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Mar-06-2013 12:21printcomments

Just Who is Bradley Manning and What Did He Do?

What would you do in his position?

Manning and war crimes
Courtesy: Salon

(JAMESTOWN, RI) - Most either do not know of him or believe him to be some kind of traitor, and if you are one of those, you're very wrong. He is one of our greatest heroes, but judge for yourself and don't be manipulated by the corporate media.

Bradley Manning was a young member of the military who had top secret clearance from the US Military and became shocked and appalled at what he was seeing every day. Yes he confiscated and revealed "classified" information, but then again what is not classified in this day of Empire?

Did he give it to the enemy or try to sell this secret information, and what was this "classified" information? First, he did not try to sell it, and we know that from a taped conversation with a government informant in which he said he had no interest in selling it to anyone, he wanted to get it into the hands of the American people because he assumed they would be as shocked as he was by the information.

So he naively went to the corporate media like the New York Times, the paper that falsely sold us the Iraq War with lying reporters like Judith Miller. He also went to the Washington Post, but neither of the corporate establishment papers would touch it.

Somehow he leaked it to Wikileaks, but he has vigorously denied ever talking to, meeting, or being persuaded by Julian Assange to hand it over. He did it willingly because he thought it extremely important to get the information to the public.

What was so important about the "classified" information that Manning thought essential to the US public?

It was information that was "classified: for no other reason that it would show how corrupt US foreign policy was, and some of the evidence reveled murder, war crimes, and government lies. Since everything regarding US foreign policy is "classified", the only way we can find out what our government is doing is through people like Bradley Manning.

The information did not prove harmful to anyone but it did prove embarrassing, for it revealed how US officials lied and it reveled a great deal about government corruption. One of the most famous revelations was eventually called the "Collateral Murder" video.

It was a recorded video taken form a US helicopter showing the murder of about 20 innocents, including two journalists working for Reuters. The Reuter's journalist, at first seriously wounded was crawling in a bloodied mess along a sidewalk with US helicopter begging for orders to kill him, which they received.

A couple of other survivors were bloodied on the street when a civilian, driving a van with two small children in the front seat came along, and like a "good Samaritan was trying to drag them into the van to get them to a hospital, when once again US voices from the helicopter begged their command to let them kill the good Samaritan, which they did.

Both children were seriously wounded when the helicopter "lit up" the van and those trying to get aid to the wounded. A quick search of the internet using the terms "Collateral Murder" will get you a front seat view from the US helicopter of a real live murder.

For his heroic act Manning was arrested, tortured, and held in solitary confinement for over 3 years and is about to get a court martial. Despite the Bill of Rights which guarantees a "speedy trail" (within 120 days according to military law) the court has ruled that 1000 days in solitary without a trial does not violate the concept of "speedy trial" guarantee of the US military or the Bill of Rights.

Then again it is no surprise because two of the judge's top bosses had long ago pronounced Manning guilty. The President publically stated Manning is guilty, and a military judge who contradicts the Commander in Chief might damage the judges future career. In addition to the President, the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff also publically proclaimed Manning guilty before his trial ever began.

The Constitution also guarantees a fair trial but it is very difficult to believe that the military can give Manning a "fair trial" when the President of the US, who is the Commander in Chief of the military has already publically pronounced Manning guilty.

The US government wants Manning severely punished claiming his information will endanger American lives, however government officials have publically stated no one has been hurt by Manning's revelations.

Some severely challenged or badly misinformed politicians have even called for the death sentence for Bradley Manning, when in fact he is true American hero.

What would you do in his position? Would you have kept you mouth shut and not done anything with the information he had, or would you risk life in jail because you believed the US public had a right to know what illegal actives the US government was doing under the cloak of secrecy?

Recently it was revealed the leaked documents illustrate how the US government was trying to destabilize the government of Venezuela. This would be the same Venezuelan government that donated millions of gallons of oil to needy families in the US, after every American oil company had refused to help.

Corporate America hates Hugo Chaves and his government, because when he came to power he announced the oil in his country belonged to the people of that nation and not to international greedy oil companies who were paying nothing to the people of Venezuela for their oil, while making billions and billions in profits.

Chaves nationalized the oil and has used the profits to vastly raise the living standard of his people; a thoroughly un-American idea. We have hated him ever since and allegedly have tried to assassinate him on more than one occasion. Ops, but that is a secret and you have no right to know about it.

Bradley Manning somehow got his information to an agency that believes in government transparency, and that agency made the information public. The information is highly informative and demonstrates just how corrupt US foreign policy really is.

The Arab Spring which originated in Tunisia, began in large part because Manning's information revealed just how corrupt the Tunisian government really was, and when the people of that country saw it, they took action.

There is turmoil in Yemen because Manning's information revealed that US drones were killing Yemenis, but the Yemeni government was lying about it, claiming they were doing the killing. The Arab Spring so far has failed in Yemen, and continues to be one of the most repressive governments in the Middle East because it has the unqualified backing of the US government.

We have a military presence in Yemen and therefore support the dictator with money and military aid in order to keep that base, while the people of Yemen want democracy and us out of their country. Just as we supported the dictator of Egypt Hosni Mubarak for 30 years, we now support the brutal dictator of Yemen.

Manning's pre-trial is ongoing and he admitted to revealing the documents, took full responsibility for the leaks, and clearly explained to the courts why he did it. Now he will be held accountable and made an example of by the US government, for the government does not believe in transparency. It prefers to operate secretly in back rooms where their illegal actions can be kept secret.

Ironically Manning faces a life of punishment while the real liars and war criminals are not accountable for any of their actions. How about those who lied us into a war with Iraq resulting in the deaths of over one million people, including over 600,000 children?

They got away free and clear, while a kangaroo court will sentence an American hero to life in jail. Remember how Seinfeld explained the Bizzaro World to Elaine?


Salem-News.com Writer Joe Clifford, lives in historic Jamestown, Rhode Island, and has contributed a number of articles relating to foreign policy to newspapers in the Rhode Island area for years.

He graduated from Providence College where he earned an undergraduate and graduate degree. After a lengthy career as a high school teacher he turned to the study of US foreign policy, and then to writing, as a means of expressing an alternative perspective. His reading and research on foreign policy is broad and extensive, especially as the policy relates to the Middle East. His interest in foreign policy was inspired by the American misadventure in Vietnam. You can write to Joe at this address: jc21131@gmail.com



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Anonymous March 8, 2013 8:30 am (Pacific time)

Unlikely Pvt. Manning will ever walk free again, nor ever even walk among the general prison population. What he did has caused the deaths of many operatives and their families. Those of you who think he is some kind of hero simply are misled and I will pray that you learn to think beyond your limited cesspool mentality. Though it appears that for many it is an ingrained DNA handicap that most likely also reflects your socio-economic status. You are very angry people because you simply cannot compete well.

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