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Smedley Butler is the greatest hero in USA history. If not for him, our representative democracy would, have most likely been destroyed. The reason most people have not heard of him, is that the very power elite who tried to take over this country, has been suppressing his history.
Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940), nicknamed "Old Gimlet Eye",[1] was a senior United States Marine Corps officer who fought in both the Mexican Revolution and World War I. Butler was, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. Butler later became an outspoken critic of American wars and their consequences. Butler also exposed an alleged plan to overthrow the United States government.
By the end of his career, Butler had received 16 medals, five for heroism. He is one of 19 men to receive the Medal of Honor twice, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal (along with Wendell Neville and David Porter) and the Medal of Honor, and the only Marine to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.
In 1933, he became involved in a controversy known as the Business Plot, when he told a congressional committee that a group of wealthy industrialists were planning a military coup to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Butler selected to lead a march of veterans to become dictator, similar to Fascist regimes at that time. The individuals involved all denied the existence of a plot and the media ridiculed the allegations, but a final report by a special House of Representatives Committee confirmed most of Butler's testimony.
  • In 1935, Butler wrote a book titled War Is a Racket, where he described and criticized the workings of the United States in its foreign actions and wars, such as those in which he had been involved, including the American corporations and other imperialist motivations behind them. After retiring from service, he became a popular advocate, speaking at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists, and church groups in the 1930s.
     
    While much of this is cut and paste from Wikipedia.  If one looks him up, you will be amazed that there is not statues of this man all over the USA, instead of confederate generals and bigots.  But, considering the intricacies and sophistication of USA propoganda-- maybe not.
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My vote goes to Ernie ;

 

Loss of Endurance

Endurance departed from South Georgia for the Weddell Sea on 5 December, heading for Vahsel Bay. As the ship moved southward navigating in ice, first year ice was encountered, which slowed progress. Deep in the Weddell Sea, conditions gradually grew worse until, on 19 January 1915, Endurance became frozen fast in an ice floe.[87]

 

On 24 February, realising that she would be trapped until the following spring, Shackleton ordered the abandonment of ship's routine and her conversion to a winter station.[88] She drifted slowly northward with the ice through the following months. When spring arrived in September, the breaking of the ice and its later movements put extreme pressures on the ship's hull.[89]

170px-Shackletonold.jpg
 
Shackleton after the loss of Endurance
 

Until this point, Shackleton had hoped that the ship, when released from the ice, could work her way back towards Vahsel Bay. On 24 October, water began pouring in. After a few days, with the position at 69° 5' S, 51° 30' W, Shackleton gave the order to abandon ship, saying, "She's going down!"; and men, provisions and equipment were transferred to camps on the ice.[90] On 21 November 1915, the wreck finally slipped beneath the surface.[91]

 

For almost two months, Shackleton and his party camped on a large, flat floe, hoping that it would drift towards Paulet Island, approximately 250 miles (402 km) away, where it was known that stores were cached.[92] After failed attempts to march across the ice to this island, Shackleton decided to set up another more permanent camp (Patience Camp) on another floe, and trust to the drift of the ice to take them towards a safe landing.[93] By 17 March, their ice camp was within 60 miles (97 km) of Paulet Island;[94] however, separated by impassable ice, they were unable to reach it. On 9 April, their ice floe broke into two, and Shackleton ordered the crew into the lifeboats and to head for the nearest land.[95]

 

After five harrowing days at sea, the exhausted men landed their three lifeboats at Elephant Island, 346 miles (557 km) from where the Endurance sank.[96] This was the first time they had stood on solid ground for 497 days.[97] Shackleton's concern for his men was such that he gave his mittens to photographer Frank Hurley, who had lost his during the boat journey. Shackleton suffered frostbitten fingers as a result.[98]

 

Open-boat journey

220px-LaunchingTheJamesCaird2.jpg
 
Launching the James Caird from the shore of Elephant Island, 24 April 1916

 

Elephant Island was an inhospitable place, far from any shipping routes; rescue by means of chance discovery was very unlikely. Consequently, Shackleton decided to risk an open-boat journey to the 720-nautical-mile-distant South Georgia whaling stations, where he knew help was available.[99] The strongest of the tiny 20-foot (6.1 m) lifeboats, christened James Caird after the expedition's chief sponsor, was chosen for the trip.[99] Ship's carpenter Harry McNish made various improvements, including raising the sides, strengthening the keel, building a makeshift deck of wood and canvas, and sealing the work with oil paint and seal blood.[99]

Shackleton chose five companions for the journey: Frank Worsley, Endurance's captain, who would be responsible for navigation; Tom Crean, who had "begged to go"; two strong sailors in John Vincent and Timothy McCarthy, and finally the carpenter McNish.[99]

 

Shackleton had clashed with McNish during the time when the party was stranded on the ice, but, while he did not forgive the carpenter's earlier insubordination, Shackleton recognised his value for this particular job.[h][100][101] Not only did Shackleton recognize their value for the job but also because he knew the potential risk they were to morale. This allowed for Shackleton to remain in control of the morale of his crew members. The attitudes of his men were a point of emphasis in leading his men back to safety.

