Bradley Manning Deserves Americans' Support
Bradley Manning Deserves Americans' Support
By Desmond Tutu, Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel / rsnorg.org

Last week, PFC Bradley Manning offered to accept responsibility for releasing classified documents as an act of conscience – not as charged by the US military. As people who have worked for decades against the increased militarization of societies and for international cooperation to end war, we have been deeply dismayed by his treatment. The military under the Obama administration has displayed a desire to over-prosecute whistleblowing with life-in-prison charges including espionage and "aiding the enemy", a disturbing decision which is no doubt intended to set an example.

We have dedicated our lives to working for peace because we have seen many faces of armed conflict and violence, and we understand that no matter the cause of war, civilians always bear the brunt of the cost. With today's advanced military technology and the continued ability of business and political elites to filter what information is made public, there exists a great barrier to many citizens being fully aware of the realities and consequences of conflicts in which their country is engaged.

Responsible governance requires fully informed citizens who can question their leadership. For those citizens worldwide who do not have direct, intimate knowledge of war, yet are still affected by rising international tensions and failing economies, WikiLeaks releases attributed to Bradley Manning have provided unparalleled access to important facts.

Revealing covert crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and corporations' pervasive influence in governance, this window into the realities of modern international relations has changed the world for the better. While some of these documents may demonstrate how much work lies ahead in terms of securing international peace and justice, they also highlight the potential of the internet as a forum for citizens to participate more directly in civic discussion and creative government accountability projects.

Questioning authority, as a soldier, is not easy. But it can, at times, be honorable. Words attributed to Bradley Manning reveal that he went through a profound moral struggle between the time he enlisted and when he became a whistleblower. Through his experience in Iraq, witnessing suffering of innocent civilians and soldiers alike, he became disturbed by top-level policy that undervalued human life. Like other courageous whistleblowers, he was driven foremost by a desire to reveal the truth.

PFC Bradley Manning said in chat logs attributed to him that he hoped the releases would bring "debates, discussions and reform", and condemned the ways in which the "first world exploits the third." Much of the world regards PFC Manning as a hero for these efforts toward peace and transparency, and he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as a result. Much as when high-ranking officials in the United States and Britain misled the public in 2003 by saying there was an imminent need to invade Iraq to stop them from using weapons of mass destruction, however, the world's most powerful elites have again insulted international opinion and the intelligence of many citizens by withholding facts regarding Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks.

The military prosecution has not presented evidence that, by releasing secret documents, PFC Manning injured anyone, and they have asserted in court that the charge of "aiding the enemy through indirect means" does not require them to. Nor have they denied that his motivations were conscientious; they have simply argued they are irrelevant. In ignoring this context, and recommending a much more severe punishment for Bradley Manning than is given to US soldiers guilty of murdering civilians, military leadership is sending a chilling warning to other soldiers who would feel compelled by conscience to reveal misdeeds. It is our belief that leaders who use fear to govern, rather than sharing wisdom born from facts, cannot be just.

We Nobel Peace Prize laureates condemn the persecution Bradley Manning has suffered, including imprisonment in conditions declared "cruel, inhuman and degrading" by the United Nations, and call upon US citizens to stand up in support of this whistleblower who defended their democratic rights. In the conflict in Iraq alone, more than 110,000 people have died since 2003, millions have been displaced, and nearly 4,500 American soldiers have been killed. If someone needs to be held accountable for endangering Americans and civilians, let's first take the time to examine the evidence regarding high-level crimes already committed, and what lessons can be learned.

If Bradley Manning released the documents attributed to him, we should express to him our gratitude for his efforts toward accountability in government, informed democracy and peace.

For further information, visit the Bradley Manning Support Network

4.0 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
Jane Sanders: Why Bernie Voters Shouldn't Get Over It
Tessa Stuart · 47,335 views today · Bernie's wife discusses her proudest and most difficult campaign moments, the DNC email leak and the future of his revolution
The Reviews Are In: Conservatives Say the DNC Was 'Disaster' for the GOP
Katherine Krueger · 34,973 views today · Something strange happened on the last night of the Democratic National Convention. After the GOP nominee lambasted the Democrats on Twitter for displaying what he viewed as...
This is One of the Most Powerful Music Videos Ever Made
5 min · 27,926 views today · Official video for Ahmed by Lowkey ft. Mai Khalil contains devastating truths about war, migration and the underlying systemic issues that surround them.
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 27,387 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 26,016 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
Nina Turner's Timeless Message to the Democratic Establishment
2 min · 25,775 views today · "We are not going anywhere. We are here for the long term for ourselves and for generations yet unborn. We're going to stand up and make sure that not only is that platform...
Meet Some Sanders Delegates Who Plan to Turn Anger Into Positive Action
Isaiah Poole · 12,739 views today · Luz Sosa came to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as a disappointed Bernie Sanders delegate. But she is leaving fired up to take on big political fights in...
This Video Dispels Every "Nature VS Nurture" Myth You've Ever Heard. The Implications are Profound.
31 min · 8,126 views today · If everyone watched this it could radically transform the world. This is a segment from Moving Forward (2011). Watch the full documentary online here.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 6,586 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Capitalism and Mental Health: How the Market Makes Us Sick
22 min · 5,265 views today · Far from being a far-fetched pipe dream that human beings could never live under, pockets of anarchistic self-activity are what keep us sane in a profoundly insane world. This...
Don't Let Bernie Endorsing Hillary Distract You From What Matters
Tim Hjersted · 4,711 views today · There's been quite a lot of anger, disappointment and attention on Bernie's decision to endorse Clinton the last couple weeks. But I've started to believe this attention on...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 4,251 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 3,807 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
2016 Presidential Election Reality Check
2 min · 3,729 views today · We're awake now. We're not going back to sleep.
Law Professor's Epic Response to Black Lives Matter Shirt Complaint
Social Design Notes · 3,718 views today · A first year law school student wrote a complaint about her professor having worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during class. The professor’s response is priceless. Scans of...
42 Ways to Build a Liberated Society Beyond Capitalism
James Herod · 3,685 views today · It is time to try to describe, at first abstractly and later concretely, a strategy for destroying capitalism. At its most basic, this strategy calls for pulling time, energy...
Up to 28 Civilians Reportedly Killed in US-Led Strike in Syria
Andrea Germanos · 2,062 views today · Fresh strike took place in same area where US is said to have killed scores in airstrikes last week
Watch How Europeans Carved Up African Land They Never Owned
5 min · 1,893 views today · Watch how Europeans gave away African land they never owned, then expressed anger when Africans resisted.
History Tells Us What May Happen Next With Brexit and Trump
Tobias Stone · 1,651 views today · It seems we’re entering another of those stupid seasons humans impose on themselves at fairly regular intervals. I am sketching out here opinions based on information, they may...
Our Attitude Towards Wealth Played a Crucial Role in Brexit. We Need a Rethink
Stephen Hawking · 1,613 views today · The decision to leave the EU was disappointing. But now we’re outside the union, we need to be honest about the part that money plays in our society
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Bradley Manning Deserves Americans' Support