Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for Bradley Manning, Wikileaks & Courage To Tell The Truth

This nation celebrating its pseudo-historical day of thanksgiving was built on genocide. The treatment of the tribes encountered by English settlers in what is now the New England region of the U.S.A. was deplorable. Besides accepting hospitality while plotting to steal the hosts land, settlers put large numbers of people including elders and little children on an island off the coast to freeze and die. I could go on and on with details about outrageous treatment of the Native Americans for hours, right up to the present day, without running out of material. In the 21st century, tribal lands are mined for uranium, polluted, and despoiled. What else is new. Time for patriarchy to step down.

Part of the cultural cognitive dissonance between Europeans and the people they found living in the Americas was the concept of land ownership. Territory one could expect to harvest food from is not land with a deed that can be bought and sold. The commons were still a living concept in the New World, but a rapacious and greedy bunch of adventurers along with a few religious fanatics who were just positive God was on their side imposed the ugliness of borders, lines drawn in the sand and watered with blood. Oh, and don't forget the water under the land, also very important to sieze, own, and control for profit.

Today when I thought about what I'm thankful for, most of my material prosperity seems like it has come at the expense of either theft or enslavement. I'm wearing clothes I bought second-hand, but somebody somewhere slaved in a factory to produce it. I'm enjoying the Kennebec River and the Maine woods but some white folks a few generations back had to kill to secure access to them. Or maybe they just did it the sneaky way, with biological weapons like smallpox infested blankets.

The whole concept of land ownership has been a colossal failure and has led to the near-fatal poisoning of our planet. Whether we'll be able to pull ourselves back from the brink once capitalism and patriarchy fall remains to be seen.

In the meantime I'm thinking about information, and how the governments who work for the super wealthy think they ought to be able to own that, too. Bradley Manning has been in detention for hundreds of days for daring to think that he and the people he was supposedly protecting owned some of the information that their taxes paid to collect. Having sworn an oath to uphold the constitution when he joined the army, Bradley is alleged to have made statements indicating that he thought that included making information available to people who could think about it and talk about it, exercising their rights in a republic.

The government is out to prove that Bradley was wrong, but there are thousands -- perhaps millions -- of his supporters worldwide who know that he was right. Information does belong to the people. It doesn't only belong to those with the wealth to smother it into submission. Information wants to be free. Like land, air and water want to be free.

I'll bet Bradley Manning wants to be free, too. Happy Thanksgiving in Leavenworth, Brad. And thanks for striking a blow for freedom when you had the chance.
...Manning’s motives, as summed up in this online chat, prior to his arrest: “I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public… I was actively involved in something that I was completely against.” According to the prosecution, Manning also provided the following note, to WikiLeaks, when he, anonymously, uploaded a cache of battlefield reports of the Iraq War: “This is perhaps one of the most significant documents of our time… removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.”   
Source:  Analysis: Bradley Manning accepts responsibility for act of conscience by Jeff Paterson posted at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the line "Information wants to be free." And sooner or later, it finds its audience/readers/responders/viewers.