Tag Archives: human rights

Who’s The Real Bradley Manning?

1 Dec

Prosecution's Pink Noose (AP)Government prosecutor, Major Ashden Fein, took the offensive in the Bradley Manning court-martial pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade with a dramatic illustration of the whistle-blower’s alleged suicidal temperament.

The military court hearing the court martial of the WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning was on Friday shown a noose that the soldier made from a sheet in his cell just days after his arrest for having allegedly committed the largest leak of state secrets in US history.

The knotted pink sheet, which was held aloft by the chief prosecution lawyer, Major Ashden Fein, dramatically illustrated the suicidal state that Manning was in when he was brought to Kuwait immediately after his arrest at an operating base outside Baghdad in May 2010. The prosecutor also produced a second noose made from sandbag ties and two metal objects that he suggested Manning may have intended to use to harm himself, though the soldier said he did not recollect those items.

The prosecution also sought to discredit Manning as a publicity seeker.

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Obama’s ‘Premature’ Leap To Myanmar

20 Nov

U.S. President, Barack H. Obama, made an historic first official state visit to Myanmar, and the media is framing a spectacle.

Outside, the streets were blocked and hard-faced policemen kept order with the brisk and bored efficiency that comes from long practice. Inside, grey-haired opposition politicians joked, students photographed one another and representatives of Burma’s scores of ethnic minorities in traditional woven caps waved excitedly.

Then the wait was over and the president of the United States of America stepped out on to the stage of the recently refurbished Convocation Hall of the University of Rangoon, closed to undergraduates for decades by authorities who feared unrest.

“When I took office as president, I sent a message to those governments who ruled by fear: we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your first,” Barack Obama declared. “So today, I have come to keep my promise, and extend the hand of friendship.”

Only, it’s barely true. It’s not so much friendship as opportunity and greed that drives the accommodation with the Thein Sein regime, and opposes China. According to Mamta Badkar, the goals of the gambit are petroleum, jade, and teak, as well as the determination to demonstrate that the “Pivot to Asia” is not mere rhetoric.

Or, as Peter Popham, who wrote a biography of Aung San Suu Kyi, argues, friendship is “premature’.

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North Korea 101

27 Aug

Here’s an excellent introduction to North Korea from Chris Green from DailyNK and Destination Pyongyang, both excellent blogs I read regularly.

Yong Kwon (Asia Times Online) and Chris Green (Daily NK, SinoNK, Destination Pyongyang)

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