Bradley Manning Statement - Sometimes You Have To Pay A Heavy Price To Live In A Free Society

Submitted by tnjp on August 22, 2013 - 6:39pm.

"...I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal."

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We've been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we've had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror...

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, "There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

#FreeChelsea: Outpouring of Support Follows Manning Announcement

Submitted by tnjp on August 25, 2013 - 6:54pm.

https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/08/22

Thursday, August 22, 2013 by Common Dreams
#FreeChelsea: Outpouring of Support Follows Manning Announcement
'As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me.'
- Jon Queally, staff writer

Support for Bradley Manning continued to grow on Thursday following a statement read by Manning's lawyer on the TODAY show announcing that going forward the whistleblower, sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday, would like to be regarded as a woman.

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in the statement read by lawyer David Coombs. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way I have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.”

Coombs indicated that his client kept the desire to transition out of the public domain throughout his lengthy detention and controversial trial because he did not want it to distract from the real issues in the case.

On Twitter, where the hashtag #freebrad had been trending along with a call for Manning's pardon for what supporters consider his (now her) brave stance against US foreign policy and the war crimes and misdeeds that took place in Iraq, Afghanistan and elswewhere, was slowly being replaced with #freechelsea on Thursday with most expressing admiration for another brave stand taken by the former Army private first class.

Tweets about "#freechelsea"

Manning's full statement to the public follows:

Subject: The Next Stage of My Life

I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.

As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.

Thank you,

Chelsea E. Manning

Also see - 'I am Chelsea Manning,' says jailed soldier formerly known as Bradley

Vets For Peace Statement on Manning Sentence

Submitted by tnjp on August 25, 2013 - 7:03pm.

Veterans Outraged at Harsh Sentence Join in Nationwide Protests

August 21, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Contact: Gerry Condon 206-499-1220
Patrick McCann 240-271-2246
Ward Reilly 225-766-1364

Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesdayfor handing WikiLeaks amassive cache of sensitive government documentsdetailing the routine killing of civilians by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Outraged members of Veterans For Peace are joining in protest actions around the country and around the world.

"Bradley Manning is a hero, and we are both proud of his actions, and angry at his sentence,” said Patrick McCann, President of Veterans For Peace. “Reporting war crimes is not a war crime. Bradley Manning swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, and is now being penalized for doing just that."

“This harsh sentence is an outrage to all who believe in truth, transparency and freedom of the press,” said Gerry Condon, member of Veterans For Peace Board of Directors. “Bradley Manning has not harmed a hair on any person's head. He exposed that the U.S. Military was routinely killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. Government should prosecute war criminals, not whistle-blowers.”

While a 22-year-old intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq in 2009-10, Pfc. Manning witnessed war crimes, rampant corruption, and covert abuse. He exposed what he saw by leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic files to the transparency website WikiLeaks.

Manning, 25, was not allowed to make a statement when his sentence was handed down by military judge Col. Denise Lind at Fort Meade, Maryland. Guards quickly hustled him out of the courtroom, while at least half a dozen spectators shouted their support.

Amnesty International immediately called on President Obama to commute Manning's sentence.

“Bradley Manning acted on the belief that he could spark a meaningful public debate on the costs of war, and specifically on the conduct of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan," Widney Brown, senior director of international law and policy at Amnesty International, said in a statement. "The US government should turn its attention to investigating and delivering justice for the serious human rights abuses committed by its officials in the name of countering terror.”

“The only person prosecuted for the crimes and abuses uncovered in the WikiLeaks’ releases is the person who exposed them,” said Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg. “That alone proves the injustice of one more day in prison for Bradley Manning.”

Manning can subtract more than three and a half years off of his 35-year sentence, for the time he has already served and the mere 112 days he was credited for enduring torture and abuse while detained at the Quantico Marine Brig. He will be eligible to reduce his sentence by 10% for good behavior. He may also be eligible for parole after serving one third of his sentence.

Veterans For Peace is calling on Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, Military Commander of the District of Washington and Convening Authority of Manning’s court martial, to reduce the sentence, which he has the legal authority to do.

Please help us reach all these important contacts:
Adrienne Combs, Deputy Officer Public Affairs (202) 685-2900 adrienne.m.combs.civ@mail.mil

Col. Michelle Martin-Hing, Public Affairs Officer (202) 685-4899 michelle.l.martinhing.mil@mail.mil

The Public Affairs Office fax #: 202-685-0706

Try e-mailing Maj. Gen. Buchanan at jeffrey.s.buchanan@us.army.mi

For more information, go to www.bradleymanning.org and www.veteransforpeace.org

Julian Assange: Statement on Bradley Manning Sentence

Submitted by tnjp on August 25, 2013 - 7:16pm.

Julian Assange: Bradley Manning Sentence is an "Affront to Basic Concepts of Western Justice"

Today the well-known whistleblower Bradley Manning has been ordered by a military court in Maryland to spend a minimum of 5.2 years in prison with a 32 year maximum (including time already spent in detention), for revealing information about US government behaviour to the public.

This hard-won minimum term represents a significant tactical victory for Bradley Manning’s defense, campaign team and supporters. At the start of these proceedings, the United States government had charged Bradley Manning with a capital offence and other charges carrying over 135 years of incarceration. His defense team is now appealing to the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals in relation to this sentence and also for due process violations during the trial.

While the defense should be proud of their tactical victory, it should be remembered that Mr Manning’s trial and conviction is an affront to basic concepts of Western justice. On Mr Manning’s arrest in May 2010, he was immediately subjected to punitive incarceration by the US government, which was found to be "cruel, inhumane and degrading" by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, and even found to be unlawful by US military courts...

The period Mr Manning has already spent in prison will be subtracted from the sentence, and dispensations for good behaviour, parole and other factors mean that it is likely he will now spend less than ten years in confinement. Mr Manning’s defense team are now seeking to reduce this sentence further on appeal. US military law stipulates that the sentence can only be reduced. It is important that support for Bradley Manning continues during this time.

The only just outcome in Mr Manning’s case is his unconditional release, compensation for the unlawful treatment he has undergone, and a serious commitment to investigating the wrongdoing his alleged disclosures have brought to light.

Mr Manning’s treatment has been intended to send a signal to people of conscience in the US government who might seek to bring wrongdoing to light. This strategy has spectacularly backfired, as recent months have proven. Instead, the Obama administration is demonstrating that there is no place in its system for people of conscience and principle. As a result, there will be a thousand more Bradley Mannings.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <b> <br> <strike> <center> <i> <img> <u> <blockquote> <em> <strong> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web and e-mail addresses are automatically converted into links.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
More information about formatting options