Shackleton refused to pack supplies for more than four weeks, knowing that if they did not reach South Georgia within that time, the boat and its crew would be lost.[102] The James Caird was launched on 24 April 1916; during the next fifteen days, it sailed through the waters of the southern ocean, at the mercy of the stormy seas, in constant peril of capsizing. On 8 May, thanks to Worsley's navigational skills, the cliffs of South Georgia came into sight, but hurricane-force winds prevented the possibility of landing. The party was forced to ride out the storm offshore, in constant danger of being dashed against the rocks. They later learned that the same hurricane had sunk a 500-ton steamer bound for South Georgia from Buenos Aires.[103]

 

On the following day, they were able, finally, to land on the unoccupied southern shore. After a period of rest and recuperation, rather than risk putting to sea again to reach the whaling stations on the northern coast, Shackleton decided to attempt a land crossing of the island. Although it is likely that Norwegian whalers had previously crossed at other points on ski, no one had attempted this particular route before.[104] For their journey, the survivors were only equipped with boots they had pushed screws into to act as climbing boots, a carpenter's adze, and 50 feet of rope. Leaving McNish, Vincent and McCarthy at the landing point on South Georgia, Shackleton travelled 32 miles (51 km)[96] with Worsley and Crean over extremely dangerous mountainous terrain for 36 hours to reach the whaling station at Stromness on 20 May.[105]

 

The next successful crossing of South Georgia was in October 1955, by the British explorer Duncan Carse, who travelled much of the same route as Shackleton's party. In tribute to their achievement, he wrote: "I do not know how they did it, except that they had to — three men of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration with 50 feet of rope between them – and a carpenter's adze".[106]

Rescue

220px-AllSafeAllWell.jpg
 
 
 

Shackleton immediately sent a boat to pick up the three men from the other side of South Georgia while he set to work to organise the rescue of the Elephant Island men. His first three attempts were foiled by sea ice, which blocked the approaches to the island. He appealed to the Chilean government, which offered the use of the Yelcho, a small seagoing tug from its navy. Yelcho, commanded by Captain Luis Pardo, and the British whaler Southern Sky reached Elephant Island on 30 August 1916, at which point the men had been isolated there for four and a half months, and Shackleton quickly evacuated all 22 men.[108] The Yelcho took the crew first to Punta Arenas and after some days to Valparaiso in Chile where crowds warmly welcomed them back to civilisation.

 

There remained the men of the Ross Sea Party, who were stranded at Cape Evans in McMurdo Sound, after Aurora had been blown from its anchorage and driven out to sea, unable to return. The ship, after a drift of many months, had returned to New Zealand. Shackleton travelled there to join Aurora, and sailed with her to the rescue of the Ross Sea party. This group, despite many hardships, had carried out its depot-laying mission to the full, but three lives had been lost, including that of its commander, Aeneas Mackintosh.[109]

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3 hours ago, Nungali said:

My vote goes to Ernie ;

 

Loss of Endurance

Endurance departed from South Georgia for the Weddell Sea on 5 December, heading for Vahsel Bay. As the ship moved southward navigating in ice, first year ice was encountered, which slowed progress. Deep in the Weddell Sea, conditions gradually grew worse until, on 19 January 1915, Endurance became frozen fast in an ice floe.[87]

 

On 24 February, realising that she would be trapped until the following spring, Shackleton ordered the abandonment of ship's routine and her conversion to a winter station.[88] She drifted slowly northward with the ice through the following months. When spring arrived in September, the breaking of the ice and its later movements put extreme pressures on the ship's hull.[89]

170px-Shackletonold.jpg
 
Shackleton after the loss of Endurance
 

Until this point, Shackleton had hoped that the ship, when released from the ice, could work her way back towards Vahsel Bay. On 24 October, water began pouring in. After a few days, with the position at 69° 5' S, 51° 30' W, Shackleton gave the order to abandon ship, saying, "She's going down!"; and men, provisions and equipment were transferred to camps on the ice.[90] On 21 November 1915, the wreck finally slipped beneath the surface.[91]

