The sentencing of US soldier Bradley Manning, the prime accused and the whistleblower in the WikiLeaks case, is an absolute travesty of justice. One of the bravest truth-tellers in American history, Manning is the living proof of how the US government, irrespective of who’s in the White House, has carried on its draconian activities, waging illegal wars, bombing sovereign countries, torturing and killing people, snooping on its own citizens as well as anybody and everybody in the world, and has basically done each and everything to be branded the biggest rogue state on earth.
By subjecting the 25-year-old Manning to 35 years of rigorous imprisonment, although less than the maximum punishment that was up to 90 years in jail, the Obama administration has demonstrated that it is, in fact, the enemy of truth and all those who savour truth. Manning’s case, along with Assange’s and Edward Snowden’s, is one of Obama regime’s unprecedented seven prosecutions against national security and intelligence whistleblowers. Manning’s brave disclosures to WikiLeaks helped pull the plug on the US regime’s war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan as well as its use of institutionalised torture in the illegal detention centres, the prison camps at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, thereby acting not against but in public interest. Had it not been for Manning’s selfless and extremely courageous decision to expose the horrors of the US-led NATO forces, the mainstream media around the world would not have had definite proof of the levels of indiscretions practiced by the Bush and Obama regimes, no wide-scale discussion would have erupted weighing the transgressions of the most influential state and the biggest military power in the world, the United States of America.
Both the American citizens and the people of the world have a right to know what their government is doing in the name of national security. The Manning trial clearly establishes that truth-telling is a crime in today’s world and that only conniving and colluding with the Kafkaesque bureaucratic machinery of the state, that believes in reducing the individual into a transparent, consuming automaton and not a thinking, political citizen, is the accepted way of being. Manning’s sentence, 35 years in prison, does not include the three and a half years he has served already, out of which 112 days were spent in pre-trial illegal detention, when he was kept in solitary confinement and forced to be naked in highly cold custodial conditions. Moreover, his trial had not been covered extensively by mainstream media, as if the biggest instance of whistleblowing in US history did not merit enough attention from the global press and television channels, obviously pointing towards a covert ban on giving the issue coverage.
The whistleblowers have become the most endangered kinds, especially as they are demonized as information anarchists, cyber terrorists, although, in reality, they are the guerilla warriors on the side of facts and truths. The American state’s institutionalisation of secrecy, surveillance and military muscle to dictate world politics and foreign policy, as well as to control the source, sink and circuits of global capital, has been brought in sharp focus by the revelations engineered by Manning, Assange and Snowden, among others. The verdict, therefore, must be hotly contested and forced to redact by the global civil and cyber societies.