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article imageOp-Ed: An Open Letter to President Obama and Secretary Gates

By Hans Smedbol     Mar 13, 2011 in Politics
Nelson - The appalling treatment of Pfc Bradley Manning by the US authorities has dismayed me ever since I first became aware of the issue. Therefore i have written and sent an open letter to President Obama and Secretary Gate which I have also published here.
Dear Mr. President and Secretary Gates:
I am writing this letter to you both as a Canadian long time friend to your country and to your people.
When you were elected, Mr. President, the whole world looked on with wonder, and admiration, listening to your promises of a new day and a new way in America. We had hopes of a regime which would pursue true Justice, tempered with mercy and compassion as your words promised.
Now the world is looking on to your regime with horror and reprobation, Amnesty International among them, because unfortunately, in many ways, you have simply followed in the footsteps of your war mongering predecessor, who committed crimes against humanity with impunity, and refused to join the International Criminal Court because of fears of prosecution. Glenn Greenwald, a writer on has written extensively about this issue.
We in the rest of the in the world do not want to look at the U.S. and the Obama administration with this kind of repulsion and horror. We would prefer to regard you, and your government as operating within the bounds of honour, truth, justice, and compassion. Instead your administration has continued the implementation of the National Security State, and the disenfranchisement of the middle classes, allowing the super wealthy, the financiers on Wall street to get away with treachery against the U.S. by tanking its economy (and much of the rest of the world). Did a single one of those criminals face a judge and jury for their crimes against the entire nation? Not one.
Instead you and your administration have chosen to vilify a young man who sought to truly serve his country in the best way he knew. he discovered that his country was undertaking questionable and even criminal acts against the innocent populations of places like Iraq and Afghanistan. He discovered that this was not a rare occurrence, but rather business as usual. He tried to report it up the command chain but was squashed flat. So he took this damning information public, much against the will of the armed forces, and your administration.
In Canada, the population has been looking on with increasing dismay and anger, not to mention simple amazement, at the atrocious ways in which Pfc Bradley Manning is being treated by the U.S. Military in Quantico brig, for his alleged crimes against the state.
What is being done to the private, who in his own mind was whistleblowing on some extremely questionable, not to say abhorrent acts by the U.S. military in the carrying out of its duties overseas in the quagmires of Afghanistan and Iraq, appear to many, to be crimes against humanity, to be major human rights abuses. It is neither necessary nor politic to treat him in this inhumane fashion.
It is in fact APPALLING, Mr. President, and Sec. Gates, that you have not stepped in before NOW and stopped this travesty against Justice.
No matter what your aides might be telling you, you will not escape from this kangaroo court approach to justice without irreparable harm to your reputations and to the reputation of the country you claim to serve with love and honour. You really should be ashamed of yourselves, for this appalling abuse of human rights.
The "National Security State" has gone far enough. The excuse that we must surrender a little more and then a little more and then even more of our liberties to the Police State in return for supposed safety and security is showing itself to be the falsehood it always was. Instead of being a light unto the world in terms of democracy and human rights, Mr. President, and Mr. Secretary, your government is leading America down the stoney path to shame and ill repute among the nations of the world.
There are many many Americans who say they are now ashamed to be American, once they struggle through the lies and propaganda perpetrated every day by the bought and paid for main stream media.
I know that I for one have no desire to visit your country as long as the Police State exists.
If you want to preach human rights and liberty, as well as your version of Democracy, around the world, then may I suggest that you actually live the message. If you do a lot more living the message, then you won't have to talk about it. Your lives themselves will be the message.
Right now, dear sirs, your lives are constantly broadcasting the typical American Political lies, they are images of corruption, and deceit, as well as the spectre of crimes against humanity, not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but at home in the U.S. too, where a whistleblower was formerly thought to be exempt from prosecution if he were to reveal corruption and law breaking in high places. Pfc. Manning DID reveal corruption and law breaking, including crimes against humanity...such as that helicopter massacring INNOCENTS (including reuters reporters) and with the soldiers all laughing and smart ass about it. For this he should be rewarded rather than imprisoned.
For his patriotic devotion to his true duty (to truly follow the laws and rules of the military he is in, as well as the laws of U.S.), and because he couldn't stand silent while people committed illegal and immoral acts, all under the cover of the "fog of war", he has been labelled a traitor, and incarcerated in inhumane conditions, being tortured by a lack of sleep, and by having to answer unnecessary questions every five minutes, as well as being denied his clothing. This is definitely CRUEL and INHUMANE Punishment. I suggest to you, that the real traitors are the ones who have incarcerated this young man to shut him up, and those who are allowing this travesty of justice to continue.
The longer he is kept in this terrible condition (even if the reason is to break his will such that he will LIE about his supposed (and hoped for by your investigators) connections with Julian Assange), the longer a time will Americans have to become increasingly disillusioned with your government and its apathy towards victims of oppression. If this kind of treatment keeps up, or is widely applied to others, I do believe it may have an extremely negative effect upon your chances for re-election in 2012, Mr. President.
I truly do hope that you do have a loving human heart inside that suit of yours, and that you truly do want to do what is right before God and Man. Because I don't know how you can face your God right now, with this appalling crime lying on your conscience. Please do the right thing and call a halt to the crimes against humanity, including against Pfc. Bradley Manning, who really should be given a MEDAL of honour for his courage, and his patriotism, as well as his desire for justice to be seen to be done, rather than facing a firing squad...
As it is today, I weep for your country and what it could have been.
thank you
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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