I just got an e-mail from Amnesty International, and I’m copying it here:
It is with a very heavy heart and a deep sense of outrage that I let you know that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to deny clemency to Troy Davis.
This means that very little is standing in the way of the state of Georgia executing a potentially innocent man this Wednesday, September 21 st at 7pm.
The actions of the Board are astounding in the face of so much doubt in the case against Troy Davis. However, we are not prepared to accept the decision and let anyone with the power to stop the execution off the hook.
Join us in calling on the Board to reconsider its decision, and on the Chatham County (Savannah) District Attorney Larry Chisolm to do the right thing. They have until the final moments before Troy’s scheduled execution to put the brakes on this runaway justice system.
We have seen an unprecedented level of support from our members, coalition partners and all sorts of concerned individuals across the political spectrum.
I was blown away as I carried one of the many boxes containing your petition signatures up to the Parole Board office last Thursday. Close to a million signatures have been collected from the many organizations working with us. I looked back as we were marching down Auburn Avenue in Atlanta Friday night and I could not see an end to the crowd. About 3,500 people came out!
The movement here is very alive. It is electric. And I have no doubt that we will raise the volume together against what could be an unthinkable injustice.
Join your voices with us – we will not allow Troy Davis to be executed, not in our names! Troy Davis and his family have counted on us for many years now and we will not let them down. Please take action – human rights and a human life are on the line. Please contact Georgia’s District Attorney and urge him to stop the execution of Troy Davis.
Make the state of Georgia hear you! Tell them that executing Troy Davis will only deepen the cycle of violence and injustice.
Director, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign
Amnesty International USA
P.S. We’ll be organizing a Day of Protest today to express our outrage at the recent decision to deny Troy Davis clemency. And on Wednesday (Sept. 21), we’re calling for a Day of Vigil on Troy’s impending execution date. If you are able to organize locally for either of these events, please tell us about your plans.
Minkoff Minx is very passionate about the Troy Davis case, and has written several excellent posts about it. She’s involved in family business today, but perhaps she will still find time to comment on this terrible decision.
Davis, 42, was put on death row 20 years ago for the 1989 murder of a police officer, Mark MacPhail, in Savannah following a fight with a homeless man over a bottle of beer. Since then seven out of the nine key witnesses who implicated him have recanted their evidence, several saying they were cajoled by police into giving false eye-witness statements.
Another 10 have come forward to point the finger at a separate man present at the scene of the murder, Sylvester Coles.
Meanwhile, no forensic or DNA evidence linking Davis to the shooting has ever been found, and nor has the murder weapon.
The denial of clemency by the parole board prompted an outpouring of anger and despair from hundreds of Twitter users and several celebrity supporters of Davis’s campaign. The prisoner’s lawyer, Brian Kammer, said he was “shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice”.
Amnesty International’s US branch, that has championed the case, said: “Allowing a man to be sent to death under an enormous cloud of doubt about his guilt is an outrageous affront to justice. The case against Davis unraveled long ago.”
Remember when the U.S. was a civilized country? Or am I dreaming? Were we ever a civilized country? Are we really supposed to believe that this guy in the White House is a Democrat? This latest outrage is way beyond the pale, as far as I’m concerned:
The U.S. Army today charged Pfc. Bradley Manning with 22 additional offenses related to the release of classified documents to WikiLeaks, including “aiding the enemy,” traditionally a capital offense. But in a release announcing the new charges, the Army said it would not be recommending the death penalty.
The charges, announced after what the Army said was a seven-month investigation, also included wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet where it could be accessed by “the enemy,” theft of public records, transmitting defense information, and fraud in connection with computers. The new counts included five violations of Army regulations as well, the Army release said. During this time Manning has been held in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Base brig at Quantico, Va.
They won’t recommend the death penalty? I’m not sure why we should believe anything our government tells us anymore. And just who is this “enemy” that Manning supposedly “aided” by releasing a video of war crimes and supposedly leaking diplomatic cables? That is still a mystery, because the army won’t say.
In its Twitter feed, WikiLeaks said the charge of aiding the enemy was “a vindictive attack on Manning for exercising his right to silence. No evidence of any such thing.” It also said the charge suggested that “WikiLeaks would be defined as ‘the enemy.’ A serious abuse.”
Military officials did not respond to a question on Wednesday about who the “enemy” was. The charge sheet, however, accuses the private of giving intelligence to the enemy “through indirect means,” which could suggest that prosecutors are referring to Afghan and Iraqi insurgents rather than to WikiLeaks.
Does anyone think the Afghan and Iraqi insurgents were surprised to learn that U.S. Soldiers have killed innocent civilians in their countries? I’m not sure what they are supposed to get out of the diplomatic cables. I doubt if any of them would be surprised to learn that the Bush administration lied in order to start a war in Iraq.
The Guardian tries and fails to decipher the “aiding the enemy” charge:
The charge involves “giving intelligence to the enemy”, which is defined as “organised opposing forces in time of war but also other hostile body that our forces may be opposing such as a rebellious mob or a band of renegades”. Such an enemy could be civilian or military in nature.
