Land of the sheep, tormenter of the brave

Private Bradley Manning, the whistleblower who is being held in cruel conditions barely distinguishable from torture for allegedly releasing classified US documents such as the Collateral Murder video, has now been charged with 26 counts, including one punishable by execution.

And yet his fellow countrymen, for whom he released the material – so that they would know what is being done in their name – are not rising up in anger about his treatment. Far from declaring him a national hero and a brave fighter against the abuse of government power, they are contentedly sitting by while their government uses its immense power to crush him in a solitary prison cell. Even those who claim opposition to government tyranny as their most important principle, seem to have little problem with how this man is being treated – being treated, mind you, before even being tried.

Apparently Americans would rather not know in future what is going on. They’d rather whistleblowers were bullied in to keeping their bloody mouths shut, so the rest of the country could continue not to care what goes on around them.

The price of liberty is eternal what? Quiet, we’re watching TV to check that our politicians are wearing flag pins.

UPDATE: And now Manning’s being stripped every night because he made a sarcastic remark. They’ve decided he’s a risk of suicide – but they haven’t placed him on “Suicide Risk Watch”, probably because that would require an actual assessment by a mental health professional.

It’s punishment before trial, clear as day.

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14 responses to “Land of the sheep, tormenter of the brave

  1. And don’t expect to see him receive any thanks for the democratic developments in the MENA.

  2. Pretty fucked up isn’t it.

    There’s a good FORA TV discussion online with Daniel Ellsberg. He makes a point of calling for a proper defense of Manning.

    David House, one of the few people to defend Manning (and someone targeted by Palantir/Themis) sums it up perfectly:

    “Through WikiLeaks we have been given direct evidence that the White House openly lies to congress and the American people in order to achieve political ends. Richard Nixon, in an attempt to stifle government transparency, once called Ellsberg “the most dangerous man in America” and accused him of “providing aid and comfort to the enemy.” Today we see the Obama administration continuing the legacy Nixon started by declaring whistleblowers as enemies of the state. It is a sad and dangerous day for transparency advocates everywhere.”

    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2011/03/02/david-house-obama-channels-nixon-with-new-charges-against-bradley-manning/

    Its a fucked up concept, cos the enemy in this case is you and me, basically everyone, especially people who use that information to try and change policy. By peaceful means.

    He’s being tried by a Court Martial too, which isn’t exactly a “safe” form of justice. I just picked up a book called “Military justice is to justice what military music is to music” in a 2nd hand rack. Its by Robert Sherrill, and is 40 years old so its probably current wrt to US military law.

  3. There is more important things to worry about than the revelations of Pte Manning. There is a wedding coming up in pomey land, and the SB’s of the world, AKA the dumb chattering class, will be transfixed on their tele’s in a coma, good drugs just can’t achieve. . Cos the old Yanks are about on par with us in the sycophancy stakes. Besides Bill Orearly, Sean Clannity, and Bill faux lefty, another two tugs and I’ll come Maheraga, have told them, that ol Pte Manning is as good as sitting in the electric chair.

    I reckon by about April next year, Manning will be blamed for the banking crash the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, and giving Clinton a blow job.

    Now where was I? Searching the net for a new car I believe.

  4. Splatterbottom

    Come on lynot, we all know that the chubby tart who blew Clinton was you in a stained dress. You are so gullible you will swallow anything, literally. I am sure Bradley is anxiously awaiting your attentions.

    Speaking of Bradley, the question remains as to whether governments have the right to keep information confidential? Assange believes that the US government is a conspiracy and that he will weaken it by destroying the secrecy of communications within it.

  5. Speaking of Bradley, the question remains as to whether governments have the right to keep information confidential?

    Oversimplification as argument SB? You can do better.

    The real question is how whistleblowers who release classified information when they perceive it to be in the public interest should be treated. That’s a much more difficult question to consider.

