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Manning Up

December 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

The Just Actions of a ‘Fan of Sunshine’

by Randall Amster

Whatever one’s views about his alleged actions, you would need a pretty hard shell not to be moved by the case of Bradley Manning. Hero to some, traitor to others, this diminutive soldier has endured an unprecedented level of mistreatment, languishing in a largely incommunicado pretrial state for more than two years and facing repeated episodes of humiliation and degradation. Compounding this case is Manning’s status as a gay solider, for which he had experienced repercussions well before gaining international notoriety as a purported Wikileaks source for some of the whistleblowing site’s most damning allegations about governmental and military machinations around the world.

Being accused of revealing the “emperor’s new clothes” is likely to land one in hot water, but Manning’s treatment has crossed all bounds of fairness, decency, and legality. Having one’s life stripped down (literally) to its most basic functions, being confined in a space barely the size of a standard bathroom, having to formally ask even for toilet paper while standing at attention, and getting access to the outdoors for only 20 minutes per day is the sort of thing that could drive anyone mad. (more…)

The (Un)Realists

June 13, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

‘Protecting’ Us from a More Just and Humane World

by Robert C. Koehler

St. Augustine blesses the kill list. And liberalism is just a nicer, slicker, more PR-savvy way of carrying on the brutal work of empire.

Behold President Obama, on the second day of his presidency, flanked by retired generals and admirals, signing an executive order to ban torture and declaring that the prison at Guantanamo Bay would soon be closed — fulfilling, in other words, some serious campaign promises.

“What the new president did not say,” a recent New York Times story explains, in gleeful servitude to the ironies of military-industrialism, “was that the orders contained a few subtle loopholes.” (more…)

Hard to Describe

January 17, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Family, Politics

The Freedom Theatre Honors Political Prisoners with Live Performance

by Christine Baniewicz

The house lights dim around me and I settle into my seat. The theater hushes. Two pools of white light flood onto the stage and the performance begins.

It’s Wednesday in Jenin and The Freedom Theater is packed. Journalists, international peace workers and locals from the refugee camp fill the wooden benches. Today’s Playback Theatre performance, Midnight Raid, is the second in a series of creative responses to the Israeli military’s recent incursions and arrests in the camp.

“Thank you again for joining us,” says Ben. He stands onstage before a line of actors, aged 19 to 25. They are dressed in black. “Today we will honor your stories.” (more…)

Let’s Watch

January 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Politics

Telling Stories Through the Healing Medium of Theatre

by Christine Baniewicz

Khaleena enshouf!” Faisal calls. The crowd settles. Let’s watch!

I’m sitting in Jenin refugee camp, surrounded by Palestinians — men, women, children and adults. We are crowded together on blue mats, carried over from The Freedom Theatre down the street. It’s three in the afternoon. I bat a fly from my face and lean forward to watch the enactment.

To my left, a staff member snaps photos. Mustafa lies in the rubble, stretched out across the uneven ground and squinting down the barrel of a video camera. He aims it at the actors, who stand in silence before us. (more…)

Reckoning with Torture

July 14, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Politics

Insisting on Responsibility and Justice

by Diane Lefer

Stephen F. Rohde, Chair of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, holds the distinction of having confronted John Yoo twice. As you’ll recall, Yoo was one of the torture apologists in the Bush administration who came up with tortured legal reasoning to justify the president’s violation of federal and international law. He became notorious for asserting that if the president felt it necessary, he could order a child’s testicles crushed in order to get the father to talk. The first time Rohde confronted him, giving Yoo the opportunity to amend his statement, the former Office of Legal Counsel mouthpiece still insisted torture was OK, as long as “limited to what is necessary.” (more…)

End the War Without End

May 04, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

Reality Isn’t a Movie, and Killing Doesn’t Bring Peace

by David Swanson

I’m going to give this speech tonight to a crowd of drunk young people. If I’m not back by morning, ask around if there have been any “Islamic burials.”

About 10 years ago a bunch of psychotic killers crashed planes into buildings. A tall skinny guy who took credit said he was protesting the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia and US support for Israel’s war on Palestinians. That wasn’t exactly going to hold up in a court of law as a justification for mass-murder. But the U.S. government had already, before 9-11, turned down offers from the Taliban to put bin Laden on trial in a third country, and it turned those offers down again. (more…)


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