The charge sheet, like the original set of accusations, contains no mention by name of the enemy to which the US military is referring.
It could be WikiLeaks itself, which the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has accused of launching an “attack on America”. Or it could be a reference to enemy forces in Afghanistan.
A report by NBC News said Pentagon officials emphasised that some WikiLeaks material contained names of informants and others working with US forces whose lives could have been put in danger.
That’s bullsh&t, IMHO. I hope they’re ready to present evidence of harm that actually took place as a result of the release of the diplomatic cables.
At FDL, Jane Hamsher has published a statement from Manning’s friend and supporter David House along with a petition to tell Robert Gates to drop the “aiding the enemy” charges. Here is House’s statement:
Through WikiLeaks we have been given direct evidence that the White House openly lies to congress and the American people in order to achieve political ends. Richard Nixon, in an attempt to stifle government transparency, once called Ellsberg “the most dangerous man in America” and accused him of “providing aid and comfort to the enemy.” Today we see the Obama administration continuing the legacy Nixon started by declaring whistleblowers as enemies of the state. It is a sad and dangerous day for transparency advocates everywhere.
President Obama should be ashamed, but I’m not sure he has the capacity for that–or to feel empathy for this young man who has already spent months in prison under conditions tantamount to torture.
Washington-area television viewers were startled last week to see three familiar senatorial faces pop up on their screens above the words WHO WILL JUDGE THE JUDGE? The follow-up question — “How many of these liberal Democrats could themselves pass ethical scrutiny?” — was hardly necessary, since the faces were those of Edward Kennedy, Joseph Biden and Alan Cranston, all scarred veterans of highly publicized scandals, from Chappaquiddick to plagiarized speeches to the Keating Five.
The ad, produced by two independent right-wing groups, was intended to bolster Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas’ confirmation chances by pointing the finger at three liberal Democrats who seemed likely to oppose him. Not coincidentally, the ad was produced by the same people who launched the 1988 Willie Horton spot….
President George H.W. Bush, his chief of staff John Sununu, and Clarence Thomas himself denounced the ads and demanded they be pulled. But the sponsors of the ads kept right on running them.
Can you guess who paid $100,000 for those ads in support of Thomas’ nomination to SCOTUS?
My partner and I were going to a social function last Saturday, leaving our sodden and flooded farm for a few hours and driving through the gloom of a raging downpour. On the corner outside our little town was the sign guy. This gentleman appears at odd intervals with a huge sign constructed of two by fours and signboard. The sign asks why the wars haven’t stopped.
The sign guy was standing there, holding up his sign from time to time, absolutely drenched. I said as we turned past, “Next time we see him we’ve got to stop.”
“So, I can find out when he’s going to be out next and go stand with him.”
“Oh, good idea!” I waved and gave a thumbs up as we passed the sign guy, and my partner honked the car horn in approval.
More people than the sign guy remember that we are still involved in two very expensive, very costly, very murderous wars. All of us here know it, and people across the country and the ‘net are starting to wake up again. Obama isn’t going to change a thing, he’s not really anti-war, and it’s time to start protesting… again.
There’s going to be an anti-war protest on Dec 16th in Lafayette park in front of the White House at 10 am. There will be military veterans and leaders of the peace movement giving speeches. I doubt the protest’ll be very big, and I don’t think it’ll get any media attention, but it’ll have happened, and, as Chris Hedges says in his Op-Ed on Truth-out this week, ‘No Act of Rebellion is Wasted‘:.
Hedges’ first paragraph got me choked up, I have to admit. He says,
I stood with hundreds of thousands of rebellious Czechoslovakians in 1989 on a cold winter night in Prague’s Wenceslas Square as the singer Marta Kubišová approached the balcony of the Melantrich building. Kubišová had been banished from the airwaves in 1968 after the Soviet invasion for her anthem of defiance, “Prayer for Marta.” Her entire catalog, including more than 200 singles, had been confiscated and destroyed by the state. She had disappeared from public view. Her voice that night suddenly flooded the square. Pressing around me were throngs of students, most of whom had not been born when she vanished. They began to sing the words of the anthem. There were tears running down their faces. It was then that I understood the power of rebellion.
He goes on to talk about the professors of languages who rebelled in 68 and who were sent to Bohemia to work on the road crews laying tar and grading road beds.
And as they worked they dedicated each day to one of the languages in which they all were fluent – Latin, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish or German. They argued and fought over their interpretations of Homer, Virgil, Dante, Goethe, Proust and Cervantes. They remained intellectually and morally alive.
For a history, language and archaeology geek like me, these words are above inspiring. But go read the rest of the article, and get ready to protest even in the smallest of ways. Because that is what has to happen.
For more information on the December 16th protest, see the website www.stopthesewars.org. I will try to find something local going on that day or at least send a few dollars their way. Maybe the sign guy will be out and I can join him.