There is, and should be, serious debate and discussion of how Bradley Manning affected our world by transferring a trove of classified US documents revealing war crimes to Wikileaks in 2010, and of his apology for doing so yesterday, in the process of demanding that he do not one more second in prison.
Bradley Manning took courageous action aimed at stopping what were, and will always remain, war crimes in pursuit of unjust, immoral, illegitimate occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. He did much more than that, as Dennis Loo recaps in Because of Bradley Manning:
Because of Bradley Manning, we have Edward Snowden, who was inspired to come forward by Manning’s example;
Because of Bradley Manning, we know that most of the prisoners held at Guantanamo are innocent or low-level operatives and we have the identities and pictures of the prisoners held at Guantanamo who are now hunger striking (BradleyManning.org);
Because of Bradley Manning, we have the “Collateral Murder” video which allowed Reuters to finally find out how their reporters were killed, in the face of years of Pentagon lies and stonewalling, and allowed the world to see the attitudes and actions of the U.S. soldiers who commit war crimes and laugh about it, and by implication, the brass and public officials who expect and encourage this barbaric behavior;
Because of Bradley Manning, “U.S. defense contractors were brought under much tighter supervision after leaked diplomatic cables revealed that they had been complicit in child trafficking activities. DynCorp — a powerful defense contracting firm that claims almost $2 billion per year in revenue from U.S. tax dollars — threw a party for Afghan security recruits featuring boys purchased from child traffickers for entertainment. DynCorp had already faced human trafficking charges before this incident took place” (BradleyManning.org);
Because of Bradley Manning, we have the Tunisian Revolution which in turn inspired Arab Spring which in turn inspired Occupy Wall Street which in turn showed the reservoir of mass support for radical/revolutionary changes here in the U.S.;
Bradley faces 90 years in prison. Notwithstanding his apology, and the outrageous lies of the prosecution, his actions and motivations are admirable. He deserves not one more moment in prison. He went into the military at 19, like many, seeking the GI bill to attend college, and spent three years there being indoctinated to deploy to a Forward Operating Base outside Bagdad, where he, according to testimony in the court martial, was isolated without support. Once he was arrested, he spent a month in an outdoor cage in Kuwait, 10 months in solitary confinement at the Marine prison in Quantico, and has been under exclusive control of the military for more than three years, facing life in prison.
It was heartbreaking to sit in court yesterday, as I did with the largest group of his supporters to date for the court martial, and hear the conditions of life he was born into; an abusive situation where his main caretaker was his 11 year old sister. It must have been excruciating for him to hear his Army psychologist relate the most personal details of Brad’s battles with identity and loneliness. He is not alone in facing all this, as millions of youth do in this class-divided, homophobic, misogynist, racist culture.
But Bradley was alone in an extraordinary way. Of the hundreds of thousands who had access to the classified U.S. material he did, he is apparently the only one to have seen something very wrong, and taken action to put those crimes before the people. More than anything, the U.S. government wants to stop any future Bradley Mannings or Edward Snowdens from blowing the whistle on war crimes.
We must continue demanding – in every way possible — an end to his imprisonment now. Not one more second in prison for Bradley.
The judge will pronounce the sentence very likely next week, most likely Wednesday August 21. Supporters will hold protests immediately, as we expect to have 24 hour notice. Check BradleyManning.org for updates, and take to the streets, airwaves, and social media to respond.
TONIGHT: Join World Can’t Wait Conference Call
Thursday August 15
10 pm Eastern 7pm Pacific
Bradley Manning is expected to speak during court on Wednesday. We’ll talk about this and other developments in his case and ways to spread the truth about war crimes that Bradley has claimed responsibility for informing us about.
We’re also looking ahead to October, when the U.S. will have occuped Afghanistan for 12 years; the continuing hunger strikes of GTMO prisoners and CA prisoners.
Debra Sweet is the Director of World Can’t Wait, and blogs at debra.worldcantwait.net.