Perpetrators of the war crimes have never been brought to justice
Commenting on today’s sentencing of Bradley Manning, who was convicted in a US military court of sharing government documents with Wikileaks, Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, said:
“Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years jail for exposing US war crimes, lies and cover-ups, while the people who committed these criminal acts have never been prosecuted.
“What kind of justice system is it that jails the person who reveals a crime, while allowing the crime perpetrators to walk away scot-free?
“When he first stood for election as president, Barack Obama promised openness and defended whistle-blowers. However, since his election, more whistle-blowers and journalists have been harassed than under Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George Bush.
“Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh was never prosecuted when he blew the whistle on the murder by US soldiers of 350+ civilians at My Lai in Vietnam in 1968. The officer convicted of those mass killings, Lt William Calley, eventually served only 3.5 years under house arrest.
“The treatment of Bradley Manning shows that the US government, military and justice systems have become progressively more secretive and repressive over the last four decades.
“One of the war crimes Bradley Manning exposed was a US Apache helicopter attack that gunned down 11 Iraqi civilians in 2007, including two Reuters journalists and men who had gone to the aid of the wounded. Two children were also gravely injured when the helicopter opened fire on their van. The video records US soldiers laughing and joking at the killings, and also insulting the victims.
“The video of the massacre can be seen at: www.collateralmurder.com
“The perpetrators of these crimes have never been brought to justice and enjoy impunity
“Manning is a true patriot, not a traitor. He reveres the founding ideals of the US: the notion of an open, honest government that is accountable to the people and that pursues its policies by lawful means with respect for human rights.
“Manning wanted to show the reality of US foreign policy. In his pre-trial hearing, he said he wanted to spark a public debate about flaws and failings in US foreign and military policy. He’s achieved that goal, shining a light on shameful acts that were kept hidden from the American people,” said Mr Tatchell.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Write a letter of support to Bradley Manning via: Commander, HHC USAG, Attn: PFC Bradley Manning, 239 Sheridan Ave, Bldg 417, JBM-HH, VA 2221, USA. See advice on letter conditions: http://bit.ly/uJ2eG9
Lobby the US military to reduce his sentence. Major General Jeffery S. Buchanan is the Convening Authority for Bradley’s court martial, which means that he has the authority to decrease Bradley’s sentence. Join our action urging him to show clemency by phoning, faxing and e-mailing his Public Affairs Office.
Adrienne Combs, Deputy Officer Public Affairs 001 (202) 685-2900 [email protected]
Col. Michelle Martin-Hing, Public Affairs Officer 001 (202) 685-4899 [email protected]
Public Affairs Office fax: 001 (202) 685-0706
Major Gen. Buchanan: [email protected]
The convening authority can reduce the sentence after the Judge makes her ruling. Let’s Remind Major General Buchanan of these points:
• Bradley was held for nearly a year in abusive solitary confinement, which the UN torture chief called “cruel, inhuman, and degrading”.
• President Obama unlawfully influenced the trial with his pre-trial declaration that Bradley Manning was guilty.
• The media wascontinually blocked from transcripts and documents related to the trial and that it has only been through the efforts of Bradley Manning’s supporters that any transcripts exist.
• Under the UCMJ a soldier has the right to a speedy trial and that it was unjust to wait three years before starting the court martial.
• No one was harmed by the release of documents that exposed war crimes, unnecessary secrecy and disturbing aspects of foreign policy.
• Bradley Manning is a hero who did the right thing when he revealed truth about wars that had been based on lies.