THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 617, May 1, 2011
"Is this the kind of future you wanted?"
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
On Tuesday of last week, Brad Spangler sent me, and several others a message indicating that Bradley Manning was to be moved to Leavenworth. We discussed what to do. It seemed that the thing to do was to start an event and begin planning it. So that's what we did. Brad Spangler immediately began the Missouri Kansas Bradley Manning Support Group on Facebook, and I immediately began the Bradley Manning Rally and Vigil event on Facebook.
Brad Spangler and I went up to Leavenworth on Saturday in order to see what we could of the situation. I reserved some meeting space at the Super 8 motel for 3 and 4 June so we would have a place to gather and do our final planning and preparations. I also made reservations at the city park where camping is permitted for some tent sites and a camper site, as we have many people coming in from all points of the compass.
Our plan currently is to return to Leavenworth this week to talk to the local authorities about issues such as parade permits, meeting permits, and the like. Naturally, we would like to be as cooperative and friendly, in the spirit of neighbours, as possible.
No doubt if the authorities determine that we are not to be allowed to peaceably assemble, speak, petition the government for redress of our grievances, or otherwise engage in our individual liberties, we'll take that up as soon as we find out. It would be very surprising to me to learn that there are to be roadblocks.
We currently plan to meet in the vicinity of 1300 Metropolitan Avenue in Leavenworth to show our signs and say our words. I believe that intersection involves the K7 highway, 13th street, and has extensive sidewalks and travel easements. It would very much surprise me if there were no place where free people were allowed to assemble, walk, and talk.
We have invited a number of people to speak, including members of Congress Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. We have sent word through our contact network to Daniel Ellsberg and other prominent persons interested in Bradley Manning's case. I do not currently have a final listing of speakerswe have a bit of time.
Earlier protests, including a very recent one at Quantico, have been responded to by the police and military with violence. You can google for yourself to find video of March 2011 of Daniel Ellsberg and others being beaten by police thugs. I am dismayed that the rule of law in your country has deteriorated so far.
Innocent until proven guilty
Yet the president of the United States has the temerity to declare that "He broke the law." Well, Mr. President, prove it. If the prosecutors for the government have evidence of criminal wrongdoing, they should present that evidence in a court of competent jurisdiction, such as a military court martial. Until the judiciary makes a finding, the president is wronghe did not break the law, he is alleged to have broken the law, and he is innocent until he is proven guilty. I think the president should apologise to the American people and to the people of the world for this egregious violation of our traditions of justice, as well as for years of mass murder, torture, and vandalism all over the world.
Personally, I believe that Bradley Manning is a whistleblower who sought to expose corruption and criminal activity within the United States government and that his concerns should have been investigated in a prompt and transparent fashion, as public as possible. I am one of those people who believe that freedom is best served by an informed public able to judge for themselves the information about their government. I find it amusing that at one point during his campaign for president, Mr. Obama asserted that he wanted to make the government more open and transparent. It seems that Obama lied, and many, many people around the world have died, at the hands of his military.
I do not believe in arbitrary government as a way of living in peace. An arbitrary government, or as some style it, tyranny, does not abide by the long-established traditions of civil rights and due process. I believe we fought, as a species, a long time against the arbitrary governments of the past. I'm reminded of men bleeding the ground red at Runnymede in AD 1215 to force King John to sign the Magna Carta which provides for liberty by law.
I'm reminded of the wars between the Parliamentarians and the monarchists in England which led in 1649 to king Charles the first being brought to the Banqueting House to have a meeting with a swordsman. Charles the first was executed for his repeated refusal to uphold the rule of law and work within the limits set forth in Magna Carta.
I'm reminded of the strong words in the American Declaration of Independence which say that a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing the design of reducing a people under the iron boot of tyranny should not be allowed to persist, but should be met by the duty of throwing down such government and providing for other safeguards for individual freedom. I believe it is true that President Obama, in his actions authorising the execution of American citizens without trial, detaining American citizens without charges, and torturing prisoners to death, "has abdicated government here, placed us outside his protection, and makes war upon us."
You may be aware that there were people involved in fighting the American civil war who thought to limit the power of the national government. You may be aware of soldiers returning to Athens, Tennessee after World War Two fighting against an oppressive government. You may be aware of civil rights leaders fighting for individual liberty, leading protests on the streets of American cities in the 1960s. You may be aware of women protesting for the right to vote and for equal rights under the law in the 1920s and 1970s.
So, my purpose in pointing to these historical events is to make you aware of a long tradition in Western civilisation of demanding that those in power serve the interests of the people generally, or be made to leave power. Whether people leave power due to an election bringing in a different set of rascals, or whether they resign in shame, as we made Nixon do some years back, or whether some other change takes place, the struggle for individual liberty continues. It continues to be the case that people must stand up against tyranny and oppression.
For Bradley Manning is every man, every woman, and every child who yearns to be free. How the rights of the accused are respected in his case is how they will be respected in every case. And if you can find the constitutional authority for the president to authorise the execution of Americans without trial, without any due process of law, then perhaps you would be good enough to send me a citation. I have not seen it.
It is an interesting footnote to Bradley Manning's case that his defence team had put together a habeas corpus petition noting that because of his pre-trial punishment, under the rules of law in your country, Manning should be released. Your government has been misbehaving and you should be wary of it.