Bradley Manning: Imprisoning a National Hero
by Stephen Lendman
We’re all vulnerable. We’re all Bradley Manning. His fate is ours.
Charging, prosecuting, convicting, sentencing and imprisoning him reflects the shame of the nation. It reveals its true face.
Previous article said American honors its worst. It spurns its best. It vilifies them. It persecutes them. It does so shamelessly. It does it irresponsibly. It does it repeatedly. It does it lawlessly.
War criminals win Nobel Peace Prizes. They’re awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom. They deserve prosecution. They deserve prison. They deserve the hardest of hard time longterm.
When exposing crimes of war and against humanity is criminalized, justice gets turned on its head. Manning faces 35 years in prison. It’s for acting responsibly. It’s for doing the right thing.
He deserves high praise, not prosecution. He faces potential decades behind bars instead. Washington intends making it hard time. A previous article explained.
Imprisoning Manning shows America’s true face. It exposes its dark side. It mocks judicial fairness. It conceals Washington’s true agenda.
Mass slaughter, destruction and human misery explain best. So does waging war on humanity. It’s doing it globally. It’s targeting freedom.
America’s no democracy. It never was. For sure it’s not now. It’s an out-of control pariah state. It’s a rogue state. It’s a criminal state. It’s a tyrannical one.
Paul Craig Roberts calls it a “gangster state.” It partners with likeminded ones. America, Britain and Israel represent the real axis of evil.
They’re the greatest threat humanity faces. They’re unmatched in human history. Their agenda threatens to end it.
They mock democratic values. They spurn rule of law principles. They operate extrajudicially. They pretend otherwise. They’re unapologetic.
They threaten humanity’s survival. They bear full responsibility for global wars. They plan more ahead. Human lives don’t matter. They’re are a small price to pay. Unchallenged dominance alone counts.
“(G)et accustomed to the police state,” said Roberts. Imprisoning Manning’s Exhibit A.
After Wednesday’s sentencing, his lawyer David Coombs answered reporters’ questions. Manning revealed nothing sensitive, he said.
“I think the damage there was an embarrassment there of having other people see that we don’t always do the right thing for the right reasons.”
This “might come as a surprise to some people.”
“(I)f people actually look to (the) documents he revealed, they’ll see that we don’t always do what we should do and we’re not always the country we should strive to be.”
Manning thought “he (could) make a difference.”
“How disheartening it must have been (to learn it) really wasn’t always the mission.”
“And we didn’t always just kill bad people. Sometimes we just kill people because they were in the wrong place, and no one asked questions.”
“And no one investigated to see if we do something wrong. And when we did do something wrong, we didn’t come forward with that information.”
“We didn’t readily admit the mistake and say we’re sorry and show how we’re going to prevent this from happening in the future.”
“We owe that to the American public. We owe that to the public that we go to protect, and to help them build a good country.”
“And yet, we didn’t do that. And so for Brad to see that, I think that is probably what accelerated his belief that the public needed to see this information.”
John Paul Jones is called the Father of the United States Navy. He was a Revolutionary War naval fighter. He’s known for having said “I have not yet begun to fight.”
He said it in response to British Captain Richard Pearson. He asked Jones to surrender his ship – the USS Bonhomme Richard.
On October 31, 1936, Franklin Roosevelt announced his second New Deal. He did it during his reelection campaign. “We have not come this far without a struggle,” he said.
“I assure you,” he added, “we cannot go further without (more) struggle. (W)e have only just begun to fight.”
Coombs ended his press conference the same way, saying:
“Please know that (Manning’s) fight is not over.”
Great struggles require longterm commitment. Quitting isn’t an option. The stakes are far too great. They reflect much more than Manning.
Perhaps he best symbolizes what’s wrong. There’s so much more. Today is the most perilous time in world history. Daily events should scare everyone. Upside down reality threatens humanity’s survival.
Lawlessness is rewarded, not punished. So is warmaking. Peacemakers are vilified. Advocating it is considered unpatriotic. It’s considered sissy. It’s considered wrongheaded. It’s considered criminal.
Exposing crimes of war, against humanity and genocide risks prosecution. Doing the right thing’s considered wrong.
Humanity’s survival is threatened. It may not survive Obama’s second term. Rogue governance bears full responsibility. Top priority is challenging it. It’s doing so responsibly. There’s nothing more important than that.
