For Bradley Manning and his fellow Truth Tellers
Chris Floyd writes:
If any one person can be said to have ended the direct involvement of the United States military in Iraq, it is not the man whose champions claim this deed as one of his glorious accomplishments: Barack Obama.
No, if you had to choose one person whose actions were the most instrumental in ending the overt phase of the war, it would be the mocked, shackled, tortured, defenseless Bradley Manning.
Here are Manning’s own words from an online chat: “If you had free reign over classified networks … and you saw incredible things, awful things … things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC … what would you do? … God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms. … I want people to see the truth … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”
Do not the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Geneva Conventions speak of a higher duty than blind loyalty to one’s government, a duty to report the war crimes of that government? Every scrap of evidence presented about Manning’s alleged crimes makes it clear that he was acting from rational, well-considered motives, based on the highest ideals. Indeed, wasn’t Manning simply following the words of Jesus Christ — words carved in stone, with the most bitter irony, in the entranceway of the original headquarters of the CIA: “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
It was after seeing American war crimes such as those depicted in the video “Collateral Murder” and documented in the “Iraq War Logs,” made public by Manning and Wikileaks, that the Iraqis refused to exempt US forces from prosecution for future crimes. The video depicts an American helicopter indiscriminately murdering several non-combatants in addition to two Reuters journalists, and the wounding of two little children, while the helicopter pilots cheer the attacks in a Baghdad suburb like it was the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.
The insistence of the Iraqi government on legal jurisdiction over American soldiers for violations of Iraqi law — something the United States rarely, if ever, accepts in any of the many countries where its military is stationed — forced the Obama administration to pull the remaining American troops from the country.
If Manning had committed war crimes in Iraq instead of exposing them, he would be a free man today …
But he is not a free man, of course. It is very likely that he will never be free again. He will spend the rest of his life in a federal prison for the unforgiveable crime of telling the truth to people who don’t want to hear it.
A tribute to Bradley and his fellow truth-tellers can be found here