Thursday, January 5, 2012

Weekly Instigators - Bradley Manning

"Silenced for the Truth"
illustration by Narciso Espiritu Jr. 

A year ago, Julian Assange was at the top of nearly every media news outlet, including Instigatorzine. Today, we find Assange has virtually vanished from major headlines since his arrest in England in December 2010. A year later, Bradley Manning, the 24-year old United States Army soldier arrested for allegedly passing classified material to Wikileaks, is one of many major recurring news topics.
Recent developments, starting with the December 16, 2011 pretrial hearing, which determines what kind of court martial is appropriate for the matter at hand, reveal that there may have been direct communication between Manning and Assange, despite denial by Assange himself. Reports state that an Assange-Manning link would place the two in a treacherous situation, as these supposed actions directly violate The Espionage Act. Charges of espionage carry the death penalty.
These new allegations shed a different light and raise many questions on an already complicated situation. Does the possibility of a personal relationship between Assange and Manning change the manner in which the restricted United States material was released? The fact would remain that the truth was hidden and kept hidden during a time when the government promised transparency to the public.
Some people may come to see Manning as either Hero, Patriot, Criminal or Traitor for his actions, but Manning asks: “If you had free reign over classified networks...and you saw incredible things, awful things...things that belonged in the public domain and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington, D.C...what would you do?” Regardless of how Manning is portrayed, or how you, yourself, think of him, like Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Bradley Manning is a defender of the truth. Truth is one of the few things that people carry close to the chest. In this age of information, people make decisions, great or small, much more quickly than they did in the past. People need their information to be true to make decisions for a better tomorrow.


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