FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Bradley Manning Survey

by MISSY BEATTIE

While driving through a March mix, I parallel processed—articles about Bradley Manning, reader comments, the tempo of the windshield wipers clearing slush, if I should turn around and postpone the appointment. Then, the word “snain” appeared—a reminiscence. Some weatherman’s use of “snain” years ago. H, so young with little-boy joy, laughed a melody, repeating the word, amusing himself and us—his parents and older brother. I smiled at the memory. Turn around? No. I was almost at my dentist’s office. Plus, the Lesbaru’s resolute.

I ran from the car to the building. After signing in, I sat, staring at fish that looked like Rothko paintings in the huge aquarium dividing the room into two areas, one for telly watching and the other for reading.

Then I shifted my focus to one of several articles I’d read about Bradley Manning. His trial testimony. That he attempted to interest the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Politico in his evidence of war crimes. They ignored.

Beneath this piece, a reader had entered in the comment section that most Americans wouldn’t know who Bradley Manning is.

I decided to conduct my own little survey.

Approaching two men seated in the reading side of the reception area, I said, “Excuse me, do you know who Bradley Manning is?” Neither did.

“He’s the 25-year-old Army soldier in prison over 1000 days for exposing war crimes. Was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

One of the men said, “Oh, yeah.”

I continued: “He disclosed a video of an Apache helicopter in Iraq whose crew killed more than 12 Iraqi civilians and two Reuters war correspondents.”

Blank stare from one. Faint smile from the other.

I waited. Soon a woman entered. “Excuse me. I’m taking a survey. Do you know who Bradley Manning is?” She shook her head no. I informed.

From the television, weather announcers reported the latest about the “fat snowflakes”. I moved to watch the storm tracking. A woman came in and sat nearby. Leaning towards her, I asked the question. She didn’t know. Again, I informed.

I went to the restroom. Came out to see someone removing her coat. Sitting next to her, I said, “Excuse me. Are you familiar with Bradley Manning?” She nodded yes. I waited.

“I don’t think he should be in prison.” She said this, cautiously, almost whispering.

“I’ve asked four others, and you’re the first person who’s known.”

We talked until she was summoned.

Are you wondering why I had time for this study? I was an hour early. Had entered 10:50 on my calendar instead of 11:50. The research subjects were called waaaayyyy before I was, probably relieved (with one exception) to escape my question and ensuing sermon.

Finally, “Beattie.”

Seated in the dental chair, I said to the hygienist, “Do you know who Bradley Manning is?” She didn’t. I informed.

She poked that pick in my mouth and began scraping. Then did the minty scrub with the rubber-tipped instrument. “You’re due X-Rays.”

“No thanks.”

She was shoving some party favors (that actually totaled $130.00) into a goody bag when the dentist appeared.

“I’m conducting a survey. Do you recognize the name Bradley Manning?”

He said, “Is he related to Eli? Or is he a porn star?”

“He exposed war porn.”

Told him about the Collateral Murder video and the Nobel Peace Prize nomination. “He’s 25-years-old,” I said. “And he’d been in a military prison over 1000 days.”

He changed the subject, commenting on my boots.

Another opportunity while I paid: As an employee printed my receipt, I asked the question. She said, “No.” When I told her, she said, “I’m only concerned with Maryland politics. This governor is killing us, sending jobs out of the state.”

I walked through big refreshing snowflakes to power on the Lesbaru, thinking only one among eight people knew. And here’s her story: When she said, “I don’t think he should be in prison,” I noticed an accent. Russian. She told me she immigrated 14 years ago, excited she was leaving a country that propagandized. Convinced she was moving to one that didn’t.

“It’s just as bad here. When I pick up my son at school, I sometimes hear an announcement: ‘This is the greatest country in the world.’”

She made a face and put her hands up to cover her ears.

Soooooo, I have a new plan. I’ll be the disseminator of real news. In reception areas. At the grocery. A restaurant. On a train. Wherever. Resolute, like the Lesbaru. Tenacious as a Jehovah’s Witness.

Missy Beattie preaches from Baltimore and any area she visits. Contact her at missybeat@gmail.com

 

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
Gerry Condon
In Defense of Tulsi Gabbard
Weekend Edition
May 19, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Getting Assange: the Untold Story
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Secret Sharer
Charles Pierson
Trump’s First Hundred Days of War Crimes
Paul Street
How Russia Became “Our Adversary” Again
Andrew Levine
Legitimation Crises
Mike Whitney
Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State 
Robert Hunziker
Early-Stage Antarctica Death Rattle Sparks NY Times Journalists Trip
Ken Levy
Why – How – Do They Still Love Trump?
Bruce E. Levine
“Hegemony How-To”: Rethinking Activism and Embracing Power
Robert Fisk
The Real Aim of Trump’s Trip to Saudi Arabia
Christiane Saliba
Slavery Now: Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
Chris Gilbert
The Chávez Hypothesis: Vicissitudes of a Strategic Project
Howard Lisnoff
Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain
Brian Cloughley
Propaganda Feeds Fear and Loathing
Stephen Cooper
Is Alabama Hiding Evidence It Tortured Two of Its Citizens?
Sheldon Richman
The Real Danger From Trump is Ignored
Jay Moore
Learning from History: Resistance in the 1850s and Today
Matthew Stevenson
Down and Out in London and Paris With Macron, May, Trump and Gatsby
David Jaffee
Rolling Back Democracy
Fred Gardner
Irrefutable Proof: Russian Election Meddling Documented!
Jess Guh
Neurology Study Reveals What We Already Know: People of Color Get Worse Healthcare
Joseph Natoli
A Culture of Narcissism, a Politics of Personality
David Rosen
Politics and the Agent of Social Change
Ian Almond
The Secret Joke of Our Democracy: Britain’s Elephant in the Boardroom
Andre Vltchek
Revolution Vs Passivity
Erik Rydberg
Stop the Jordan Cove LNG Project #NoLNG
Vijay Prashad
When Israeli Fighter Jets Almost Killed Nehru
Christopher Brauchli
The Certified Trump
Chuck Collins
Congress Wants to Cut Your Health Care — And Billionaires’ Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail