One thing most liberals and conservatives can agree on is that traitors like Bradley Manning, who break our code of silence and who tell us what we are really doing in the world, must be silenced at all costs. So we can go into the holiday seasons blissfully ignorant of the violence necessary to maintain our level of consumption, Bradley Manning rots in a cell.
What follows is a statement by three nobel laureates, Bishop Desmond Tutu most recognizable of them.
As people who have worked for decades against the increased militarization of societies and for international cooperation to end war, we are deeply dismayed by the treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning. We have dedicated our lives to working for peace because we have seen the 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.
Revealing covert crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, 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. The words attributed to 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, he became disturbed by top-level policy that undervalued human life and caused the suffering of innocent civilians and soldiers. Like other courageous whistleblowers, he was driven foremost by a desire to reveal the truth.
Manning has said he hoped releasing the documents would bring “discussion, debates and reforms” and reveal ways “first world exploits the third.”
In… 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 might 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 Americans 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, as the prosecution contends, we should express to him our gratitude for his efforts toward accountability in government, informed democracy and peace.
It falls back to those of us who spend this holiday season outside prison to be a loud reminder to those who do not want to hear, and a glaring conscience to those who do not wish to see. In times of injustice, a nation’s streets fill with slaves parading loudly in the name of freedom, and its prisons fill with the few remaining souls who are free.
For more on the statement, clicke here: http://www.thenation.com/article/171272/nobel-laureates-salute-bradley-manning