Welcome to Bennett's World: a collection of articles and references covering a wide variety of topics in which I am involved. I am a very political person but I have no allegiance to any political party. Follow me on twitter @colinhove

Friday, January 20, 2017

Another Israeli Attrocity: Please Act

I didn't notice any reference to this horrific action on the BBC. How was it covered in your country?
If you're in the UK, please heed the request in this email from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and make contact with your MP.

If you're in another country, please approach your Deputy or Member of your Legislative Assembly/Parliament.

Thank you.

Urgent action needed to help residents of Umm al-Hiran
View this email in your browser (http://us11.campaign-archive1.com/?u=39b479575f6b893766d815ffd&id=e7dba3c835&e=ab86d850da)
Dear friends,

Two days ago, on Wednesday 18th January, Israeli forces conducted a dawn raid to demolish the Palestinian Bedouin village of Umm Al-Hiran in Israel. This resulted in several houses being demolished and two deaths. In view of this escalation of the situation, we need you to take action and write to your MP (https://palestinecampaign.iparlsetup.com/lobby/mpummalhiran) asking them to bring this matter to the Foreign Secretary as a matter of urgency.

Back in November, your action saved the village from demolition. Over 3000 of you wrote to your MP demanding urgent action to stop the then scheduled demolition. Your emails, along with protests around the world delayed the demolition – until now.
Write to your MP (https://palestinecampaign.iparlsetup.com/lobby/mpummalhiran)
On Wednesday morning, 500 fully armed police arrived in the village of Umm al-Hiran. One resident of the village was shot by police and a Palestinian member of the Knesset, Ayman Odeh, was shot in the head with sponge-tipped bullets. Eight homes were demolished.

This demolition has been delayed for two years due to international protests at this extreme case of ethnic cleansing, but the Israeli government has now given the go-ahead for the village to be razed, destroying the homes and livelihoods of many families.

The 700 residents of the village have lived there for almost 60 years and have a lease to build a village, farm the land and graze their sheep.

The villagers have said that they are happy to live as neighbours with the Jewish settlers, but do not see why they should be evicted, pointing out that there are 3¼ million acres in the Negev, and that there is plenty of land for the new town to be built on instead of their one small acre of land.
The Israeli state has made it clear that the new village is for Jewish residents only and the Bedouin must move out.

We need international protest on a sufficient scale, and especially protests from European governments. The UK Government has expressed “concern” over the threat to Umm al-Hiran. This is not enough - the British government must use all of its influence to halt this destruction.

Only stronger international protests will help stop the demolition of Umm al-Hiran. We know this stopped the bulldozers last time. Write to your MP now (https://palestinecampaign.iparlsetup.com/lobby/mpummalhiran) and take action to stand in solidarity with the residents of Umm al-Hiran.

** (https://twitter.com/pscupdates)
** (www.facebook.com/palestinesolidarityuk)
** (http://www.palestinecampaign.org/)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

More news about Chelsea's campaign

 I received this moving email recently and I am sharing it with you.
Chelsea Manning Support Network

Exposing war crimes is not a crime!

