When will his nightmare end?

February 23rd, 2013

Bradley Manning should be renowned as a hero for his part in exposing U.S. war crimes to the world. Instead … he’s rotting in a military brig – Published on Socialist Worker.org, by Nicole Colson, February 21, 2013.

ONE THOUSAND days in a military prison for the “crime” of alerting the American public to wartime atrocities. That’s the dubious “anniversary” that Pfc. Bradley Manning will mark on February 23.

Manning is the Army information specialist who revealed the horrific crimes inflicted on the people of Iraq by the U.S. military when he turned over classified files and video to the muckraking WikiLeaks website. 

The most serious charge that the now-25-year-old soldier faces is “aiding the enemy,” an offense that carries a potential death sentence. Other charges include wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, knowing that it will be accessed by the enemy, and violating Army regulations on information security.

Military prosecutors have recommended that Manning “only” receive life in a military brig if convicted of aiding the enemy. However, if Manning is convicted, military judge Col. Denise Lind could dismiss the recommendation and impose the death penalty.

Manning has admitted that as a young information specialist in the Army, he released documents to WikiLeaks, including the infamous “Collateral Murder” video, in which the crew of an Apache helicopter on patrol in Iraq celebrates while gunning down innocent civilians, including two Reuters journalists.

For millions of people in the U.S. and around the globe, the video and subsequent releases of State Department cables laid bare the horrors at the heart of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that U.S. leaders claimed were to “liberate” the oppressed. Yet for his part in exposing all this, Manning has been subjected to a litany of abuses at the hands of the government.

FOR 11 months, Manning was held in solitary confinement and subjected to cruel and inhuman punishments–including being stripped naked, humiliated and forced to endure sleep deprivation.

The military claimed it was merely “protecting” the allegedly depressed soldier from engaging in self-harm. But Manning’s supporters say such tactics were designed to break his spirit. They are particularly exploitive in light of some reports that Manning may earlier have come out to some as either gay or transgender.

In March 2012, after a 14-month long investigation, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez described Manning’s treatment at the hands of the U.S. as “at a minimum, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” … //

… Manning, whose trial date has been pushed back until June, has faced constant, illegal delays at the hands of the government.

According to the Bradley Manning Defense Network, “On Bradley Manning’s 964th day in prison without trial, both parties argued over the defense’s motion to dismiss charges for lack of a speedy trial. Under Rule for Court Martial 707, the military was supposed to arraign Bradley in 120 days, but it took over 600.”

In the face of such abuses, Manning’s lawyers announced late last year that Manning would be willing to admit supplying files to WikiLeaks and plead guilty to some lesser charges–a move that seems designed to limit Manning’s sentence to a total maximum of 20 years.

But there is no sign that the government will accept such a plea. Instead, it appears determined to make an example out of Manning.

And that is why this case is so crucial–and why Manning deserves our support.
(full text).

Links:

watch also the video which Bradley Manning released to wikileaks, becoming the reason for his imprisonnement: short version 1.41 min, long version 39.14 min;

Video: Bradley Manning Heads for Trial, No One Charged for Murdered Civilians, 15.55 min, on TRNN;

wikileaks on YouTube (any theme and language).

Comments are closed.