 

For almost two months, Shackleton and his party camped on a large, flat floe, hoping that it would drift towards Paulet Island, approximately 250 miles (402 km) away, where it was known that stores were cached.[92] After failed attempts to march across the ice to this island, Shackleton decided to set up another more permanent camp (Patience Camp) on another floe, and trust to the drift of the ice to take them towards a safe landing.[93] By 17 March, their ice camp was within 60 miles (97 km) of Paulet Island;[94] however, separated by impassable ice, they were unable to reach it. On 9 April, their ice floe broke into two, and Shackleton ordered the crew into the lifeboats and to head for the nearest land.[95]

 

After five harrowing days at sea, the exhausted men landed their three lifeboats at Elephant Island, 346 miles (557 km) from where the Endurance sank.[96] This was the first time they had stood on solid ground for 497 days.[97] Shackleton's concern for his men was such that he gave his mittens to photographer Frank Hurley, who had lost his during the boat journey. Shackleton suffered frostbitten fingers as a result.[98]

 

Open-boat journey

220px-LaunchingTheJamesCaird2.jpg
 
Launching the James Caird from the shore of Elephant Island, 24 April 1916

 

Elephant Island was an inhospitable place, far from any shipping routes; rescue by means of chance discovery was very unlikely. Consequently, Shackleton decided to risk an open-boat journey to the 720-nautical-mile-distant South Georgia whaling stations, where he knew help was available.[99] The strongest of the tiny 20-foot (6.1 m) lifeboats, christened James Caird after the expedition's chief sponsor, was chosen for the trip.[99] Ship's carpenter Harry McNish made various improvements, including raising the sides, strengthening the keel, building a makeshift deck of wood and canvas, and sealing the work with oil paint and seal blood.[99]

Shackleton chose five companions for the journey: Frank Worsley, Endurance's captain, who would be responsible for navigation; Tom Crean, who had "begged to go"; two strong sailors in John Vincent and Timothy McCarthy, and finally the carpenter McNish.[99]

 

Shackleton had clashed with McNish during the time when the party was stranded on the ice, but, while he did not forgive the carpenter's earlier insubordination, Shackleton recognised his value for this particular job.[h][100][101] Not only did Shackleton recognize their value for the job but also because he knew the potential risk they were to morale. This allowed for Shackleton to remain in control of the morale of his crew members. The attitudes of his men were a point of emphasis in leading his men back to safety.

Shackleton refused to pack supplies for more than four weeks, knowing that if they did not reach South Georgia within that time, the boat and its crew would be lost.[102] The James Caird was launched on 24 April 1916; during the next fifteen days, it sailed through the waters of the southern ocean, at the mercy of the stormy seas, in constant peril of capsizing. On 8 May, thanks to Worsley's navigational skills, the cliffs of South Georgia came into sight, but hurricane-force winds prevented the possibility of landing. The party was forced to ride out the storm offshore, in constant danger of being dashed against the rocks. They later learned that the same hurricane had sunk a 500-ton steamer bound for South Georgia from Buenos Aires.[103]

 

On the following day, they were able, finally, to land on the unoccupied southern shore. After a period of rest and recuperation, rather than risk putting to sea again to reach the whaling stations on the northern coast, Shackleton decided to attempt a land crossing of the island. Although it is likely that Norwegian whalers had previously crossed at other points on ski, no one had attempted this particular route before.[104] For their journey, the survivors were only equipped with boots they had pushed screws into to act as climbing boots, a carpenter's adze, and 50 feet of rope. Leaving McNish, Vincent and McCarthy at the landing point on South Georgia, Shackleton travelled 32 miles (51 km)[96] with Worsley and Crean over extremely dangerous mountainous terrain for 36 hours to reach the whaling station at Stromness on 20 May.[105]

 

The next successful crossing of South Georgia was in October 1955, by the British explorer Duncan Carse, who travelled much of the same route as Shackleton's party. In tribute to their achievement, he wrote: "I do not know how they did it, except that they had to — three men of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration with 50 feet of rope between them – and a carpenter's adze".[106]

Rescue

220px-AllSafeAllWell.jpg
 
 
 

Shackleton immediately sent a boat to pick up the three men from the other side of South Georgia while he set to work to organise the rescue of the Elephant Island men. His first three attempts were foiled by sea ice, which blocked the approaches to the island. He appealed to the Chilean government, which offered the use of the Yelcho, a small seagoing tug from its navy. Yelcho, commanded by Captain Luis Pardo, and the British whaler Southern Sky reached Elephant Island on 30 August 1916, at which point the men had been isolated there for four and a half months, and Shackleton quickly evacuated all 22 men.[108] The Yelcho took the crew first to Punta Arenas and after some days to Valparaiso in Chile where crowds warmly welcomed them back to civilisation.

