Bradley Manning is a hero, not a traitor

We live in a time when the government has more and more power to power to collect information about the citizens, the citizens have less and less power to find out what the government is doing, and the executive claims powers to operate outside the law.

Under such circumstances, the only way that we the people have to know what the government is doing is for courageous individuals to defy the government and reveal the secret crimes.

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Click to enlarge

Private Bradley Manning is a hero.  He faces court-martial for massive disclosure of secret information to WikiLeaks, including the “collateral murder” video, which showed the crew of an Apache helicopter shooting unarmed civilians and then the passers-by to attempted to help the wounded.  He also made public war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan, a vast number of diplomatic cables and information about mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to 10 charges, including unauthorized disclosure of secret information, but not guilty to 12 other charges, including knowingly giving help to al Qaeda, causing secret information to be published with the intent of making it available to the enemy, and knowingly disclosing information that would be used to injure the United States or helping a foreign nation.

He said he made the information public because he thought the American people ought to know what their government was doing.  “We were obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and ignoring goals and missions,” he told the court.  “I believed if the public, particularly the American public, could see this it could spark a debate on the military and our foreign policy in general [that] might cause society to reconsider the need to engage in counter-terrorism while ignoring the human situation of the people we engaged with every day.”

I don’t think anybody who was followed his case would doubt that this was his motive.

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Double click to enlarge.

Manning said that he first offered his information to the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Politico news service, and was turned down.  Only then, he said, did he turn to WikiLeaks.  This will undermine government attempts to claim that WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange conspired with Manning to obtain the tapes.   I personally think the reason that the government waited so long to bring Manning to trial was the hope that he could be induced to implicate Assange.   If so, they were disappointed.

The New York Times and Washington Post editors, in rejecting the information, behaved differently from the editors of an earlier era who published the Pentagon Papers, the Defense Department’s secret history of the Vietnam War.  As with the WikiLeaks disclosures, the Pentagon Papers revealed little that enemy leaders didn’t already know, but much that was highly embarrassing to the government.

Manning’s trial judge, Colonel Denise Lind, said that you can’t have a functioning military if everyone is free to disregard orders because of conscience.   That’s a good point.   But it’s not as if Bradley Manning has gotten off scot-free.   He has been in prison for two and a half years (1,012 days), including months stripped naked in solitary confinement.  He could be sentenced to 20 years in prison on the charges to which he has pleaded guilty (voluntarily, without a plea bargain), and he could be sentenced to life imprisonment if convicted on the other charges.  If it were up to me, I would find him guilty and sentence him to time served, plus a bad conduct discharge.

Click on the following for more.

Bradley Manning: the face of heroism  by Glenn Greenwald

Manning says Americans had a right to know the ‘true cost of war’ from The Guardian newspaper

Bradley Manning Describes ‘Collateral Murder’ Video as ‘War Porn’ on FireDogLake.

Manning’s Plea by Alyssa Rohricht for Counterpunch

The Fall Guy speaks on Psychopolitik

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2 Responses to “Bradley Manning is a hero, not a traitor”

  1. Abdul Kuddus Says:

    It’s not surprise that the bastions of power would want to convince people that true criminals are the likes of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange who expose dirty acts of political corruption and criminality, rather than those who perpetrate them.

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  2. Jeff Nguyen Says:

    Manning followed his conscience over orders and has sacrificed his freedom for possibly the rest of his life so that others could get a peek behind the theater’s curtains. This cannot be tolerated and now the head grasshopper must make an example of him so the rest of the ants stay in line. The shocking part isn’t what he revealed, its how little much of the mainstream press and pubic gave a damn.

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