Whistleblower Bradley Manning was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. Hugo Martins asks if we should consider him a hero or a traitor…
In May 2010 U.S. soldier Bradley Manning was arrested in Iraq on suspicion of having passed restricted material to the website Wikileaks. Bradley was charged with a dozen crimes from transferring classified data into his personal computer to aiding the enemy. Since then he has been locked in maximum security and inhumane conditions which, according to Salon, could easily be considered torture in many develop countries nowadays. But one thing might change his destiny.
Last week, February 1, The Movement of The Icelandic Parliament nominated Private Bradley Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize. The letter sent to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is very explicit on why Private Bradley should be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize:
“We have the great honor of nominating Private First Class Bradley Manning for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. Manning is a soldier in the United States army who stands accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, war crimes, and imperialism by the United States government in international dealings. These revelations have fueled democratic uprising around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on our foreign policies, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq.
Bradley Manning has been incarcerated for well over a year by the U.S. government without a trial. He spent over ten months of that time period in solitary confinement, conditions which experts worldwide have criticized as torturous. Juan Mendez, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, has repeatedly requested and been denied a private meeting with Manning to assess his conditions.
The documents made public by WikiLeaks should never have been kept from public scrutiny. The revelations – including video documentation of an incident in which American soldiers gunned down Reuters journalists in Iraq – have helped to fuel a worldwide discussion about America’s overseas engagements, civilian casualties of war, imperialistic manipulations, and rules of engagement. Citizens worldwide owe a great debt to the WikiLeaks whistleblower for shedding light on these issues, and so I urge the Committee to award this prestigious prize to accused whistleblower Bradley Manning.
Members of the Icelandic Parliament for The Movement”
Many accused him of being a whistleblower, of lacking patriotism and not loving his country – being a traitor. I don’t agree, I believe it shows tremendous courage and humanity to do something for which one knows he could be severely punished and ostracized, and act accordingly with one’s conscience. I, therefore, believe that the many who had acess to the information and didn’t use it the way Private Bradley did—didn’t do something to stop it—could and should be convicted of war crimes and associated with some of the worst war criminals. The documents Private Bradley released are the proof of war crimes, murders and much more.
Some places around the world are, at this moment, probably, better places because of what Private Bradley did and, with time, maybe the world would be a better place for what he did.
There’s only one thing for you to decide now: is he a hero or a traitor?