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
Something Extraordinary Is Happening in the World, And Most People Haven't Noticed
Gustavo Tanaka · 16,738 views today · Most of us haven't quite realized there is something extraordinary happening. A few months ago, I freed myself from standard-procedure society. I broke the chains of fear that...
The Pain You Feel Is Capitalism Dying
Joe Brewer · 11,508 views today · I know it hurts — but what you are feeling (alongside millions of others) is the natural consequence of late-stage capitalism.
Millions of Americans Now Claim Donald Trump Does Not Exist
Richard Heinberg · 10,261 views today · On May 13 the American news media reported that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had recruited U.S. Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer of North...
A Simple 6 Step Self Compassion Exercise to Combat Depression and Low Self Esteem
5 min · 10,249 views today · It’s all too easy to be extremely tough on ourselves; we need – at points – to get better at self-compassion. Here is an exercise in how to lessen the voices of self-flagellation.
Britain's Landed Elite, Backed by Money Earned Through Slavery, Are Using Migrants as Scapegoats
Andrew Butler · 8,043 views today · This is Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, a Conservative Member of Parliament for South Dorset. He lives in Charborough House (pictured above) on his the family’s...
What You Do for a Living Doesn’t Interest Me- I Want to Know What You Ache For
Oriah · 7,129 views today · It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you...
We're Living in a Racial Caste System Designed to Divide Us, Benefiting No One But the 1%
11 min · 6,033 views today · This powerful new video by Matthew Cooke is currently spreading like wildfire across the internet, and with good reason. Pulling together disparate stands to create the story...
A World War Has Begun - Break The Silence
John Pilger · 5,737 views today · I have been filming in the Marshall Islands, which lie north of Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Whenever I tell people where I have been, they ask, "Where is...
3 Signs Corporate Work Culture Has Become Toxic to the Human Spirit
Sigmund Fraud · 5,267 views today · Feeling trapped on the corporate ladder? You’re not alone… our work culture has become uncaring, toxic and rather dangerous to our well-being.
A Non-Exhaustive List of All the Things I Used to Do to Try to Become More Beautiful
Rosemary Donahue · 5,065 views today · I used to get made fun of for my big front teeth. Once, when I got home from school, I found my mom’s nail file and tried to file them down. The edge of the nail file caught...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 4,653 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
The Most Eco-Friendly Nation on the Planet Is Now Carbon Negative
Carolanne Wright · 4,261 views today · Lodged between two of the most populated countries on earth — India and China — Bhutan may be small at 700,000 souls, but it has a mighty role to play in showing the world how...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 3,949 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Nature By Numbers - Exploring The Extraordinary Geometric Patterns Around Us
4 min · 3,061 views today · From shells to sunflowers, dragonfly eyes to bee hives, you can find amazing connected paterns throughout nature. 
How The Elite Stay In Power
5 min · 2,331 views today · In this video we break down in simple terms the only way "those in power" can stay in power. It's not as complex at it may seem. They need us more than we need them.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into A Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,871 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Grayson Perry: All Man
10 min · 1,740 views today · Artist Grayson Perry explores contemporary masculinity, visiting ultra-male worlds to explore the changing lives and expectations of men in Britain today, and reflecting on his...
Nowhere Line: Voices From Manus Island
15 min · 1,673 views today · An animated short film, narrated by two asylum-seeking men detained in Australia's Manus Island Offshore Processing Centre, recounting the dangerous journeys that brought them...
KING: Why I'm Leaving the Democratic Party
Shaun King · 1,630 views today · Many of you aren't religious, so please forgive me for recalling my roots as a preacher and starting us off with a simple verse of scripture. "The love of money is the root of...
Military Fatigues and Floral Scarves
Rahila Gupta · 1,613 views today · Rahila Gupta meets the women fighters who are helping to stop the advance of ISIS while also leading a radical democratic charge against capitalist ideology. Welcome to the...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Bradley Manning Deserves Americans' Support