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Assange: Manning “a political prisoner”

2010-12-29 8 comments

In a December 22, 2010 interview with MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called Bradley Manning a political prisoner:

“If we are to believe the allegations, then this man acted for political reasons. He is a political prisoner in the United States.”

Watch the interview:

The concept of justified political resistance developed significantly during the American Revolution. The Declaration of Independence stated revolution—which depended upon acts punishable by death in Great Britain—was justified because, “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

As our nation grew, the idea of justified political resistance did as well. Americans came to generally believe that otherwise common crimes could have legitimacy if they were carried out by someone seeking to foster political change. “Political offenses,” while always controversial, were categorized by a U.S. court in Quinn v Robinson (1986) as either purely political offenses, such as sedition, or relative political offenses, which include otherwise common crimes committed in connection with a political act, committed for political motives, or committed in a political context.

When considering political prisoners, the conditions of their incarceration must be considered. What are the motivations of a state that subjects a prisoner to what many believe to be torture? Media worldwide have reported in recent weeks about the conditions under which Bradley Manning is being held in the brig at U.S. Marine Base Quantico, first revealed by Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald, Attorney David Coombs, and friend David House.  The conditions of Manning’s current detention appear a punitive response to his political motivations.

According to the United States Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons Summary Report, released in June 2006, prisoners who are isolated in solitary confinement up to 23 hours a day are under “torturous conditions that are proven to cause mental detoriation.” Manning’s current situation is so dire that a spokesperson for the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture in Geneva, Michael Nowak, is now investigating complaints about his treatment, according to a report released by the Washington Post on the same day Assange was interviewed.

“Human rights organizations should be investigating the conditions under which he is held and is there really due process there,” Assange said to MSNBC’s Uygur. As explained by Marjorie Cohn, Manning’s alleged crimes follow the tradition of American political activists committing minor offenses for major political motives—exposing war crimes committed on behalf of the American people in the hopes that they would take action and change the political environment that makes the commission of such crimes possible.

We urge you to work on Bradley Manning’s behalf. Take action now! Contact the Commander and Brig Commander of Marine Base Quantico and demand that Bradley Manning’s human rights be respected while he remains in custody.  Additionally, the Network encourages supporters to phone COL Choike at +1-703-784-2707 or write to him at 3250 Catlin Avenue, Quantico, VA 22134, to demand that Bradley Manning’s human rights be respected while he remains in custody.

Get full details and take action now!




    Soie courageux et fier.Nous te soutenons ou que tu sois.Ne sois pas
    triste et garde le moral.S il est prouvé ce qu on te repproche et bien
    c est une fierté pour tes parents et pour l amérique.De part ton agé
    tu as donné une leçon de democratie et la liberté d expression à toute
    l humanité.Garde le moral.

    2010-12-30 12:18
  • Carmen

    Look, here’s the bad thing about handing out numbers and names like this. Pestering and persistence only work if you have tact. Honestly, that’s one of the 14 leadership qualities of the MCJROTC. You have to deal with people respectfully, otherwise all you are doing is harming the cause. Trust me on this one.

    When you give out numbers and names any moron or drunkard could get on the phone and scream and shout at whoever, but what good would that do? They’ll just hang up. No one wants to deal with ridiculous overheated conversation.

    I suggest letters as the best form of protest for now. Simply because they can also be used as evidence and such, and it takes a much clearer mind to write a letter than it does to scream at someone over the phone.

    2010-12-30 12:38
  • Michelle (author)

    No one is suggesting that supporters act disrepectfully in support of Bradley Manning.

    2010-12-30 13:48
  • Laura Watkins

    This is one of the most incisive, intelligent interviews I’ve seen, on the same level as Julian Assange’s interview with Sir David Frost. Cenk Uyger asks the most important questions and Assange answers them directly, citing examples. Their discussion of Brad Manning’s status as a political prisoner, denied due process and subjected to inhumane treatment, shows their deep respect for him and concern for his welfare. It’s obvious that he’s more than a symbol to them.

    These men clearly understand the wisdom, courage and moral backbone it took for a young private, under intense pressure to comply with the demands of his (alleged) superiors, to instead act according to his principles and expose the U.S. military’s war crimes. There is no hint of condescension or evasion in Assange’s responses. He embraces Manning as a brother-in-arms yet makes it clear that they did not know each other or conspire to commit acts of treason or terrorism. The Army can only fabricate evidence because none exists.

    Uyger and Assange show that the cruel injustice being done to Pfc Manning by U.S. military and government officials can be done to any of us who stand behind the First Amendment and honor the Golden Rule. In five minutes they get to the crux of the matter. If our alleged leaders had their brains and balls, Brad Manning would be free and engaged in constructive work by now, not wasting his brilliance outmaneuvering a pack of ignoramuses and career criminals. Their impotent rage becomes more apparent daily.

    2010-12-30 15:33
  • Laura Watkins

    Would you please correct my misspelling of Cenk Ugyur’s name if you publish this? Thanks!

    2010-12-30 15:52
  • P.M.Lawrence

    If I may translate Bourouis freely, rearranging and slightly paraphrasing so that the English flows better:-

    “Be proud and brave. We support you wherever you may be. Do not be sad, and keep your spirits up. If what you are charged with is proven, well, that is a source of pride for your parents and for America. In view of your age, you have given a lesson in democracy and freedom of expression to all humanity. Keep your spirits up.”

    Bourouis is using the familiar or intimate second person singular “tu/te/ton” (now the archaic “thou/thee/thy” form in English, that has now been completely replaced by the second person plural “you/you/your”), rather than the more usual second person plural “vous/vous/votre”. In ordinary circumstances it would be pushy to use this uninvited to an adult stranger, and thus offensive, but here it indicates extending comradeship. While the same distinctions still exist in German, this nuance cannot be translated directly, into modern English at any rate.

    2010-12-31 08:11
  • Mysilverstate.com-Where progressive netizens unite

    2010: The Year in Politics…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)

    2010-12-31 11:09
  • Steven Johnstone

    Now I see the big picture, If you cannot love yourself you cannot love the world. All i can say if she gets up heaven protect the rest of the world from the axis of evil the USA. I can see Russia from my back yard, here in Australia. No wonder the world is so twisted!

    2011-01-13 23:46

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