Actually, I am not surprised that Bradley Manning is getting no press. The U.S. government does not want us to concentrate on Bradley Manning. Maybe, it is because of this:
In 2009 the American ambassador to Tunisia spent the evening at the home of Mohamed Sakher el-Materi, the president’s son-in-law. By any standards the dinner was lavish – yogurt and ice cream were flown in from St Tropez – and the home was opulent. In a cable, made public by WikiLeaks, the diplomat wrote: “The house was recently renovated and includes an infinity pool … there are ancient artefacts everywhere: Roman columns, frescos and even a lion’s head from which water pours into the pool. Materi insisted the pieces are real.” By Tunisian standards it was particularly obscene. El-Materi owned a tiger and fed it four chickens a day.
“With Tunisians facing rising inflation and high unemployment, the conspicuous displays of wealth and persistent rumours of corruption have added fuel to the fire.” (This certainly sounds familiar.)But the US continued to back the Tunisian president anyway, considering him a reliable ally against terrorism and preferring a dependable dictatorship to an unpredictable democracy. Until, of course, a couple months after the WikiLeaks revelations, Tunisians rose up and ejected him, unleashing a wave of revolutions in the region.
The dispatches revealed details of corruption and kleptocracy that many Tunisians suspected, but could not prove, and would cite as they took to the streets. They also exposed the blatant discrepancy between the west’s professed values and actual foreign policies. Having lectured the Arab world about democracy for years, its collusion in suppressing freedom was undeniable as protesters were met by weaponry and tear gas made in the west, employed by a military trained by westerners.
At the time Manning released the diplomatic cables and military reports he wrote: “I want people to see the truth … regardless of who they are. Because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” He hoped by releasing the cables he would spark “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”.
If the leaks laid bare the hypocritical claim that the US was exporting democracy, then the nature of his incarceration and prosecution illustrate the fallacy of its insistence that it is protecting both freedom and security at home. Manning’s treatment since his arrest in May 2010 has involved a number of serious human rights violations.
A video that soon went viral showing two Reuters employees, among others, being shot dead by a US Apache helicopter in Iraq. They were among a dozen or so people milling around near an area where US troops had been exposed to small arms fire. The soldiers, believing the camera to be a weapon, opened fire, leaving several dead and some wounded.
“Look at those dead bastards,” says one pilot. “Nice,” says the other. When a van comes to pick up the wounded they shoot at that too, wounding two children inside. “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle,” one of the pilots says.
An investigation exonerated the soldiers on the grounds that they couldn’t have known who they were shooting. No disciplinary action was taken.
“This shit that killed those people do not represent me. I am not a flag waving, troops loving, mindless drone who will run around thanking our ‘service men and women’ for killing people who have done no harm against the U.S.” Bradley Manning has more compassion, empathy, sympathy, ethics, decency and morality than those ‘hooligans’ will ever want. The likes of them is what the U.S. government wants, not the likes of Bradley Manning. It is a sin and a shame that Bradley Manning is the one on trial and not those soulless cowards who shot innocent people with no consideration at all. Those of us who live in the U.S. have much to answer for because we go blindly on our way, seeking our pleasures and giving not a thought nor a care to what is being done in our name. We are just as guilty as those bastards who shot those innocent people! Never doubt it for a minute!
Private Manning has been subjected to torture, stripped naked every night and forced to remain in a 6ft by 8ft cell in solitary confinement for leaking the truth about what the U.S. government not only condones, but actually encourages. If exposing our dirty, filthy and depraved actions warrants a life sentence, then lock me the hell up because I too, would have exposed them! Nor would I don a uniform, grab a gun and defend this country against no enemy of mine! You want the dirty work done, then drag your ass out of the Oval Office, out of the chambers of the Senate and the House and dirty your goddamn hands, but you don’t have to because you’ve got plenty who are willing to stand up and do your dirty work for you. Count me the hell out, you pack of depraved lying, hypocritical cowards!
Private Manning, I salute you and thank you for exposing to me, the hypocrisy and the lies, the torture and the killing done in my name! I am not complicit in that shit!