Today the Green Shadow Cabinet calls on President Obama to pardon Bradley Manning for his courageous work exposing U.S. war crimes and State Department deception. Thanks to Manning’s revelations of Iraqi deaths and human rights abuses by the American military, Iraq refused to renew immunity for U.S. soldiers, forcing President Obama to pull out at the end of 2011. Thus, Manning deserves much of the credit for ending the immoral, devastating, multi-trillion dollar U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Manning’s leaks also revealed corruption and betrayal in repressive Arab governments – including Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s secret deal with the U.S. allowing drone strikes within his country, and the financial excesses of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali. These disclosures helped trigger democracy movements of the Arab Spring that continue to this day.
Though Manning has been accused of endangering national security and the safety of intelligence sources, no actual harm was established in court hearings. And in secret testimony previously revealed by Reuters, state department officials acknowledged that the leaks were embarrassing low level secrets but they did not actually damage U.S. interests.
Bradley Manning has already spent three years in jail and months enduring solitary confinement and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, according to the UN special rapporteur on torture. He should not have to spend another day being punished for revealing critical truths that the American people had a right to know. Now Mr. Manning is facing up to 136 years in prison for doing the work that the U.S. press should have been doing, had they not been missing in action on investigative reporting for the past decade.
In fact, Bradley Manning is a hero for telling the truth to the American people – that our government was committing war crimes in Iraq and betraying basic American values of honesty and respect for international law in routine state department operations.
We therefore call on President Obama to urgently pardon this courageous whistleblower. American democracy will be more secure, and the American people will be safer for it.
~ Dr. Jill Stein serves as President of the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States.