Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/777/17306
The trial of Chelsea Manning
The final days of the trial revealed the disgusting new depths to which the US military is sinking in an effort to persecute Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.
In 2010 this brave young military intelligence analyst released hundreds of thousands of secret documents to show the world the true face of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Finally going to trial after more than three years behind bars where she was tormented with solitary confinement, shackling and sleep deprivation, Manning was faced last month with charges adding up to 136 years in prison.
Senior military and government figures openly admit that the final sentence of 35 years is intended to scare US soldiers into keeping their heads down and their mouths shut.
Last week the US military released photographs of Manning dressed in a wig and make-up. Coming so close to the sentencing, this looks like a crude attempt to discredit Manning by drumming up and playing into trans-phobic prejudice.
More importantly, in an example both of trans-phobia as well as the stigmatising of those with mental health issues, a consensus emerged between the prosecution and the defence teams that Manning leaked the documents as an act of insanity resulting from gender identity problems.
The attempt by the US military and government to write off Manning's great act of defiance as insanity is completely futile - vile acts of the US military have been exposed and nothing they do now can change that.
The truth is that Manning made her motives totally clear in statements and online conversations: to "show the true cost of the war", to spark "worldwide discussion, debates, reforms".
Manning realised that she was part of a machine that was inflicting carnage, oppression and torture on a huge scale, and tried to undermine it by releasing the truth.
Decay of democracy
The amount of secrets a regime keeps and the amount of lies it tells are an indication of the deep contradictions and depravity in its politics.
The US government now classifies over 90 million documents a year. This number, as it climbs by tens of millions year-on-year, is like an index of the decay of democratic rights in the midst of a crisis of capitalism and barbaric imperialist wars.
In the drama around the sentencing of Chelsea Manning we have seen even more evidence of this, with the establishment trying to smear her through bigotry and neutralise her politically through Stalin-esque forced 'confessions'.
In The Socialist 28 August 2013:
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