Forgetting Bradley Manning
By Laura Flanders
19 December, 2010
Julian Assange of WikiLeaks is out on bail—apparently headed for the 10-bedroom home of British former army officer Vaughan Smith, described by the Guardian as a rightwing libertarian. Assange's lawyer joked that it would not be so much "house arrest as manor arrest" while he fights extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.
There's no manor for Bradey Manning. As Glenn Greenwald noted yesterday, the alleged leaker of much of the WikiLeaks information--including the "Collateral Murder" video showing soldiers shooting Iraqi civilians—has been sitting in solitary confinement for seven months under torture conditions. Denied even sheets and a pillow for his bed, Manning is under constant surveillance to prevent him even from exercising for 23 out of 24 hours of every day. And now he's under a regimen of authority-administered anti-depressant drugs.
From the start, and as Assange has consistently pointed out, Manning and other whistleblowers are the ones who've put themselves on the line. Pentagon papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg calls Manning his hero. He has not been tried or convicted of any crime. And yet the 22-year-old Army private's received none of the celebrity support that Julian Assange has.
Blogger Jill Filipovic notes that to talk about Manning, we'd have to talk about the hard stuff, the questions of what WikiLeaks means and what the consequences of leaks are, and detention in America—things that aren't solved with high-profile cash donations.
Today, Assange is out of jail. But let's not forget that without Bradley Manning and many others like him, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and all our new-found public information would be as in the dark as Manning is right now.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com