Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
HOW DID ABORTION RIGHTS COME TO THIS?  — Carol Hanisch charts how the right to an abortion began to erode shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision; Uber vs. the Cabbies: Ben Terrall reports on the threats posed by private car services; Remembering August 1914: Binoy Kampmark on the enduring legacy of World War I; Medical Marijuana: a Personal Odyssey: Doug Valentine goes in search of medicinal pot and a good vaporizer; Nostalgia for Socialism: Lee Ballinger surveys the longing in eastern Europe for the material guarantees of socialism. PLUS: Paul Krassner on his Six Dumbest Decisions; Kristin Kolb on the Cancer Ward; Jeffrey St. Clair on the Making of the First Un-War; Chris Floyd on the Children of Lies and Mike Whitney on why the war on ISIS is really a war on Syria.
A Letter to Obama on the Manning Show Trial

J’Accuse

by THOMAS L. KNAPP

Dear President Obama,

I possess neither Emile Zola’s writing talent nor his penchant for presidential flattery, but I think I may perhaps lay rightful claim to some semblance of his well-developed sense of moral outrage.

I address you as “president” only as a concession to popular convention. In truth, your claimed authority is a fraud, and your actual status is that of defendant in the matter of the persecution of Bradley Manning.

From the beginnings of this drama, it was clear to all who cared to notice that Manning is no criminal but rather the worthy nemesis of a crime syndicate formally headed by yourself. He was wrongfully arrested, illegally detained without charge for a period far in excess of the legally prescribed maximums, and finally and illegally put on trial not for his alleged criminal acts but for exposing your crimes and the crimes of your gang, “the government of the United States.”

Neither the verdict nor the sentence are any surprise; the “not guilty” verdict on the charge of “aiding the enemy” is clearly intended as a distraction from the irrefutable fact that the entire trial was a farce and a sham, conducted in open violation of the law, and that not a single charge is valid. The purposes of show trials and the punishments which follow are to procure convictions and make the public quail in terror before the awesome power of the state, not to render justice, and in this respect the Manning court martial puts Stalin to shame. Colonel Denise Lind’s blatantly and irrefutably illegal actions and rulings as “judge” would make Vyshinsky blush.

The Manning show trial is the latest evidence that Thomas Paine erred in claiming that “society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil.”

While the state is indeed evil, it is far from necessary. It is wicked through and through. It is born of coercion, weaned on theft, raised on corruption and thrives on murder.

In the round it can do not good at all, and any specific good it may seem to do must rest on a foundation of evil.

To give me a dollar it picks your pocket for two. To feed your child lunch it deprives a family of dinner. If it suffers you and your neighbors to live it murders a village elsewhere, and if it removes so much as an ounce of weight from your chest that you might breathe easier, it places a pound on your shoulders and orders you to carry.

To willingly tolerate the continued existence of such an evil, or to purposely delay, impede or oppose that evil’s abolition, is to become an accessory to that evil.

As an anarchist, it goes without saying that I support the abolition of the state. The Manning show trial is one more argument for appending to that statement the clauses “as soon as humanly possible” and “by any means necessary.”

Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).