Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RAVES!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 18/01/17

Free At Last! (Or, At Least, On 17 May)

So you finally managed to do The Thing That Is Right, eh, Barry?

Credit where credit is due, you did actually get around to going some way down the road to correcting one of the most egregious injustices committed by your government in the last eight years, even if you then qualified it by delaying Chelsea Manning's release for a further four months, thereby once again confirming that you have been the Espresso President (i.e., a thick layer of froth and hot air on the surface, concealing an unsatisfying pool of dark brown bitterness beneath).

While you're at it, how about one of them there Presidential Pardons for John Kiriacou, forced to spend two years in a federal pen for revealing your state's active involvement in torture (whereas the torturers themselves skated free, natch)?

How about stopping your vindictive pursuit of other whistleblowers on the deep-seated criminality of your country's govermental machine, such as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden?

How about a Presidential Apology to the family of Aaron Swarz, hounded to his death by your federal prosecutors pressing ramped-up charges which would have likely put him in prison for a decade or more, all egged on by your Department of Injustice?

And how about another apology for the fact that your régime went after more whistleblowers with more viciously extreme charges and counts than all previous presidencies combined?

I won't hold my breath of course, and I'd feel a little less annoyed if I didn't suspect that - had your resident succubus won the election last year - you wouldn't have dared to release Chelsea Manning, and instead have done it largely to piss off President-elect Fart-Euphemism and his followers (in which you have succeeded, let it be noted, judging by the brimming and frothing we've seen today from Senators McCain and Cotton and Congressman Ryan).

Still and all, at least Chelsea Manning will be a free woman soon, as not even Tribblehead can overturn the decision; although a lot can happen in a military brig in four months, and some of the über-'patriots' of the Untied Stoats will be - perhaps literally - gunning for her when she gets out. On top of which, depending on where she goes to live on her release, she may not even be able to exercise her right to vote. I can't help thinking that - if the terms of her release permit it - she should get the hell out of that country and find somewhere civilised to reside. If my own country (the homeland of Chelsea's mother, let it be remembered) were free instead of being ruled over by a bunch of Yank-fellating hypocrites, then I would agitate for her to come here where there would be a decent chance of her being treated with humanity and honour.

Wherever she may choose to go, Chelsea Manning has played an important rôle in revealing that the world's latest emperor is showing his ring-piece (see David Rovics' song for the reference), and she can live as she sees fit with a clear conscience. Oh, and we might finally get some less unflattering photographs of her.

To those of us who gave whatever support or encouragement we could during her confinement and mistreatment, we too can go on with our lives knowing that we have done the right thing, and to take satisfaction in the knowledge that so-called 'ordinary people' can change things for the better, even in the face of general public indifference, the distortions of the media and the froth-lipped fulminations of politicians, generals and spooks.

But - as with that public service film that used to air on television here in the seventies about how a family deals with a burst pipe in their house - "What a pity it had to happen in the first place".