11. It's the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.It is reasonable and appropriate to harbor feelings of gratitude toward those who participate in the defense of our nation and communities, but I am driven to disagree with the assertion that persons who have participated in defending the national interests have "given" us such liberties that the government deigns to refrain from denying us. Indeed, the liberties that we yet retain are inexorably diminishing as I type this essay and one need only consider the many thousands of pages in the Federal Register to understand the magnitude of the loss.
It's the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.
It's the Veteran, not the community organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.
It's the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Military conscription in the US ended most recently in 1973 and for that reason one must more or less volunteer (hopefully based on informed choice) to subject ones self to the body of laws consisting of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) governing members of the military. These laws, in the interest of discipline, differ in some procedural respects from civilian legal usages.
Having noted the distinctions between the two justice systems, one is forced to be curious as to precisely what rights are forfeited by members of the military. Let us consider the provision in the VI th Amendment to the Constitution requiring a "speedy...trial": An army private first class, one Bradley Manning "was arrested on July 29 ... for allegedly downloading... classified material while serving on an Army base outside Baghdad." It is duly noted that UCMJ does not provide for bail pending court martial proceedings, however the conditions under which Manning has been detained would seem to argue against a prolonged delay based on humanitarian considerations.
"At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up (on weekends, he is allowed to sleep until 7:00 a.m.). Under the rules for the confinement facility, he is not allowed to sleep at anytime between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. If he attempts to sleep during those hours, he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards...PFC Manning is held in his cell for approximately 23 hours a day...The guards are required to check on PFC Manning every five minutes [day and night] by asking him if he is okay. PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner. At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay...He is not allowed to have a pillow or sheets. However, he is given access to two blankets and has recently been given a new mattress that has a built-in pillow...He is not allowed to have any personal items in his cell...He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop...He does receive one hour of “exercise” outside of his cell daily. He is taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk. PFC Manning normally just walks figure eights in the room for the entire hour. If he indicates that he no long[er] feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell...When PFC Manning goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his boxer shorts and surrender his clothing to the guards. His clothing is returned to him the next morning."According to a computer researcher who has bi monthly contact with Manning:..."he is starting to deteriorate. Over the last few weeks I have noticed a steady decline in his mental and physical wellbeing," he said. His prolonged confinement in a solitary holding cell is unquestionably taking its toll on his intellect; his inability to exercise due to [prison] regulations has affected his physical appearance in a manner that suggests physical weakness."
May I remind you dear reader that this individual, a citizen of these United States has not been convicted as yet of any crime. The reasons offered by our government for confining PFC Manning under these conditions are due to his being held on "Prevention of Injury (POI) watch". Is it any coincidence that we learn: " Justice Department officials are said to be looking for evidence of collusion between him and Assange to build a case against the 39-year-old WikiLeaks founder...and that the U.S. had offered Manning a plea bargain in exchange for his naming Assange as his co-conspirator"? But then we all know that our "federal rulers" would never suborn perjury; especially in order to obtain a conviction against one who has seriously embarrassed them (wink wink nudge nudge).
cross posted at: Eternity Road