Army colonel Judge Denise Lind sentenced Pvt. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison, functionally equivalent to life in prison. In addition, the government, determined to make sure that no one could mistake its chilling message dishonorably discharged Manning, reduced his rank and confiscated all pay. Private Manning admitted turning over 700,000 diplomatic cables and other documents to Wikileaks, including a video of U.S. troops laughing and joking while they murdered innocent Iraqis. Manning testified in open court that he did this because he believed that the American people and the peoples of the world had a right to know what was being done in their names, and in some cases, what was being done to them.
President John F. Kennedy warned that, “war will exist until that day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.” Today with the outrageous and retaliatory sentencing of Pvt. Bradley Manning the US continues to distance itself from any notion of respect for conscientious objectors or commitment to democracy.
Today’s sentencing of Pvt. Bradley Manning will do nothing to hasten the day when people of conscience are valued for trying to reduce human suffering. Where is the court that will judge George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld et al and their equivalent successors in the uber-Orwellian Obama administration?” Where is the court martial for the soldiers who tortured Pvt. Bradley Manning?
Through the court martial, torture and sentencing of Bradley Manning the government has sent an unambiguous and chilling message to the American public and in particular to present-day and future whistleblowers that it will not tolerate dissent, transparency or exposing government corruption.
Investigative journalist Kevin Berends offered: “If this sentence were a message to government wrongdoers saying their crimes will be prosecuted then the policy makers Manning exposed would be facing Nuremberg-scale charges of crimes against humanity. Sadly, this is aimed at whistle blowers who may feel compelled by conscience to inform we fellow citizens of the crimes that are routinely committed by the government under a sacred ‘national security’ cloak.”
Bradley Manning did his part. In a democracy, now that we know the sordid stench that Bradley and others have exposed it is our duty to do our part. We are witnessing the opening salvos in the War on Government Secrecy. That’s how high the stakes are for those in power and how vulnerable they are when their lawlessness is exposed.
~ Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo serves as Director of Governmental Transparency and Accountability in the Democracy Branch of the Green Shadow Cabinet of the U.S.
Please distribute and sign the Amnesty International Petition below requesting presidential clemency for Pvt. Bradley Manning . . .
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Restore the United States’ human rights record and grant clemency to Pvt. Bradley Manning!
The prosecution of Bradley Manning starkly contrasts to the US govt’s repeated failure to deliver justice for serious human rights violations committed during counter-terror operations of the past decade.
Manning, who released classified information exposing potential breaches of international humanitarian law by U.S. forces, was sentenced in military court on Aug 21st to 35 yrs in prison.
Manning’s severe sentence contrasts with the leniency given those responsible for torture and other types of grave human rights violations he revealed.
To reduce this blight on the U.S. human rights record, President Obama should grant Manning clemency for time served, protect whistleblowers, and provide accountability for crimes like those Manning exposed.
Sign here: PARDON.BRADLEYMANNING.ORG