Why President Obama Should Pardon Whistle blower Pfc. Bradley Manning

On May 2010, Private First Class Bradley Manning was arrested while on duty in a military base near Baghdad.  It would eventually be revealed that the 22 year old intelligence officer had managed to release 260,000 classified cables detailing US activity in Iraq, Afghanistan, and US embassies from around the world to the pro-transparency organization Wikileaks.  In the coming months, five major newspapers from around the world would chronicle the troubling contents of these cables to the world and an American public kept purposefully in the dark by their own government as to its action’s abroad.  Among the many revelations found in the quarter-million highly classified documents is evidence of US meddling in the internal affairs of foreign democracies such as Haiti and India, the use of American diplomats as spokespeople and spies for corporations such as Monsanto and Boeing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling on American diplomats to spy on their UN counterparts, and the US military covering up the deaths of two reuters journalists shot by an American gunship.  Manning’s trial is scheduled for sometime between February 4 and March 15 of next year, where the former intelligence officer faces a possible life sentence.

Bradley Manning was only twenty two when arrested for exposing rampant and unnecessary secrecy within the US military, diplomatic, and intelligence communities. The response of the US military justice system was brutal, placing Mr. Manning into 11 months of solitary confinement under conditions which the head of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Juan Mendez referred to as “cruel, inhuman and degrading”. Mr. Manning was transferred out of solitary confinement as a result of coordinated protests by the likes of the Bradley Manning Defense Network and Firedoglake.

Ever since 9/11, the American government has shown a dangerous increase in the level of obfuscation, willingness to violate US citizen’s civil rights in the name of national security, and complete lack of accountability for high ranking officials.  Whereas in 1991 the US government classified 6 million documents, by 2010 that number had ballooned to 77 million.  Information in these secret documents has been shown to contain blatantly illegal activity by the US government such as the NSA’s warrantless and indiscriminate wiretapping of US citizens (a fact itself disclosed to the New York Times by a government whistle blower).  All of this has developed despite the fact that pre-9/11 intelligence was already aware of a planned attack on the world trade center.

The charges against Manning include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, transmitting national defense information and theft of public property or records.  However, despite the charges high ranking US officials such as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Vice President Joe Biden, have downplayed the damage of the leaks, with Mr. Biden going so far as to say, “I don’t think there’s any damage.  I don’t think there’s any substantive damage, no.” in a televised interview with MSNBC’s Adrea Mitchell.  With such high ranking insiders, one is forced to ask not only how Mr. Manning aided the enemy (and if the ‘enemy’ includes the American public), but as to why the information was classified in the first place.

Upon being elected president Obama promised to run the most transparent administration in US history. Since 2009, he has presided over the administration with the highest level of classified documents and the most prosecutions of whistleblowers.

Lost in the debate has been not only that no one has been reported to have been harmed by the leaked cables, but on the obviously altruistic motives displayed by Manning, common to all whistleblowers.  Fellow whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, famous for his release of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam war has come to Manning’s defence stating that the release of the cables was “exactly the right thing to do”.  It is for these reasons that President Obama should pardon Bradley Manning, and I believe the argument on why to do so is best expressed by Manning himself in his conversation with the man who turned him into the government, “I want people to see the truth…regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public”.

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6 thoughts on “Why President Obama Should Pardon Whistle blower Pfc. Bradley Manning

  1. I love Prez Obama, but ignoring/condemning these whistleblowers like Manning (and Assange) is not cool. I’m disappointed, as are a great many others. This could be the beginning of an avalanche.
    The leaks did not harm anyone; did not give away strategic plans. The leaks were not meant to turn the tide of a war; they were to shine a light on WRONGDOING.
    Ms Clinton asking diplomats to spy = no big deal; it’s expected.
    But 2 journalists killed by our military and then covered up = a big deal.

  2. Higher government officials know nothing of justice. Your contribution will definitely encourage others to follow a similar path. Thank you Manning for your remarkable heroism. You are a true freedom fighter.

  3. It is tragic that our military detains an individual who speaks out against the abuse of our expanding military industry complex (that Eisenhower warned us against) yet rewards those who have wantonly murdered human beings. Manning rightfully saw something wrong with our abusive occupation of Iraq and his leaks have raised the importance of checking our dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. military and his trial paints him insane in ways that resemble to me attempts to paint runaway slaves from cotton plantations as insane. This attempt, called Drapetomania, was believed to be a legitimate mental disability. Manning has demonstrated no mental disability. He has demonstrated a love for humanity that needs to respected. His so called leaks has had no effect on the military industrial complex’s growing power. Obama said in 2008 that he would protect whistleblowers, and has a crucial opportunity to do so here. We can only hope he seizes it.

  4. We need to pressure the Government and Military to do the right thing and release Bradley.The best way to do that is to educate high school kids and college kids and convince them not to sign up in the military.We also needs to force recruiters out of the high schools and colleges.Tell the recruiters they are not welcome in the schools or colleges till Bradley is released.This needs done in every state,in every school and every college.

  5. People keep in mind there are 3rd party candidates running for President this year that are far better than Obama and Mitt and all the 3rd party candidates have already said they will pardon Bradley.These candidates are Gary Johnson,Jill Stein and Roseanne Barr.Please check them out.I know I’m voting for Gary.You don’t have to vote for Democrats or Republicans,which are both corrupt,when there are better choices.Obama and Mitt are even to scared to let them into the debates.That means we should vote 3rd party.

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