  6. Mondo I think your question is easy to answer. They should be treated with respect and the info the released used appropriately.

    Its pretty clear from hearing the words of any whistleblower, that its not an easy thing to do. The consequences are serious, and the whistleblower usually only starts blowing their whistle when they can’t keep silent and maintain any good conscience.

    BTW Anyone interested on what Assange really said wrt the US govt and conspiracies can read the actual article here:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070829163014/iq.org/conspiracies.pdf

    and the context:

    “The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive “secrecy tax”) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.

    Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.

    Only revealed injustice can be answered; for man to do anything intelligent he has to know what’s actually going on. ”

    http://web.archive.org/web/20071020051936/http://iq.org/#Thenonlineareffectsofleaksonunjustsystemsofgovernance

  7. Splatterbottom

    It is indeed Mondo. I was trying to draw a base line before moving on to discuss the finer points.

    It is not just the legal ramifications of whistle-blowing . Political parties can be idiotically vindictive when it comes to letting the cat out of the bag. The woman who exposed ALP politician and pedophile Milton Orkopolous is still seeking justice after being victimised by the powers that be.

    I think we can say that exposing criminal behaviour should be protected. When we get down to unethical behaviour, hypocrisy and nastiness the line starts to blur.

    What sort of rule would you like to see?

  8. What sort of rule would you like to see?

    I guess some sort of ‘public interest’ defence that attempts to determine whether the leak really does serve a worthwhile purpose.

    Obviously we can’t simply absolve all govt employees for their release of classified info simply because they personally feel it is necessary – some sort of objective check is required.

  9. What the leaks have revealed is that the US is massively abusing its own classification system, to avoid legitimate scrutiny. While it fails to meaningfully distinguish between material that genuinely needs to stay confidential, and material that’s just embarrassing to politicians, the exposure of that system should be encouraged in the interests of the American people.

  10. Unfortunately so many people in the more affluent countries in a position to make a difference are too preoccupied with their own selfish existence to give a second thought about “rising up in anger”.

    As Martin Niemoeller wrote:

    In Germany, they came first for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists but I didn’t speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time nobody was left to speak up.

  11. “Come on lynot, we all know that the chubby tart who blew Clinton was you in a stained dress. You are so gullible you will swallow anything, literally. I am sure Bradley is anxiously awaiting your attentions.”

    SB not bad you’re improving. Anyways, whilst you’re in Pomeyland attending the nuptials of your betters, bring me back a piece of wedding cake, and any old pictures of Lady Di and the Iron Lady you can lay your hands on. Failing that, send me that picture of John Howard I know you keep on your bedside table.

    But hey, I bet your old warrior right wing heart is just broken to pieces, with the fact, that what we gullible lefty’s said all along about the governments of the west being as corrupt as the day is long, is all true and more. Moreover not revealed by some Walter Cronkite or John Pilger but a baggy arse Pte in the good ol U.S. military.

    Come on SB just one more time, tell us how the war in Iraq was about weapons of mass destruction, and how Ronald Reagen saved the west from the Russian polar bear, tee hee.

    Me gullible!!! Gold SB. Gold.

  12. baldrickjones

    Well, PTE Manning had a security clearance, which had obligations attached to it, which he alledgedly broke, which will find him in Prison for a very long time. He is not in a position to decide whether information should be leaked or not. What efforts did he make through his chain of command to address his grievances? Time will tell. If you apply for and get a security clearance, you have obligations that are enforcable through the criminal code. Don’t like it? Get out. You can’t surf both sides of the fence.

  13. “You can’t surf both sides of the fence.”

    Why not? The government that employed him did/does. If Manning should be in jail so should George Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard. After all they have obligations too, uno numero, not to lie to the people that elected them. I mean, it’s all relevant at the end of the day.At least Manning has told the truth, a rare commodity these days.

  14. Pingback: Only people who love totalitarian government could approve of what’s happening to Bradley Manning | An Onymous Lefty

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