Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 2 (3 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   3 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Bradley Manning Is Punished for Seeking a More Perfect Union

      (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 3   Well Said 3   Valuable 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 3/7/11

Author 690
Become a Fan
  (60 fans)
- Advertisement -

He's Accused of Telling the Truth in a Time of Lies

By Kevin Zeese

Reports that Bradley Manning is being held nude every night at the Quantico Brig, then forced to stand naked in the hallway while he waits for his clothes, shows the inconsistency of the treatment of Manning with basic American values of due process, fair trial and human dignity.

Here is how his lawyer David Coombs describes his treatment:

"The Brig has stripped PFC Manning of all of his clothing for the past three nights, and they intend to continue this practice indefinitely.  Each night, Brig guards force PFC Manning to relinquish all of his clothing.  He then lies in a cold jail cell naked until the following morning, when he is required to endure the humiliation of standing naked at attention for the morning roll call.  According to Marine spokesperson, First Lieutenant Brian Villiard, the decision to strip him naked every night is for PFC Manning's own protection.  Villiard stated that it would be "inappropriate' to explain what prompted these actions "because to discuss the details would be a violation of PFC Manning's privacy.'"

Manning, who has not been convicted of anything, has been held in virtual solitary confinement for ten months. David House who has visited him since September described him as "emotionally exhausted" and "catatonic." The Constitution declares a right to bail, yet Manning who is not a risk of flight is denied bail.   Americans are required to be provided due process of law and a trial before a jury of their peers before being punished.    There is no provision in the Constitution allowing punishment before trial yet Manning is being punished.

Why is Manning being treated this way?   Because this young American allegedly saw crimes being committed in U.S. foreign policy and after trying to report them to his commander, with no good result, supposedly realized he had to get the information to the public. We are living in a time of myths and lies, and, as George Orwell aptly wrote: "In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   Manning allegedly let out the truth and is now paying the price.

Manning shows the true meaning of patriotism. Patriotism is not blind nationalism.   If Manning is guilty of what he is accused of, he sought to make the country more fair and just in the best traditions of America. He sought to make us a "more perfect union," a concept enshrined in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution.   The idea of creating a better country is sung about in "America the Beautiful:"

- Advertisement -

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

Manning is now being punished for allegedly disclosing the flaws of U.S. foreign policy in order to mend them.   He is a young man from Oklahoma who voluntarily joined the U.S. Army.   Manning believed the United States played a positive role in the world and was not anti-military.   He volunteered to serve his country, in doing so he saw how the U.S. conducts its military and foreign policy. He saw war crimes, violations of law and constant deception.    Manning is a principled American who wants his country to be all it promises to be but is not.

Manning was ordered "to round up and hand over Iraqi civilians" to the government the United State put in power and he saw they "were then torturing them with electrical drills and other implements."   He examined what 15 Iraqi prisoners who were being tortured had done and found they were accused of printing "anti-Iraqi literature." In fact, the literature was merely a scholarly critique of corruption in the government that asked "Where did the money go?"   He brought his concerns to the chain of command and was told to "shut up" and find more detainees. Evidently, Manning realized he "was actively involved in something that I was completely against..."

According to the unverified chat logs with the informant Adrian Lamo, Manning said that he hoped the publication of the documents and videos would spur "worldwide discussion, debates, and reform." He went on to say, "I want people to see the truth... regardless of who they are... because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public." He had already learned that the command structure would not listen, so Manning went beyond them to the people who are supposed to control the military in our democratic republic. He wanted Americans to know the truth.

The WikiLeaks documents that Manning allegedly released did help spur dramatic change by providing much-needed information about abusive security-state governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain among others.   It is disgraceful that America -- which constantly proclaims itself as supporting democracy around the world -- is now punishing Manning without trial for allegedly providing information that did so much for democracy and ending security state regimes around the world.  

- Advertisement -

Manning now faces charges that include the potential of capital punishment.   He was charged with 22 additional counts for his alleged role in a massive leak of classified information to WikiLeaks, including a charge of "aiding the enemy" that can result in the death penalty.   This charge is particularly disturbing as Glenn Greenwald points out: "This prosecution theory would convert acts of whistle-blowing into a hanging offense."  

This is particularly ironic since the former constitutional law professor who is now the U.S.   president, said in 2008 when he was running for office "Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal."   Further, as Secretary of State Clinton reminded us a speech on Internet freedom, when President Obama spoke in China, "he spoke about how access to information helps citizens hold their own governments accountable. . . ."

Indeed, Hillary Clinton is lecturing the world on the importance of freedom of speech and press in the Internet age saying these are "values etched in stone" that "every generation of Americans has worked to protect."   Last month, in her second speech on freedom in the 21st Century she stated "We govern with the consent of the people, and that consent must be informed to be meaningful." She applauded people around the world who used the Internet to "expose public corruption" and criticized countries that attempt to restrict the free flow of information. She proclaimed "Governments have to choose to live up to their commitments to protect free expression, assembly, and association."

Next Page  1  |  2

 

http://www.ItsOurEconomy.us and http://www.ComeHomeAmerica.U

Kevin Zeese is co-chair of Come Home America, www.ComeHomeAmerica.US which seeks to end U.S. militarism and empire. He is also co-director of Its Our Economy, www.ItsOurEconomy.US which seeks to democratize the economy and give people greater (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -
Google Content Matches:

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Why I Was Among Eight Health Care Advocates to Get Arrested in the Senate Yesterday

The Seeds of Rebellion Are Taking Root, and Protests Against Injustices Are Blooming Across the Country

BREAKING NEWS: BIG BREAKTHROUGHS FOR SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE

Ron Paul Press Conference Unifies Third Party and Independent Candidates Around Four Key Positions

Paperless Electronic Voting Machines Flipping Votes from Obama to McCain in West Virginia

Election Theft for 2008 Already Underway

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Billy Budd, started by Herman Melville and finishe... by Mark Langley on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 11:46:03 AM
This story makes my stomach turn. ... by Joslynne Davidson-Bailey on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 5:07:25 PM
Re: "How are the statements of President Obama and... by Harry Kershner on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 7:02:19 PM