By an overwhelming vote of its online readers, the British newspaper The Guardian has been forced to name U.S. political prisoner Pvt. B. Manning its “Person of the Year.”
Daniel Ellsberg, the releaser of the Pentagon Papers, which exposed U.S. lies about the contrived Tonkin Gulf incident used in 1964 to justify U.S. attacks on Vietnam and the massive U.S. occupation, last year said this about Time magazine’s selection of its “Person of the Year”:
“The Time Magazine cover gives a protester, an anonymous protester, as ‘Person of the Year,’ but it is possible to put a face and a name to that picture of ‘Person of the Year.’ And the [U.S.] American face that I would put on that is Private Bradley Manning.”
Why has Pvt. Manning inspired such support?
In April 2010, the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released a U.S. military video taken from an “Apache” helicopter in Iraq as it gunned down a dozen civilians, including a Reuters videographer and his driver. A month later, the U.S. Army arrested and jailed Pvt. B. Manning.
For more than two and a half years, Manning has been locked up, charged with the capital crimes of espionage and “aiding the enemy.” The “enemy” here consists of the world’s people. The “crime” is the release of thousands of military and State Department documents that made the public aware of human rights abuses, U.S. support of ruthless dictators, government and corporate corruption, and U.S. war crimes.
Manning endured months of torture in Kuwait and the brig in Quantico, Va. He was placed in solitary, in a tiny cage, and was often forced to strip naked.
Many “establishment” newspapers in the U.S. and Europe, including the New York Times and the Guardian, published excerpts from what was released by WikiLeaks. Nevertheless, none of these bastions of the so-called free press lifted a finger to defend the person accused of providing this information to them.
Early in December, the Guardian conducted a survey to choose its “Person of the Year.” The paper’s management made their choice clear — Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani 14-year-old who was shot in October because she was waging a campaign for the education of Pakistani girls. The corporate media are trying to use her legitimate campaign in order to justify imperialist intervention in Pakistan and Afghanistan. (See article by Deirdre Griswold, Oct. 17, at workers.org)
However, some 70 percent of responders selected Pvt. Manning. Obviously Manning’s stirring courage in the face of overwhelming vilification and harsh treatment has attracted profound support among progressives and people in general here and abroad.
Manning exposed U.S. war crimes, which is supposed to be how an honorable soldier should behave, according to the U.S. Army Field Manual and the Nuremberg Principles determining war crimes. To jail and torture Manning obstructs the people’s justice. It is, in fact, itself a war crime.
Free Manning now!