Bradley Manning: Political Prisoner for Truth
“I am for truth, no matter who tells it. I am for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.” Malcom X
This statement from Malcom X applies directly to Bradley Manning and his courageous decision to put his life and freedom on the line to bring critical information to the public. November 27, 2012 is an international day of action in solidarity with Bradley Manning. Besides the United States, protests will be held in England, Canada, and Australia. In the US and England, the event is organized and sponsored by Veterans for Peace. During a hearing scheduled tomorrow, the defense for Manning intends to argue that all charges should be dismissed on account of “unlawful pretrial punishment.”
Attorney David Coombs will shed light on the abuse perpetrated on Private Manning while he was incarcerated in Quantico, Virginia. The charges to be presented by Coombs are well known, documented, and very damaging to the US military. Private Manning was held for nine months in solitary confinement under conditions described by UN chief rapporteur on torture Juan E. Mendez as “cruel, inhuman and degrading.”
It has been two and half years since Manning was taken into custody while serving in Kuwait. Bradley Manning was charged, because of the release to Wikileaks, with “aiding the enemy”: a capital offense for which he could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. When Manning was transferred from Kuwait to Quantico Brig in July 2010, the US army issued the following statement:“Preferral of charges represents an accusation only; Manning is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The case will be processed in accordance with normal procedure under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
However, the US military, and by extension the US government, have acted with complete disregard for their own legal framework. Manning was denied “a speedy trial,” as stipulated in the military code, and the codified rule of 120 days maximum became 635 days. Manning was also subjected to well-documented illegal pretrial punishment. The United States of America, under the Obama administration, often lectures other countries on their human-rights and justice-system records. But this is fundamentally hypocritical, considering the flagrant disrespect of basic principles of justice or even international laws exercised by the current and previous US administrations. Despite promises made by candidate Barack Obama all the way back in 2008, Guantanamo is still “open for business.” If the Bush administration was rightly condemned by the international community for its CIA rendition and torture programs, the Obama administration is currently running an extensive assassination program in total breach of countries’ sovereignty. The fate of Bradley Manning should be a concern for anyone who values truth and justice. In a real democracy, to expose the truth about war crimes should not be a crime but instead be praised as a public service.
Editor’s Note: All photographs by Save Bradley Network.