Bradley Manning: Prisoner of Conscience

Published on ZNet, by Francis Boyle, June 8, 2013.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the peoples of the world have witnessed successive governments in the United States that have demonstrated little if any respect for fundamental considerations of international law, human rights, and the United States Constitution itself.   

Instead, the world has watched a comprehensive and malicious assault upon the integrity of the international and domestic legal orders by groups of men and women who are thoroughly Machiavellian in their perception of international relations and in their conduct of both foreign affairs and American domestic policy. Even more seriously, in many instances specific components of the U.S. government’s foreign policies constitute ongoing criminal activity under well recognized principles of both international law and United States domestic law, and in particular the Nuremberg Charter, the Nuremberg Judgment, and the Nuremberg Principles, as well as the Pentagon’s own U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 on The Law of Land Warfare (1956), which applies to the President as Commander-in-Chief of United States Armed Forces under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution … //

… One generation ago the peoples of the world asked themselves: Where were the “good” Germans? Well, there were some good Germans. The Lutheran theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the foremost exemplar of someone who led a life of principled opposition to the Nazi-terror state even unto death.

Today the peoples of the world are likewise asking themselves: Where are the “good” Americans? Well, there are some good Americans. They are getting prosecuted for protesting against and resisting illegal U.S. military interventions and war crimes around the world. Private Bradley Manning is America’s equivalent to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Vaclav Havel, Andrei Sakharov, Wei Jingsheng, Aung San Suu Kyi, and others. He is the archetypal American Hero whom we should be bringing into our schools and teaching our children to emulate, not those wholesale purveyors of gratuitous violence and bloodshed adulated by the U.S. government, America’s financial power elite, the mainstream corporate news media, and its interlocked entertainment industry.

Today in international legal terms, the United States government itself should now be viewed as constituting an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international criminal law in violation of the Nuremberg Charter, the Nuremberg Judgment, and the Nuremberg Principles, because of its formulation and undertaking of serial wars of aggression, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes that are legally akin to those perpetrated by the former Nazi regime in Germany. As a consequence, American citizens and soldiers such as Bradley Manning possess the basic right under international law and United States domestic law, including the U.S. Constitution, to engage in acts of civil resistance designed to prevent, impede, thwart, or terminate ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by U.S. government officials in their conduct of foreign affairs policies and military operations purported to relate to defense and counter-terrorism. If not so restrained, the United States government could very well precipitate a Third World War.
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