 

There remained the men of the Ross Sea Party, who were stranded at Cape Evans in McMurdo Sound, after Aurora had been blown from its anchorage and driven out to sea, unable to return. The ship, after a drift of many months, had returned to New Zealand. Shackleton travelled there to join Aurora, and sailed with her to the rescue of the Ross Sea party. This group, despite many hardships, had carried out its depot-laying mission to the full, but three lives had been lost, including that of its commander, Aeneas Mackintosh.[109]

 

More than just endurance, Shackleton was one of the greatest wills of all time.  

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Smedley Butler has made a couple of appearances on this forum. Most likely those are hidden away in the pit or abyss now.

I like Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried.

O'Brien was army infantry platoon duty during the Vietnam war.

If you haven't read it, you should. 

It's a darn good piece of literature and the marrow of his message is courageous in it's own right.

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The book Natural Born Heroes is a great read.  Half of it is recounting the heroes, native and British who fought the Nazi's  in Corfu during WWII.  The other half is finding modern people who have rediscovered some of the secrets of endurance, strength, bravery, trail running/climbing, outdoor survival that made the fighters of the 1940's so tough and formidable. 

 

It's brings history alive, and is very inspiring.  With fascinating characters from the past and today. 

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11 hours ago, zerostao said:

Smedley Butler has made a couple of appearances on this forum. Most likely those are hidden away in the pit or abyss now.

I like Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried.

O'Brien was army infantry platoon duty during the Vietnam war.

If you haven't read it, you should. 

It's a darn good piece of literature and the marrow of his message is courageous in it's own right.

 

Thank you, I will read it.  Another one that I enjoyed was "Everything We Had", a compilation of Vietnam veterans personal experiences there.

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16 minutes ago, thelerner said:

The book Natural Born Heroes is a great read.  Half of it is recounting the heroes, native and British who fought the Nazi's  in Corfu during WWII.  The other half is finding modern people who have rediscovered some of the secrets of endurance, strength, bravery, trail running/climbing, outdoor survival that made the fighters of the 1940's so tough and formidable. 

 

It's brings history alive, and is very inspiring.  With fascinating characters from the past and today. 


I looked up the book and may read and heed it’s advice. 
 

It is important to remember that the U.S. was involved in those battles after the defeat of Rommel in North Africa. If it weren’t for the U.S. the British would have lost along with Europe. 

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Things I hate ;

 

Calling lame events and people heroic and heroes  ..... like  'football heroes'  ..... even the local supermarket has an advertising campaign calling their workers 'local heroes' . They should be ashamed of that !

 

44222598_Zd-mCKqTKhWYneNU5taIPFigVwy8OA_9VtkbWNu9YnM.jpg            IGA-staffweb20181128-600x398.jpg

 

They even put a picture of one staff member each week in local paper advert with caption 'local hero'    :rolleyes:

 

 

yet every week, these people go unnoticed ;

 

r0_54_4032_2966_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg      b5af4357cdc0888f7205958acdc0d1d499b59155

 

Nurse-tired-stress-twelve-hour-shift-ONE-USE.jpg 

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Nungali said:

Things I hate ;

 

Calling lame events and people heroic and heroes  ..... like  'football heroes'  ..... even the local supermarket has an advertising campaign calling their workers 'local heroes' . They should be ashamed of that !

 

44222598_Zd-mCKqTKhWYneNU5taIPFigVwy8OA_9VtkbWNu9YnM.jpg            IGA-staffweb20181128-600x398.jpg

 

They even put a picture of one staff member each week in local paper advert with caption 'local hero'    :rolleyes:

 

 

yet every week, these people go unnoticed ;

 

r0_54_4032_2966_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg      b5af4357cdc0888f7205958acdc0d1d499b59155

 

Nurse-tired-stress-twelve-hour-shift-ONE-USE.jpg 

Agreed, I would give you a lot more likes, if they would let me!

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Stanislav Petrov

He disobeyed orders and Russian protocols, convinced that the six missiles, shown on radar coming from the USA, was a malfunction, and by refusing to authorize a retaliatory strike, probably saved the world from a nuclear war.

