I’ve written before about my disappointment with the Obama administration’s persecution of whistleblowers … in direct contradiction to 2008 candidate Obama’s statements about the matter.
This article A whistleblower salutes Bradley Manning by Thomas Andrews Drake writing at Politico is a worthwhile read, suggesting as he does that Bradley Manning’s actions in exposing ‘the dark underbelly’ of U.S activities around the world demonstrate his allegiance to the US Constitution, rather than the ‘aiding the enemy’ charges he faces.
He also points out that Manning’s treatment in captivity is akin to torture.
Pfc. Bradley Manning, the 25-year-old soldier arrested in May 2010 for revealing documents via WikiLeaks, is a victim of this war on whistleblowers. I attended Bradley’s December pretrial hearing at Fort Meade, Md., in which the defense sought accountability for the unlawful pretrial punishment Bradley endured at the Quantico Marine brig in Virginia. For nine months, Bradley was held isolated in a 6-by-8 cell, and allowed only 20 minutes of sunlight and exercise per day, in violation of Navy instructions and also, as Judge Denise Lind this week determined, in violation of military law.
The U.N. Chief Rapporteur on Torture called these conditions “cruel, inhuman and degrading,” and any reasonable person would see them as torture. Brig staff knew that their actions were under intense scrutiny from three-star Gen. George Flynn and the Pentagon, leaving no doubt that the command structure exercised undue influence over Quantico’s “poor” decision making.
These are high stakes.
An informed citizenry is the bedrock of democracy. Absent transparency in government operations, the executive increasingly rules through secrecy and propaganda, shielding its conduct from the press and public accountability. By condemning and vilifying Bradley so extremely, the prosecuting authority Gen. Karl Horst, and others in the Pentagon and State Department have merely highlighted their misplaced priorities. The aggressive persecution and prosecution that Bradley has experienced are not the result of his connection to WikiLeaks; it is part of a larger pattern, and increasingly the norm for how our government reacts to whistleblowers and truth tellers. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism — and for that, I salute Bradley.
Read the article at Politico