COMMANDER IN CHIEF
Fmr. civil rights attorney
Fmr. adjunct professor @ Chicago Law
April, 22nd, 2011
UCMJ (art. 37)
“No […] commanding officer may […] attempt to coerce or […] influence the action of a court-martial or any other military tribunal or any member thereof, in reaching the findings or sentence in any case, or the action of any convening, approving, or reviewing authority with respect to his judicial acts.”
As Bradley Manning is awaiting the Judgment of the Lord, he managed to have his lawyers issue two statements, a grave felony for which the latter are now facing prosecution themselves…
His first statement regards the explanatory testimony he gave earlier today to clarify the unspeakable crimes he was party to (1).
“You all need to understand”, he points out, “they make me say that. The hypocrisy of this society is such that, although the rulers know perfectly well they are the ones who should be standing trial, they expect the humble white knights who uncover their machinery to bow down and ask for forgiveness. I did it, of course, because there’s much at stake for me, but know this : as little as Clinton regretted to have covered the paid avatar’s dress with cum, do I regret what I did, for my actions allowed the Light to penetrate into the abominable black hole of US power. Would I do it again ? I’d have to think about it, but if I did, it’d be with a condom this time !”
The second statement has a lyrical value unheard of since the civil movements of the sixties, and in these times of unashamed political propaganda, of perverted ideals, of smiling faces without clear compass, of full power to one little clan, of reactionary rhetoric disguised as smart, and of terror-related McCarthyism, perhaps it’s worth reading…
« I am happy to join with you today through this statement in what is about to go down in history as one of the greatest travesties of justice in the history of our nation.
Almost two centuries ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we pretend we stand at present, wrote : “all tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent”. This momentous stand came as a great beacon of hope to millions, including slaves, who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. But more than one hundred years later, freedom of expression in the US is still not guaranteed. More than one hundred years later, the life of the US whistleblower is still sadly crippled by the manacle of overrated terrorist conspiracies and the chains of military corporatism.
More than one hundred years later, our Muslim political prisoners live on a lonely island of secret psychological experiments in the midst of a vast ocean of military imperialism. More than one hundred years later, the US whistleblower is still languishing in the corners of US penitentiaries and finds himself an outcast in his own land. It is this shameful condition I hereby want to address.
When the architects of our great republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every US citizen was to fall heir.
This note was a promise that all men – yes, whistleblowers and independent journalists as well – would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of freedom : freedom to think, freedom to speak out and freedom to publish !
It is obvious today that the US have defaulted on their promissory note insofar as anyone who wants to challenge government propaganda is concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, our country has given its whistleblowers a bad check, a check that has come back marked « Wikileaks fundings shut down « .
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of classified material of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand policy transparency and judicial impartiality.
I am also standing before this shallow court to remind the US of the fierce urgency of Democracy Now! This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off in any vineyard, let alone Martha’s, or to deliver bunkum speeches about Egypt.
Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy.
Now it the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of fake patriotism to the sunlit path of true Justice.
Now it the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of ground zero to the solid rocks of Mount Rushmore.
Now is the time to make clemency a reality to all of Liberty’s emissaries.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of its whistleblowers. This polar winter of whistleblowing repression can lead only to an invigorating spring of freedom and openness. Twenty thirteen is not an end but a beginning. Those who hope that the 45 % of US citizens who think the NSA is going too far merely needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if Clapper & Co go back to lying as usual.
There will be neither rest nor tranquility in the US until all whistleblowers are granted a free pass. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of true Justice emerges.
We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of psychological torture, are denied regenerating rest and hygiene decency.
We cannot be satisfied as long as the jailed whistleblower’s basic mobility is from one corner of his isolation cell to another.
We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their fundamental right to spunk by signs stating « we’re watching you, honey »…
No, we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until leaks roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you could share my trials and tribulations. Some of you have come from areas of the web where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecutions and staggered by the winds of justice department brutality.
But I am slowly becoming a veteran of creative suffering and I ask you to dismiss the false faith that unearned suffering is redemptive, and to revolt !
Go back to Virginia, go back to Utah, go back to Washington, go back to the slums of political power and the fortresses of our national security apparatus, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed !
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you, my friends, the difficulties of today will be surmounted tomorrow.
That dream, I still have. It is a dream that will follow up the deliquescent American dream.
My dream is that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, for we mistakenly hold this truth to be self-evident that all men are created equal.
My dream is that one day, nearby the dusty hill of Capitol, the sons of former whistleblowers and the sons of former NSA generals will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
My dream is that one day even the land of Guantanamo, a substate sweltering with the substrates of oppression, will be reunited with the island it rightfully belongs to.
My dream is that all my queer friends will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their sexual preferences, but by their character.
That dream, I have today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Washington, with its vicious double standards, with its successive presidents having their lips dripping with the words of espionage and terror, all the people of good will will be able to join hands as sisters and brothers striving for social justice and individual freedom.
These are my beliefs. This is the faith that I will go back to my cell with today. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the military-corporate mountain of despair the cornerstone of unfiltered hope.
It is with this hope that we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
It is with this hope that we will be able to look ahead together, to withstand perils together, to break up our jails together, to climb up for wisdom together, to build together, knowing it is our very freedom we will be building, the sooner the better…
And if the US is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from every hilltop across the country. Let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, so as to enable us to speed up that day when, at long last, every human being – women and men, regardless of their colors, whatever their beliefs, no matter how straight or queer, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual revisited, « Prisoners no more ! Serfs no more ! Fuck the past ! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last. » »
N.B. : all the characters portrayed in this piece are fictitious. Any similarity with existing persons would be purely fortuitous.
1/ Read : http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/14/bradley-manning-statement-sentencing-trial