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Posted (edited)

Enheduanna

 

 Enheduanna lived about 2300 BC and was the world’s first writer to be known by name. High Priestess of the Temple of Sumer, she reconciled the opposing forces behind the Sumerian and Akkadian gods to create stability in her fathers' empire. At the same time, she scribed the first hymns, psalms, poetry and prayers – models that were later copied by the Hebrew Bible and the Homeric hymns, and even influenced early Christianity.

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Bayard Rustin

 

Rustin was an African-American who inspired and taught the most prominent figures of the US civil rights movement – including Martin Luther King. Having grown up during the Depression, from a young age Rustin campaigned for change, inventing tactics that inspired the later mass-movement that finally achieved it. He was arrested for protesting about segregated bus seating 13 years before Rosa Park’s famous act of defiance. Crucially, inspired by Gandhi, in 1956 he convinced rising leader Martin Luther King that a policy of non-violent protest was vital to achieve equal rights. His plan worked, but as the movement gained momentum, a political rival who knew of Rustin’s homosexuality threatened to accuse Rustin and King of having an affair. In order to protect the cause, Rustin stepped into the shadows, relinquishing his place in history.

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Just now, moment said:

 movement gained momentum

 

Keep going bro, I'm off to blaze

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Rodrigue Katembo

 

Put his life on the line to protect endangered animals such as Rhino and Gorillas. 160 park rangers have died in the past 15 years in Congo’s Virunga National Park alone, only marginally less than total number British casualties during the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

In addition to having to deal with the threat of poachers, park rangers have to deal with tropical diseases, illegal miners, forest fires, trekking through miles of inhospitable terrain, and in the case of Virunga National Park, Park Rangers face threats from rogue militias and oil corporations.

There are only 780 Mountain Gorillas left in the wild of which 30% reside in Virunga National Park. The money brought by tourism from the gorillas is vital for the local economy, but this has made the gorillas a target from Mai Mai Rebel Militias keen to inflict as much damage on the government as possible. As a result, Park Rangers have been placed on the front line of a war.

 

In 2014, Virunga National Park came under attack by British Oil Company, SOCO, who wished to explore the national park for oil in spite of the fact it is one of the most bio-diverse and important national parks in the world. Using the vast resources at their disposal, SOCO issued bribes to park rangers, the Congolese Army, and local government officials in order to encourage them to remove regulations for them.

Once an enforced child soldier, the ranger Rodrigue Katembo reported oil exploration vehicles entering the park illegally and alongside Park Director, Emmanuel De Merode, carefully documented and filmed undercover the corruption threatening the livelihood of Virunga even though he was putting his life at risk. The price Katembo paid for just stopping a SOCO team from building a telecommunications antenna inside the park was an arrest and 17 days of torture. His boss, Emmanuel De Merode, suffered an even worse fate, being ambushed and shot five times in the stomach and legs in 2014, narrowly escaping with his life.

Katembo’s work played a key role in the making of the 2014 Oscar winning documentary, Virunga, which helped pile huge levels of international and political pressure on SOCO, forcing them to abandon plans to explore for oil in the region. However the numerous threats that face Virunga and other Congolese national parks has not abated.

main-qimg-ef6b45c7f3bbb3c0ec51af833f3a5045

Even to this day, Katembo has to live apart from his family in fear of their safety and receives death threats from illegal miners, Mai Mai rebels and poachers. Currently Katembo is chief warden at Upemba National Park and still continues his hard work protecting the 8000 square mile park to great levels of success despite only having 160 rangers instead of the minimum required 400. Since his appointment in 2015, Upemba National Park has seen deforestation decrease and numbers of Elephants increase from 0 to 68.

 

main-qimg-20ad20bfc80e73e87e9c2af2f3f37722
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dr. Megan Coffee

 

A specialist in infectious diseases, Dr Coffee has been working in Haiti since the earthquake in 2010. She arrived in Haiti after the earthquake and established a new sanatorium in Port-au-Prince. She still works there, without pay, taking public transport to work, treating patients.

