July 31st, 2013
Bradley Manning was convicted under the espionage act of 1917, passed just after the US entered WW1. Then, as now, the sole purpose of the act was to silence dissent and lock up people who opposed war.
Woodrow Wilson hired the foremost advertising and public relations man of his time, Edward Bernays, to sell the war to an American public that saw no point in getting involved in a shootout between European colonial powers. Then, in the trumped up hysteria that led to a declaration of war (sound familiar?) the Espionage act was passed. It was not passed because of overwhelming fear of sabotage or spying but because there were voices of sanity; anti-corporate, anti-war voices urging people not to throw away their lives and the country’s money on the war. (I think that sounds familiar, too).
In his December 7, 1915 State of the Union address, Wilson asked Congress for the legislation. This is what he said:
“There are citizens of the United States … who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life; who have sought to bring the authority and good name of our Government into contempt … to destroy our industries … and to debase our politics to the uses of foreign intrigue…. e are without adequate federal laws…. I am urging you to do nothing less than save the honor and self-respect of the nation. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out.”
This is the same kind of hysterical, fake patriotic bullshit—with military band accompaniment—that has, time and again, caused the death and permanent disablity of millions of people and the diversion of the country’s treasury to weapons manufacturers, leaders of the military and power-addicted politicians.
And here’s something to ponder… Under the Espionage act of 1917, I could be locked up for writing this and for criticizing the current wars and the government’s policies on my radio shows. Is that the America we want to live in?
Manning is a mixed-up kid with lots of demons to contend with, but he saw his country murdering people for no reason and allying itself with murderers. And he did something about it. He way overdid it, but his initial instincts were of the best, most patriotic kind.
This is the way of things— Real war criminals walk around free and get rich from making speeches and sitting on corporate boards. People who reveal their duplicitous, mass-murdering ways, and the people who print these revelations are arrested and jailed.
What world is this?