Aug 262013

Manning: A List Of Hard To Believes

It's been about a week since Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. I find the whole affair hard to believe. Hard to believe that her pre-trial cruel and inhumane intentional punishment didn't play a substantial role in the process. Hard to believe that the abuse of her constitutional right to a speedy trial, despite being the longest pre-trial incarceration in US military history was ruled to not be a big deal. Hard to believe that the majority of the defense witnesses were disallowed. Hard to believe that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture was denied a private meeting with Manning. Hard to believe that the Commander in Chief of the military by declaring her guilt 2 years before the military trial had even begun wasn't seen as influencing the outcome. Lastly, I find it hard to believe that Judge Lind was rewarded with a promotion in the middle of presiding over the case. 

As has been this administration's policy with freedom of speech issues, the US government pulled out all the stops on this case. They, with the willing cooperation of the corporate media conspired to portray an act of conscience as some deranged response to gender dysphoria. Then they used all their substantial power to keep her voice, her side of the story away from the public, lest something gets out that puts the government's narrative into question.

Our government is, with few exceptions, paranoid about the truth, in whatever form it takes. Hence the unprecedented number of documents deemed too sensitive to be publicly available. It has been estimated that the 700,000+ documents leaked by Manning to Wikileaks amounted to only 2% of the documents classified as secret in 2010. The over-prosecution of a long list of individuals clearly shows how worried the government has become about the release of truthful information. The unprecedented and frequent use of the Espionage Act is symptomatic of this. 

None of the documents disclosed by Manning were classified as "Top Secret" (as were the Pentagon Papers).  Lacking any motive resembling personal gain or collusion with a foreign government wasn't enough to stop the prosecution from seeking a conviction for "Aiding the Enemy." Our government sought a conviction that would have made the death penalty a possibility and would have meant life in prison without the possibility of parole a certainty. 

Despite The Government Narrative, No Evidence Of Harm

The prosecution was not able to document harm to any person that resulted from the disclosures. In 3 years, not one. They offered only "expert" witnesses who speculated about harm that might come sometime in the future. Michael Ratner, attorney for Julian Assange may have said it best when he said, "I did not expect anyone was killed otherwise I am sure it would have come out already." He also stated, "Our government lies."World events are ever more complex, with every passing year it becomes increasingly difficult to assign blame for harm to a single source.

However, if you support democracy around the world, if you believe that the public has a right to know what our government is doing in our name, you should thank Chelsea Manning. Do you think that our State Department would ever have informed us that among other things, working to preserve corporate profits involved pressuring the Haitian government to deny their lowest paid workers a raise in the minimum wage? The democratic revolts in the mideast were sparked in large part by the suspected corruption being confirmed by the leaked cables. If you don't approve of our government allowing, supporting, training people in torture techniques and in some cases doing the torturing, sometimes to death, then you need to thank Manning for informing us. At the Nation there is a list of other important information that we needed to know, made public by Pfc. Manning.

Prosecute The Torturers & Murderers

Chelsea Manning and Wikileaks allowed us a glimpse into the hidden inner workings of our government. A government that actively covers up horrendous crimes committed by representatives of the United States. Well into Obama's 2nd term, no one has been investigated, tried, or seen the inside of a prison cell for perpetrating the crimes exposed by Chelsea Manning. The response has been a disturbing irony, Manning was subjected to harsh treatment, tried, convicted and ultimately sentenced to a long prison term. This does not paint a very pretty picture of the America I used to know, that is if it ever existed at all.

Whatever your opinion is about Pfc Manning's actions, 35 years should be reserved for child rapists, murderers, and legitimate spies who would trade our nation's security for personal gain, not for a 22 (now 25) year old idealist with good intentions, especially without evidence of anyone being harmed.