By Barry Faulkner By jailing whistleblower Bradley Manning, the US has demonstrated the extent of its paranoia and unaccountable power. The US Government never ceases to amaze us with its duplicity and lack of humanity. Bradley Manning is the latest in …

Walton Pantland

manning

By Barry Faulkner

By jailing whistleblower Bradley Manning, the US has demonstrated the extent of its paranoia and unaccountable power.

The US Government never ceases to amaze us with its duplicity and lack of humanity.

Bradley Manning is the latest in a long line of examples of how US Government officials right to the top of Government fail to recognise the very values on which their country was allegedly founded.

Manning has today been sentenced to 35 years in prison. The request of US Government prosecutors has for a 60 year sentence. That level of madness was not accepted by the judiciary however they refused to even entertain argument on the reasons which Bradley Manning had for releasing information into the public domain.

At what stage does a government have a responsibility to tell its people the truth, how long can that truth be disguised under the mask of official secrecy? How many times can an administration cite terrorism as an excuse for blatantly lying about the actions of its troops?

The US, British and other Western governments enter freely into illegal wars, ignoring international rules and protocols, mistreat prisoners, torture people, indiscriminately bomb civilians and use rendition, yet all this is legal in the interests of the international capitalist system, and when people question it, they are terrorists, traitors and collaborators.

A number of other questions come to light in terms of this case: how does a junior ranking soldier have access to thousands of classified documents, how did he crack whatever systems they were held on and why are the people who supposedly had control of those documents not in court beside him?

Why was his public interest not allowed as a defence argument,? Surely in a country who on paper hold the rights of their citizens so dearly, those citizens should have a right to use whatever defence they feel is just in the case.

The way in which the mainstream US and international media demonised Bradley around his gender identity, further serves to question the morals and values of western society. A society which talks of its tolerance and condemns its enemies for their lack of tolerance then attacks this young man and ridicules him over this personal matter.

Tony Blair, George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and others are regarded by many as war criminals, yet no court has ever bought them to book, no 60 year sentence is suggested for them. The whole affair reminds me of the first Gulf War and the spurious arguments surrounding that episode, I recall then speaking at meetings where we called it a “War for oil” The entire history of Western intervention in that region since then has been driven in the interests of the control and power of huge multinational corporations.

Not just the oil giants reaping the spoils of war but the security giants and other huge multinationals sat in the wings making millions from reconstruction projects or the privatisation of public resources. At least in the Middle Ages when the West went to war with the East, they were clear about their goals, “land and wealth” now we disguise our Crusades.

The case of Bradley Manning should be a wake up call for those in every country who value their freedoms and democracy, who feel that no one country or multi national corporation should be allowed to dictate to a nation state how to organise their economy or where to put their money, how to think or what culture or religion is appropriate to follow.

Just as happened in America itself and in the former British colonies, the current regimes believe that civilisation only fits one size, one culture, one religion, one form of government.

The victor writes history but who speaks for the fallen?

Originally published here.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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