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The Gulabi gang

 

The Gulabi Gang are a group of female Indian vigilantes, who all wear a pink sari. The group fight against child marriages, the dowry system, abusive husbands and female illiteracy

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Cleisthenes
 

Cleisthenes1

Who is the father of democracy? Not Thomas Jefferson, as many people oddly seem to think. It was, in fact, the little known Cleisthenes. He first introduced democracy to the Greek city states (undoubtedly following some of the principles previously set forth by Solon) in 508 BC, after he gained political power in Athens. From 508 to 502 BC, he began to develop a series of major reforms, leading to the formation of Athenian Democracy. He made all free men living in Athens and Attica citizens, giving them the right to vote as part of a democratic society. He also established a council (boule). All citizens over the age of thirty were eligible to sit on the council, encouraging public involvement in the government. While the format may not be the same as the many democracies around the world today, there is no doubt that this was the first step.

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An advocate for free health care, Dr. Murat Dilmener sometimes bent hospital rules in Istanbul to ensure those without health insurance got the treatment they needed. The professor and infectious diseases specialist frequently saw poor Turks for free at his private clinic. His charitable acts and compassion would inspire Turkish newspapers to dub him the “Robin Hood of the medical profession.” He died of COVID-19 at age 78, devastating former students on the medical team that couldn't save his life.

 

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Thomas Clarkson

The activist who was edited out

The name William Wilberforce is synonymous with the abolition of British slavery, but it was Thomas Clarkson who instigated the cause. In the years before the slave trade was outlawed, Clarkson gathered evidence to show the inhumanity of conditions by sneaking onboard slave ships. He became a target for rich slave owners who tried to assassinate him and shut down his campaign, way before Wilberforce even heard of it. It was only when Clarkson realised he needed someone in government to help him that the young MP got involved, and the men became great friends. But after Wilberforce’s death, the politician’s sons wrote a biography claiming Clarkson was just a hired hand who carried out errands for their father. Their book became a key source for historians and the myth that Wilberforce acted singlehandedly was soon settled as fact.

Thomas Clarkson

 

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Witold Pilecki

 

 

 

img.jpg?width=980
 

Witold Pilecki Photo: Wiki Commons

Nazi concentration camps were one of the most hideous and disturbing tragedies to arise out of the second world war, but few countries were aware of their existence before the Allied liberation in 1945. Fewer still had any idea what atrocities were taking place within their gates — which is exactly why Wittold Pilecki, a Polish resistance agent, decided to see the inside for himself. How'd he do it? By getting himself arrested and sent to the worst death camp of them all: Auschwitz.

He gathered intelligence inside Auschwitz and sent it to the underground Polish army for two years, enduring brutal conditions and near-starvation to detail Nazi execution and interrogation methods. When the Allies continued to put off any aid (some even accused him of exaggerating his reports, according to NPR) he broke out of the camp and escaped. Pilecki continued to gather intelligence throughout the war, and didn't let up afterwards either, though now it was against a different government — the Soviet regime in Poland.  Sadly, Pilecki was later captured by the communists, arrested for espionage in 1948, and issued not one, but three death sentences. The communists also wiped his name from the public record after his execution, and no accounts of Pilecki's bravery were known until after the fall of the Berlin wall.

 

 
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General Chiune Sugihara

 

 

The Nazi regime began tightening its chokehold on Europe, Japanese Consul-General Chiune Sugihara and his wife Yukiko watched with increasing concern as Lithuanian Jews were persecuted, driven out of their businesses, and forced away to "labor camps." Finally, Sugihara decided enough was enough, and set out to bring the Jews of Europe onto Japanese soil and out of Hitler's reach. The Japanese government, however, didn't approve of the idea, and shut down Chiune's request to issue visas for the fleeing Jews. In response — and in true Liam Neeson fashion — Sugihara essentially told them to shove it, and began to write the visas by hand.

He and his wife ended up writing what some estimate to be around 6,000 visas for Lithuanian Jews, an incredible feat that's even more unbelievable when you compare it to Oskar Schindler's record of 1,200 saved through his work program. The last foreign officials to remain in Kuanas, Lithuania, save for a Dutch consul, Sugihara and his wife worked round the clock, issuing close to 300 visas a day and distributing them to the refugees who gathered outside of the Japanese consulate gates.

When Sugihara was finally ordered to leave, he continued to write visas and throw them from the train as he departed, and left his official visa stamp with one of the refugees so they could continue his work in his absence. It is estimated that he saved nearly all of the people who received visas, and after arriving in Japan, the Jewish refugees called themselves the Sugihara Survivors in honor of his bravery.

So why hasn't his story been broadcasted like Schindler's? Unfortunately, Japan was still operating under the samurai code of honor during this time, and to defy a superior was considered unforgivable. So rather than award their comrade for his contributions to the war, he was removed from his government position and forced to live in dishonor until his death in 1986.

