Jane Hamsher’s Bad Day With the Marines
posted at 11:35 am on January 24, 2011 by Jazz Shaw
On Sunday, during the run-up to what was already destined to be a pretty disappointing evening for Jets fans, one of the oddest tales ever seen from the “strange but true” files began to unfold in my Twitter stream. Jane Hamsher, blogger at Fire Dog Lake, began frantically firing off tweets describing a situation where she was being detained, if not arrested, by the United States Marines at their base at Quantico.
You’re to be excused if you find yourself wondering what Jane was doing at the Marine base in the first place, but there were a couple of reasons offered. First, she was in the company of a gentleman named David House, who is on the approved visitor list for accused traitor Bradley Manning, currently a guest of the government at the Quantico brig. House has apparently been visiting Manning on a regular basis, driven by Jane, and she would wait at the on base McDonalds while he went in to see the prisoner. Nothing too unusual so far, right? But might there be a bit more to the story than that?
As described in their somewhat sanitized version of events at Fire Dog Lake, there was a second mission involved.
House and Hamsher also planned to deliver a 42,000-signature strong petition calling for an end to the inhumane conditions that Manning is being held. Upon arriving at the main entrance at Quantico, House and Hamsher were stopped and detained by military police who provided no explanation for detainment aside from a statement from one MP that his orders to detain had “come from the top.”
The real time descriptions and explanations from Hamsher’s Twitter feed were, however, far more instructive and – if I may be forgiven for saying it – entertaining. Manning’s visitors grew increasingly outraged at being subjected to a variety of indignities which included demands that they provide proper identification and being made to wait outside in the 28 degree weather. The event concluded two hours later with Hamsher’s vehicle being towed away and impounded after she failed to provide suitable proof of insurance. By that time, visiting hours for Private Manning were over.
The visitors, of course, are smelling a conspiracy, since Mr. House had been able to visit Manning in the past without undue impediment.
Jane tweeted that she had previously called “as courtesy to say we were coming” to give them a heads up.
Here’s a free tip for those who are obviously not terribly familiar with the military. You don’t give the military a courtesy call to tell them you are coming. You ask their permission. It’s a military base, not a theme park. And when you tell them in advance that you’re coming to their turf to pull off a media stunt intended to make them look bad and challenge their authority, they’re going to mess with you. Further, even if one of you is on the approved visitor list, (Hamsher is not) when you arrive at a United States Military facility, you are there as their guest. They may choose to suffer your presence, but from the moment you pass through those gates you’re playing by their rules.
Perhaps even more amazing than the other complaints and accusations was this puzzling, cryptic statement.
Nobody knows why Marines are holding Bradley Manning who is in the Army anyway. Manning attorney unable to get an answer.
If there’s any truth to that, Manning needs to fire his attorney. The Marines handle security duty at numerous military facilities around the world, including the brigs on larger Navy ships. Quantico’s brig, which is staffed by both Marine and Navy personnel, is famous as a secure destination for suspects and convicts in transition, particularly in high profile cases. It has housed a variety of notorious figures ranging from wannabe presidential assassin John Hinkley to convicted traitor and spy Clayton J. Lonetree. There is absolutely nothing unusual about a suspect like Manning winding up there.
In the end, this stunt was just the next phase in Hamsher’s relentless campaign to lionize both Bradley Manning and Julian Assange as some sort of heroes. It’s an effort which has been regularly abetted by Glenn Greenwald, who jumped into the brewing Twitter storm almost immediately. At one point I asked him if he thought Manning might actually be guilty of releasing all those documents and if that made him some sort of hero in Glenn’s eyes. His response was refreshingly honest.
I have no idea – we wait until what’s called a “verdict” before imposing punishment on people. And yeah, I think it’s heroic.
I’m sure we’re all anxious to find out where this story goes next. Will more visitors take on the U.S. Marines? Will Private Manning have his cable TV access reduced to even more barbaric levels less than six hours per day? Will Jane get her car back and find her insurance card? Tune in next time on, As the World of Manning Turns.
Now you can yell at Jazz for being a stupid, wrong-headed RINO even faster than by leaving a comment. Follow him on Twitter! @JazzShaw