The Issue of Bradley Manning Questions Our Very National Loyalty

Stephanie Donald—LGBT-Today Publisher

Bradley-Manning-007In the more than two years since I started LGBT-Today, I have avoided publishing political commentary that doesn’t directly affect the LGBT community outside of endorsing candidates for office during this last election cycle, however, with the trial of Bradley Manning commencing this morning, I feel obligated to pick up the standard as my mentor Jack Nichols once did and add my thoughts to this heinous injustice.

Everything that constitutes a defense argument has been denied Pvt. Manning. He’s not allowed to argue that his release of the massive amount of selected information he sent to Wikileaks was done to reveal war crimes committed by the United States, superior officers of the United States Military and individuals in the military acting on their own who were never punished for their actions in the war with Iraq or Afghanistan.

Up until this point, this same denial of defense was used on enemy combatants in trials from those individuals who have been held at Guantanamo Bay. Most people in this nation approach their rights with either animosity or apathy and that’s frightening enough, but to see this tactic being played out against an American citizen who feels he did the right thing for the good of his nation, everyone, regardless of their political opinion, should be infuriated and scared to death that our government would act in the manner of a “Kangaroo Court” so that Pvt. Manning has no ability to defend himself and will surely be adjudicated as guilty with no recourse.

Now we have a new whistle-blower that has stepped forward over a brand new assault on each one of us as ordinary citizens in the form of a National Security Agency program known as PRISM.

Edward Snowden, 29-years-old and former contractor to the NSA decided that the American people needed to know that their cellphone conversations were being eavesdropped on and their emails, Facebook and other social media was being monitored and recorded and then gone over by a vast number of security analysts making nothing we do in this country private.

"I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things ... I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under," Snowden was quoted as saying in a June 6th interview with the Guardian newspaper.

 

For many years I’ve espoused the opinion that voting for the lesser of two evils in a two-party system is the real waste of a citizens vote and I’ve been told for 35 years that by voting socialist I’m the one who is wasting my vote, yet, here we are with two young men who are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to let us know the truth.

The biggest question is: Are the American people worthy of their sacrifice and what do we intend to do now in order to warrant the trust these two patriots have placed upon us?

In the years from the stolen election of George W. Bush in 2000 until now I have often questioned whether I want to stay in the United States. My friend and fellow LGBT-Today contributor Dr. James T. Sears has immigrated to Nicaragua for several reasons including his disgust with our government.

While our own community fights about Bradley Manning being the honorary Grand Marshall of the San Francisco Gay Pride celebration and Edward Snowden tries to figure out how to get out of Hong Kong without being jumped by a covert military team and sent to Guantanamo Bay as an enemy combatant.

For many years writers and supposed intellectuals have written and talked in caution about the approaching age of George Orwell’s 1984.

With our appalling apathy and political infighting, we have surpassed the level of government control that even Orwell could ever have conceived of.

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