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The Case of Pfc Bradley Manning

The Case of Pfc Bradley Manning

There’s been more than a lot of talk and attention focused on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who seems to have become quite the master of the inflammatory sound byte, not mention having sold his memoirs for seven figures. But what about the 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst, Pfc Bradley Manning, accused of passing semingly untold thousands of secret government documents to WikiLeaks and now being held in solitary confinement since May at Quantico, Va., under suicide watch?

Manning was arrested by the Army after revealing to a computer hacker that he had leaked video of a helicopter attack that killed two Reuters photographers and Iraqi civilians, and also some 260,000 diplomatic cables and intelligence reports.  A New York Times story dated August 8, 2010, provides some details of Manning:

At school, Bradley Manning was clearly different from most of his peers. He preferred hacking computer games rather than playing them, former neighbors said. And they said he seemed opinionated beyond his years about politics, religion, and even about keeping religion out of politics.

 Manning spent his childhood and teenage years living both rural Oklahoma (where his father is from) and Wales (where is mother is from). As a teenager in Oklahoma, his father found out that he was gay and kicked Manning out of the house. He joined the army in 2007 after briefly living out of his car. But in the army, ‘his social life was defined by the need to conceal his sexuality under “don’t ask, don’t tell” and he wasted brainpower fetching coffee for officers.’

Manning is not without his supporters, including a non-profit in Oakland, California, Courage to Resist, which has issued a call to ‘help end the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning.’ Courage to Resist sells bumper stickers, whistles, and other items with the jailed private’s face imprinted on them. The group has raised more than $100,000 towards Manning’s legal fund, the December 26th New York Times notes. A member of the Oakland organization visits Manning every two weeks. Manning also has the support of Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

Nonetheless, as the New York Times observes, Manning

has never publicly defended himself in political or moral terms, and questions remain about what Private Manning may have leaked.

The lack of clarity surrounding Private Manning’s involvement has made building public support a challenge, even in friendly forums like the Berkeley City Council, which last week declined to back a measure calling Private Manning a hero.

 

Assange says that ‘he has never spoken with Private Manning and does not know who is behind the leaks.’ He has also stated (to ABC News) that the Wikileaks was ‘“designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never know the identities or names of people submitting us material.’”

 

All right. But isn’t this yet another instance of Assange ducking and presenting himself as above, beyond, or not to be bothered by the moral principles that guide the rest of us—-as unaccountable to anyone but himself?

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Photo by Takver.

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81 comments

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5:34PM PST on Feb 13, 2011

I feel for Manning, yet IF he leaked the documents, he may have broken the law, even though we are thankful for the info. Assange may also be telling the truth that he didn't know where the info came from, and set up his program to insure that.

There is much we don't know. But it does seem apparent from the reports, that Manning has been mistreated in his solitary confinement, that his commanding officer is more interested in keeping the military "clean" than in any detriment to the private. This whole case needs a good airing from sources outside of the military.

8:04AM PST on Jan 5, 2011

darryl, I seriously hope there is a hell so you can burn in it for eternity. I guess you lost your ability to have compassion back in veitnam when you were killing children and raping little girls.
burn in hell!

8:01AM PST on Jan 5, 2011

darryl
you're the coward
you wouldn't have the guts to give up you life to tell the truth.
if it's honorable to stick your head in the sand and let our countries commit war crimes.. then honor has lost it's meaning. You're a little coward.

10:03PM PST on Jan 4, 2011

Manning is a great humanitarian. I support him for exposing the atrocities performed by governments, ours, and others too.

8:03PM PST on Jan 4, 2011

I just read your profile Ernie and this statement

( What scares me: War - Cruelty - Greed - Indifference, Violent people, The moral direction of our society!, Religious Extremism, moral direction of our society, Is how cruel the people of the world are, ignorance, hate, global warming, cruel people, Criminals that are young and vio )

is incompatible with your assertion that Private Manning should pay. He exposed the criminal activities of your governments own war machine. He exposed the greed that fuels it and that also induced the EPA to permit the destruction of bees as they approved a specific pesticide. He exposed the hate, ignorance and cruelty of that crew on the Apache helicopter that murdered a group of people in the street, including two journalists and later two children. Criminals all, young and violent. Where the heck is your frikken outrage at all of this crap?

I watched the Apache helicopter murders and I gotta tell you that I felt sick. Those men, standing there openly in the street, not hiding like "true insurgents" would, just standing there, until that rotten, stinking little criminal with his finger on the trigger decided to blast out of existence, a group of men and two guys with camera equipment, and of course, the little kids hanging out the window of the van as their dad tried to save the remaining victim. Again I ask you, where is your frikken outrage?

7:24PM PST on Jan 4, 2011

Manning is a hero to all earthlings and Assange will eventually be released since there is no proof of any wrong doing on his part. the entire timeline of his arrest is available and you should read it before you believe the crap from Faux Noise...http://firedoglake.com/bradley-manning-wikileaks-timeline/

1:21PM PST on Jan 3, 2011

I think he should be put on trial and lets see if indeed he did have access to and did leak information he should not have. and we should also look at the leaked doccuments and decide if any one else broke laws that they were covering up by making them top secret. The means dont always justify the ends.

7:37PM PST on Jan 2, 2011

And Marilyn, it's nice to know how much you value integrity and honesty in your government (apparently not at all). So the loss of any of your personal rights as part of the operations of your government must be all right with you? The unwillingness by so many of you to not hold your own government accountable is truly shocking.

7:34PM PST on Jan 2, 2011

Steven H. you have no idea what you are talking about. No one has died because of the Wikileaks cable leaks. Inflammatory language and dishonest.

8:09AM PST on Jan 2, 2011

Pfc Bradley Manning should be hung (we can reuse the rope) as a traitor - he is responsible for many deaths - he should only be fed scraps from pig slop and only get water.

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