Looking Back on 6 Years of Fighting for Chelsea Manning
Jan 18th 2017, 09:01

In a personal blog post, Chelsea Manning Support Network co-founder Rainey Reitman shares her reactions and thoughts on the news that Chelsea will be released from prison in 3 months and 29 days.
Looking Back on 6 Years of Fighting for Chelsea Manning
Rainey Reitman. January 18, 2017
President Obama announced that he would commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence today. Instead of spending another 28 brutal years in a military prison for men, she’ll walk free in just a few months.
Chelsea inspired me, and her actions forever changed my life. I remember watching the Apache helicopter video of American soldiers gunning down unarmed people in Iraq, including a Reuters journalist and two children. It fundamentally changed how I saw America’s overseas wars.
I believed strongly that this video belonged in the public. People who elect our government had a right to see what was being done in our name. They had a right to decide for themselves if they agreed with our foreign policies. The day it was published by Wikileaks, I sent it to pretty much everyone I knew.
In late May 2010, Manning was detained. Sometime around June 10th or 11th, word leaked out to the press that an Army analyst named “Bradley Manning” was being charged with leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. On June 11th, an anarchist in Bratislava named Mike Gogulski put up a blog post on BradleyManning.org—a domain he had just registered—linking to the Apache helicopter video. On June 13th, he put out a blog post asking for volunteers.
He said he needed writers:
“We need people writing on-topic, current material on an ongoing basis. Articles could be published here either under your name or pseudonymously, and material already published elsewhere is welcome.”
I decided to send an email.
At the time, just sending that first email seemed scary. Manning was being labeled a traitor, and I was living in the military-heavy town of San Diego and thinking I might one day apply for a job at the Federal Trade Commission. I thought getting involved with Manning’s campaign might land me on some government watch list, or hurt future career opportunities.
Instead, I was swept up, and the campaign we built together over the coming weeks, months, and years took over my life…
Read more at: https://raineyreitman.com/2017/01/18/looking-back-on-6-years-of-fighting-for-chelsea-manning/

Coverage of today’s fantastic news of Chelsea’s pending freedom
Jan 18th 2017, 04:11

A lot of folks will be writing a lot of good stuff in the coming days about our historic and amazing victory today. Here are a few already:

On Chelsea Manning’s freedom, Kevin Gosztola for ShadowProof. January 17, 2017
Chelsea Manning to Be Released Early as Obama Commutes Sentence, Charlie Savage for the New York Times. January 17, 2017
President Obama Commutes Prison Sentence For Chelsea Manning, Alex Emmons for the Intercept. January 17, 2017
Obama commutes Chelsea Manning sentence, BBC News. January 17, 2017

>From the Washington Post, Along with Chelsea Manning, here are the other people who received pardons and commutations from Obama:
President Obama granted commutations to 209 people and pardoned 64 others Tuesday. Among them was Chelsea Manning, a U.S. soldier who was convicted of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks.
Here is the full description of her offense from the White House:
• Chelsea Elizabeth Manning — Oklahoma City
Offense: One specification of wrongful and wanton publication to the Internet intelligence belonging to the United States; five specifications of stealing, purloining or knowingly converting U.S. government records; six specifications of willful communication of information relating to the national defense; one specification of willful communication of information in unlawful possession; one specification of willful communication of information relating to the national defense by exceeding authorized access to a U.S. government computer; one specification of willful communication of information relating to the national defense obtained by accessing a U.S. government computer; five specifications of failure to obey order or regulation; U.S. Army Court Martial
Sentence: 35 years’ imprisonment (Aug. 21, 2013)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on May 17, 2017.

President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning’s Sentence
Jan 17th 2017, 23:38

