New Year’s Resolution:
Resist U.S. War Crimes!
The Nuremberg Tribunal of 1945-46 which passed judgment on Nazi war criminals declared that soldiers and citizens have a duty to resist the crimes of their government. The Tribunal said following orders is no excuse.
One of the most well known U.S. war crimes of the Vietnam war was the My Lai massacre on March 16, 1968 where over 500 unarmed civilians, a majority of whom were women, children (including babies) and elderly people, were slaughtered by U.S. troops at the village of My Lai under orders from Lt. William Calley, Captain Ernest Medina, and other high ranking officers.
Hugh Thompson, a Warrant Officer helicopter pilot, put his helicopter down between U.S. troops and fleeing Vietnamese civilians. Through a bull horn, he boldly said, “You would not shoot at a US helicopter, would you?” Thompson risked his life and reputation by ordering a higher ranking officer to stop the killing of civilians at My Lai. For his bravery, Thompson remained under a military cloud for over thirty years. He could have been convicted of treason and not respecting a senior officer. However, justice ultimately prevailed. Thompson and his two helicopter crew members were eventually given high honors by the Pentagon. Calley, the only person convicted of murder in the massacre, served four and one-half months in prison.
Today, as we start the New Year of 2011, PFC Bradley Manning sits in a solitary confinement U.S. Marine Corps prison cell in Quantico, Virginia. He has been in custody 5 months and faces a possible life sentence. He is enduring conditions that are cruel, inhumane, and bordering on torture. He has not been convicted of any crime, but is alleged to have released audio/video footage to Julian Assange of WIKILEAKS of a US helicopter attack killing innocent civilians, including two Reuters journalists, in Iraq.
The killing of innocent civilians (in Nazi Germany, Vietnam, Iraq, or anywhere) is a war crime. It appears that Bradley Manning had no power to stop the killing shown in the released video, but by exposing that war crime, perhaps he believed that people would be held accountable and other innocent civilian lives could be saved.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice formally decided it would not prosecute the government officials who destroyed dozens of video tapes of water-boarding and torture by US officials. So, the destruction of evidence of war crimes is OK but revealing the evidence of war crimes is not? Perhaps we need a Nuremberg reminder: Committing war crimes is the crime. Exposing war crimes and trying to stop war crimes is a soldier’s and citizen’s high moral and legal duty. Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are true modern day heroes! Urge the military to stop its “inhumane” treatment of Bradley Manning. You can add your name at http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/bradleymanning. Also see http://www.standwithbrad.org
Defend Wikileaks and Julian Assange!
Support Bradley Manning!
1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties. 4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, etc. 5. Seek peace through justice in Hawai`i and around the world.
Contact: Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box AB Kurtistown, Hawai`i 96760.
Phone (808) 966-7622. Email firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.malu-aina.org
Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet (Dec. 31, 2010 – 485th week) – Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office