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Bradley Manning and "Have a Good Day"

Bradley Manning and "Have a Good Day"

By Dennis Loo (7/25/13)

In closing arguments today in the Bradley Manning trial, prosecutor Major Ashden Fein argued that Manning was out to make a name for himself in becoming a whistleblower. As part of the government's evidence for that, according to the CBS report, Fein cited Manning's sign off in his message to Wikileaks: "Have a good day."

My, my. He said that? He must have invented the phrase just to show his glee that he was just so delighted to be revealing war crimes to the world. He must have thought, "This is just so peechy keen, I'm going to become famous and the U.S. government and the U.S. military, well, of course they're not going to get mad at what I've revealed and try to persecute me. I'm going to have such a fine time of it in the wake of this."

To accept the government's argument, you have to believe that people who stick their necks out for a cause can't possibly be motivated by a belief in something bigger than their own ego.

Ever since I can remember as a young boy when I would watch or read in the news about someone who risked their life or their reputation for something bigger than themselves and were pilloried for it, even though I didn't necessarily understand what was at stake because of my age, it struck me as peculiar that these brave individuals' critics would deride these individuals for being fame seekers and narcissists. "If you're risking your life or career and endangering your family and loved ones, how can this be due to seeking individual glory?" Maybe that's not a direct quote of my thoughts at the time : ), but this was the tenor of it.

What is at stake in this trial is something so momentous that it would be worthwhile putting up a sign the size of the HOLLYWOOD sign: TRUTH. The government's argument is that anyone - someone in the military, someone in the civilian sector, a journalist, a news organization, a scholar, a government official, a priest, anyone at all - who reveals information, whether it's classified or not, into the public arena can be held accountable and tried for treason on the grounds that that information was read by some organization (dubbed "terrorist" by these same authorities) somewhere in the world. By revealing information that authorities deem "sensitive," authorities can go after you for "aiding and abetting the enemy." That is what is at stake in this trial. The same people who define who the terrorists are are the ones in charge.

It means, if Manning is convicted and the nation meekly accept this, that the government has gotten its way, Obama and all of his successors have gotten their way, in gagging journalists and whistleblowers. It means that only that which authorities regard as acceptable to make known to the public will henceforth be acceptable.

Does that sound anything like a tyranny to you?

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