Free Private Manning!

Sometimes a trial will throw a light upon the injustices inherent in an entire society. Such a trial is the one scheduled for February 2013 that puts Army Pfc. B. Manning — a whistle-blower and a true friend of peace and justice — in danger of life imprisonment.

Imperialism is a social and economic system based on exploiting workers at its centers in the U.S., Europe and Japan and superexploiting workers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and of course also among peoples of color in the centers. Superexploitation, operated by neocolonial rule, breeds resistance from nearly every sector of the nations where it is in place. Thus, the imperialist ruling class maintains a gigantic military apparatus to suppress any resistance against imperialist rule, as in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

To succeed, modern imperialist war needs also to mobilize the exploited workers at its centers. They must at least accept these military adventures. Some of their youth must fight and die in them. So every kind of lie, distortion and racist expression is used to mobilize the workers at home to support these wars.

At the same time, the people are never permitted to see how, behind the scenes, governments and military brass work hand in hand with the banks and giant corporations to brutally suppress the victims of their wars and at the same time to profit from them.

The imperialist “justice” system, and especially its “military justice” branch, considers exposing these war crimes a capital crime.

Pfc. Manning has been jailed for two and a half years for supposedly leaking Pentagon and State Department war secrets to the whistle-blower website, WikiLeaks. Arrested in 2010, Pfc. Manning was tortured for eight months at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, enduring 24-hour isolation while chained and stripped naked. The Pentagon’s goal was to force Manning to testify against WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange. But Manning refused to do that. Only after a strong public outcry did the Army transfer Manning to the “standard” prison at Fort Leavenworth.

This November, motion hearings are being held on the Manning case at Fort Meade in Maryland. Manning’s defense team has presented a rarely used motion of “pleading by exceptions and substitutions.” Manning’s civilian lawyer, David Coombs, explains that Manning is not pleading guilty to the “specifications as charged by the government.” Nor is there a plea deal with the government.

Rather, according to an article at couragetoresist.org, this defense motion enables Manning to present himself as a whistle-blower to “expose crime, fraud, corporate malfeasance and abuse.”

Manning’s new defense strategy should be used to galvanize even more support for his case. Gens. David Petraeus and John Allen, plus Dick Cheney and George W. Bush — these are the real war criminals who should be put on trial. Private Manning is a hero and should be set free immediately. n