TJ is a writer living in Portland, OR.

Bradley Manning

I remember when the 'Collateral Murder' video was released, I heard it played over my headphones at work, listening to Democracy Now! In the audio I heard the voices of a helicopter crew in Iraq indiscriminately open fire on civilians in the streets of Baghdad. 

The soliders chuckle in the video. They chuckle as they kill those twelve people, including a journalist from Reuters. Reuters was unable to get access to the video because it had been classified under the protection of national security. Two children were also wounded in the attack. 

I later went home and watched the video.

This was the first time I heard of Wikileaks. That was about three years ago. 

Warning: This video contains graphic material. 

It was recently confirmed that yes, Bradley Manning was the source of the massive leak to Wikileaks. He is the source of the 'Collateral Murder' video.

I'm interested in Bradley Manning because, he seems so unassuming, a boyish army private. I like unassuming people, people who can surprise you, I always wanted to be unassuming. I'm interested in Bradley Manning because he told the truth, because he saw a story that needed to be told, an important story, and he told it. And because of that military prosecutors are seeing life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Manning tried to plead guilty to ten lesser charges hoping to avoid charges for charges of 'aiding the enemy' but the plea was rejected.

I don't think I could ever tell a story as important or with so many consequences as Bradley Manning.

Now no one is really interested in Bradley Manning's story anymore, his trial has received almost no mainstream news coverage (the Guardian is one of the few papers following the trial), not even the large LGBTQ non-profits will take up the cause of this openly gay American whistleblower. President Obama has shown extreme hostility towards government whistleblowers throughout his terms as president, which I previously assumed was something that Democrats supported, and the treatment Manning has received (11 months of solitary confinement, no privacy, unable to lay down except to sleep) was even declared as cruel and inhumane by the UN. But if Bradley Manning aided the enemy by releasing the information, does that also make newspapers like the New York Times culpable for printing the information leaked? And how can a movie like 'Zero Dark Thirty' get made, which claims to have first hand sources that even the government appointed 9/11 commission is explicitly banned from interviewing.

The government is telling a new story now, that Bradley Manning aided the enemy, and the moral of this story is immediately clear. Do not be like Bradley Manning. Then I remember the 'collateral murder' video, and I remember that my government tried to cover up the deaths of those twelve people in Baghdad, they tried to make it is af that story didn't exist, and they will do it again unless someone tells the truth. 

I want the truth. 

I am Bradley Manning.

I believed if the public, particularly the American public, could see this it could spark a debate on the military and our foreign policy in general as it applied to Iraq and Afghanistan. It might cause society to reconsider the need to engage in counter terrorism while ignoring the human situation of the people we engaged with every day.
— Bradley Manning

Grad school

Beach House - Wishes