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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chelsea Manning: The Conscience of America

Chelsea Manning: The Conscience of America

By Nozomi Hayase
Disinformation.com
April 12, 2015

April 5th marks the five year anniversary of WikiLeaks publication
of the Collateral Murder Video.

The footage of a secret US military video depicted an Apache
helicopter killing Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters journalists.

It provided an uncensored view of modern war for the world
to see.

The light that shone in the darkness was the conscience of
a young woman.

Chelsea Manning (formally Bradley Manning) is now serving
35 years behind bars for her great public service.

After witnessing Manning confess to her role as WikiLeaks
whistleblower at the court-martial proceeding in Fort Meade,
Maryland, attorney and President Emeritus of the Center for
Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner said that locking her up
“for even a day is to lock up the conscience of our nation”.

Manning’s disclosure of secret government documents exposed
America’s illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Guantanamo Files revealed the state of America’s offshore
gulags and violations of universal human rights according to the
Geneva Convention.

The secret US embassy cables let us see corrupted diplomacy
serving corporate global hegemony through coercion and
manipulation.

Manning’s conscience shed light on the real actions
of the US government behind a fa├žade of democracy.

Yet, the ugly face of empire was not the only thing
she showed us.

This conscience of America reminds us of the ideals
that founded this country.

For her, the enlistment oath she took went beyond
the Constitution to the spirit of equality inherent
in the Declaration of Independence.

She once spoke of her deeply felt connection to all people in the
world, “i cant separate myself from others . . . i feel connected
to everybody . . . like they were distant family”.

This deep bond to others allowed her to feel the words enshrined
in the sacred document and to recognize when these truths were
violated.

This made it possible for her to witness what was really happening
behind modern war that was shrouded by the euphemism of
“collateral damage”.

This was expressed in her words; “we’re human . . . and we’re
killing ourselves”.

She was able to recognize the victims of US propaganda wars and
began to see those who had been branded enemy combatants as
human beings like herself.

In her courageous act of releasing these documents,
she demonstrated her loyalty to the core principle of
this country.

At the providence inquiry for her formal plea of guilty, she read
aloud a statement describing facts regarding the incident in the
Iraq suburb of New Baghdad.

By upholding the self-evident Truth “that all Men are created
equal”, she aimed to account for the actions of the helicopter
crew on July 12, 2007.

By calling it “seemingly delightful bloodlust”, she noted this to
be the most alarming aspect of the video and described how the
soldiers “dehumanized the individuals they were engaging, and
seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote
‘dead bastards’ and congratulating each other on the ability to
kill in larger numbers.”

She explained how when a seriously wounded man on the ground
was trying to crawl to safety, instead of calling for medical
attention, one of the crew members asked for the wounded person
to pick up a weapon so that he would have a reason to engage.

She described this incident as “similar to a child torturing ants
with a magnifying glass.”

Manning also questioned the attitude and actions of the soldiers
in the helicopter at the time of the second engagement on the
video; the aerial cannon shooting of the unarmed ‘bongo truck’
(a van with two adults and two kids in it) that had stopped to
help a wounded man.

She expressed how deeply saddened she was by the aerial weapons
team’s lack of concern for human life and their response of the
discovery of injured children in the van, showing no remorse or
sympathy for those they killed or injured.

In her request for a presidential pardon, Manning wrote how her
time in Iraq made her “question the morality of America’s military
presence since 9/11” and she realized that “in our efforts to meet
the risks posed to us by the enemy, we had forgotten our
Humanity”.

She continued:

“I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a
heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if
it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty
and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are
created equal.”

Chelsea Manning is the conscience of America; a great light
cast into a darkness that has been veiling the soul of this
nation.

Her deed of bearing witness to the gunship airstrikes that
slayed over a dozen people on that fateful day calls our
attention to something that had become so painful for many
to see.

At the same time, her light showed us our own light;
who we are capable of becoming.

What infused the highest law of this land were ideals
kindled in the heart.

The Declaration of Independence was the promise and
the Constitution was meant to be its fulfillment.

Are we all created equal?

Does the spirit of equality only apply to Americans or
is it an unalienable right of every person in the world?

Manning act of truth revealed that all human beings have the right
to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, regardless of where they
are born, their religion or color of skin.

The courageous source behind the footage of the US enactment
of collateral murder in Iraq allowed the world to see how with
the pretense of the War on Terror, we have violated the law and
betrayed our own principles.

By making this evidence available to the public, Manning gave us
all an opportunity to carry her spark of light, to uphold the Truth
that the founders of this country once held; that all are created
equal and that all life is sacred.



Nozomi Hayase, Ph.D., is a former WikiLeaks Central contributing
writer who has been covering issues of freedom of speech,
transparency and decentralized movement. Her work is featured
in many publications.

http://disinfo.com/2015/04/chelsea-manning-conscience-america

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