Chelsea Manning Support Network

January 17, 2017
President Obama has commuted all but four months of the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former US Army Intelligence Analyst serving 35-years for releasing classified information. Chelsea’s attorney Nancy Hollander, who spoke with President Obama’s counsel earlier today, confirms that “Chelsea will walk out of Fort Leavenworth a free woman in four months, on May 17th.”
The Chelsea Manning Support Network applauds this decision by outgoing President Barack Obama, and extends our heartfelt gratitude. A commutation can not be reversed by a future president.
“Today’s fantastic news goes a long way to making amends for the brutal treatment Chelsea was illegally subjected to while awaiting trial at the Quantico Marine Brig. It’s tragic that Chelsea had to spend 7-years imprisoned for releasing documents that should never have been classified in the first place, and were clearly in the public interest,” stated Chelsea Manning Support Network co-founder Jeff Paterson. “All of us who worked on Chelsea’s behalf are overjoyed.”
The Chelsea Manning Support Network was founded in the weeks following Chelsea’s arrest in Iraq in May 2010. The Network covered 100% of the legal fees associated with her pretrial hearing, court martial trial, and raised a significant amount toward the legal costs of her appeal. Many days during her trial, the courtroom was packed with supporters wearing “truth” shirts.
“Over the last few years, I’ve come to know Chelsea as a deeply intelligent, sensitive woman who doesn’t deserve to spend decades in prison. I often feared that any more time behind bars would be devastating for Chelsea, or potentially even lethal, especially with President-Elect Trump taking office. Soon, she’ll have a chance to live the life she’s been denied for almost seven years,” Rainey Reitman, co-founder of the Chelsea Manning Support Network.
Daniel Ellsberg marches for Chelsea Manning, SF Pride Parade 2016
In addition to fundraising, the organization worked to raise awareness of Chelsea’s case. The Support Network held hundreds of rallies around the world, from San Francisco and London. Chelsea’s supporters became regular participants in yearly pride parades the last several years. In addition, the Support Network placed billboards in Los Angeles and Kansas City, ran a full-page New York Times ad, and helped generate over one million petition signatures in support of Chelsea’s release.
“In conversations Chelsea and I had while she was imprisoned, I learned that she’s not only driven by principles, but that she believes in the foundations of America’s government. She dreamed about attending graduate school, and helping to research ways that government could use technology to improve transparency and public participation. Whatever she chooses to do now, the world is better for having a bright young person free to pursue a meaningful life,” noted former campaign manager Emma Cape.
 “I believe that the support for Chelsea demonstrated that whistleblowers who oppose injustice will not face powerful government retribution alone,” declared Rainey Reitman. “Today’s victory is a victory for all those who stood with Chelsea Manning.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Excellent news from Washington DC

I heard this excellent news early in the evening (UK time) on 17 January 2017. This news featured prominently in the BBC World Service and also in BBC Radio 4 programmes that evening and this morning (18 Jan). This is interesting because the BBC has largely ignored the Chelsea Manning story for the last seven years. I wonder if that is also the case in your country, wherever you are.
Friend, I’m crying tears of joy while I write this

The White House just announced that the bulk of imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea 
Manning’s sentence will be commuted. [1]

*Chelsea will be free on May 17th. We literally saved her life.*

The announcement comes after years of sustained activism on Chelsea’s behalf, 
and it marks a massive victory for free speech, human rights, and democracy.

A year ago, heck even two weeks ago, any DC insider would have told you that 
getting Chelsea released was impossible -- that it would never happen.

But time and time again we are proving that when huge numbers of people come 
together and use the Internet to fight for what we believe in, we can change the 
rules for what is and isn’t possible in Washington, DC and beyond.

Chelsea’s release sends a message to governments around the world that they 
cannot act with impunity. It sets a precedent that will benefit so many people. 
Not just future whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing but all those who suffer 
when governments are allowed to act without transparency.

There were a lot of different factors that went into making this historic moment 
possible. Fight for the Future has been at the forefront, helping build public 
support for Chelsea’s release, collecting hundreds of thousands of petition 
signatures, and securing headlines to keep Chelsea in the public eye, even while 
behind bars. [2]

For myself, I’ve been so lucky to become friends with Chelsea over the last 
year, speaking to her on the phone regularly. But I’ve still never seen her 
face, or been able to give her a hug.

Today, I’m overjoyed to know that soon she’ll be able to share her beautiful 
self with the world, and continue on with the rest of her life.

We need to make sure that the story of how Chelsea Manning came to be free is told.

We need everyone to remember that when those in power tell you that something is 
impossible, it just means you need to fight harder.

We need to remain vigilant. Because the battle for the future of free speech and 
our basic rights doesn’t end today. Or tomorrow. Or in four years.

It rages on. And I’m honored to fight by your side.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hope for Chelsea Manning

This email I received very recently may inspire hope in readers of this blog.


President Obama could make a decision as early as TODAY.

The Today Show is reporting that Chelsea Manning, who has served 7 years of a 35 
year sentence, is on President Obama’s “short list” to be considered for 
commutation. [1]

This is huge. Chelsea has suffered so much and now we have a real chance to get 
her released. President Obama could make a decision as early as TODAY. We need 
to flood the White House with voices calling for Chelsea’s freedom right now.

*Will you share this graphic and get all your friends to call?***


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