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Issue #1606      August 14, 2013

UNAC statement on the conviction of Bradley Manning*

Bradley Manning is an American hero. He helped expose the crimes of the US government as it wages immoral and illegal wars against people around the world. Manning exposed the fact that the US military was killing civilians, including first responders, without cause. He exposed the fact that the CIA was conducting an undeclared war in Pakistan, that the US tortures prisoners and looks the other way when others do the same, and much more.

Bradley Manning.

There were no military or government secrets in the material that Manning leaked, only reports of immoral and illegal activities that our government and military were conducting. This material was classified so that we would not know about this. But people have the right to know about such activities in order to make informed decisions about what we want our government to do. Neither politicians nor the corporate media were telling us these truths, so we needed Bradley Manning to come forward to speak truth to power.

Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy but was found guilty on 20 charges that could result in his being sentenced to 136 years in prison. We can be sure that the military court will give him a hefty sentence; because he did something that the government wants no one else to do – expose government crimes. A stiff sentence will say to all, “If you expose the crimes of this government, you we be tracked down and locked away forever.”

The biggest fear the US government has is that it will be exposed as a government supporting the interests of the 1% at the cost of the needs of the 99%. The US government fears the truth more than anything else. Bradley Manning revealed the truth.

Edward Snowden also revealed the truth when he exposed the fact that the US government is spying on every American and on millions of others around the world. This is why they twisted arms of governments around the world to violate Snowden’s right to seek asylum. Our government again violated international law and the safety of the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, by forcing down his plane in Austria, thinking Snowden might be on board. It was also fear of the truth that led them to jail civil liberties lawyer Lynne Stewart for the “crime” of sending out press releases from her client, the blind sheik, and it is why they deny her compassionate release as she nears death from cancer in a Texas prison.

It is fear of the truth that has led the Obama administration to crack down on whistleblowers more than any other administration in history, including using the 1917 Espionage Act to persecute whistle blowers. It is fear of the truth that holds Julian Assange as a virtual prisoner in London’s Ecuadorean Embassy and seeks to discredit Wikileaks for publishing Manning and Snowden’s revelations. The Obama administration has demanded that journalists reveal their sources or risk going to jail. To hide the truth, this administration’s representatives have committed felonies by lying to Congress, as was done by Intelligence director James Clapper when he told congress that the government does not collect data on millions of Americans.

To hide the truth, our government now classifies much that the public has a right to see and all of the embarrassing and illegal activity in which it is involved. Therefore, to expose any of this information is considered a crime. It is a crime in the US today to expose the truth, and that is why they are prosecuting Bradley Manning. Manning released the “Collateral Murder” video, for example, which reveals no military secrets, only military crimes. If knowledge of these crimes helps the enemy, then let’s stop the crime, not punish the one who exposes it.

In the cases of the hundreds of Muslims living in the US who have been framed by the FBI, classified material and “secret evidence” that the defence is not allowed to see is almost always used. There was a similar attempt to keep much of the Manning trial secret, as the government tried to control the narrative about Manning’s character and his deeds.

This attempt was partially thwarted when the defence published highly redacted material that the government did not want the people to see. The government did not want the words of Bradley Manning to be heard, either, so they did not allow recording or transcripts of the trial to be published. However, a reporter for the UK Guardian succeeded in transcribing and publishing Bradley Manning’s long pre-trial statement. The statement shows Manning as an intelligent young man doing what he understands to be in the interest of the American people and exposing wrongdoing on the part of the military and the government.

The government’s attack on Bradley Manning is an attack on us all. It is an attack on democratic rights in general. We must all come to his aid. Please support the Bradley Manning Defence Committee: www.bradleymanning.org.

*United National Antiwar Movement   

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