Simon Smyth protests the vindictive treatment of Chelsea Manning, imprisoned for exposing US human rights abuses. Simon Smyth is a book devotee.
The U.S. military justice system is using legal measures to unfairly punish Chelsea Manning. Is solitary confinement an appropriate or proportionate response to these breaches of prison rules? I see the American authorities' vindictiveness against their least favourite 'criminals' parallels their partisan stance when it comes to International War Crimes. Some people/states are singled out for detrimental / preferential treatment.
The black community is also on the wrong end of the U.S. justice system. They are more likely to be arrested, charged, sentenced and receive heavier sentences than white people. They are also more likely to be on Death Row. Obviously the black community is more disadvantaged on a socio-economic level but to say that this is reason for the disparity doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The justice system on street level is also skewed to the extent that questions are being asked do Black Lives Matter? Obviously they do not matter to some.
The Rule of Law is being violated. It always has been but now we see it being devalued in more subtle ways. The U.S. authorities changed the entire definition of WMD or Weapons of Mass Destruction to refer to a gas canister bomb. Just so the Boston bomber, despicable though he is, can be sentenced to death. If it was an ordinary bomb the federal authorities couldn't have done that since the crime was in Boston.
So, Tony Blair and Bush were right. Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction. He certainly had more devastating weapons than a gas canister bomb. Were all critics of the premise for starting the second Iraq war wrong? History may look at it that way now we have a new definition.
It devalues the entire concept of WMD previously being nuclear, chemical or biological to the new more mundane definition. Surely the legal concept regarding the severity, significance and weight of using a WMD is now compromised. Justice in the future is also compromised. Not just in extending the severity of a normal bomb but reducing that of the real WMDs.
Chelsea Manning is facing the same skewed corrupted version of justice. The old adage about the punishment fitting the crime is out the window. Discretion in decision-making is being used in a vindictive rather than humane way. My bet is this definitional bastardisation will be a legal technique used more and more in the future. Now it is happening on a national level and not just in international law.