Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. As Manning prepares to spend the next several years of life behind bars, the whistleblower's conviction and sentencing raise an important question. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking stories about other people’s crimes. Many of those crimes are as serious, if not more serious, than those committed by Manning. So, where are the punishments for the people behind the crimes revealed by Manning? Where are the punishments for John Yoo and Jay Bybee, two of the men behind the infamous Torture Memos, prepared in August 2002 and March 2003 by the Department of Justice. Those memos authorized the Bush Administration to use certain “enhanced interrogation techniques,” otherwise known as torture. Yoo wrote the March 2003 memo, which argued that federal laws on the use of torture did not apply to American interrogators overseas. Bybee was Yoo’s boss, and it was Bybee who authored the earlier August 2002 memo. These memos led the way for the widespread abuse of detainees that took place at Abu Ghraib prison from late 2003, to early 2004. Detainees at Abu Ghraib were physically and sexually abused, raped, sodomized, water-boarded and in many cases - killed. Yet, despite these atrocities, Yoo and Bybee have yet to face any punishment for their deplorable actions. Like Yoo and Bybee, the military commanders who ordered an attack in Baghdad on July 12th, 2007, that killed scores of innocent civilians and two Reuters journalists, have also avoided any type of punishment for their actions. Manning’s leaks revealed that U.S. military officials deliberately withheld information about these killings, and it was video footage of the attack that ignited the firestorm over WikiLeaks - and started our government’s efforts to hunt down the whistleblower. Finally, where are the punishments for the Bush administration members who led us into one of the bloodiest wars in history under false pretenses and rigged intelligence? Why aren’t the war criminals George W. Bush and Dick Cheney behind bars for killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, authorizing the torture of prisoners of war, and for taking the lives of thousands of American soldiers? How are Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld still enjoying freedom after they lied to promote the Iraq War? And then there’s Colin Powell, whose name largely floats under the radar in discussions about the failures of the Iraq War. Powell stood up in front of the United Nations on February 5th, 2003 and told lie after lie to world leaders. We know today that Powell fabricated evidence, and ignored warnings that what he was saying was completely false. All these real war criminals walk free, yet the very person who blew the whistle on their crimes may spend the next 35 years in prison.
In screwed news... In a speech in Montana on Monday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia railed against diversity in America. He said that, "It’s not up to the courts to invent new minorities that get special protections." S calia went on to argue that the Supreme Court is taking up matters that should be left up to voters or Congress. So - do you think Scalia is right? Do the courts "invent" minorities - or do they actually exist? If minorities in America are going to be discriminated against - shouldn't they be allowed to take legal action to stop that discrimination?
In the best of the rest of the news...
Senior Obama administration officials said yesterday that the National Security Agency began improperly collecting Americans' electronic communications that had no connection to terrorism back in 2008, but the government didn't learn of the problem until 2011. According to NSA estimates - that agency may have been collecting as many as 56,000 “wholly domestic” communications per year. The NSA revealed the improper collection of emails to the FISA court in 2011 - which promptly demanded a halt to the snooping. It's likely that more details of this story will be released as it unfolds... stay tuned.
Today, Army Private Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning came out as a transgender. She is asking everyone, including the press to refer to her as female. She said, "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back." There were many immediate attacks by the conservative press including this one from Laura Ingraham - Laura Ingraham tweeted "So Manning wants to live as a woman. Let me guess, we have to pay for it.” Yes - Laura - we do have to pay for it - if there is healthcare involved - when someone is in jail. Chelsea Manning should receive humane treatment during her incarceration.And finally... Norris, a longhaired kitty of Bristol, Eng., has committed purr-fect crimes. Norris has kleptomania and his owners have written many apologies to their neighbors. Lately he's been dragging home towels, dish cloths, baby clothes and even bras. Norris' owner recently said "So far we have been able to reunite a number of items -- including a towel set, some oven gloves, a bath mat, some baby clothes and some running gear -- with their owners." They have yet to find and return the bras….
And that’s the way it is today – Thursday, August 22, 2013. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.