Thursday, January 19

Secrets and Lies

It was announced today that the thirty-five year prison sentence of Chelsea Manning has been Presidentially commuted. Barack Obama deserves no credit for this, he's only planting land-mines for Donald Trump.When she is released in May (no, I don't know why the delay), she will have served seven years, during which she was confined in such an inhumane manner that she went mad and tried to kill herself more than once.
Knowing the mentality of jailers as we do, we can only imagine the other ways that she was intimidated and tortured by corrupt "corrections" personnel, acting under the scoundrel's excuse of patriotism.

Naturally, all of the conservatives in the New Media are going fully as ape-shit as they accuse their unhappy anti-Trump opponents of going. They are absolutely beside themselves (and kind of funny to watch), with self-righteous indignation because a very humble and vulnerable Army private did their job for them. 

She paid the price. Manning was tried and imprisoned for releasing 750,000 secret government documents, many of them detailing dubious or illegal government activity, not to some enemy, but to Wikileaks, and thus to the entire world, including the very individuals who are forced, every year, at implicit IRS gunpoint, to pay for them. In a democracy, supposedly comprised of self-ruling people, the government _has_ absolutely no right to secrecy, or else how will these self-ruling people know what decisions to make? 

And before anybody's knee jerks, and he brings up the favorite alibi of hip-pocket tyrants and armchair dictators everywhere, this is _especially_ true of the so-called "representative republic" that America is loudly advertised to be. where, again supposedly, We The People hire politicians, and they hire bureaucrats to make these decisions for us. I don't recall ever consenting -- in a Jeffersonian sense -- to such a corrupt system. How can any of us vote informedly, if politics itself is cloaked in guilty secrets? Isn't that exactly how we got stuck with an evil administration that, in 1941, enticed a fairly stupid enemy into providing us with an excuse to destroy them? Isn't that how an equally evil regime faked an incident that led to 60,000 American deaths in Southeast Asia? And how about those "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq? Representative republicanism is a complete and total hoax.

A murderous hoax. 

In a colossal example of the Catch-22 phenomenon, rivaling the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem witch trials in its evil absurdity, at Manning's "trial", the government was unable or unwilling for all-too-convenient "security reasons" to name any identifiable individual whose life was endangered by the information she released. Had they been committing war crimes, as at Abu Ghraib, was she supposed to keep her mouth shut about that? And in any case, in this enlightened era of an all-volunteer military, there is presently nobody out there in the field who was forced to be there at gunpoint. The risk of having one's ethical shortcuts embarrassingly exposed is simply a new one to add to the list of consequences of going in Harm's Way. 

It is the very depth of churlishness to condemn Chelsea Manning as a criminal or traitor. She was, in fact, fulfilling her military oath far better and more faithfully than those she worked for. If Obama hadn't dirtied it by giving it, like a Crackerjack prize, to Joseph Biden, she deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom (as do Julian Assange and Edward Snowden). As it is, we welcome Manning back into civilization and only hope that others will be as civilized as she is. 

L. Neil Smith

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