Chelsea Manning has not been heard from in the past six days
Chelsea Manning’s legal team have said they are ‘very worried’ after not being able to reach her in the past six days.

The transgender whistleblower soldier has missed several planned phone calls with her legal team. The hashtag #WhereIsChelsea has trended on Twitter.


The abandoned (maybe) submarine.  In early 2006, I made a visit to Witte’s Marine Salvage, popularly known as the “Staten Island boat graveyard”.  On this particular visit, the tide was low, and by building a network of planks in between the various ships, boats, ferries, life rafts, and so on, I was able to make it out farther than ever before - to the “New York Central System” ferry (top photograph on left, center photograph beyond the metal vessel).  The ferry contained a prisoner transport brig (a cell of iron bars, visible in the distance in the top photograph), and just beyond the ferry, this vessel.  My friends thought it looked like a half-disassembled submarine, but to this day I’m not sure - the hatches (bottom photograph) didn’t have heavy valves on them, and a lot of controls appeared to be above board.  Of course, this could be because the thing was half-torn-asunder by salvage, but I doubt I’ll ever know - by 2008, the vessel was half underwater; no doubt by now it is either submerged or dismantled.  And sadly, I was never able to make it down any of the hatches - about 5-6 feet down each one, the ship was completely flooded.

Prints of the top photo (sub and ferry with crane in the distance): click!
Prints of center photo (view from sub through ferry towards shore): click!
Prints of bottom photo (hatch leading into vessel): click!

Egypt demands release of Guantanamo detainee

August 03, 2012

The Egyptian government requested this week that the United States release the sole Egyptian detained at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, language that amounts to a stark demand by a country that has been among Washington’s most reliable imperialist allies in the Middle East.

The case of Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed al-Sawah, 54, who the United States accuses of belonging to al-Qaeda, has the potential to become the first thorn in the relationship between the U.S. and the Egyptian governments since the election of the country’s new president.

Amr Roushdy, a spokesman for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, said Friday that the country’s embassy in Washington had formally made the request to the State Department on Tuesday.

“He was not charged with any crime until now,” Roushdy said. “He is an Egyptian citizen detained in an illegal manner.”

The Defense Department charged Sawah in 2008 with providing material support for terrorism and conspiracy, alleging that he was a member of al-Qaeda who specialized in explosives. His case is unique because he has become among the most “valuable” informants detained at the military camp. The charges were dropped in March and no new charges have been filed.



March 24th 1944: The ‘Great Escape’

On this day in 1944, a group of Allied prisoners of war staged a daring escape attempt from the German prisoner of war camp at Stalag Luft III. This camp, located in what is now Poland, held captured Allied pilots mostly from Britain and the United States. In 1943, an Escape Committee under the leadership of Squadron Leader Roger Bushell of the RAF, supervised prisoners surreptitiously digging three 30 foot tunnels out of the camp, which they nicknamed ‘Tom’, ‘Dick’, and ‘Harry’. The tunnels led to woods beyond the camp and were remarkably sophisticated - lined with wood, and equipped with rudimentary ventilation and electric lighting. The successful construction of the tunnels was particularly impressive as the Stalag Luft III camp was designed to make it extremely difficult to tunnel out as the barracks were raised and the area had a sandy subsoil. ‘Tom’ was discovered by the Germans in September 1943, and ‘Dick’ was abandoned to be used as a dirt depository, leaving ‘Harry’ as the prisoners’ only hope. By the time of the escape, American prisoners who had assisted in tunneling had been relocated to a different compound, making the escapeees mostly British and Commonwealth citizens. 200 airmen had planned to make their escape through the ‘Harry’ tunnel, but on the night of March 24th 1944, only 76 managed to escape the camp before they were discovered by the guards. However, only three of the escapees - Norwegians Per Bergsland and Jens Müller, and Dutchman Bram van der Stok - found their freedom. The remaining 73 were recaptured, and 50 of them, including Bushell, were executed by the Gestapo on Adolf Hitler’s orders, while the rest were sent to other camps. While the escape was generally a failure, it helped boost morale among prisoners of war, and has become enshrined in popuar memory due to its fictionalised depiction in the 1963 film The Great Escape.

“Three bloody deep, bloody long tunnels will be dug – Tom, Dick, and Harry. One will succeed!”
- Roger Bushell


The United States Disciplinary Barracks is a maximum security military prison for men, located on the grounds of Fort Leavenworth, an army post in Leavenworth, Kansas. USDP is the only maximum security military prison in the United States, and only enlisted soldiers with sentences exceeding ten years, commissioned officers and prisoners convicted of national security crimes are housed there. The warden of USDB holds the rank of colonel. Corrections staff at USDB are often former military police officers. USDB is the site of the U.S. Military’s death row, although the last execution was held in 1961. Military executions before this date have been carried out by hanging. The current standard is lethal injection. There are currently six inmates awaiting penalty of death. The most recent addition being Nidal Hasam. Chelsea Manning is incarcerated at USDB.

‘Tall German’
Canadian Cpl Bob Roberts was overseeing the surrender of dozens of enemy soldiers during the Battle of Normandy when the 7ft 6ins German loomed into his view. Cpl Roberts, who stood two feet below him at 5ft 6ins, had the daunting job of frisking the German lance corporal for weapons before taking him prisoner.
It was a moment of lightness during the grim duty of war.

For just a few minutes before the picture was taken, Cpl Roberts faced a life-or-death duel with another German soldier who pulled out a pistol as he pretended to surrender. Luckily, he raised his gun in the nick of time and shot the enemy soldier dead.
The photo has been unearthed by an amateur historian who sent it to Cpl Roberts, from Bournemouth, Dorset, in the hope he could identify the Allied serviceman. But the great-grandfather went one better than that and instantly recognised himself in the photo.

Holding the picture, Cpl Roberts said: “I didn’t take a lot of notice of this guy at the time because I was so focused on what the Germans were doing after what had happened to me. I just passed the prisoners on one after the other after searching them.
But my mates who were watching the rest of the men saw this giant of a guy approach me and I was aware they and the Germans were having a good laugh. The Germans were saying that he was the tallest man in the German army, he was 7ft 6ins tall. My mates took some pictures of me with him with a camera they had taken from the Germans. Luckily he didn’t give me any aggravation. I couldn’t believe it when I received the photo after all these years. It took me back to a moment of light-heartedness so soon after I had been a blink of an eye from death.” Cpl Roberts, who was 21 at the time, was a member of the North Shore New Brunswick Regiment of the Canadian Army and stormed Juno Beach on D-Day in June 1944.
Cpl Roberts carried on fighting with his regiment through Belgium and Holland until February 1945 when he was badly injured in his right leg by a piece of shrapnel at Kappeln on the Holland/German border.“
Caption from the Telegraph. Colourised by Paul Reynolds