Manning's persecution is a threat
2:33pm Friday 23rd August 2013 in Letters
WHILE the conviction of Private Bradley Manning is clearly a local interest story (Western Telegraph, August 9) given that he attended Tasker Milward School and his mother still lives in the area, this is not the only reason why local people should be concerned about what is happening to him. Manning is a courageous young man who felt duty bound to expose the practices of the USA. Since his arrest in May 2010 Private Manning has been detained in solitary confinement, for much of the time in conditions which the UN Special rapporteur said amounted to torture and was unlawful. While those who were responsible for that which Manning exposed have got off scot free, Manning is facing the prospect of a prison term of up to 90 years. Bradley Manning’s plight should be of concern to everyone who aspires to live in a free and democratic country.
His persecution – in common with Julian Assange and Edward Snowden – is intended to intimidate anyone who contemplates exposing the actions of government. While this chilling message of repression reverberates around the world the reaction from most governments is quiet, complicit, content to allow the bullying stance of the USA to help cow their own citizens into silence.
In future when someone discovers the fraud of politicians, corruption in the allocation of military contracts, the cruelty and neglect of patients in hospitals, paedophiles in children’s homes, or bribery in planning decisions, prospective whistleblowers will think carefully before exposing such crimes. They may not only be putting their livelihoods at risk, but also their liberty. Such oppressive conditions will further weaken our democracy by allowing the powerful to do as they please without fear of any consequences.