October 29, 2013

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) — Responding to the firestorm of controversy over its spying on European allies, the head of the National Security Agency said today it would do everything in its power to avoid being caught doing it in the future.

“There are two important jobs for every spy agency: spying on people and avoiding detection,” said the N.S.A. chief General Keith Alexander. “Unfortunately, at the N.S.A. we have only done the first job well.”

“We have abused the trust of some of our closest allies,” he said. “And none of this would have happened if they hadn’t found out.” Continue reading

All Who Oppose War Crimes: “We Are Bradley Manning”

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Statement of the Center for Constitutional Rights:

He Should Never Have Been Prosecuted

August 21, 2013 – Today, in response to the sentencing of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement.

We are outraged that a whistleblower and a patriot has been sentenced on a conviction under the Espionage Act. The government has stretched this archaic and discredited law to send an unmistakable warning to potential whistleblowers and journalists willing to publish their information. We can only hope that Manning’s courage will continue to inspire others who witness state crimes to speak up. Continue reading

Statement by Bradley Manning: On Being Sentenced

by Bradley Manning
August 21, 2013

The following is a transcript of the statement made by Pfc. Bradley Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference on Wednesday after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

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 Continue reading

Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years for exposing war crimes

 

Summary by The Guardian, August 21, 2013

A quick summary of where things stand:

• A court-martial sentenced Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking government secrets. Manning is to be dishonorably discharged. He loses all pay. He is convicted of six Espionage Act violations. The sentence is expected to be appealed.

Manning, 25, is eligible for parole. He must first serve at least a third of his sentence. He has more than three years’ time served and has been credited 112 days for his “inhuman” treatment in a Quantico brig in 2010-11. In a best-case scenario for Manning, he might be released before he turned 35.

Judge Denise Lind announced the sentence in a hearing that lasted about two minutes. Manning had no visible reaction to the verdict. There were gasps from the crowd. As Manning was led out, supporters shouted “we’ll keep fighting for you, Bradley,” and “you’re our hero.” 

The ACLU, Amnesty International and other rights advocates and Manning supporters decried the verdict. It is unjust for Manning to spend decades in prison when the perpetrators of the wartime atrocities he exposed go free, Manning supporters argue.

It’s “seriously wrong” for a soldier who shared information with the public to be punished “far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians,” the ACLU says in a statement on the Manning sentence:

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A legal system that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability. This is a sad day for Bradley Manning, but it’s also a sad day for all Americans who depend on brave whistleblowers and a free press for a fully informed public debate.

Amnesty International called on President Obama to commute the sentence. “Bradley Manning should be shown clemency in recognition of his motives for acting as he did, the treatment he endured in his early pre-trial detention, and the due process shortcomings during his trial,” AI’s Widney Brown said. “The president doesn’t need to wait for this sentence to be appealed to commute it; he can and should do so right now.”

Filipinos protest US military presence

14 Aug 2013, Bangkok Post Online news

MANILA – The Philippines and the United States on Wednesday opened talks on increased American military presence, amid protests by leftist groups warning against foreign interference.

Filipino activists hold up placards as they stage a lie-in before a police line during a protest against a meeting between Philippine and US officials in Manila on Wednesday. The protesters were opposing the talks over an increase in US military troops in the country. (AFP photo)

Activists picketed the principal military base in Manila, where the first round of negotiations on a “framework on increased rotational presence” was being held.

The demonstrators denounced the talks and called on the Philippine government not to give the US military more access to the country, which shut down American air and naval bases more than two decades ago. Continue reading