Author’s note: These brief remarks were given at the rally for Bradley Manning Aug. 8 in Quantico, where he is imprisoned. The rally was sponsored by Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and the Courage to Resist.
We are living in a liminal time, that is to say we live on the threshold. So much that we have taken for granted is passing.
In times like this we must be careful to keep our bearings, lest we come to love the chaos that passes for reality.
This is why we need to honor our brother Bradley Manning. He was not afraid to face the unknown; not afraid to resist the seduction of conformity; not afraid to follow his conscience; and not afraid to give us the wherewithal to distinguish truth from lies so that we, too, can follow our conscience.
The principalities and the powers, including the Fawning Corporate Media, have no hold on citizens like Private Manning, who refuse to live in a moral vacuum.
Bradley Manning dared to mock the falsity parading as reality after our country had a nervous breakdown as a result of 9/11 and the efforts of those who would use 9/11 to stoke our fear.
THAT false “reality” has lost its power, because it cannot live in the light of truth.
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” THAT is the rock-solid truth.
I noticed that this Bible verse was chiseled into the marble wall of CIA Headquarters when I began working as an analyst there in April 1963. That was the same month that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned “Letter From the Birmingham City Jail,” including graphic, earthy words in describing our duty to expose deceit and injustice:
“Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up, but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”
What Private Manning is alleged to have done with the help of WikiLeaks is to puncture that boil of injustice and deceit.
Our defense secretary and joint chiefs chairman do not mind the blood on their hands – yes, on THEIR hands – not the hands of Manning or WikiLeaks. The Pentagon chiefs are but cogs in an imperial system; large-diameter cogs, but cogs nonetheless.
They have made their peace with the crimson red on their hands. What they do mind is the pus. Pus stinks – it stinks to high heaven and is more quickly smelled and pungent than blood.
We have no problem with Marines and soldiers who are taught to believe they must surrender their conscience to some kind of noble enterprise. We do have a BIG PROBLEM with those who send them off on missions that make the Charge of the Light Brigade look like a model of military planning.
Worse still, the gun-barrel video that WikiLeaks posted and titled “Collateral Murder” shows the degree to which our own soldiers have been brutalized by so-called rules of engagement that authorize them to brutalize others. Our secretary of defense had not one word of regret about the dozen human beings, including two employees of Reuters, murdered on that fateful day in July 2007 – or about the now-fatherless children who were seriously wounded.
It is THAT kind of thing that needs to be exposed. And it is that video that Private Manning is accused of giving to WikiLeaks.
The more recent WikiLeaks disclosures expose much more. Did most Americans know, for example, that Washington is giving $1 billion a year of our tax money to Pakistan, and that Pakistan turns around and uses some of that money to train, equip, and lead those who are killing our Marines and soldiers in Afghanistan? Do Americans understand that, as far as our supposed “ally” Pakistan is concerned, the main game is about keeping the Taliban strong, in order to ensure that India does not regain predominant influence in Afghanistan?
What WikiLeaks has released is documentary evidence of what is really going on – otherwise known as the truth. Pentagon and press protest the “granularity” of the documentary evidence. The appropriate word here is not “granularity” – the appropriate words are blood, fecklessness, and the absence of any common sense, including moral sense, in the Pentagon and, sadly, in the White House.
We are here today to help Private Manning lance the boil and to do what we can to help the pus flow freely. We are here to give him encouragement to keep living humanly, as we are trying to do, among the fallen powers. We are here to say thank you and to tell Bradley Manning, loud and clear, “You are not alone. You are not alone.”