Can“Justice”Sink Lower Than the Bradley Manning Case?

Every day we are confronted with another atrocity perpetrated by our government and its leaders against the people of the world, including our own citizens. The decision to charge Bradley Manning with a crime punishable by death is certainly the low point of American jurisprudence. It is on a par with the show trials put on by Stalin and Hitler, and marks the peak of prosecutorial hypocrisy.

This trial has everything: torture, intimidation, gross overcharging, media hype and pathological lies. It is the highest form of drama put on by those who would destroy democracy in the U.S.

Since his arrest in May of 2010, Manning has been incarcerated under conditions that Amnesty International (AI) says is torture, coupled with sensory deprivation. AI has filed complaints with the United Nations, attempting to force the U.S. to comply with minimal standards of conduct towards prisoners.

When WikiLeaks started publishing documents indicating the lies and distortions that the U.S. was engaged in throughout the world, Hillary Clinton called the action “treasonous” and called for immediate prosecution. Her claims were so preposterous as to be ignored by the government and the President. Now, 10 months later, the spineless White House, and an emboldened Pentagon, are complying with Hillary’s demand. Don’t just charge Manning with a crime, kill him. Only by threatening to kill the messenger can the government accomplish the intimidation and retaliation needed to silence dissent in the Armed Forces and abroad.

And what was it that Manning did? Did he engage in war crimes, by killing innocent civilians? Did he violate international law by using drones (unmanned flying bombs) against civilian populations? Did he beat or degrade foreigners in order to weaken their resolve to oppose anything demanded by Americans?

No, he didn’t do any of that. Those acts of savagery result in a choruses of “support our troops” and similar chants. The beasts who order those kinds of crimes are highly paid officers, mercenaries, and followers of the corporate cowards running this country. Manning’s crimes were of a different quality: he showed a video of U.S. helicopter pilots firing missiles at unarmed civilians to a chorus of cheers from our brave warriors in the air. He then allegedly provided information to the press and the American people about the illegal actions of our government, all in the form of U.S. memos and missives.

In other words, he provided information to the American people, while informing the world at the same time of how dishonest and twisted our conduct abroad has been. According to the White House, the Pentagon, and the powers that be, this is “aiding the enemy,” a crime punishable by death. The “enemy” in this case, is clearly the American people. As Manning stated shortly after his arrest: “I want people to see the truth regardless of who they are because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”Wired Magazine, June 10, 2010 and )

The government’s goal in trying to kill Manning is transparently obvious: whistleblowers will be silenced by this country. The U.S. cannot continue to murder and pillage at will, unless the American people know little to nothing of our conduct.

Yet, there is another reason that Manning is a perfect target and foil for a war-mongering nation like the U.S. – he is gay. This fact is not one that you will ever read about or hear from military officers. But just as the Tea Party is affronted and outraged that a Black man is the President of the U.S., so is the military doubly hateful of Manning for his sexual preference. White southerners (and many northerners) cannot tolerate the fact the Obama is President, not merely or mainly because of his policies, but rather, because of his race. Thus, their need to demonize him as a foreigner, as a socialist, as un-American. Just as Fox News refuses to acknowledge the role that race plays in the Republican hatred of Obama – so does the military remain silent about Manning’s sexuality.

Charging Manning with a death penalty offense is akin to trying Joan of Arc for being a witch. Lesbian soldiers can no more lead the French Army in a successful campaign against an enemy and get away with it, than a gay corporal can share with the American people the nature and depth of our international lawlessness. Death is the only answer a dictatorial regime can seek.

Luke Hiken is an attorney who has engaged in the practice of criminal, military, immigration, and appellate law. Marti Hiken is the director of Progressive Avenues. She is the former associate director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and former chair of the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Task Force. Read other articles by Marti Hiken and Luke Hiken, or visit Marti Hiken and Luke Hiken's website.

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  1. MICHAEL said on March 5th, 2011 at 3:58pm #

    Marti Hiken: 3/05/2011
    “Can “Justice”Sink Lower Than the Bradley Manning Case?”
    A RESOUNDING, YES ! It is possible to return to the infamous
    Thanking you for your attention to this matter –