Bradley Manning Did the Right Thing by Whistleblowing
By Dennis Loo (8/15/13)
Bradley Manning is facing 90 years in prison. The government barred his defense team from presenting a whistleblower defense during his trial's first phase as to guilt or innocence. Since Manning’s rationale for revealing secret information that showed devastating and routine lies, war crimes, and crimes against humanity was to whistleblow – so that people could know what their government is actually doing - he was prevented from really presenting his case. Given this, he was not surprisingly, but nonetheless outrageously, convicted on nearly every charge prior to the current sentencing phase of the trial.
Under the pressures that he and his team are feeling in the face of this, they are attempting to obtain leniency from the judge. This is how his latest statement from the court needs to be seen:
"I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I 'm sorry that they hurt the United States," he said. "I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people. The last few years have been a learning experience.”
Manning says he understood what he was doing and the decisions he made. However, he says he did not believe at the time that leaking the information would cause harm.
Manning took the stand and gave the statement as part of the defense team's efforts to persuade the judge to issue a lighter sentence.
"I should have worked more aggressively inside the system...Unfortunately, I can't go back and change things," Manning [said].
I have been in political trials as a defendant and have observed closely political trials for decades. There is always a tension between what lawyers who represent you are trying to do – get the best terms for you as a defendant – and what political activists are trying to do and most acutely aware of – that especially overtly political trials have to mainly be fought in the realm of public opinion. They are first and foremost political contests and not first and foremost legal disputes. What Manning’s defense team has elected to do is to try to obtain leniency however they might and in the circumstances that they find themselves in. It is unfortunate, however, that this has led them to have Manning make this statement in court.
It must be said here once again that a) Manning’s whistleblowing was righteous and necessary, b) it did not “hurt the United States” nor did it lead to anyone being injured or killed, and c) as other whistleblowers from the NSA who were suppressed in their earlier efforts have stated, working within the system DID NOT WORK.
Here is the most relevant excerpt from an earlier article of mine (“Stop the U.S. Government’s Attempt to Criminalize Dissent”) on this point:
One of the things that my students and I discuss in my classes, especially in my theory and senior seminar classes, is the implacable, banal, and prevaricating nature of bureaucracies. This stands out in stark reality in the comments of former NSA insiders who have stepped forward, consciences in hand, to tell the story of their work. In The Atlantic's summary, for example, you can see this:
In short, it is Kabuki Theatre when senators, congressmen, congresswomen, Obama and his operatives claim that there is "Congressional oversight" and "checks and balances" and that it's all being done with adequate safeguards and supervision by the people's representatives. It is no such thing. A very few members of Congress are brave and truthful enough to admit this, such as Sen. Ron Wyden, who I quoted from last night, contrasting his candid comments to the outrageous lies of Obama that the NSA needs specific warrants if they are going to listen into the content of Americans' calls or emails. As Wyden stated in the US Senate on 12/27/12:
“[U]nder the FISA Amendments Act the government does not have to get the permission of the FISA Court to read particular emails or listen to particular phone calls.”
Whatever lies that are told by our government about Manning and whatever coerced concessions are made in this moment by Manning, what Manning revealed with his courageous whistleblowing should speak for itself and people should review it once again compared to the spin that those in authority and responsible for grave crimes on a daily basis want to put on this. Watch the Collateral Murder video. Listen to U.S. pilots laugh as they kill innocent people and shoot children. Read what Manning revealed to the world and what a difference it has made. The stakes in this battle include not only Manning’s particular fate as an individual but the fate of the world. What will prevail – lies and crimes or truth and justice?
Reprising "Because of Bradley Manning":
By Dennis Loo (8/1/13)
Because of Bradley Manning, we have Edward Snowden, who was inspired to come forward by Manning’s example;
Because of Bradley Manning, we know that most of the prisoners held at Guantanamo are innocent or low-level operatives and we have the identities and pictures of the prisoners held at Guantanamo who are now hunger striking (BradleyManning.org);
Because of Bradley Manning, we have the “Collateral Murder” video which allowed Reuters to finally find out how their reporters were killed, in the face of years of Pentagon lies and stonewalling, and allowed the world to see the attitudes and actions of the U.S. soldiers who commit war crimes and laugh about it, and by implication, the brass and public officials who expect and encourage this barbaric behavior;
Because of Bradley Manning, “U.S. defense contractors were brought under much tighter supervision after leaked diplomatic cables revealed that they had been complicit in child trafficking activities. DynCorp — a powerful defense contracting firm that claims almost $2 billion per year in revenue from U.S. tax dollars — threw a party for Afghan security recruits featuring boys purchased from child traffickers for entertainment. DynCorp had already faced human trafficking charges before this incident took place” (BradleyManning.org);
Because of Bradley Manning, we have the Tunisian Revolution which in turn inspired Arab Spring which in turn inspired Occupy Wall Street which in turn showed the reservoir of mass support for radical/revolutionary changes here in the U.S.;
Because of Bradley Manning, we know that Egyptian torturers received training from the U.S.: “According to a leaked diplomatic cable from Cairo, the head of Egypt’s notorious State Security Investigative Service (SSIS) thanked FBI Deputy Director John Pistole for the ‘excellent and strong’ cooperation between the two agencies. In particular, the FBI’s training sessions in Quantico, Virginia were of ‘great benefit’ to his interrogators. Another cable documented what the US embassy considered ‘credible’ allegations of human rights violations by the SSIS, including torturing prisoners with ‘electric shocks and sleep deprivation to reduce them to a “zombie state.”’ (BradleyManning.org);
Because of Bradley Manning, we know that the State Department under Hillary Clinton secretly sought to strong-arm the UN: “According to the ‘National Humint Collection Directive,’ a secret document that was signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and published by WikiLeaks, US diplomats were authorized to collect ‘biometric’ and other sensitive information from top UN officials as well as UN representatives from other nations. The leaked documents show that ‘biometric data’ specifically included samples of the officials’ DNA, among other forms of personally identifying information. They also ordered diplomats to collect credit card information and secure passwords. These activities contravene the 1946 UN Convention.” (BradleyManning.org);
Because of Bradley Manning, we know that the Japanese and U.S. governments were warned about the dangers of a nuclear disaster at Fukushima three years before the 2011 catastrophe but ignored the warnings. Fukushima has now been ranked as bad as Chernobyl and TEPCO officials recently admitted that the damaged plant has been leaking radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean ever since (BradleyManning.org);
Because of Bradley Manning, we know that in December 2009 President Obama authorized a secret drone campaign in Yemen. “A year later, WikiLeaks revealed that Yemen’s President Saleh had agreed that his regime would ‘continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.’” (BradleyManning.org);
Because of Bradley Manning, we know that hundreds of civilians in Iraq were executed at checkpoints (Iraq War Logs);
Because of Bradley Manning, we know that Obama’s administration handed over thousands of detainees to the Iraqi authorities with the knowledge that they would be tortured (Iraq War Logs);
Because of Bradley Manning, we know that 15,000 civilian deaths that were previously unknown were uncovered in the leaked files, in contrast to the denials of the U.S. government that they had figures on civilian deaths (Iraq War Logs);
Because of Bradley Manning, we know that detainees were humiliated, tortured, and killed by US Special Forces, the CIA, and military contractors (Iraq War Logs);
Because of Bradley Manning, the public is informed of things the government would never have let us know about, and would have continued to categorically deny with straight faces; and
Because of Bradley Manning’s conscience, bravery, and sacrifice on behalf of the interests and future of humanity, the world is a different place, a world in turmoil but with a chance now to turn things aright.