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Chelsea Manning---

Published

 6 months ago 

on

 March 25, 2020

By

 Richard Enos

 

The Facts:

Chelsea Manning was released from prison on March 12th, to very little fanfare.

Reflect On:

When we actually are able to fathom what Chelsea Manning has been willing to go through as a result of her unwavering principles, can we help but consider her one of the great heroes of modern times?

When a federal judge ordered the release of Chelsea Manning from prison on March 12th, the news was met with relatively little fanfare. There was a kind of muted, matter-of-factness about it in the mainstream press, with much of the print devoted to procedural aspects of the release, or the fact that Ms. Manning allegedly tried to kill herself the day before, based on her lawyers’ testimony.

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The most important discussion, which seems to only be taking place in the remotest fringes of cyberspace, is acknowledging the incredible courage, conscience, and resilience that Chelsea Manning has displayed during the entire harrowing ordeal. Her principled efforts, as we will discuss further, serve as a model for the rest of us who are truly seeking to liberate the planet from tyranny and enslavement.

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What Manning Actually Did

In 2010, then-Pfc. Bradley Manning, a 22-year old Army intelligence analyst in Iraq, sent hundreds of thousands of classified files to WikiLeaks. These files consisted of documents such as State Department cables, and videos, among them the famous “Collateral Murder” video which showed the US army killing a dozen unarmed civilians, including two Reuters employees.

In an online chat attributed to Manning, she wrote the following regarding her decision to release the files:

If you had free reign over classified networks… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?

God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public. (source)

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Manning witnessed multiple actions that were inhumane on the part of her own military and government. Manning sacrificed her own safety and well-being so that people could know the truth, and hoped the revelations would spark public outcry and lead the public to challenge the government and the U. S. military in terms of the kind of reprehensible activity that is usually hidden under the fog of war.

What Manning saw was a disregard for civilians and for human life in general. Although these releases seemed to significantly impact U. S. involvement in Iraq, this is not what Manning was after. What she was after was an awakening of the general public to the reality of war. In fact what Manning was doing was bringing more evidence to the notion, popularized by former Major General Smedley Butler, that modern ‘war’ is generally not engaged in to defend a nation and create greater security for its citizens, but rather serves the economic interests of a small elite group:

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.–Major General Smedley Butler

Enshrined in the U.S. Army Subject Schedule No. 27-1 is “the obligation to report all violations of the law of war.” Manning went to her chain of command and asked them to investigate the Collateral Murder video and other evidence of unacceptable conduct but her superiors refused. She ultimately made the principled decision to expose this information through Wikileaks, with the knowledge of how much the American public was being deceived about the true nature of the war that the U. S. Military was waging.

The Court Martial

Now if the U. S. government was sincere in their rhetoric that they fight wars overseas in order to promote and secure human rights and democracy around the world, then these files published by Wikileaks would have sparked a tremendous amount of contrition and self-reflection on their part, and Chelsea Manning would have been hailed as a hero from the beginning for helping the U. S. military recognize and repair obvious inconsistencies and outright hypocrisy within their operations. None of this happened.

We celebrate the Remembrance Day holiday to commemorate the bravery of soldiers. While there is no doubt that many soldiers deserve regard for showing the courage to enter a war zone, should we not awaken more to the evidence that many if not most soldiers are simply unwittingly accomplices in highly immoral operations? What ‘commemoration’ was given to Chelsea Manning, whose actions, unlike those of most soldiers, are obviously of great benefit to U. S. citizens and the human population as a whole? Of course. A court-martial.

In her court-martial trial Chelsea Manning admitted sending the files to WikiLeaks. She also confessed to interacting online with someone who was probably Mr. Assange, but she said she had acted on principle and was not working for WikiLeaks. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison — the longest sentence by far in an American leak case. It was obviously commensurate with the level of embarrassment suffered by those who control military action. The initial conditions of her confinement were egregious. She somehow managed to survive.

President Barack Obama commuted most of the remainder of her sentence shortly before he left office, and Manning was released from jail on May 17th, 2017.

Refusal To Testify

When asked how the world and the U. S. appeared to her a year after her release, Manning’s own words in the video below indicate that things seemed to have gotten worse, and many of her fears about the direction the world was going were manifesting:

(Watch the beginning of the full interview here if the video above does not play)

As much as she may have thought that after this incarceration was over she would retire and ride off into the sunset, she would end up having to make a principled stand yet again. In May of 2019, prosecutors investigating Julian Assange and Wikileaks subpoenaed her to testify before a grand jury about their interactions. Believing that the case against Julian Assange was an extension of the kind of criminality and abuse of power that she had already been fighting against, she refused the subpoena on ethical grounds.