The Bradley Manning Support Network published his request for a presidential pardon. Chances are virtually nil. It’s in letter form. It’s passionate. It’s powerful. It’s sincere. It’s morally and ethically principled.
It’s polar opposite Obama. It reflects the highest form of patriotism. It’ll be delivered to Obama at the White House.
At his press conference, Coombs read it aloud. It states:
“The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war.”
“We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.”
“I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing.”
“It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity.”
“We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians.”
“Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.”
“In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process.”
“We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.”
“Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power.”
“When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.”
“Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy – the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps – to mention a few.”
“I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.”
“As the late Howard Zinn once said, ‘There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.’ “
“I understand that my actions violated the law; I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States.”
“It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.”
“If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society.”
“I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”
America isn’t beautiful. It never was. It’s not now. It’s not the land of the free and home of the brave. Longstanding policies belie high-minded rhetoric.
Things are worse than ever today. Humanity’s very existence is threatened. Dismissiveness increases the possibility of its annihilation. Mass activism alone has a chance to save it.
America believes war is peace. Regional wars may spread globally. Doing so is madness. Today’s super-weapons make earlier ones look like toys.
Admiral Hyman Rickover’s known as the father of America’s nuclear navy. In 1982, he delivered the Morgenthau Memorial Lecture. He titled it “Thoughts on Man’s Purpose in Life.”
He discussed “some basic principles of existence, propounded by thinkers through the ages.”
He highlighted responsibility, perseverance, excellence, creativity and courage. He said they’re vital for “intellectual growth and development.”
He asked: “How can we equate nuclear weapons and warfare with moral and ethical values?”
“Weapons of themselves are neither moral nor amoral; it is their use that raises the moral and ethical issue.”
“In all wars, man has used the best weapons available to him.”
“If history has any meaning for us, it shows that men will continue to use the best weapons they have to win.”
“Throughout history, even when men have established leagues to prevent war, they have nevertheless resorted to it. Utopia is still beyond the horizon.”
In testimony before Congress the same year, Rickover said:
“I do not believe that nuclear power is worth it if it creates radiation.” He said he’s “a great exponent of stopping this whole nonsense of war.”
He repeated his Morgenthau Memorial Lecture warning, saying:
“The lesson of history is when a war starts, every nation will ultimately use whatever weapon it has available.”
Before the nuclear age, wars didn’t threaten humanity. Rickover knew things changed. The risk of mushroom shaped denouement is real.
Jimmy Carter was part of Rickover’s nuclear navy. In 1984, he said:
“I wish that nuclear power had never been discovered. I would forego all the accomplishments of my life, and I would be willing to forego all the advantages of nuclear power to propel ships, for medical research and for every other purpose of generating electric power, if we could have avoided the evolution of atomic explosives.”
Waging peace matters most. Wars beget more of them. They risk greater ones. They risk mass destruction. They risk ending history.
Humanity must either end wars or risk annihilation. There’s no in between.
A Final Comment
On August 21, the Center for Constitutional Rights condemned Manning’s persecution. It issued the following statement, saying:
“We are outraged that a whistleblower and a patriot has been sentenced on a conviction under the Espionage Act.”
“The government has stretched this archaic and discredited law to send an unmistakable warning to potential whistleblowers and journalists willing to publish their information.”
“We can only hope that Manning’s courage will continue to inspire others who witness state crimes to speak up.”
“This show trial was a frontal assault on the First Amendment, from the way the prosecution twisted Manning’s actions to blur the distinction between whistleblowing and spying to the government’s tireless efforts to obstruct media coverage of the proceedings.”
“It is a travesty of justice that Manning, who helped bring to light the criminality of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, is being punished while the alleged perpetrators of the crimes he exposed are not even investigated.”
“Every aspect of this case sets a dangerous precedent for future prosecutions of whistleblowers – who play an essential role in democratic government by telling us the truth about government wrongdoing – and we fear for the future of our country in the wake of this case.”
“We must channel our outrage and continue building political pressure for Manning’s freedom. President Obama should pardon Bradley Manning, and if he refuses, a presidential pardon must be an election issue in 2016.
Ben Wizner heads the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. He addressed Manning’s mistreatment, saying:
“When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system.”
“A legal system that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability.”
“This is a sad day for Bradley Manning, but it’s also a sad day for all Americans who depend on brave whistleblowers and a free press for a fully informed public debate.”
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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