War and Peace

On late Friday afternoon, August 30th, peace and justice activists held an anti-war demonstration. Their message was clear and cogent: “No U.S. war with Syria!” The rally took place at Centre and North Charles Streets at the base of the Washington Monument, in the historic Mt. Vernon District. The activists insisted there was no clear evidence that Syria had perpetrated any “chemical attack” on its own people.

Sketch of Chelsea Manning's trial. (Drawing by Clark Stoeckley)

“I want people to see the truth … regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” – Chelsea Manning weeks after she leaked the “Collateral Murder” video and just days before military police arrived to arrest her on May 29, 2010.

On Wednesday afternoon, August 21, 2013, Pfc. Bradley Manning’s attorney David Coombs held a press conference at a hotel in Hanover, MD. It is located just minutes from Fort Meade, where his client the Wikileaks whistle-blower had earlier received a 35-year prison sentence from the trial judge, Col. Denise Lind.

Supporters at Bradley Manning trial. (Photo by: Casey McKeel)

In July, Pfc Bradley Manning, the US soldier responsible for leaking thousands of US Army reports and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, was convicted of 20 offenses. Though not convicted of the most serious of charges, that of Aiding the Enemy, he currently faces a 90 year maximum sentence.

Source: Oxfam 2013, all figures in US$. See: "Remittances: how much Britain sends, and where the cash goes – get the data" in the Guardian (Aug 9, 2013)

The continued functioning of the remittance pipeline is “essential for Somalia's immediate survival and long-term development,” concludes a new Oxfam report, which emphasizes the “crucial role” of Somali-Americans and the money-transfer institutions they rely on to send life-saving funds back home. Despite its importance, “the Somalia remittance pipeline is under serious threat,” the report warns. Its precarious state is a result of a Washington-led effort to prevent Somalis in the diaspora from providing aid to their home country, one of the lesser-known developments that have come out of the “war on terror.”


An anonymized speaker in Dirty Wars, the new documentary from investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill and filmmaker Rick Rowley, describes the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) – an elite unit spanning all four branches of the US military -- as something of an extraordinarily effective hammer, for which he foresees a process of continually seeking out “nails”. Afghanistan. Yemen. Pakistan. Somalia. Indonesia. Thailand. And so on.

The Charles Theatre, in Baltimore, is presenting the film, “Dirty Wars.” It features investigative journalist, Jeremy Scahill, and it deals with how America conducts its many and far-flung “covert wars.” On Friday night, July 26th, peace activist and author, David Swanson, shared his views on the film with me. Later, he also led a discussion with the audience about the documentary.

PFC Bradley Manning. (Source: Getty Images)

Bradley Manning's court martial for the Wikileaks leak of military and diplomatic documents is taking place at Fort Meade, only about 30 miles from where I live in Baltimore. The trial is open to the public, and I've attended the trial on two and a half days over the past several weeks, including for the prosecution's closing arguments on Thursday, July 25. I wanted to observe what I think is a historic event in person, and also to show support for Manning, whom I consider a hero.

On April 6, 2013, investigative journalist and historian, Nick Turse, spoke about his new book, "Kill Anything That Moves," at the Third National Conference of Historians Against the War called "The New Faces of War," which was held at Towson University. The panelists who responded to Nick Turse's talk were Carolyn Eisenberg, a history professor at Hofstra University, and John Prados, the George Washington University National Security Archives Senior Fellow. This video was produced by Indyreader's regular contributor, Richard Concepcion.

On July 11, 2013, CODEPINK activists and  allies demonstrate in front of U.S. Department of Justice, demanding an end to U.S. global surveillance and the hunt for Edward Snowden. Photo by Bill Hughes.

On Thursday afternoon, July 11, 2013, CODEPINK activists and their human rights allies staged a lively demonstration in front of the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C. They were there to protest the Justice Department’s “relentless campaign to hunt down and block whistleblower Edward Snowden’s attempt to seek [political] asylum.” They also repeated their demand that the Justice Department “stop the NSA from its [unlawful] surveillance of Americans and foreigners.”


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