Bradley Manning took full responsibility for the information he’s pleaded guilty to releasing and bravely faced the 20 year sentence he could’ve received, yet for American prosecutors, this isn’t enough, they wish to show that Manning aided the enemy, a charge for which they have the option of executing him. Despite the importance the US Government placed on the information he released, to date, no one’s faced charges for the crimes exposed by Manning, making the whole process appear to be the workings of a kangaroo court. After Manning pleaded guilty to 10 charges and stoically faced the fact that he might face a 20-year prison sentence, the American prosecutors decided to continue with his prosecution on 12 more charges, including the rarely-used charge of aiding the enemy, which carries with it the possibility of a death sentence, something the prosecution said they wouldn’t pursue.
Mr Manning’s plea was not part of a deal to have other charges dropped, but the prosecution could’ve proven its wisdom and used the option it presented them to drop the other charges and move directly to the sentencing phase of the trial. In a statement released to the public, the prosecution stated the following, “Given the scope of the alleged misconduct, the seriousness of the charged offenses, and the evidence and testimony available, the USA intends to proceed with the court-martial to prove Manning committed the charged offenses beyond the lesser charges to which he has already pled guilty”. The case of Bradley Manning proves beyond all doubt that genuine justice isn’t of real importance to the USA, and, perhaps, that the USA has become a corrupt and illegal rogue country, as one sees in the way that their subservient states and their allies they continue to follow them blindly.
According to media reports, the prosecutors intend to call 141 witnesses to Manning’s court martial, which should begin on 13 June 2013, to show that some of the open-source documents released by Manning were found in the former compound of Osama bin Laden. Whether they’d provide evidence that al-Qaeda used the information in the planning of any terrorist acts against the USA is yet to be known, but apparently, for American prosecutors, at this point, mere possession is enough.
Despite the fact that Mr Manning exposed war crimes and the illegality of the American execution of the “War on Terror”, despite the fact that he was detained without trial or charges for over 1,000 days, with his egregious treatment and pre-trial punishment in contradiction of American and international law, American prosecutors plan to continue his trial on charges of aiding al-Qaeda and the enemy, rather than doing the correct and legal thing, which is to dismiss the charges against him, thus, giving Mr Manning the right that many feel he’s earned more than most, to be a free man and a hero. Unfortunately, the treatment of Mr Manning, rather than being an abomination or an egregious exception triggering massive protests and widespread questioning by the general public of the real motivations behind the actions of their government, a government which is supposed to serve them, for the majority of the misinformed, fearful, and subservient population in the USA, it’s something that they’ve become accustomed to, which, in their continuing silence, they support with no import being given to freedom of the press, accountability, and the very principles of democracy.
The treatment of Private Manning is the embodiment of what’s wrong with the USA, and if what he did didn’t trigger an internal American debate, it’s surely triggered a massive international debate. Mr Manning is what those hiding behind a veil of secrecy to commit crimes against all humanity fear most, an individual with access to information proving their criminal conduct, with a conscience and higher moral ideals willing to sacrifice themselves, and his case, has exposed that fact to the world. Whether anything will change or whether anyone will ever be prosecuted for the crimes exposed by Manning is highly doubtful, as those who committed and ordered them and their support network are still in power, yet his actions did expose the illegality and the hypocrisy of the USA to the entire world, and showed that it’s possible for one person to effect, if not change, then, at least, cause embarrassment.
That embarrassment and his attempt to bring those guilty to account, as well as the fact that Mr Manning is being used an example to scare others who might consider blowing the whistle, are behind his persecution. Rather than paying proper attention to the message, the system went after the messenger and all conduits of that message, as they have with WikiLeaks, Assange, Hammond, Swartz, and thousands of other journalists and truth seekers. Without a doubt, those who’ve subverted the US Government, who’ve propagated the “war on Terror” paradigm, continue to conduct illegal wars against poor defenceless nations. As long as they remain in power, they aren’t interested in pursuing those who commit crimes in the process of executing their illegal policies; in fact, they protect them. The list of those who should’ve faced prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity, but who have protection from the Establishment, is too long to list here, but includes everyone from George W Bush down to Lynndie England, hence, the ongoing persecution of Manning. According to the military and the hawks in power, Manning was supposed to keep his mouth shut and follow orders, just like every other soldier or tool of the US military apparat. Speaking out was his sin; the most expeditious way to prosecute him is by saying he was aiding terrorists and al-Qaeda.
In fact, what Mr Manning did, is to aid the American people and the world’s population find the rule of law and true democracy. The fact that he did so knowing the risk he faced, and the fact that he stood up in open court and took full responsibility for the largest leak of sensitive information in American history is something that makes him one of the greatest heroes of modern times. The US Government and those in power have got it so terribly wrong on so many levels in the case of Manning, but above all, his case proves that soldiers and those who witness horrendous acts and illegality being carried out under the influence of power have nowhere to go and no one to turn to, proving that the true rule of law and legal oversight in the USA have become farcical, something that one only pays lip service to.
In his almost two-hour statement to the court, Manning detailed how he came to be an intelligence analyst, how his diminutive stature made his time in basic training torturous, the nature and his views on the information that he processed, the problems he had in the field in carrying out his mission, how WikiLeaks (WLO) came to his attention after they published 500,000 text messages related to 9/11, and the circumstances surrounding each release. His most telling statement, which sheds light on his motivations, was the following regarding a diplomatic cable he had access to, “The more I read, the more I was fascinated with the way that we dealt with other nations and organisations. I also began to think that the documented backdoor deals and seemingly criminal activity didn’t seem characteristic of the de facto leader of the free world”.
Truly a prisoner of conscience, Bradley Manning is a hero, and should be treated as such, those responsible for the crimes he’s revealed to the world should be pursued, but in reality, this won’t occur, because in the paradigm that the USA is trapped in, and our world is being pulled into, the messenger is of more importance than the message, and anyone who goes against the criminality of those in power must be eradicated with extreme prejudice.
Voice of Russia World Service