[Several months ago, WikiLeaks came to be recognised as the leading whistleblower organization of our time. They released a videotape which exposed serious war crimes being committed by US forces in Iraq which involved deaths of civilians and newspeople. Someone who had access to this tape (which was taken by crewmen of an Apache attack helicopter) had been so troubled by these events that they chose to reveal it to the public. This revelation was an act of moral outrage. The tape made its way to WikiLeaks, then to the media. And the White House and Pentagon, untroubled by the crimes, went after the perpetrator(s) of ….the exposure. A soldier named Bradley Manning was held as a suspect in….the exposure. All those who are outraged at the war crimes committed against the Iraqi people should join the defense of those who are attacked for bringing these crimes to light. WikiLeaks is in the proud tradition of those who brought the My Lai Masscre (Vietnam) to public view, and those, like Philip Agee and Daniel Ellsberg, who shared the information that led to broad struggles against imperialism.-ed.]
By Katharine Dawn
29 July, 2010, Bradleymanning.org
Bradley Manning is the young man charged with leaking classified US military information – including the video of a US Army helicopter gunning down Iraqi civilians and Reuters journalists in Iraq in 2007 that was released to the world via the whistleblower website WikiLeaks as “Collateral Murder”. Bradley is now held in isolation from the outside world, in military detention in Kuwait. Bradley, who reportedly felt un-supported in life, faces – for his alleged actions – up to 52 years imprisonment.
Could the fate of one young man have any bearing upon the fate of the world?
Standing back from the tremendous onrush of these pivotal times, is it possible to realistically gauge the significance of the Support Bradley Manning campaign to the future outcome of the world? That is the objective of this article, exploring divergent scenarios ; I’ll let my esteemed readers and the course of history be the judge. So,
What if the world abandons Bradley Manning and the cause of open, informed public debate he stands for?
> After putting his life on the line to provide the public with information he felt they deserved, the fate of Bradley Manning – who is said to have felt unsupported in life anyway – would be left in the dirty hands of the US military prison system for a substantial portion of his life.
> The wave of public outrage following upon WikiLeaks’ release of “Collateral Murder” would subside… and US war crimes would continue unchecked, unabated and largely unknown.
> Even WikiLeaks may fade into the background noise of a world where secrecy, deception and\ corruption are rife and crimes against humanity, the earth and the future proceed in hellish haste.
What if the world Supports Bradley Manning and the cause of open, informed public debate?
> Global civil society would defend the actions for which Bradley Manning is charged [ie, the leaking of classified documents]; uphold the public’s right to know and demand the release of Bradley Manning and the dismissal of all charges against him: Bradley Manning would walk forth as a free man.
> The “greatest leak in 40 years” [according to Daniel Ellsberg, the man who in 1971 leaked the “Pentagon Papers”, thereby fuelling public outrage over the Vietnam War] would not fade into nothingness as mute testimony to humanity’s apathy and disempowerment, but rather would open wide the floor of public debate and awareness regarding issues of war and peace.
> Bradley’s iconic example and growing public awareness of the professional and secure service of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, would open the floodgate for a deluge of whistle-blowing – as individuals everywhere, motivated by the public’s right to know, leak secret documents and classified material exposing corruption, deception and crimes against humanity – and lead to public outcry for real change.
Clearly, I’m hoping and working for the latter future scenario. And you?
Noting how when there’s “one man in chains, none are free”, a friend comments: “Bradley represents the truth-sayer in us all – if we leave him there, we abandon our own inner calling for truth”.