As the court order describes below, Chelsea Manning chose to reject a guarantee of immunity from the Department of Justice and was willing to once again endure prison time, and financial ruin as well, in order to stand up to her principles:

By Order dated May 6 , 2019 [Doc. 2 ], the Court granted Chelsea Manning full use and derivative use immunity, pursuant to 18 U.S . C . 6002, and ordered Ms. Manning to testify and provide other information in the above-captioned grand jury proceeding (“Grand Jury”). Subsequently , on May 16 , 2019, after Ms. Manning stipulated that she would refuse to comply with the Court’s May 6, 2019 Order, the Court found Ms. Manning in civil contempt, determined that a coercive sanction against Ms. Manning was appropriate, and remanded Ms. Manning to the custody of the Attorney General until such time as she purges herself of contemptor for the life of the Grand Jury, but in no event longer than 18 months. [Doc. 9] In that May 16 , 2019 Order, the Court also ordered that, if Ms. Manning did not purge herself of contempt within thirty (30) days, she shall incur a conditional fine of $500 per day until such time as she purges herself of contempt; and if she did not purge herself of contempt within sixty (60) days after issuance of the Order, she shall incur a conditional fine of $ 1, 000 per day until such time as she purges herself of contempt or for the life of the grand jury, whichever occurs first.

The Grumbles Motion

In February 2020, Manning’s legal team filed what’s known as a Grumbles motion in court, asserting that Manning has proven herself incoercible and so must, according to legal statute, be released from her incarceration. This article in The Intercept goes into more detail:

It is a grim peculiarity of American law that a person who refuses to cooperate with a grand jury subpoena may be held in contempt of court and fined or imprisoned with the express purpose of coercing testimony, but when the coercive condition is absent, such incarceration becomes illegal. Wednesday’s motion directs Judge Anthony Trenga, who is presiding over the grand jury and Manning’s imprisonment, to accordingly recognize the illegality in this case.

“The key issue before Judge Trenga is whether continued incarceration could persuade Chelsea to testify,” said Manning’s attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, on filing the Grumbles motion. “Judges have complained of the ‘perversity’ of this law: that a witness may win their freedom by persisting in their contempt of court. However, should Judge Trenga agree that Chelsea will never agree to testify, he will be compelled by the law to order her release.”

If the motion is successful, Manning will be freed for the very reason she has been caged: her silence. The judge can decide to recognize that Manning won’t speak as a consequence of more time in jail — or because she will continue to face unprecedented $1,000-per-day fines. Any other conclusion, after her months of steadfast and principled grand jury resistance, would fly in the face of all reason. The whistleblower’s actions and words make it plain.

“I have been separated from my loved ones, deprived of sunlight, and could not even attend my mother’s funeral,” Manning said in a statement Wednesday. “It is easier to endure these hardships now than to cooperate to win back some comfort, and live the rest of my life knowing that I acted out of self-interest and not principle.”

This is what another modern hero, whistleblower Edward Snowdon, had to say on the news that Chelsea Manning had been released from prison:

Under these circumstances, Chelsea Manning’s release from prison on March 12th is a victory for humankind–if enough of us acknowledge its significance. If a ballot came out for the greatest hero so far in the 21st century, Chelsea Manning would get my vote.

The Takeaway

Humanity is currently in a struggle against a small but extremely powerful group of people at the top of the political and economic pyramid. What needs to be understood, however, is that this group can only maintain its power if the majority of humanity continues to bow to its bribery, threats and coercion. This group considers humanity as mere cattle, to be pushed and swayed in whatever direction this group wants us to go. And who can blame them for their confidence? Who among us could say that they would have acted on their principles under the conditions that Chelsea Manning did? How many of us would have put our conscience to pasture and not even considered publicizing their own military’s unconscionable behavior, or would have chosen immunity in rationalizing that they ‘had to’ honor a Grand Jury subpoena?

When someone endures extreme retribution to stand up against a tyrannical authority on the basis of principle and what is in the best interests of humanity, then that person and their action should be celebrated in every corner of the world. Further, their actions should serve as a model to all of us, to stand up to our principles and values no matter the circumstances or consequences of those actions. If more people were willing to act in this fashion, we would have already liberated ourselves. But if the action of a brave person like Chelsea Manning has motivated at least some of us to be more courageous and principled when confronted with any form of tyranny or coercion in our lives, the great moment of emancipation may soon be upon us.

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